Tag Archives: idioms

What’s the difference between an idiom and a metaphor? 

I get asked this frequently by my more advanced students. Basically, an idiom is a combination of words whose meaning is different than the literal meaning of the words put together and a metaphor says that one thing is another thing to compare two things or as symbolism.

These two pictures represent the metaphor “to be the black sheep in the family”. It implies that you have family members who are sheep and you happen to be the black one! Obviously, nobody has a family member that is a sheep but it implies that you are somehow different than your family. For example, I am the black sheep in my family. I am the only vegetarian, the only one who loves to travel, the only one to speak a foreign language and the only one who has ever lived abroad (besides my grandparents about 50 years ago when my grandpa was in the US Army!)

bonus iconthe word sheep is singular and plural. I have 1 sheep, my neighbor has 3 sheep.


This picture represents an idiom. “It’s raining cats and dogs”. Obviously it cannot rain cats and dogs. It’s impossible. But when we say, it’s raining cats and dogs, we mean that it’s raining very heavily.


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Do you bite off more than you can chew? Then you might know this idiom!

Biting off more than you can chew means that you take on too much work than you feel that you can do. For example, if you have a full time job, you coach your son’s soccer team, you are writing a book, you are taking a weekly yoga class, you are taking an English class twice a week, you go to the gym 3 days a week and you have to walk the dog 4 times a day! That is biting off more than you can chew!

I am currently biting off more than I can chew but I have been presented with quite a few opportunities so I am taking advantage of them! I feel a little stressed with all of the work I am doing but I am managing to do it.

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It’s not the end of the world: Idiom

sad face man

If I don’t get the job it’s not the end of the world. I might cry, I might be sad but it’s not the end of the world.

This is a common idiom that we use in daily speech. It means that whatever will happen won’t be as bad as one thinks. For example, If I don’t get the job it’s not the end of the world, means, if I don’t get the job, I can apply for other jobs…or I have been saving money so I can still pay my bills, etc. I won’t be homeless on the street.

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