Idioms

As a non-native English speaker, you understand the meanings of words and how to put together a sentence that conveys a coherent idea. However, when in conversation with a fluent English speaker, you sometimes don’t always understand certain phrases the native English speaker says. Ever heard such phrases as “Actions speak louder than words,” or “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” and totally misunderstood what someone was trying to say?

That’s because these expressions, or idioms, are very particular to the English language and don’t make sense when you try to understand it verbatim. In the above phrases, actions aren’t really “speaking,” and there is no apple or tree. Literally translating the sentence will not help you understand it any better; you simply must memorize what these phrases mean as a whole, so you don’t feel lost when someone says one to you.

As an example, let’s take “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” This phrase actually has nothing to do with chickens at all; rather, the idiom is used as a warning to someone who is counting on a certain event happening before it actually does happen. If you assume you will get a great job and buy yourself a Mercedes with the mentality “I’ll get my money back when I get my pay check,” you are “counting your chickens before they hatch” because you are spending a lot of money on a car before you know for sure that you have that money to spend.

Another common idiom used frequently is “Don’t cry over spilt milk.” Again, this phrase has absolutely nothing to do with milk. Instead, the milk is a metaphor for a past event that you are worrying about right now. This expression implies that “what happens in the past stays in the past,” so you shouldn’t be upset or “cry” about something bad that happened yesterday (spilt milk) that you can’t do anything about now.

Let’s continue. The more idioms you understand and memorize from this article, the more easily you will integrate with the English language.

“Two peas in a pod” – when two people, usually friends or relatives, have a lot in common, have great chemistry, or share interests or other characteristics.
Example: Sue and Ann have been best friends for years. They are like two peas in a pod.

“Give me a hand” – to help someone with something
Example: I have a lot of groceries in the car, so will you come and give me a hand with them?

“Take it easy” – relax; calm down
Example: I’ve had a long day, so I’m going to stay home tonight and take it easy.

“Head over heels” – crazy about; enamored with
Example: Chris just met Jenny a few weeks ago, but he is already head over heels in love with her.

“The ball is in you court” – it’s your turn; you have the power
Example: I called him and left a message on his machine, so now the ball is in his court, and I’ll see if he calls me back.

“Beat around the bush” – not being forward; in a conversation, when you give unneccesary details and talk a lot in an effort to avoid getting to the point
Example: We don’t have much time, so please get to thepoint and don’t beat around bush.

And of course, there are many more. If you find yourself in a conversation when one of these phrases is used, don’t hesitate to ask what the expression means. You may totally miss the point of what someone is trying to say if you don’t understand these idioms. Once you know one, you’ll be able to understand it the next time.

One more piece of advice: don’t use an idiom unless you are 100% sure of its meaning. The last thing you want to do is say something you truly don’t understand and then get called out on it by someone else. You’ll look like you are trying too hard to fit in and be smart. Rather, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

English language slangs

In many world languages there are common ways of casually saying things that are not directly translatable using a dictionary. The English language word for one kind of casual and common saying is “slang.” Some words and sayings that are categorized as slang may be considered to sound offensive, but there are many that are acceptable in most situations. Slang is casual and is generally not advisable to be used in formal situations or in business meetings. Here are some commonly acceptable slang expressions for English language students to be familiar with.
“What’s up?”

This highly common saying may make an English language student look up at the sky or ceiling, wondering why someone is asking what is up. It is actually used as a greeting in place of saying “Hi.” The phrase has a number of alternate and less polite variations. One is “Whassup?” and another was popularized to an extreme with “Wazzzzzzap?” and other similar silliness many years ago. This is spoken as a question, but it is the kind of question known as a “rhetorical” question. In the English language, when a question is rhetorical it means that it does not need to be answered. Even though “What’s up?” sounds like a question, there is no need to answer and it is basically the same as saying “Hi.”
“How’s it going?”

This is a very similar term to the previous phrase and is also highly common. There are many ways to say “Hi” in English. When people say this, it may seem natural for an English language student to respond by telling the person how they are. This is sometimes spoken as a rhetorical question, but responding by saying “Good. You?” or similar is certainly acceptable too.
“See you later.”

This is a common phrase used as a salutation to say goodbye. The phrase may be shortened to say either “Later.” or “See you.” Saying only “Later.” is more of a masculine term and is a little too impolite for many situations. “See you.” is a little more feminine. The person saying this is basically saying that they may see the person they are speaking to again later on.

“Hang out”

This common saying is used in multiple ways. When a person says “Let’s hang out” it means that they would like to do something together in a casual manner. “Hanging out” is basically just a casual slang term used to say that people are doing something casual together. For instance, when friends go to a movie or a restaurant together, it can be said “They were hanging out with each other.”
“Chilling”

This is a relatively common slang word that means a person is relaxing. This term can also be used in a way that is similar to “hanging out.” This kind of “hanging out” would be of a relatively relaxed style. “Chill” or “Chill out” are also slang sayings that are used to suggest that a person relax. This is a relatively common masculine term between friends.

Hopefully this introduction to some common English language slang sayings has been entertaining and educational. Be sure to always use slang with care.

Onomatopoeia Words

There are some basic types of words present in many of the world’s languages. An intermediate to advanced student of the English language is likely familiar with some of the basic types already. One common type of word is known in English as a “noun” and another kind is known as a “verb.” There is another type of word that is common to many world languages, which students of the English language may find entertaining to learn. The type of word is known as onomatopoeia and is usually a word that actually sounds like what the word represents. Onomatopoeia is a long English word to describe something surprisingly fun and easy for students to understand. A comic book is a common place where a lot of onomatopoeia can easily be found. The word “boom” is one such example. The word can be used both as a noun and as a verb to describe some kind of explosion taking place. Here are some more onomatopoeia words that are relatively common in English writing and conversation.

