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.
Reading is the easiest way to take in English. Listening is a much harder skill and one that has to be developed as you study the language. There are lots of speech features that arise when native English speakers speak English. These speech features, such as elision, simplification, intonation, stress, and rhythm, and the way in which speakers may miss out sounds or whole words, are important to understand if you are to be able to listen to and fully understand spoken English. These Britlish Library Activities will help you to develop you listening skills.
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.Food Idioms Course
The sea covers two thirds of our planet.
The sea has always been an important source of food.
Any food that we take from the sea is called seafood.
There are various types of seafood.
The main type of seafood is fish.
Fish have gills which let them absorb oxygen from the water.
They use fins to move through the water.
Fish include the bony fish like cod and haddock.
These are the most popular fish in Britain.
I went off than when I got a bone stuck in my throat once.
It hurt a lot and I had to go to hospital.
I was looking a bit blue around the gills, I can tell you.
Cartilaginous fish like sharks don’t have bones.
They’re probably safer to eat than the bony fish.
Unfortunately, seventy million sharks are killed each year only for their fins.
Their fins are prized as a delicacy.
They are used to make shark fin soup.
Shark fin soup is so expensive that you’d probably have to borrow money just to taste it.
If your bank refuses to lend you the money, you could always borrow money from a loan shark.
But remember, loan sharks charge very high rates of interest.
Up to 100 million sharks are killed for their fins every year.
Some sharks are lone sharks, some swim in huge groups.
But they all die needlessly to feed a multibillion-dollar a year industry.
Some shark species are in danger of extinction because of this expensive soup.
What a fine kettle of fish it is that that allows people to kill an animal to use just a tiny part of it.
Sharks sometimes get their own back by eating swimmers.
Sharks are one of the few things we eat that can also eat us.
Holy mackerel! Imagine if chickens could eat us! By the way, swimmers who get eaten by sharks are not seafood.
The second most important seafood after fish is shellfish.
Shellfish are animals that live inside shells.
Shellfish includes molluscs such as mussels, cockles, and clams.
Crustaceans such as lobsters and crabs are also seafood.
Smaller crustaceans include shrimps and prawns.
Sea urchins and sea cucumbers are also eaten.
Yuck! Octopus, squid, cuttlefish, and other cephalopod molluscs are seafood, too.
Perhaps not traditionally classed as seafood, turtles are also a source of food.
They come from the sea, so I’m going to include them here.
I’m also going to include whales.
Whales are a marine mammal and they are still eaten in some parts of the world.
Some people must have huge appetites!
A seafood diet is when you eat a high proportion of food from the sea.
It’s not when you have a huge appetite and eat any food that you see.
That’s called a see food diet! People who have a see food diet end up looking like a beached whale.
It might seem like I’ve just thrown you a red herring, but it’s just a play on words.
The homophones sea and see both have the same sound.
A similar play on words can be found in the book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.
Lewis Carroll invented a character called the Mock Turtle.
Mock turtle soup was a cheaper soup made to imitate real turtle soup.
Turtle soup is an expensive suit made from real green turtles.
Carroll’s joke was to suggest that mock turtle soup was made from Mock Turtles.
“When we were little,” the Mock Turtle went on at last, more calmly, though still sobbing a little now and then, “we went to school in the sea.
The master was an old turtle.
We used to call him tortoise.” “Why did you call him tortoise, if he wasn’t one?” Alice asked.
“We called him tortoise because he taught us,” said the Mock Turtle.
Alice often fell for things like that.
Whatever story she heard, no matter how odd, she would swallow it hook, line, and sinker.
People who swallow things hook, line, and sinker are easily tricked into believing things to be true.
We catch fish on hooks tied to fishing lines.
The fishing lines have weights on them to sink the hook and the bait into the water.
A hungry fish will swallow the bait, the hook, the line, and the weight.
I think that explains the idiom very well, doesn’t it? I’m not fishing for compliments, you understand.
I just like to cast my net wide to catch as many new idioms as I can.
That idiom is also to do with fishing.
Nets are what fishermen used to catch lots of fish at once.
Imagine being a poor fish that has just been caught on a hook and line.
What a relief it would be to escape, no? That’s where the idiom, let you off the hook comes from.
Maybe, one day, your future success will depend on passing an exam.
That’s a difficult situation to be in.
If there were questions about these idioms, knowing them could just get you off the hook.
I hope that no idioms have slipped through the net.
That’s why I am including as many as I can think of.
If your level of English is very high, the world is your oyster.
Or maybe your level is not so high? Maybe you feel like a fish out of water? Don’t panic! I’m not about to clam up until I’ve given you all the idioms I know.
And I promise you’ll have a whale of a time learning them.
I’m having a whale of a time teaching them.
I’m certainly not a cold fish when it comes to teaching.
Neither will you find me crabby.
I love teaching and if some students don’t like my methods, I don’t worry too much.
There are plenty more fish in the sea.
That’s what people often say when they finish a relationship.
They console themselves with the thought that there are plenty more fish in the sea.
But there won’t be if we keep fishing the fish out of the sea as fast as we do.
I know people need to eat but we also need to protect the oceans.
There are too many people and the population is growing too quickly.
When I was born, there were already three billion human mouths to feed.
Nearly 50 years later, we are packed in like sardines.
There are now over twice as many mouths to feed.
Fish stocks are likely to cockle over soon, if they haven’t already.
But do the politicians and businessmen listen? Certainly not to the small fry like me, they don’t.
Politicians are as slippery as eels and have got much bigger fish to fry.
And businessmen are only interested in profit.
The oceans offer a limitless supply of food, they tell us.
Well that sounds a bit fishy to me.
Unless there are twice as many fish as there were in nineteen sixty-one, we’ll soon run out.
People cling like limpets to the same silly ideas about sustainability.
A seafood diet? If we continue to over-fish the oceans, we will be lucky to see food, ever again.
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