Twisting arms and sticking your neck out (Idioms featuring parts of the body)

by Kate Woodford Parts of the body feature in a great number of English idioms. This week we’re taking a look at some of the most commonly used. How many of these have direct equivalents in your language?   Starting with the top of the body, the neck is quite productive! If two people or groups …

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On cloud nine: Idioms and phrasal verbs to express happiness

by Liz Walter My last post was all about sadness, so it is good to turn to a more cheerful subject: happiness. Let’s start with the phrase I’ve used in the title: on cloud nine. Nobody really knows the origins of this phrase – one theory is that it refers to the cumulonimbus cloud that was …

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It broke my heart: Idioms and phrasal verbs to express sadness

by Liz Walter ‘When sorrows come, they come not single spies, but in battalions.’ So said Claudius in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. As a general rule, grief and sadness are more interesting to writers and poets than happiness, and there are many fine descriptions in literature. However, in this post, I want to focus on language that we use in …

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Staying the course (Everyday idioms in newspapers)

by Kate Woodford Every few months, we read a selection of national newspapers published on the same day and highlight common idioms and phrases in their articles and reports. We read all sections of the papers – news, sports pages and gossip columns – and, as ever on this blog, we pick out the most useful, …

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Make a splash! (Everyday idioms in newspapers)

by Kate Woodford Every few months on this blog, we read a selection of national newspapers published on the same day and pick out the idioms that we find in the articles and reports. We read the news, the gossip columns and the sports pages and, as with previous posts, include only the most frequent, up-to-date …

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Playing second fiddle (Everyday idioms in newspapers)

by Kate Woodford Every few months on this blog, we like to pick out the idioms that have been used in a range of national newspapers published on the same day. As with previous posts, we include only the most frequent idioms – in other words, the sort of idioms that you might read or hear …

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Turning over a new leaf: idioms and phrases for the New Year

by Liz Walter New Year is a time when we often take stock of our life (think about what is good or bad about it). We may feel that we should draw a line under the past (finish with it and forget about it) and make a fresh start. This post looks at idioms and other …

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