Thursday, 29 November 2012

How To Improve Your English Dramatically (Part 2)

I have to labour a point here (and probably in one of the next Proficiency Lessons, too) : Idioms are what makes English sound English. I may sound like your old English teacher here, but a) he probably didn't know any and b) he didn't emphasize enough just how important they are. You will always sound like a foreigner if you don't use them. 

Quite a fun first idiom exercise is to see (and learn!) how many English idioms are taken from the world of sports.

 So let's start the ball rolling, shall we? Talking of balls (polite laughter in the background) - you have to be on the ball to win in this idioms game. But don't worry, you'll soon be able to blow the competition away with a few choice phrases. In English, you can simply let rip, and not fear you're overegging the pudding.You'll win hands down if you manage to learn, say 10 idioms per day and get your ducks in a row. Just don't throw in the towel but stick at it! If you can't start today, take a raincheck. Just don't throw in the towel!

Well, okay that was laying it on a bit. (Sorry, can't stop!) But you get my drift (...:) - sporting idioms are everywhere. So get down to it!

But my actual aim was to point out some specific cricket idioms. You don't have to be able to understand cricket as such  (very few foreigners do) but you'd be well advised to familiarize yourself with some cricket expressions, as they tend to crop up a lot in everyday speech - e. g.:

- I was completely bowled over
- That topic is a bit of a sticky wicket
- I was hit for six, really stumped - didn't know what to say.

Try and find more cricket/sports idioms and actively use them! But don't limit yourself to the cricket/sporting side of idioms - there are literally millions of others.

So - I'm sorry to say, that's not close of play yet when it comes to idioms - more to come!


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