Are you in the process of learning English? Congratulations! You are learning one of the most difficult languages to learn.
English in and of itself is hard to learn due to its many exceptions to rules, among other challenges. However, the fact that it has its own unique phrases and idioms only makes matters even more complex.
Here are a few of the most commonly used American expressions to help you to talk like a native or understand what people truly mean.
Let’s jump in!
Common American Expressions Include “Hit the Books”
In a literal sense, “hit the books” refers to physically striking or slapping your school textbooks. However, this common idiom among American students — especially those in college — actually refers to studying.
For instance, maybe you’re getting ready to prepare for an English exam, final exam or mid-term exam.
Here’s an example of how to use this idiom used in a sentence: “I can’t go to the concert tomorrow because I’ve got to hit the books. I want to be ready for my final exam on Monday.”
“Twist Someone’s Arm”
Literally twisting someone’s arm means taking the individual’s arm and turning it around. This could be extremely painful, so we don’t suggest it.
As an idiom, to “twist someone’s arm” means to convince someone to do something he or she might not have desired to do.
Take a look at this sentence featuring this common idiom: “My husband agreed to go with me. I didn’t even need to twist his arm!”
“Stab Someone in the Back”
From a literal standpoint, stabbing someone in the back will get you arrested, and you’ll likely ultimately end up behind bars. After all, this act involves taking a sharp object, such as a knife, and sticking it into someone else’s back.
However, when you use this phrase as an idiom, it refers to hurting somebody who trusted you. In other words, you betrayed someone and thus broke his or her trust in you.
Here’s an example of how to use this idiom in a sentence: “She said she wouldn’t tell my husband my secret, but she did anyway. She’s a backstabber!”
This idiom doesn’t make any sense from a literal standpoint. However, from a figurative standpoint, it refers to making a contribution to someone or something or joining in.
Here’s an example of how to use this idiom in a sentence: “Mom says she wants everybody to pitch in tomorrow and help to clean the house. We’ll get the job done more quickly that way.”
How We Can Help
We offer top-of-the-line accent and voice training for those who are learning English as a second language.
Our goal is to help you to overcome your fear of communicating with native English speakers and avoid miscommunication due to your native-language accent.
Check out our packages to find out more about how our program can help you to feel more confident in how you speak and thus improve both your personal and your professional life in the years ahead.