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12 Very popular English Idioms

Talking with a native English speaker, you may have heard a phrase such as, “Break a leg!” Don’t be confused though – your friend wasn’t wishing that you’d get terribly injured! On the contrary, they were wishing you good luck! Break a leg is an idiom. You see, the English language relies heavily on Idioms and Slang. Learning those words and phrases will enable you to develop your fluency and communicate much more proficiently.

Idioms and slang are abundant in all kinds of communication – among friends, with co-workers, talking to your boss, etc. So while grammar can help you to sound smart, you won’t fully understand English without learning idioms and slang. Not to mention that grammar is learned better by reading and writing and even speaking, not by reading grammar rules in a textbook and performing exercises.


Without a doubt, the following 12 English idioms are among the most popular in the whole language, making them imperative to learn. Get started!


Actions speak louder than words

You can say you believe in something or you'll do something, but you just use words. If you actually do something, people will see what you believe or what you will do.


Best of both worlds

No, we aren’t discussing two realities (this isn’t the Matrix!). The best of both worlds is when someone can enjoy two opportunities. For instance, a child goes to her grandparents’ house and they spoil her. Then she comes home and her parents allow her to stay up late. That’s the best of both worlds!


Blessing in disguise

Something that seems like a bad thing at first, but later you realize it’s a good thing is a blessing in disguise. It’s a blessing in disguise that my grandpa caught the flu and had to see the doctor. While he was there, the doctor ran some tests and found a small tumor. If it hadn’t been found, my grandpa could’ve died.


Break a leg

Good luck! People say this a lot to performers, people giving speeches, etc.


Costs an arm and a leg

Something that is very expensive costs an arm and a leg. You don’t really have to hack off your arm and leg with a saw to pay for your shiny new iPad – but it sure is expensive!


Devil’s Advocate

Someone who counter-argues your point is the devil’s advocate. Often your friend will “play” devil’s advocate. Your friend doesn’t really believe the opposite opinion and they agree with you. However, they argue simply because they want to argue. Cool friend, eh?


Don’t put all your eggs in one basket

Be careful that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket because if you bet entirely on the success of one outcome, you might lose badly.


Hit the books

After a long night studying, you might want to hit or even burn your books! But hit the books really means to study (or study hard).


Kill two birds with one stone

Are you being instructed to murder some birds? Absolutely not. Kill two birds with one stone means a situation where you perform one action, but accomplish two goals. For example, you broke up with your boyfriend which meant you didn’t have to listen to his complaints anymore and you didn’t have to buy him a birthday gift!


On the ball

Does on the ball mean to balance? No! It means someone who is quick to react, focused.


Piece of cake

Hungry for a slice of delicious cake? Too bad! Something that is a piece of cake is very easy.


Steal your thunder

When someone tries to impress people before you get a chance to impress people, they tried to steal your thunder. Steal it right back and know how impressive and wonderful you are!

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