English Idioms

20 Embarrassing Phrases Even Smart People Misuse
20 common phrases corrected and explained.

Are You a Fish Out of Water? Learning English Idioms
In this lesson, students consider the difficulties that English presents for the language learner. They then interview non-native English-language learners to learn about these struggles and to develop a deeper notion of their own linguistic challenges and how culture infuses language.

Awesome Idioms
For each idiom, a definition, a picture, and 4 sample sentences.

Chinese Zodiac
Practice with English idioms related to the animals of the Chinese zodiac.

English, baby!
A wealth of materials focusing on American usage, including slang and cultural materials. Message boards, chat room, movie reviews with built-in language lessons, free newsletter -- this site is very professional and very useful.

Figurative Language: Teaching Idioms
In this lesson, students explore figurative language with a focus on the literal versus the metaphorical translations of idioms. Through read-alouds, teacher modeling, and student-centered activities that are presented in the classroom, students will further develop their understanding of figurative language. Designed for grades 3-5.

Get the Ball Rolling: Fun With English-Language Idioms
Using children's books by Fred Gwynne and/or a list provided on this site, students consider multiple meanings of English-language idioms.

Head Over Heels with English: 8 Idioms about Love
Illustraton and explanation for 8 idioms.

Homographs, homonyms, homophones, and words with multiple meanings
A variety of resources.

The Idiom Connection
Idioms are arranged alphabetically and by category. Visitors to the site can check their understanding with a self-checking quiz.

Idiom Worksheets
Three different practice activities. Students can complete them online or can print them out like worksheets.

Idiomatic Expressions from Sports
From "to drop the ball" to "par for the course," idioms illustrated and explained.

Idioms — Definitions and Examples
Definitions and examples are organized alphabetically.

Idioms of the World
"Not my circus, not my monkey" and 9 other idioms from around the world, explained and illustrated.

It's an Idiom!
Students match the idiom with its meaning. Adobe Reader required; 1 page.

Learning Idioms in ESL
Students will use the Visual Thesaurus to assist them in figuring out the meanings of some common English language idioms. Students will then create visual images to present their assigned idioms to the class, demonstrating how idioms can be interpreted both figuratively and literally.

List of English-language idioms
A list of phrases and their meanings.

Niu Year English
Practice with idioms related to cows and beef. Includes an online quiz.

Pandora's Box
This downloadable YouTube video (4:16) explains the origin of the expression, "To open Pandora's Box." Very engaging, includes advertising at the end.

Road to Grammar: Idioms
Self-correcting practice with and explanations of idioms.

Santa's Chimney Pot Challenge
Practice English idioms related to holiday traditions with this online game.

Speak, Read, Write
Idioms discussed by category, short stories, and information about finding ESL tutors.

Third Wheel and Steal My Thunder
This downloadable YouTube video (3:39) explores the meaning and origin of both phrases. Includes advertising at the end.

Valentine's English
Practice with 30 English words and phrases related to love.

For other ESL resources, click here.