Learning a new language isn’t just about learning grammar rules and vocabulary. Knowing how to get your message across is already a great start, don’t get me wrong! But there is a way to go one step further and help you sound like a native English-speaking person: idioms.

An idiom is a phrase, an expression or a group of words used together, the meaning of which is not directly understandable from the meaning of the individual words. For example, in the sentence ‘This car cost me an arm and a leg’, I don’t really mean that I exchanged an actual arm and leg for my new car. Here, the phrase ‘an arm and a leg’ means ‘a very high price’. Every language in the world has its own idioms, which often can’t be translated literally to another language. They can be tricky to master but they will definitely help you sound like a native speaker!

Here is a list of 5 frequent idioms of the English language you should start using right now!

A piece of cake

When you say that something is a piece of cake, it means that it is very easy.

“The exam was a piece of cake. I got everything right!”

 

To draw the line

 

When you draw the line, you stop and put a limit on something, usually because you feel it isn’t right.

“I’m okay with doing some overtime at work, but there is no way I will work for more than 40 hours per week. This is where I draw the line!”

 

To cry over spilt milk

To cry over spilt milk means to be sad and upset over things from the past you cannot change anymore.

“Stop being upset about what happened last week at the meeting. There’s no point crying over spilt milk. What is done is done.”

 

To be/feel under the weather

When you feel under the weather, it means you are feeling unwell or sick.

“I’m afraid I won’t be coming in to work today. I feel a bit under the weather and I need some rest.”

 

The last straw

When you say that something is the last straw, it means that it is the last in a series of unpleasant events that finally makes you want to change the bad situation you are in.

“This is the last straw! Patrick just asked me to prepare his meeting for him. I cannot accept this situation anymore, things need to change!”