Even academic essays can use a touch of style. A great way to add this to your writing is to make use of idioms. These are expressions whose meanings cannot be directly understood by the individual words they use, but rather by their combination. To know the meanings of these expressions, you should interact with the language as often as possible to experience these expressions in their natural, everyday context and even to learn to guess their usage.
Following are seven idioms that can be applied in a variety of contexts, making them very useful for test takers who want to get those bonus points for their writing. Just be careful—it is better not to use these idioms at all than to use them incorrectly.
The tags (#) below each idiom suggests some topics in regards which the idiom can be used.
Kill two birds with one stone — to accomplish two things at once.
By leaking the affair to the media, the opposition killed two birds with one stone: firstly, they weakened the Minister’s image, and secondly, they won the media’s favour in the run-up to the elections.
John loves to read, but lately he hasn’t had the time to enjoy a good book. A friend suggested that he kill two birds with one stone by listening to audio books while he drives to and from his office.
#efficiency #business #leisure #education #politics #technology #health #science
Go the extra mile — do more than is expected/required
A good employer will appreciate a staff member who goes the extra mile with his customers, who will then come back because of the excellent service.
A good teacher not only covers the required material in class, but he also goes the extra mile by providing his students with interesting examples from the real world.
#business #employment #politics #health #cooperation #society #relationships #education
(Don’t) judge a book by its cover — don’t judge something by its appearance only
When Susan Boyle walked onto the X-Factor stage, no-one thought she would sing well because she looked a little rough. Her stunning performance reminded everyone that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.
They say that the clothes make the man. However, you shouldn’t rush to judge a book by its cover; some people spend all their money on clothes and thus look good, but in fact they might have no money or even a job.
#people #relationships #society #health #competition #sports #studying #news #scandal
Playing devil’s advocate — argue in support of something you don’t believe (or vice versa)
I agree with the idea that a democratic government must allow for freedom of expression, but if I were to play devil’s advocate, I would argue that said freedom of expression is also how fascists gain their power.
In order to have a fair analysis of the deal we must also play devil’s advocate and consider what its detractors might argue.
#—any topic that has an opposing view
Once in a blue moon — a rare occurrence
Though it might seem that celebrities are created every day, the fact of the matter remains that achieving sustainable fame is something that happens only once in a blue moon and to highly gifted (or extremely lucky) people.
Though the media would have us believe that scientific discoveries of great importance are becoming more and more common, the ones that actually “change the world” happen only once in a blue moon.
#talent #sports #health #politics #entertainment #science #relationships #environment
Take with a grain of salt — do not take at face value (don’t completely trust to be true)
With the growth and spread of the internet came a greater access to information. However, there also came less oversight of what information is shared, such that much of what you read online ought to be taken with a grain of salt.
Although opinion polls have become more scientific over the years, one must remember that the media play an important role in politics these days and that the numbers they broadcast on a weekly and even daily basis should be taken with a grain of salt and their motives questioned.
#news #science #health #internet #economy #journalism #entertainment #gossip #environment
A drop in the bucket [or ocean]— small or insignificant (amount) in relation to the bigger picture
The channel is facing a backlash for calling the deaths of 250 civilians in last week’s battle just a drop in the bucket. However, people must remember that over 100,000 people have died during this conflict and that we must focus on ending it sooner rather than later
Many people take big risks when playing the stock markets, with some even playing to bankruptcy. For investors like Warren Buffet, however, a loss of even $10 million would be considered just a drop in the bucket. (Warren Buffet’s net worth = $72 billion)
#economy #population #environment #internet #technology #money #space