Idioms – 10 useful idioms to improve your communication.

Image by Freepik

Por Vinicius Melo

Idioms are expressions which have a meaning that is not obvious from the individual words. For example, the idiom drive somebody round the bend means make somebody angry or frustrated, but we cannot know this just by looking at the words.

In context

The best way to understand an idiom is to see it in context. For example:

If I do this, I’ll kill two birds with one stone and I’ll have a free weekend!

So, in this example, kill two birds with one stone means something different from killing birds. The context tells us that if one thing is done, other thing will be done automatically and he/she won’t have work for the weekend.


Most of idioms are fixed in their form, and can’t be changed or varied. However, the grammar or the vocabulary can be varied slightly. Let’s get our first example:

If I do this, I’ll kill two birds with one stone and I’ll have a free weekend!

By doing this task last week, I killed two birds with one stone and had a free weekend!

Useful Idioms

Now that you know what are idioms, here are some – with their meaning –  for you to use it when communicating in English!

1 – Best of both worlds – means you can have two different opportunities at the same time

2 – speak of the devil – means that the person you’re just talking about appears that moment

3 – a bitter pill to swallow – means unpleasant, but has to be accepted

4 – something makes your day – means something makes you feel very happy

5 – drive someone up the wall – means make someone very angry or bored

6 – get/put someone’s back up – means make someone annoyed

7 – don’t have a clue – means don’t know at all

8 – out of touch – means used to know about, but don’t know the latest developments

9 – learnt my lesson – means that something bad happens to you and you decide you will never let it happen again

10 – works like magic – means works immediately and very well indeed

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