English Idioms

Class 5
Idioms Verbal in Nature
 This is the largest group of all. The
structures of such idioms are quite
complex and thus can be subdivided into
phrasal verbs and other verb phrases .
 ( 1 ) Phrasal Verbs
phrasal verbs are idioms which are
composed of a verb plus a prep or a particle.
a verb + a prep / a verb + a particle
 For example :
 ( 1 ) look into [ vi + prep ] ----investigate
( 2 ) go on [ vi + adv ]----continue
 ( 3 ) get away with [ vi +adv+ prep ]-----do
something wrong without being punished
 ( 4 ) make out [ vi + prep ] -----manage;
 ( 5 ) sit down under [ v + adv + prep]---bear; stand
2. Other Verb Phrases
 1) give me a hand [ v + pron + n]---please help me
 2) make up one’s mind [v + poss +
 3) feet on the ground [ v + prep
phrase]----sensible ideas
 4)face the music [ v + n ]----accept
the criticisms, unpleasant
Idioms Adverbial in Nature
 1. tooth and nail [ n + conj + n ]----with great violence and determination.
 2. in nothing flat [ prep + n + a ]----in
a very little time; soon.
 3 . With flying colors[ prep + n + n ]---succeed very well
As the term suggests, all idioms of
this category are complete sentences.
They are mainly proverbs and saying,
including colloquialisms and
sentence types:
Declarative 陈述句
Interrogative 疑问句
In terms of complexity they can be
further divided into simple,
compound and complex sentence.
 A hero is nothing but catches the worn.
 时势造英雄.
simple )
 One boy’s a boy; two boys are half a boy;
three boys are no boy at all. ( compound )
 一个和尚挑水吃,两个和尚抬水吃,三个和尚没水
 Wisdom is to the mind what health is to the
body . ( complex )
 知识之于心灵正如健康之于身体.
Use of Idioms
 The study of idioms is not just to know
which are idioms and which are not, but also
to understand them correctly in actual
context and use them properly in production.
 To achieve this, one needs to be aware
of the rhetoric characteristics of idioms
such as stylistic features, rhetoric
features; their occasional variations and
idiosyncrasies under unique
1. Stylistic Features
As we know from their sources, a
large proportion of idioms were created
by seamen on the sea, hunters in the
woods and so on ,employing familiar
terms that are associated with their
own trades and occupations.
For example.
in deep water—used by seaman
kill two birds with one stone—used by
a fish out of water –-used by
Such expressions were all colloquial and
informal and once confined to a limited group
of people engaged in the same trade or
activity. But they proved terse, vivid, forcible
and stimulating so that later they broke out
of their bounds and gradually gained wide
This type idioms divided into
2. Slang
3.Literary Expressions
 For example
 (1) rub somebody up the wrong way---annoy somebody
 He is well enough intentioned, but he
always seems to rub people up the wrong
 (2) big wheel---an influential or important
 Uncle John is a big wheel in Washington,
maybe he can help you with your problem.
2. Slang
For example
(1)put someone in the picture---cause
someone to be fully informed about
I don’t know much about the plan they
have worked out, can you put me in
the picture?
(2) Hit the sack---go to bed
I’m sleepy; let’s hit the sack.
3. Literary Expressions
 For example
 (1) hold up---stoppage or delay
 The traffic was help up by the
 (2) come to pass---take place,
 Strange things come to pass in
troubled times.
Thank you !
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