Typical English Expressions?

Part of the fun of learning English as a new language is to learn the typical expressions people use in everyday life. To sound like a local, you should be able to use some idioms

What is an idiom?

An idiom is defined as “a group of words in a fixed order that have a particular meaning that is different from the meanings of each word on its own”. Use of idioms or expressions is what can set native speakers (people whose main language is English) apart from foreigners. They can be about all kinds of things, and some of them really don’t make any sense!

Let’s take a look at some idioms that involve subjects the English (and many other nationalities) like to talk about – food, weather, and animals. See how many you know, and try and guess what they mean before you read the explanation!

Typical English Expressions

Let sleeping dogs lie

Do not disturb a situation as it is – it could result in trouble or complications.

As in: “It’s best to keep your opinion to yourself around him. Just let sleeping dogs lie.”

Let the cat out of the bag

To share information that was previously concealed.

As in: “I wanted to organise a surprise party for John, but his mum let the cat out of the bag.”

 Kill two birds with one stone

To accomplish two different things at the same time.

As in: “When I go to the shop, I’ll post your letter. That way I can kill two birds with one stone!”

Straight from the horse’s mouth

To hear something from the person who has direct knowledge of it.

As in: “This story really is true, I heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.”

Some weather-related idioms

Every cloud has a silver lining

Be optimistic, even difficult times will lead to better days.

As in: “I lost my job, but now I have found a much better one – see, every cloud has a silver lining.”

Feeling under the weather

Feeling slightly ill.

As in “I don’t think I will go to the party tonight, I’m feeling a bit under the weather today.”

It’s raining cats and dogs

Very heavy rainfall

As in: “I will go to the shop later on, it is raining cats and dogs out there at the moment!”

Food-related idioms are also popular

Putting all your eggs in one basket

Importance of not putting all your resources or money into one area, or you may lose it all.

As in: “It is better to spread your investments over different companies, and not put all your eggs in one basket.”

Piece of Cake

A job, task or activity that is really simple.

As in: “I was worried about my English exam, but it turned out to be a piece of cake.”

Crying over spilt milk

Complaining about a loss that is in the past.

As in: “Sometimes I regret not taking that job. Oh well, there’s no point crying over spilt milk.”


We hope you are tickled pink about learning the whole nine yards about English idioms. Now take a leaf from our book and jump on the bandwagon by using English idioms in all your conversations! The balls in your court! 

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