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38 Idioms British English Lessons

Once I realised that idioms were incredibly problematic for my students, I set about gathering as many idioms as I could and making videos about them for my YouTube channels. I am determined to make idioms as accessible for all students as any other part of the English language. Reading and memorising lists of vocabulary is not the most productive, interesting, or useful exercise in English language learning. I wanted to create a series of lessons in the form of Activation Packs that would encourage the reader to not only learn and remember the idioms, but also to have fun with them, as having fun is a great aid to learning and remembering. It is important that you know as many idioms as possible as native English speakers use them with alarming regularity. I hope that as you work your way through the Idiom Activation Packs you will make some of the idioms your own and use them regularly like a native.

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8 of our 38 Idioms British English Lessons

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Shoulder Idioms

Learn some common English idioms with this vocabulary activation pack. The idioms are: Give someone the cold shoulder, To have broad shoulders, Rub elbows or shoulders with, Shoulder to cry on, Shoulder to the wheel, Have a good head on your shoulders, Carry the world on your shoulders, Look over your shoulder, Stand on the shoulders of giants, Shoulder to shoulder, A chip on your shoulder, Fall squarely on someone’s shoulders, Head and shoulders above, and A weight off your shoulders.


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Somewhere to Sit

In this lesson you will be looking at the following vocabulary: a degree of, ablutions, ample, back-seat driver, bums on seats, by the seat of your pants, castor, couch potato, crap, dearth, euphemistically, frame, have a seat, in the driving seat, in the hot seat, ingest, keep my seat warm, lazing, lethargic, lose yourself in something, on the edge of your seat, piece of furniture, plonked, propel, quilted, ringside seat, sluggish, sumptuous, take a back seat, take a seat, take the weight off your feet, tempted, throne, and upholstered.


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Take Phrasal Verbs and Idioms

There are a lot of British English idioms which use the verb take and this lesson will help you to learn, remember, and use the most common ones including, take a bath, take a break, take a bullet, take a chance on, take a dim view, take a firm stance, take a gander, take a hike, take a joke, take a leaf out of, take a load off, take a lot of stick, take a pew, take a running jump, take a step back, take a swing at, take after, take as it comes, take a backseat, take your breath away, take a breather, take a trip down memory lane, take your eyes off, take a fancy to, take for a spin, take for a fool, take for granted, take to heart, and take with a pinch of salt.


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Taste of Your Own Medicine

We have many idioms in English. One of them is a taste of your own medicine. This common idiom has its roots in Ancient Rome. Gaius Julius Phaedrus lived in the 1st century and translated the fables of Aesop into Latin. He also wrote many fables of his own in the style of Aesop, one of which is the source of the English idiom we are looking at in this lesson.


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The Fisherman and the Little Fish

The Fisherman and the Little Fish tells the moral that it's better to accept what you have than to gamble on what you might not get. I have rewritten the Aesop's fable using as many phrasal verbs as I could come up with. If you are interested in learning some new phrasal verbs, this video is not to be sniffed at. Don't let your interest fizzle out and see what phrasal verbs I have come up with. If you want to improve your knowledge of phrasal verbs, it's time to check out this lesson.  


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Tongue Idioms

This lesson will help you to learn, remember, and use 12 common English idioms about the tongue. The 12 idioms are, set tongues wagging, silver tongued, loose tongue, tongue in cheek, sharp tongue, get tongue around, wicked tongue, on the tip of your tongue, civil tongue, tongue-lashing, cat got your tongue, and bite or hold your tongue.


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Vegetable Idioms

This vegetable idioms activation pack will help you to learn remembers and use some common English idioms related to vegetables. The idioms include, spill the beans, veg out, couch potato, without a bean, carrot and stick, know your onions, in a pickle, hot potato, two peas in a pod, red as a beetroot, and as cool as a cucumber.    


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Wind Idioms

There are quite a few wind idioms in British English. I have created an Activation Quiz to teach you 15 of them and give you some practice using them. These 15 idioms include put the wind up, take the wind out of someone’s sails, and an ill wind, to name just a few. You can learn these idioms by doing the multimedia-rich, interactive activator in this lesson.      


First Previous

8 of our 38 Idioms British English Lessons


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