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American Idioms

What is an idiom?

Idioms are words or phrases that native language speakers use in everyday language. They mean something different than what they seem to mean (they are not "literal".)

Using idioms makes your English sound more natural. Try to learn one idiom every day!

For example:

Paula: How are you today, Fredrico?
Fredrico: I'm down today. I'm feeling really low
Paula: I'm so sorry to hear that you aren't feeling good. What's up?
Fredrico: My computer bit the dust yesterday, and I can't afford a new one. Money doesn't grow on trees, you know!

Before reading more, can you understand the idioms used in this conversation by reading them in context?

Here are the idioms used in the conversation:
"Down" and "low" literally describe direction and place. Metaphorically, in this context, Fredrico uses them to say that he feels bad, unhappy.
"What's up?" This is another idiom that uses a word about place (up) to describe something else.
"What's up?" is a way of asking someone what is happening in their lives or in the moment. It means "What is going on?" It is also often used as a greeting. As a greeting, it means, "How are you? What's going on in your life?"
"Bit the dust" means "died" or "is no longer working." Fredrico's computer broke yesterday.
"Money doesn't grow on trees" means that it is not easy to get money. People use this expression when they talk about something they can't afford, or that is expensive.

Here are some links to fun pages about idioms. 

(Links open in a new browser tab or window.)
I like this website because you can look up an idiom alphabetically or by theme
This is a good page to read about phrasal verbs that use "do", "go", come and "get." (A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb plus another word that means something different than the verb by itself. Examples: give up - look after - find out -  fill in - get off )
This video teaches about the difference between idioms, slang, and phrasal verbs.
Look up idioms alphabetically.



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