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How to Successfully Learn English Idioms

Students of English love to learn English idioms because they believe idioms can make their English more "natural", more like the English of native speakers. This is true only if students can use the idioms naturally. In fact, students often try to use idioms at the wrong time. This does not help them sound like native English speakers. Instead, it makes them sound very strange! Below are some tips for successfully learning and using idioms.

First, be sure you understand the feeling behind the idiom. For example, if you learn the idiom "as easy as pie", you should realize that pie is something delicious, people enjoy eating it! So, this idiom must be a good thing, right? Something that is "as easy as pie" (or similarly, something that is "a piece of cake") must be very easy.

Second, use examples to help you understand the meaning. Do NOT learn idioms from a list, because a simple list cannot help you understand. Try learning the most common English idioms by reading the examples given for each one. You can read more common English idioms with examples by clicking here. Try to say each example out loud so that you can repeat it naturally when you are in a similar situation.

You can learn all kinds of idioms, including some of these common idioms used in business. For example, think about the expression, "An 800 pound gorilla". You know that gorillas are big and strong. They can be very dangerous! In business, then, a big 800 pound gorilla must be very strong competition. Click on the link above and read the example given. "If we follow our plan to make this new software, we're going to have a lot of competition, including from the 800 pound gorilla, Microsoft." You know Microsoft is big, so, they are similar to a big gorilla in the jungle - very dangerous if you try to compete with them!

Remember to think carefully when you learn idiomatic expressions in English. If you really think deeply about the meaning, it should be a piece of cake for you. Have fun and good luck!




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