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Break a leg! = Good luck!

18 mei 2016

Native English speakers often use idiomatic expressions and often times we don’t know we are using them, leaving an English language learner bemused and perplexed. 

  • I've got your back

An idiom is a phrase which means something completely different from its literal meaning.

It’s useful to pass on some idioms to students so that they can start to use them more and more naturally whilst speaking and in informal writing. You could start using them with your child explaining the meaning along the way and see if they can start using them with you. The only way to learn them is reading and listening extensively and perhaps look them up in an idioms’ dictionary or to Google them. There are thousands of them so it’s impossible to teach them all but students of English can pick them up during their climb up the English Language Learning Ladder of Success.

Here are some to do with sleep…zzzz

It is said that humans spend a third of their lives asleep. The fact that sleep occupies such a large part of our existence might explain why there are so many idioms and expressions containing the word sleep.

If you are able to enjoy a good night's sleep, you might say the next morning that you slept like a log. If, on the other hand, you spent an uncomfortable night tossing and turning, you might complain the next day that you didn't sleep a wink. If there is a problem or decision that you wish to put off till later, you can say you will sleep on it, and if there is a problem or situation that others might regard as important, but which you regard as trivial, you could say that you won't lose any sleep over it. If, on the other hand, there isn't a problem with a particular aspect of your life or job, it's probably better to let sleeping dogs lie, rather than resurrect an old problem or create one where there wasn't one. Some things are so easy that you can do them in your sleep, while others are so difficult that they can give you sleepless nights.

If you want to remain healthy and attractive you should make sure you get your beauty sleep every night (in other words, enough sleep). If, on the other hand, you overindulge at a party, you might have to go to bed to sleep it off (get over the effects). Make sure though that when you talk about sleep you don't translate directly from some other languages and say you slept like a baby. We don't normally say this in English as babies do things in their sleep which adults probably shouldn't.

BTW what does ‘I’ve got your back’ mean. First person to email me here after the blog has been published wins a small prize and can be collected from my classroom S253 from Friday 18 May. Good luck.

James Carson, Head of EAL