Idioms are super fun to use but they’re also a very important part of how we communicate. An idiom is an expression or phrase that has a figurative meaning which does not relate to the literal meaning of its words. Americans use a lot of different slang and phrases that could easily confuse a non-native English speaker. But don’t worry! With a bit of studying and practice, you’ll be using them yourself in no time!
To get started, here’s a list of some of the commonly used idioms in America.
- Beat Around the Bush: To talk about something while avoiding talking about the main point or what’s really important, oftentimes intentionally.
Example: “When I asked my brother why he was fired from his job, he kept beating around the bush and telling me how much he hated that job instead of just telling me what happened.”
2. Don’t Cry Over Spilt Milk: There’s no point in being upset or worrying about something that has already happened and cannot be changed.
Example: “Even though her and her boyfriend just ended their relationship, she still didn’t cry over spilt milk. She knew it was over and there was nothing she could do to change things.”
- Get your Ducks in a Row: To prepare or get well-organized.
Example: “I want to get my ducks in a row and finish my schoolwork before going out this weekend.”
4. Head over Heels: Very much in love.
Example: “Sam was head over heels for Mary. He wanted to spend every second with her.”
- It Takes Two to Tango: To emphasize that both people involved in a situation are both responsible for it and it will take both their efforts to get it done.
Example: “My mother always told me that a happy marriage takes two to tango. It requires effort and compromise from both people.
6. Jump on the Bandwagon: To join or support something that other people are already supporting.
Example: “So many people are working from home these days. Maybe I should jump on the bandwagon and try to find a remote job as well.”
- The Last/Final Straw: The last problem in a series of problems or difficult situations that finally makes you lose your patience or not be able to continue any longer.
Example: “She was unhappy in her relationship for a long time but when her partner cheated on her, it was the last straw.”
8. Kill Two Birds with One Stone: To achieve two things in just one action.
Example: “I kill two birds with one stone when I do housework. I’m able to get some exercise and clean the house at the same time.
- Neck and Neck: When two people are tied or at the same position in a competition and have equal chances of winning.
Example: “Argentina and France were neck and neck in the 2022 World Cup until Argentina finally won.”
10. Once in a Blue Moon: To do something rarely or not very often.
Example: “I’m very careful about what I eat so I only eat fast food once in a blue moon.