What is the best way to master english idioms?


To improve your English conversation, it is important to know many words that are commonly used in everyday life, but you need to have as much knowledge of idioms and idioms as that. Just as idioms such as "high nose", "want to get help from cats", and "two melons" are used in Japanese, there are fixed idioms in English, and natives often use them in everyday conversation. increase.

In this article, I will explain the differences between idioms and English idioms and how to remember them, as well as introduce some commonly used idioms. If you don't understand the difference between idioms and English idioms, or if you find it difficult to remember, please use this as a reference.

Table of contents
  • What is an idiom?
  • Examples of commonly used idioms
  • Conclusion

What is an idiom?

Let's look at the differences between idioms and English idioms and how to remember them. When asked "What is an idiom?", Not many people can answer immediately. Let's organize our knowledge here.

Differences between idioms and English idioms

English idioms and idioms are often confused, but there are clear differences:

・ English idiom: Two or more words consisting of a verb + a preposition or an adverb. For example, go down, get up, look like, etc.

Idioms: Make sense with a collection of words in a specific order of two or more words. Even if there are similar expressions, they are unique to English and cannot be translated into other languages as they are. For example, a piece of cake (easy), rain cats and dogs (deep down), etc.

Why Idioms Are Needed

Idioms are used a lot in everyday conversation. Many of them have completely different meanings from the original words, and you can't understand the story without knowing it. Even in Japanese, there are many idioms such as "wide face", "mummy removal becomes mummy", and "demon laughs", but it is difficult to make all conversations and sentences without using them at all.

Not only will you be able to understand English better if you know idioms, but it also has the advantage that it sounds easier and easier to imagine than using one difficult word because it is a combination of simple words.

As you become more proficient in idioms, you will be able to have more natural conversations and take your English conversation skills to the next level. Understand the importance of idioms and always be aware of them when inputting and outputting.

How to remember idioms

Idioms are very English and often have completely different meanings from the original word, and many may find it difficult to remember. It is difficult to memorize by staring at the vocabulary, so it is recommended to memorize by the following two methods.

Remember with the image

Let's imagine the meaning of idioms in your own way.

For example, the idiom "a piece of cake" is, as the word says, "a piece of cake", and it is difficult to remember the meaning of "easy" from there. "It's hard to eat a whole cake hole, but it's easy to eat a piece of cake, isn't it?"

In this way, it is relatively easy to remember the original meaning of the idiom if you imagine it in your head and develop it from there.

This method is also useful when you come across an idiom you don't know. You can imagine the meaning of a word as it is and guess the meaning according to the situation in which it is used.

There is an idiom called beat around the bush, which means "poke around the bush". From the words, you can imagine that you are poking without meaning, and do you feel like "I should really look for this one, why do you have such a bush ..."? From there, we can naturally derive the meaning of "speaking irrelevant things and avoiding the main subject and the real intention."

Remember with example sentences

In addition to memorizing the image of an idiom, let's learn a simple example sentence in which the idiom is used.

If you only think about listening and reading, you may not need to remember the example sentences. However, if your goal is to master idioms in conversation, it is easiest to learn with example sentences.

If you want to make something like an idiom book, it is effective to write an idiom and an image such as a picture or a photo + an example sentence and review it during the gap time.

Examples of commonly used idioms

Here are some of the endless idioms that are commonly used in everyday conversation and business. It's useful to remember, as I've heard many conversations in the middle.

The input of the idiom is important, but you will not be able to actually use it without the output. Please use it for English conversation lessons and conversations with colleagues and friends.

Idioms often used in everyday conversation

take a rain check "postpone, cancel"

The literal translation is "check if it's raining", but it's an expression used when you want to politely decline when you receive an invitation. For close relationships, simply "Rain check, ok?" Is fine. The rain check also has a meaning as a next purchase ticket.