Zip / Zipper

The word “zip” is commonly used as a verb to refer to the action of zipping a common type of fastener known as a “zipper.” For instance, “He zipped the zipper on his jacket.” The word can also be used to describe fast movement. “The bird zipped past the turtles.”

Splash

The word “splash” is used to describe some of a liquid flying into the air from a larger area of liquid. The word can be used as a noun or a verb. Here is an example: “The puppy made a big splash when it jumped in the pool. A lot of water splashed into the air.”

Clap

The word “clap” you may already know and it is another common onomatopoeia word that sounds like what it describes. When people put their hands together quickly it makes a “clap” sound. When people repeat the sound many times it is called “clapping.” The word can also be used to describe other sounds, such as a loud and quick sound that may be heard when there is lightning in the sky. This is known as a “thunder clap.”

Meow

The word “meow” is one of the many onomatopoeia words that are used to describe the sounds that animals make. The word can be used as a noun or a verb. For instance, “The cat meowed. It was a quiet meow.”

Click

The word “click” is one of the many onomatopoeia words that are used to describe mechanical sounds. “Click” is a rather common word used in modern computing. A person using a computer “clicks” a button on a mouse. The word can be used to describe any action where there is a quick and relatively quiet sound of metal or plastic. Again, “click” can be used as both a noun and a verb. For instance, “I clicked the mouse. It was just one click.”
There are many more fun onomatopoeia words to learn, and hopefully this article has introduced some of the common types.

Vocabulary

You will find in this section all you need to know about english vocabulary to improve your speaking or writing skills by acquiring new wrds, sentences, structure, etc…

1. English vocabulary

This is a wonderful site where you will find all you need about the most common vocabulary themes.

2. British Vs American English

the majour differences between the two Englishes

3. British Vs American English word list
a list of the common word differences

and more Differences: Spelling differences between British and American English

4. English vocabulary in use

the famous book which covers most themes about vocabulary it is for pre- and intermediate level.

5. Visual Dictionary

A visual dictionary about some themes like animals, clothes, school and so on…

6. Vocabulary worksheets

We recommend that you visit the following website teach-nology where you can find a wonderful range of worksheets of different types:

http://www.teach-nology.com/worksheets/

Visit the main site also as it is full of lesson plans, tips, etc…

http://www.teach-nology.com/

Other useful websites:

http://www.worksheets4teachers.com/

http://www.worksheetlibrary.com/

British vs American English

  British English                                American English     

 

Clothes

 Trousers   Pants
Pants  Underwear  Knickers Underwear  Panties
Jumper  Pullover  Sweater  Jersey Sweater
Pinafore Dress Jumper
Vest Undershirt
Waistcoat Vest
Trainers  Pumps Sneakers
Braces Suspenders
Nappy Diaper
Swimming costume  Cozzy Bathing Suit
 At school 
Glue Gum
Rubber Eraser
Maths Math
Public School Private School
State School Public School
Holiday Vacation
School Dinner School Lunch
Staff Room Teachers Lounge
Play Time  Break Time Recess
Open Day  Open Evening Open House
  On the road 
Car Park Parking Lot
Car Journey Road Trip
Zebra Crossing  Pedestrian Cross Walk
Motorway Freeway
Lorry Truck
Petrol Gas  Gasoline
Pavement Sidewalk
Petrol Station Gas Station
Diversion Detour
Fire Engine Fire Truck
Phone Box Telephone Booth
 Buildings  Shops 
Semi-detached House Duplex
Flat Apartment
Terrace Town House
Chemist Drug Store  Druggist
Bungalow Ranch House
  Let’s eat !  
Biscuit  Bickie Cookie
Scone Biscuit
Faire Cake Cup Cake
Sweet Candy
Crisps Potato Chips
Chips French Fries
Starter Appetizer
Jam Jelly
Jelly Jello
Bill Check
Grill Broil
Eggy bread French Toast
Scotch Pancakes Flapjacks
  Parts of a car 
Bonnet Hood
Boot Trunk
Reversing lights Back up  lights
Exhaust pipe Tail pipe
Wing  Mudguard Fender
  In and around the house 
Toilet  Loo  Wc – Bathroom
Tap Faucet
Garden Backyard Yard
Wardrobe Closet
Cooker Range  Stove
Couch  Settee Sofa
 People 
Postman Mailman
Dustman Garbage Man
Cashier Teller
Lollypop Man Crossing Guard
Mum Mom
 Sport 
Football Soccer
Rounders Baseball
Bat Paddle
 Miscellanous 
Autumn Fall
Bank Holiday National Holiday
Lift Elevator
QueueThere’s a queue Stand in a LineThere’s a line
Surgery Doctor’s office
I’m knackered I’m beat
Kip Sleep
Nick Steal
Starkers Naked
Come round Come over
Off you go Go ahead
It’s gone off It’s spoiled
Lady bird Lady bug
 Spellings
Colour Color
Humour Humor
Favourite Favorite
Theatre Theater
Kilometre Kilometer
Cosy Cozy
Realise Realize
Dialogue Dialog
Traveller Traveler
Cheque Check
Jewellery Jewelry
Tyre Tire