Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Fun with idioms

Do you have a green thumb?  Are you all thumbs?  Do you give this blog the thumbs up?

Just what does all of this mean?  These phrases are idioms, and are typical phrases that native speakers use, but they are not at all clear to someone who doesn't speak English so well. 
  • If you have a green thumb, you're good at gardening.  It has nothing to do with a terrible thumb disease!
  • If you are all thumbs, you are not very well-coordinated, you are clumsy and not good with your hands.   But you still actually only have two thumbs, not more.
  • If you give something the thumbs up like in the picture, you approve of it and think it is good.
Now I hope that at least those three idioms are clear.  The trouble is, we use so many idioms in English!  The best thing you can do is to learn one every day or every week.  You can do this by consulting a list, such as this one:  http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/ or by listening to podcasts, like the excellent ones from the BBC

Using these resources will help you to understand idioms, the next step is using the idioms yourself.  This is rather difficult, you must know the exact meaning of the idiom and which context to use it in. If you're ready to practice some of the idioms you've learned, please write a conversation with 10 idioms used by the partners in the conversation and send it to us at sarah@virtualingua.de  We'll correct your work, and you can sample our English teaching for free.