10 Common Expressions for Everyday Use

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Today, we’re going to be looking at idiomatic expressions!

An idiomatic expression is a group of words that people use together in a special way to express a particular idea or feeling.

These expressions often don’t mean exactly what the individual words suggest. Instead, they have their own unique meaning that’s understood by those familiar with the language. People use idiomatic expressions to make their language more colourful and interesting.

Idioms can express nuanced meanings (i.e. having subtle differences or details that show a deeper understanding or more complex view of something) that might be tricky to convey through direct or literal translations.

When you use idioms, you can more accurately express thoughts and feelings, which helps avoid misunderstandings.

Take a look at the idiomatic expressions listed below, then try answering the quiz in the video. Once you’ve mastered what each of these expressions mean, try to use them the next time you communicate in English!

You can also listen to this episode on SpotifyApple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.


Expression #1: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

“Even though the old computer isn’t the fastest, it’s been reliable for years. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

This expression reminds us that sometimes, when things are functioning well, there’s no need to make unnecessary changes.

Expression #2: Works like magic

“After using the new stain remover, the stubborn stain on my shirt disappeared completely. This product truly works like magic.”

This phrase highlights the incredible effectiveness of something, often in an unexpectedly impressive way.

Expression #3: See eye to eye

“Although they come from different backgrounds, Tina and Malik always manage to see eye to eye on important business decisions.”

To “see eye to eye” means to be in complete agreement.

Expression #4: Day in, day out

“Maria worked tirelessly day in, day out to meet the deadline.”

This phrase describes the idea of continuous effort or repetition over an extended period.

Expression #5: Learn the ropes

“During her first week at the new job, Derminder took time to learn the ropes of the company’s procedures and protocols.”

To “learn the ropes” is to understand the intricacies of a new task or role.

Expression #6: Be on one’s A-game

“The annual presentation to the board required them to be on their A-game, presenting data and insights with utmost professionalism.”

Being “on one’s A-game” means performing at one’s highest level of skill and competence.

Expression #7: Voice of reason

“As the group brainstormed ideas, Jamal emerged as the voice of reason, suggesting practical and achievable solutions.”

A “voice of reason” is someone who offers sensible and rational perspectives in discussions.

Expression #8: Good to go

“After double-checking the equipment, the team confirmed that everything was good to go for the upcoming presentation.”

When something is “good to go,” it’s ready and approved for action.

Expression #9: Night owl

“Staying up late into the night, Aida indulged her creative pursuits, embracing her role as a night owl.”

A “night owl” refers to a person who is habitually active or wakeful during the night.

Expression #10: No love lost

“Despite being childhood friends, there was no love lost between Sarah and John after their disagreement.”

When there’s “no love lost” between people, it means there’s a strong hostility or enmity between them.

 

So there you have it! Ten common idiomatic expressions that you can use the next time you communicate in English.

Until next time!

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We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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