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 created these Activities to encourage you to not only learn and remember many English 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 Activities you will make some of the idioms your own and use them regularly like a native.
Did you know that there are over 600,000 words in English? That's a lot of words, and far more than any human being could ever manage to learn. Even Shakespeare only used around 55,000 different words in all of his works. Mind you, he did actually invent quite a few of them. To get a good mastery of English, you do need to expand your vocabulary as much as possible. The more words you know, the better your English will be. The Activities here will help you to quickly develop your vocabulary.
The Activities categorised as English in Use look at the way we use English in everyday life. The Activities cover the actual use of English and examine grammar, punctuation, and functionality of the language. For any student studying English as a second language or English as a foreign language, English in Use Activities are particularly useful for improving speaking, writing, reading, and listening skills. These Activities will help you to develop your confidence in using different types of text such as fiction, newspapers and magazines, as well as learning to speak and write about things such as the weather and travel, as well as preparing you for typical situations such as ordering in a restaurant or buying a train ticket.
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.Body Idioms Course
SET TONGUES WAGGING
If you do something shocking which gets other people talking about you and your behaviour, you set tongues wagging.
“The vicar’s relationship with the organist certainly set tongues wagging in the village.”
Someone who is able to easily convince people, or persuade them to come around to their way of thinking, is said to have a silver tongue.
“He didn’t have the looks, but his silver tongue was enough to get him plenty of votes.”
Someone who has a loose tongue fails to think carefully before they speak and is indiscrete.
“As she began to give details about the process, it quickly became apparent that this woman had a loose tongue.”
TONGUE IN CHEEK
Something said tongue in cheek is said as if meant seriously when it is actually meant as a joke and not meant to be taken seriously.
“He said, tongue in cheek, that his wife would not mind if he did spend more time fishing.”
A person who tends to speak to others in an overly critical or harsh manner has a sharp tongue.
“His grandmother had a sharp tongue, as many found out to their cost.”
GET TONGUE AROUND
If you can’t seem to pronounce a difficult word correctly, we say you can’t get your tongue around it.
“When I lived in Wales, I just could not get my tongue around strange place names like Llangollen.”
Someone who has a propensity for speaking in a malicious way is said to have a wicked tongue.
“That woman has such a wicked tongue that I’d be surprised if she has a single friend in the world.”
ON THE TIP OF YOUR TONGUE
When you can’t quite recollect something, we say that it is on the tip of your tongue.
“What was it called again? It’s on the tip of my tongue.”
People who speak rudely or offensively to others are sometimes told to keep a civil tongue in their head.
“I suggest you try to keep a civil tongue in your head, regardless of how you feel towards them.”
To speak to someone angrily because they have done something that they should not have done is to give them a tongue-lashing.
“I’m off to the headmaster’s office for a tongue-lashing.”
CAT GOT YOUR TONGUE?
“Cat got your tongue?” is often asked of people who do not say much when they would be expected to be speaking.
“You’re very quiet. Cat got your tongue?”
BITE/HOLD YOUR TONGUE
When you really want to say something, but know that it would be unwise to do so, you need to bite/hold your tongue.
“I really wanted to tell him he was an idiot, but I sat there and bit/held my tongue.”
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