Idioms are used in most if not all languages around the world as every day expressions. They serve as one of many good examples of how you can never truly learn a language in its entirety by simply translating each word. Unless you learn each idiom one by one you are unlikely to understand what they mean even though you may understand what each word means.
If you truly want to learn how to fit in with English speakers, improve your conversational skills and become fully fluent then learning English idioms is essential. ESL teachers will or at least should have idiom focused lessons in their curriculum, so you can expect to learn a catalogue of idioms with us here at oxinity.
Below I’ve listed some Spanish idioms alongside their literal English translation. With them I’ve included the English idiom of the same meaning. Finally you will see a list of idioms that are assumed to be unique to the English language. No matter your current level of English this may make for an interesting read……..
Better late than never. This is both a literal translation and also an idiom of the same meaning in English.
Doing something after the time that it’s expected to be done by is better than not doing it at all.
A picture is worth more than a thousand words.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
A picture can express many thoughts and ideas.
Kill two birds with one shot.
Kill two birds with one stone.
To get two things done at one time.
ENGLISH TRANSLATION & ENGLISH IDIOM:
there are plenty more fish in the sea (or other fish in the sea)!
There are plenty more potential romantic partners out there, don’t give up!
You’re going out of line.
You’re out of line.
You’ve crossed the line.
You have done something that offends the person who says it or you’ve offended somebody else in the same immediate area.
OTHER COMMON ENGLISH IDIOMS
TO BE SKINT or BROKE:
To have very little money, often used to let people know why you won’t join them on a social outing or holiday.
BOB’S YOUR UNCLE:
Can mean either “there you have it” “…and there it is” or simply “it’s done”. Very common in the UK and Ireland.
A DIFFERENT KETTLE OF FISH:
A different kind of person or a unique person. A strange or unusual person. Or a different person or thing compared to what has previously been mentioned in the same conversation.
Used to put emphasis on how long something may take. A very long time. “Ages” is also used in the same way, as in something takes “ages”.
PARDON MY FRENCH:
Excuse my bad language. Commonly used when somebody is apologetic or embarrassed about the rude language they used at some point in a conversation.
CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE?:
A question asking why somebody has frozen mid conversation, why the have stopped speaking.
UNDER THE WEATHER:
Describes somebody as sick or ill. When someone feels fatigued or doesn’t feel like themselves.
These phrases will come in very handy for general conversations with English speakers from all over the world. You may impress some of your English speaking friends with kettle of fish or Bob’s your uncle for example.
Save each of these idioms for future reference as they may come in very handy and I guarantee many of them are used on a regular basis.