Are you jumping through hoops to learn English? Or, do you waste time with monkey business? Learning a new language can be a real ball buster and many people get cheesed off and decide to call it a day very quickly. If you hit a hurdle like this, don’t get your knickers in a twist, the best thing you can do is get back on the horse and soon enough you’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel.
(See all the meanings of all the expressions used in this article at the bottom of the page)
If you understood everything in this first paragraph, then your English it REALLY GOOD! If not, don’t worry because I just used a lot of English expressions, which are commonly used by native English speakers.
The English language is filled with hundreds and thousands of these common everyday expressions, probably like your own language. Most of my students find this colloquial style of English very fun and interesting, but very confusing and difficult to remember at the same time.
Often when I am teaching this subject, my students tend to ask me a series of really good questions in relation to learning, using, and remembering these expressions.
Today I’d like to shed some light on this subject by going through some of the most common and important questions often asked about English expressions.
So, let’s dive into it.
Why Are These Expressions Important For My English?
Learning these kinds of expressions can help your English in so many ways. The most interesting, in my opinion, is the way that by just using a common expression you can summarize something that would generally take you a really long time to say in just a short phrase.
A great example of this would be the expression, put your money where your mouth is.
Do you know what this means?
To put your money where your mouth is, is used to tell someone to take action, instead of just talking about doing something. It also suggests that if they are so sure of themselves, why don’t they bet some money on it to prove their certainty.
This short expression is the perfect thing to say for that specific situation, and by using this expression you are not only saving yourself a long explanation, but you will sound more natural and fluent with your English.
So many expressions serve this purpose and can really save you a long explanation.
How Will this Improve My English?
A lot of these expressions are found in English from all corners of the world, but you might also find some that are typical from one country in particular, or even a specific ethnic or social group.
Depending on your personal interest you are going to be more inclined to learn the colloquial expressions, idioms and slangs found in that cultural circle, which ultimately connects you more to the culture and makes the learning process more interesting and fun.
Let me give you a good example.
Because I am Australian, some of my students ask me to teach them to have an Australian accent. Although this is a difficult thing to teach, I always start them off with some Aussie (Australian) expressions.
The first expressions I teach them are always:
Good on ya (good on you) – An Australian way to say “good job,” or “good for you”
G’day mate (good day my friend) – This is a common greeting in Australia, like saying “hey buddy.”
No worries (no problem) – Australians use this a lot to say “your welcome.”
The reason I use these expressions is because they are used a lot in Australia, and if you practice saying them a little, they can help you with the Australian pronunciation. The way Australians pronounce these expressions is very unique and they carry certain vowel intonations, which are prominent throughout the Australian accent.
This is just an example of how some expression can help you specifically with the Australian accent, but you could also do the same thing with expressions from the U.S., England, South Africa, New Zealand, or any other English speaking country or cultural group.
Are These Expressions Appropriate In All Situations?
Many people think that expressions and colloquial language is considered informal or sometimes rude, but this is usually not the case. The important thing to remember when learning any new vocabulary is to ask someone or check the formality of the expression before using it.
An expression like, don’t jump to conclusions, would be appropriate in any situation imaginable. You can say this to a close friend or during an important business meeting, and no one would even think about judging its formality. But, if you were to use an expression like, ball buster, it could be considered inappropriate depending on the situation, and who you are referring it to.
Where Can I Find Useful Expressions?
When it comes to finding expressions, you’ll notice that the internet is filled with so many that it’s difficult to differentiate the useful ones and the not so common ones.
Start paying closer attention to the vocabulary used on your favorite TV shows and movies and you’ll start to notice the amount of expressions used in normal speech. Another great resource is the RLE’s Daily Expressions. Every week we post 5 new expressions on the RLE facebook community and focus on getting people discuss the new expression and give examples of how to use it.
Interacting with people and applying the new vocabulary instantly is also going to help you remember any new words and expressions much easier as well.
Another great way to learn and remember new expressions is by listening to the RLE podcast with me and Trevor. In our weekly podcast we talk about all the new expressions from that week, plus we give you many tips, answer questions asked by our community and students, and give a lot of insight into English language.
Expressions used in this article:
jumping through hoops- to do a lot of extra things so you can have or do something you want
Monkey business- silliness; dishonest tricks
Ball buster- Something that is really difficult or hard to understand
Cheese off- To be angry or make someone angry
Call it a day- to decide that you have finished something
Hit a hurdle- approach an obstacle in your process
Get your knickers in a twist- to get anxious and frustrated
Get back on the horse- return to doing something generally after you have failed
The light at the end of the tunnel- the positive aspect at the end of some kind of process
Shed some light- disclose useful information
Dive into something- to do something with no hesitation
Jump to conclusions- make a decision based on limited information; assume the wrong thing
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