Students love studying idioms to use in everyday English. Online and textbooks offer many expressions that we use in English but how many of them do we actually use? In this post, I’m just going to focus on the ones I use the most frequently and these ones are all linked to body parts!
Play it by ear
This is an expression I use a lot when I’m not sure what my plans are. For example, somebody will ask me “What are you doing this weekend?” and if I haven’t made any plans I’ll often reply “I’m not sure yet. I’m just going to play it by ear.”
Give a hand
We use this expression if we need or want to offer help. For example, your friend needs some help so they will ask “Can you give me hand?” Alternatively you can offer help by saying “Can I give you a hand?”
Keep your fingers crossed
We use this if we want to wish good luck. For example, a friend has a driving test so you say “I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you.” If you want good luck you can also use this expression – “Keep your fingers crossed, I have a job interview tomorrow.”
Walk on eggshells
This expression means you need to be careful about what you say or do. Maybe your friend has just broken up with their partner and is very sensitive about what you say, so its like “walking on egg shells.” Another example is your partner is in a bad mood so you say to your friend “Its like walking on egg shells.”
Face to face
This is where you meet somebody in person (rather than online). For example, “I prefer teaching online than face-to-face.”
This is somebody who is not very nice and says one thing to one person and then something different to somebody else. For example, a friend says “You look beautiful” but then says to another friend “She looks terrible.” Often we don’t trust people who are “two faced” because they are not genuine about their feelings.
See eye to eye on something
If you “see eye to eye on something” this means you agree on something. The opposite is “We don’t see eye to eye.” For example, you want to live in London but your partner wants to move to the countryside so you “don’t see eye to eye.”
Have a cheek
This is used when somebody is disrespectful. For example, “He’s got a cheek telling me I’m a bad teacher.”
Off the top of your head
This is when you give an answer when you haven’t had time to think about it. For example, somebody says “What can I do in London.” In response you could say “Off the top of my head, Sky Garden, Borough Market and Buckingham Palace are places you should visit.”
Use your head
This expression is most common when the answer should be obvious. For example, an intermediate student asks the teacher “What’s the past of go?” The teacher can reply “Use your head – you should know this.”
If you need any help using idioms in everyday English, please contact me so we can do some English lessons together.