Common Idioms in English

Here are some common idiomatic expressions in English.

Save someone’s skin / neck / bacon

All of these expressions are used to talk about rescuing someone from difficulty.

Go without saying

If something goes without saying it is very obvious.

It goes without saying that inflation increases the cost of living.

School of thought

This expression is used to talk about a particular way of thinking.

Screw someone up

To screw someone up is to make them emotionally upset.

Screw something up

To screw something up is to make it go wrong.

A second string to your bow

This expression is used to refer to an alternative course of action in case another one fails.

Serve someone right

If something serves you right, it is the punishment you deserve.

Put someone in the shade

When you put someone in the shade you are much more impressive than them.

Shake someone up

To shake someone up is to stir them into action.

Shake something up

To shake something up is to make major changes to it.

Put someone to shame

When you put someone to shame you are much better than them.

Come out of your shell

To come out of your shell is to stop being shy or reserved.

Shell something out

To shell out is to pay an amount of money.

Many people don’t mind shelling out a large amount of money to buy the latest gadgets.

Take the shine off

To take the shine off something is to make it seem less good.

Keep your shirt on

To keep your shirt on is to stay calm.

Put yourself in someone else’s shoes

To put yourself in another person’s shoes is to imagine yourself in their situation.

Shoot your mouth off

To shoot your mouth off is to talk too freely or too boastfully.

Be caught short

When you are caught short you are put at a disadvantage.

Shovel something in/down

To shovel something in/down is to eat food quickly and in large quantities.

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Manjusha Nambiar

I am the founder and editor of http://www.perfectyourenglish.com, http://www.ielts-practice.org, and http://ncertguides.com

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