Idioms are fixed expressions that are typically used in a figurative sense. The full meaning of an idiom is not clearly understood from the individual words. For example, in the idiom “When pigs fly”, there is obviously no pigs can fly. We can use this idiom to describe something is unlikely to happen. It’s just another way of saying “No way!”
Another example is “The apple of my eye”, it doesn’t literally mean an apple has an eye, or my eye looks like an apple. It simply means someone that you love the most.
In Old English, the pupil of the eye (the round, dark center) was called the ‘apple’. It was thought that the pupil was a round object much like an apple (a piece of fruit). When you look at someone, their reflection appears in your pupil. So if someone is the ‘apple of your eye’, he or she is someone that you look at a lot and enjoy seeing.
Watch and listen to this animated song “Cuppy Cake”. The song uses the idiom “the apple of my eye”.
All languages are full of idioms, and native speakers use them spontaneously without even thinking about their figurative nature. Language learners generally find idioms hard to understand, and this is not surprising.
One of the keys to speaking like a native is the ability to use and understand casual expressions, such as idioms. American English is full of idioms. You won’t learn these expressions in a standard textbook, but you will hear them all the time in everyday conversations. You’ll also come across them in books, newspapers, magazines, TV shows, movies, and on the internet. Idioms add color to the language. Mastering idioms will make your speech less awkward and less foreign. You’ll also understand more of what you read and hear.
It takes a long time to learn how to use an expression accurately. You may be able to memorize some expressions in a short time, but that doesn’t mean you know how to use them correctly. If you use the wrong expression at the wrong time, it will sound weird or very bad instead.
I’ve come up with some great apps that will help you learn English idioms in an easy and fun way. You can download them for free on Google PlayStore.
Enjoy learning English idioms! Have fun! 🙂