Idioms

In terms of learning a language, there is a common assumption that the more words a learner knows, the larger the learner’s vocabulary knowledge. Idioms have specific meaning and they further enhance our vocabulary. Moreover, they share cultural and historical information and broaden people’s understanding and manipulation of language.

An idiom is a phrase (a group of words) whose suggested meaning is different from the literal meaning of individual words in the phrase. These are not a matter of logic or grammatical principles, but play a significant role in every language and may be defined as expressions peculiar to a language.

Set by long usage, the order of words of idioms is not supposed to be altered. They are mostly used to describe people, their appearance, mood, character, action or behaviour. For example, ‘When Ron asked Joshua to accompany him to the playground he showed Ron the cold shoulder.’ Showing someone cold shoulder means to show distaste for his/ her company. Many idioms are also applicable to things or places. For example, ‘Samantha was burning the midnight oil because she hadn’t been able to attend her school regularly.’ Burning the midnight oil means staying up late at night studying.

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