7 Common Idiomatic Expressions in English to Start Using Today
Love idioms in English?
Curious what someone means when they say:
- “That was delicious, but now I’m in a food coma!”
- “It wasn’t easy, but I quit cold turkey.”
- “Go ahead and try it! You’ll find out that it’s really a piece of cake.”
Take a 5-minute break from work, learn some new fun and useful expressions in English, and then be sure to practice! You can share your practice examples in the comments section below.
“Food Coma. This is used to describe the feeling of sleepiness or drowsiness after eating too much food. Americans often use this phrase after their Thanksgiving dinner.”
A Piece of Cake
We say that something was a piece of cake to express that it was very easy to do or accomplish; it was much easier than we expected.
- “I started preparing for this exam months ago – it should be a piece of cake!
- Person A: “How did the presentation go?” Person B: “I was so nervous before the presentation but it was really a piece of cake!”
Shoulda Coulda Woulda
This phrase is a great example of connecting speech sounds.
- Shoulda = should have
- Coulda = could have
- Woulda = would have
In other words, yes you should have, could have and would have done something but now it is too late, there is nothing you can do, there is no use in worrying about it.
We use this to express our regret or frustration over something we didn’t do.
Person A: “I’m so frustrated! I really wanted to attend the conference next week but I waited too long to register and now the registration is closed”
Person B: “Should coulda woulda. No use in worrying about it now – do you know anyone else going? Maybe you can get information from a colleague or friend?
To quit or to stop something cold turkey means to stop or quit immediately.
We use this expression when we stop or quit something that is an addiction and in which there may be difficult in quitting, for example, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, doing drugs.
Person A: “I have got to stop smoking! I just signed up for a marathon and I have to start training for it. When I run now, I cough and cough – it feels terrible. But I really want to succeed in this marathon. It is one of my life goals.”
Person B: “So what are you going to do? How are you going to quit?”
Person A: “I don’t know. I think I’m just going to stop cold turkey.”
No Big Deal
No big deal can have two possible meanings:
- We use it in a response to say that something is not difficult, hard or troublesome for us to do.
- We use it in response to a compliment that makes us feel embarrassed so we respond with this expression to say it isn’t really very special or important.
Person A: “I know you have a lot to do today but is there any way you could send a quick email to all the employees about the upcoming holiday party?”
Person B: “Sure, no big deal. I can get that done today.”
Person A: “Wow – congratulations! What a great accomplishment for you to win Employee of the Year!”
Person B: “Ah, it’s no big deal. It should really be an award for my whole department – our successes this year were a team effort.”
This is used to describe the feeling of sleepiness or drowsiness after eating too much food. Americans often use this phrase after their Thanksgiving dinner.
“Ugh! Why did I eat so much? I think I have a food coma.”
Take It Easy
We use ‘take it easy’ to express to rest, to relax, to be comfortable in many different situations.
In situation 1, the person will just relax for the weekend at home. And in situation 2 the doctor is instructing that a patient be very careful and to rest a lot after spraining or injuring an ankle.
Person A: “I am so glad it’s Friday! I can’t wait to get away for the weekend. What about you? What are you going to do?”
Person B: “Honestly, I think I’m just going to take it easy. I’ve been working so many extra hours lately that I need some time off.”
“Make sure you take it easy for the next couple weeks – no running or jumping around. Try to keep weight off of your ankle. It really needs time to heal after a sprain like that.”
A couch potato is someone who spends too much time on the couch, usually watching TV or playing video games. In the United States, we imagine a couch potato is someone who only watches TV in their free time and eats potato chips.
Person A: “So did you really take it easy over the weekend?”
Person B: “I didn’t do anything! I was just a couch potato.”
After you’ve reviewed the lesson, I’d love to hear from you!
Choose one or two expressions from today’s lesson and then share your own example in the comments below. It’s the best way to immediately get practice and learn new vocabulary.
And I’d love it know, do you have a favorite idiom or expression in English? What is it? Share it in the comments so others can learn it as well.
Have a great week!
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