Idiomatic English for Effective Communication

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Information about Idiomatic English for Effective Communication

Published on December 27, 2013

Author: lionnagaraju



a presentation on english idioms for graduate students of osmania university

Idiomatic English for Effective Communication mnRAJU

Are you all ears? Lend me an ear. Be on the ball. Let’s kick off now. mnRAJU

What’s an IDIOM? 1. Verbal habits unique to a language • English: in the twinkling of an eye • Hindi: (in the snap of a finger) • Telugu: (in the drop of an eyelid) mnRAJU

What’s an IDIOM? 2. Meaning different from literal meaning Kick the bucket Hang one’s head mnRAJU

What’s an IDIOM? 3. Fixed phrases in structure Round table Lend an ear mnRAJU

Broke  I can’t afford to buy a new mobile. I’m totally broke. I hardly have any money left. I’m broke until my next salary.  He is completely broke, he can’t even pay his bills. mnRAJU

What’s an IDIOM? 3. Rules of grammar may not apply I’ll eat my hat At a loss mnRAJU

Keep your cool  I know you are upset but you have to keep your cool. If you just can keep your cool at the interview, you will do better.  Don’t get nervous about the exam. Keep your cool. mnRAJU

Why Learn Idioms? • Add color to your communication • Make speech effective & expressive • Lubricate your language • Nuts and bolts of conversation mnRAJU

How to learn Idioms? • Guess the contextual meaning • Use a dictionary • Use a workbook • Make your own sentences • Use/Practice in context mnRAJU

Examples from Text What do you call an irritating person who says he knows everything? What is the irritating person who is impatient to damage the reputation of the conjurer called? Mr Know-all The Quick Man mnRAJU

Couch Potato  Sarita is a couch potato. She sits in front of the TV all day.  I should be more active and less of a couch potato, if I have to lose weight. mnRAJU

Idioms with Body Parts  The teacher kept making mistakes and became red in the face.  The entire speech was learnt by heart.  The two sisters don’t see eye to eye. mnRAJU

Idioms with Body Parts  I am an old hand at teaching English.  She has always kept her husband under her thumb.  Just a minute. I have got the answer on the tip of my tongue. mnRAJU

Read one’s mind  You have read my mind. That’s exactly what I was thinking too.  He is an introvert. It is usually difficult to read his mind. mnRAJU

Make up one’s mind My boss is persuading me to make up my mind and choose one of the two projects. But I am not able to make up my mind. Can you please help me take a decision? mnRAJU

Keep an eye on  Don’t worry about your luggage. I’ll keep an eye on it.  I’ve got to go to the washroom. Can you keep an eye on my suitcase for a minute? mnRAJU

Written all over face  He guessed his brother stole the gold. He said it was written all over his face.  One doesn’t need be a psychologist to know you are sad and upset. It’s written all over your face. mnRAJU

Put heart into something The Commissioner is determined to streamline the functioning of colleges in the state. She has put her heart and soul into it. mnRAJU

Change of heart He was against charity till a few years ago. He had a change of heart when he saw the plight of the homeless. But the real change of heart came when he read about the work of Mother Teresa. mnRAJU

Heart of stone She's not the person to go to if you've got problems - she's got a heart of stone! mnRAJU

Over the dead body  You want a new car again. Over my dead body.  You want to marry that poor, fat, ugly boy. Over my dead body. There is no way I’ll let you do that, not over my dead body. mnRAJU

Pay through the nose  You may afford to buy a car. But you will have to pay through the nose to buy petrol. mnRAJU

Idiom Meaning By the skin of one’s teeth nervous and difficult to express Teething problems cannot remember at the moment Tongue-tied just barely, narrowly On the tip of the not to say things that upset tongue people Hold your tongue Problems in the early stages mnRAJU

Relationship Idioms The husband and wife get along very well and are made for each other. After dating for several years, the young couple decided to tie the knot. Mythili has a crush on her senior colleague. mnRAJU

Idiom Meaning Better half Be pregnant Bosom friend Attracted the very first time Love at first sight Find a long time partner Be in the family way Very close friend Find Mr Right A person’s husband or wife mnRAJU

Food Idioms  In such tense situations, it’s difficult to be cool as a cucumber.  Dance has never been my cup of tea.  Let me cut the story short and tell you in a nutshell. mnRAJU

