by Kate Woodford
A reader of this blog recently asked for a post on idioms that are used in everyday English. This seemed like a reasonable request. After all, if you are going to make the effort to learn a set of English idioms, you want those idioms to be useful. The question, then, was how to decide which idioms to write about. There are a great number of idioms in the English language, but some are rarely used. In the end, I decided to keep an idioms diary for a week, and make a note of any idioms that I heard people use in conversation. From this set of idioms, I chose a few that I considered to be common in contemporary, conversational English and have presented them here.
Early in the week, a radio presenter told his colleague that she was ‘opening up a can of worms’ when she said something that many people would disagree with. A can of worms (informal) is a situation or subject that causes a lot of problems or arguments when you start to deal with it or discuss it. The verb ‘open (up)’ is often used with this phrase. The same presenter later talked about occasions when he really wanted to say what he thought, but instead ‘bit his tongue’. To bite your tongue is to stop yourself from saying something that might upset someone or make them angry. Read the rest of this entry ?