• Let LOI Be Your One-Stop Shop For English Idioms

    For learners of the English language, understanding and using English idioms is a never-ending process.  It might feel like your progress moves at a snail’s pace.  Maybe you have spent time learning dozens of common English idioms and you’ve been using them successfully.  That’s great!  But what about when you encounter an English idiom for the first time?  This can be tricky because idioms are expressions without a literal meaning.  One of our talented instructors at LOI, Peter, created this interesting and helpful post that shines a light on a new way to understand English idioms:


    About English Idioms:

    Today we’ll be putting some of Peter’s helpful advice into practice.  If you are reading this post, you obviously have a strong appetite for learning, so, let’s get started!

    Fill in the blanks with the idiomatic expressions used in this video.  Then, match the expression to a definition listed.  As Peter states in his post, it’s important to listen for the context, paying attention to facial expression.  It’s also helpful to listen for expressions people say commonly, and try to use those more often.  Today’s lesson will help you do just that.  We are always over the moon when we see your responses and get to help by correcting and giving explanations.  So, write your responses in the comments section.  Or, if you’d like to spend quality time practicing with a native speaker, schedule a class!

    Listening Section and Exercise:

    1. To see how lithium is pulled from the earth, I went to visit the operations of the ______ ______, SQM.
    2. He’s a cheerful engineer who has _____ _____ working in The Great Void.
    3. Over millions of years, minerals from the mountains _____ into the ground.
    4. From there, it’s __ __ ___ ___ to __ ___ _____ and evaporate away the water, _______ the minerals and salt ______. 
    5. This is __________ _____.
    6. You guys must be excited that Teslas are selling well and that everybody’s _______ ____ electric cars now.
    7. Chile may have the largest lithium deposits in the world, but it’s starting to ____ ______ countries like Australia and China when it comes to production.
    8. In China it’s a ___-____ ____ with the mining and battery production happening together.
    9. This is a ____ Chilean companies have been unwilling to ____.
    10. The feds have put strict quotas on lithium production, and they’ve also been trying to act tough and ____ ____ after some politicos were accused of taking bribes from the mines.
    11. Environmentalists aren’t ____ ____ of the mines either.
    12. But there are some __ ___ ___ _____.
    13. Alejandro ___ _ _____.
    14. These odd marvels ____ the modern world __.

    Matching and Gap Fill:

    Next, use the context to match your answers to the following meanings:

    a. disappear/go away

    b. battery

    c. starting to like

    d. make things in our lives work well

    e. people who really like something

    f. dominating the respective field

    g. done something for years

    h. suck

    i. has a correct idea

    j. positive aspects of a job

    k. do something risky with hope of success

    l. prevent embarrassment, shame or judgement of others

    m. do its job

    n. place to buy everything at once

    o. become less successful

    p. the sun’s responsibility


    Hopefully by this point in the lesson, your relationship with idioms is getting warmer.  Several of these expressions can also be categorized according to Peter’s grouping method:

    • Expressions about life: road
    • Expressions about time: money
    • Expressions about knowledge: food
    • Expressions about relationships: temperature
    • Expressions about economics: gardening
    • Expressions about opinions: building
    • Expressions about truth: archaeology
    • Expressions about intelligence: light
    • Expressions about opinions: geography

    Grouping idioms in this way makes them easier to understand and put into context.  So now the next part of the lesson is to look at each of the following idiomatic expressions and place them into one of the categories above.

    example: spent years: time/money

    1. getting into: _______/________
    2. fall behind: _______/________
    3. leave behind: _______/________
    4. take a leap (of faith): _______/________
    5. has a point (of view): _______/________
    6. make the world run: _______/________

    Find the English Idioms:

    Finally, you might have noticed that there are 7 idioms written throughout this post.  Find each idiom and place it in the correct category.  Then, for an extra challenge, write what you think the meaning is according to the category and context of the sentence!  Don’t forget to write your responses in the comments section.

    If you still don’t feel like these idioms are crystal clear, we’re happy to answer your questions in the comments section below, but we’re even happier to speak with you in a one-on-one lesson, so schedule a class today!


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