Food Idioms  Always avoid unnecessarily getting in the soup.  Anti Corruption Bill is a hot potato for the Centre now.  I don’t agree with you, but your questions have given me food for thought. mnRAJU

Piece of cake • Learning English is a piece of cake. All that it needs is a little confidence and a lot of practice. • Passing the English practical examination is a piece of cake. I don’t think anyone of you will fail. mnRAJU

Idiom Meaning Bread and butter Energetic, in high spirits Eat one’s words The family member that earns the most money Full of beans Basic needs of life Breadwinner Reveal the secret Spill the beans Take back what one has said mnRAJU

Number Idioms  I will never in a million years understand why he married her.  They won the match with his goal in the eleventh hour. mnRAJU

Number Idioms  I felt like a fifth wheel at the party.  When the vacation was announced, the students were on cloud nine.  The food was second to none. mnRAJU

Idiom A dime a dozen In two minds about A chance in a million Meaning More important than anything else Very small chance Undecided about something First and foremost Similar in attitude, character or tastes Two of a kind Cheap and common mnRAJU

Animal Idioms  It’s raining cats and dogs. I wish I had brought my umbrella.  Does she really have a problem or is she just crying wolf again?  She is always out and about. She is a real social butterfly. mnRAJU

Idiom Get the lion’s share A little bird told me Dark horse Meaning Confused living without purpose Get the largest percentage of something To have an exciting and interesting time Rat race I heard something from someone A whale of a time Little known to the general public mnRAJU

Employment Idioms  Brain drain of the educated youth is a great loss to the nation.  As usual, the cream of the crop of the JKC were offered the best jobs.  During recession times, senior staff often get the axe. mnRAJU

Employment Idioms  It is an impressive golden handshake.  I am going to hang up boots next month.  If you got the answer from Kalam, you can trust it. He knows it inside out. mnRAJU

Have the Guts  I don’t have the guts to go bungee jumping. It is too scary. Do you have the guts to go on that roller coaster?  He doesn’t have the guts to ask her on a date. mnRAJU

On the dot  You’d better be here a few minutes ahead, because the telecast starts at 11.00 on the dot.  Don’t keep me waiting. Be here at six o’clock on the dot.  Let’s reach the airport at 3.30 on the dot. mnRAJU

Read between the lines  If you read between the lines, you would understand what he actually meant. He said one thing and meant another. Listen to that again carefully. If you don’t read between the lines, you will later get into trouble. mnRAJU

A small world  I didn’t know that you knew my brother. What a small world.  Did you say you are a student of Gajwel college? What a small world. mnRAJU

Slip one’s mind  I wanted to call you this morning, but it slipped my mind. And I am so very sorry, your birthday totally slipped my mind.  I wanted to mail the letter yesterday, but it completely slipped my mind. mnRAJU

A deal  If I help you with your homework, you will clean the house? It’s a deal! And I’ll take you out to a movie, if you stop bothering me. That’s a deal too.  If you wash my car, I’ll pay you 100 rupees. Doesn’t that sound a deal? mnRAJU

Dressed to kill  Your dress is gorgeous. You’re dressed to kill.  Wow! Tonight she is dressed to kill. mnRAJU

More idioms  Go the extra mile  Against the clock  The last straw  Hat trick  From rags to riches  Tie the knot  Head over heels  Beating around the bush  Pull the plug  Hit the sack  Break someone’s heart  Run out of steam  Keep your chin up  The ball is in your court  All Greek to me  Off the record  Burn the midnight oil  Pass the buck  Dark horse  Hit the nail on the head  Out of the blue  Field day  Let bygones be bygones  At the drop of a hat  French kiss  Cock and bull story  Backseat driver  Back to square one mnRAJU

Call it a day  It’s almost 11.45 now. Let’s call it a day.  Let’s call it a day. I am too tired to continue. mnRAJU

Phrasal Verbs A verb + an adverb A verb + a preposition A very + an adverb + a preposition mnRAJU

Phrasal Verbs • Literal meaning is easy to understand • Idiomatic meaning difficult to comprehend put up (literal) = physically place somewhere put up (figurative) = provide a place to sleep put up (idiomatic) = deal with a situation mnRAJU

Phrasal Verbs • Same phrasal verbs can have different meaning: pick up = learn pick up = physically fetch pick up = purchase mnRAJU

Phrasal Verbs • One main verb can take many different prepositions: Put on Put up Put up with Put out Put off Put in mnRAJU

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