A: Hey, let's go for a drink tonight. (Why don't you go drinking tonight?)
B: Can I take a rain check on that? I'm not feeling well.

judge a book by its cover

The literal translation is "to judge the contents of a book by looking at the cover", but it is used figuratively to mean "to judge by the appearance of a person".

A: He looks so cold. I've never seen him smiling.
B: Do n't judge a book by its cover. He's actually fun.
(You shouldn't judge it because it's actually an interesting guy)

It's not rocket science. "It's not difficult"

It is an idiom that metaphorically expresses "not rocket science", that is, "easy things that anyone can understand". It's often used on SNS, so it's one of the expressions you should definitely remember.

A: I sent the email to the wrong person… (I sent an email to the wrong person by mistake).
B: Again? Can't you do anything right? It's not rocket science!? Easy job!)

speak of the devil "If you make a rumor"

It is used when the person appears while talking about a person. Originally "Speak of the devil and he will appear.", It was used until the Middle Ages to warn.

A: Did you hear what happened to Lisa last night?
B: Speak of the devil, there she is!

a blessing in disguise

blessing means "blessing, good luck" and disguise means "deception, disguise". a blessing in disguise is used when something that initially seems difficult or problematic will later give good results.

I'm sorry I heard you got fired.
Don't be. I hated my job anyway. I got a new job and I'm happy. Losing that job was a blessing in disguise really.
(No, I didn't like my job. I'm happy about my new job. I'm fortunate to have lost that job, really)

Your guess is as good as mine. "I don't know like you."

Translated literally, "Your guess is about the same as me", but this idiom is used to mean "I don't know at all, I have no idea" rather than "I understand."

A: She's been walking around for a long time. What is she doing?
B: Your guess is as good as mine.

Idioms often used in business call it a day "Open, round up work"

The literal translation is "call it a day," but it's an idiom that means "stop doing what you're doing." It's often used in dramas and movies, so be sure to remember it.

A : It's already 8pm. I 'm hungry. How much more work do we have for tonight? much everything. (I wonder if it's all over) A: Great. Let's call it a day then!

get the ball rolling

Literally it is "rolling the ball", but it is a very commonly used idiom that means "start something". As one of the meanings of get, it is often used in everyday conversation to mean "beginning to be in a certain state". It's easy to understand the meaning when you imagine the ball starting to roll.

OK, everyone, let's get the ball rolling!
(Let's get started (at the beginning of the meeting)

It's time to get the ball rolling on the new advertising campaign.

call the shots "Order, give a command"

It means that you have the right to make decisions within your organization. By shooting, shots means to change from "command to shoot" to give a command.

Do what you're told . I'll call the shots.

Mr. Suzuki is the one who calls the shots in my team.

think outside the box "think outside the box"

I liken the box to being obsessed with preconceived ideas. "think outside the box" means "think outside the box", and the person who can do nothing but instruct is the person who can't think outside the box.

He always thinks outside the box to come up with new business ideas.

I'm trying to think outside the box to sell this product more.

on the same page "Consensus"

It's an idiom that means "same opinion or opinion" on the same page.

Let me tell you quickly what we discussed yesterday so that we are on the same page.

Before we begin, I want to make sure everyone is on the same page.
(Before we start, let me make sure you all have the same opinion).

under the weather "I'm not feeling well"

Use this when you are feeling depressed and sick, or when you are not feeling well due to a cold or tiredness. Originally it meant that the sailor was seasick, but now it's not as bad as being hospitalized, but rather lightly ill.

I cannot come to work today. I feel under the weather.
(I can't go to work today. I'm sick.)

He missed the training because he was under the weather.


It is impossible to remember all the idioms, just as no one knows all the Japanese idioms. Some of them are rarely used, so try to focus on what you've heard several times in dramas and movies.

You don't have to remember idioms, but if you understand the meaning, there is no problem with English conversation. If an expression that doesn't make sense as it is comes out, it's often an idiom, so it's a good idea to first imagine the meaning of the word and guess what it actually means.