English teacher and blogger, Cristina Cabal, loves bringing interactivity into the classroom and has been sharing some of her quizzes with us over the past year. In this post, Cristina challenges your knowledge of idioms in this fun quiz.
So, you think you know a lot of English, at least academically speaking, and you have even passed your exams with flying colours. You seem to have no problem communicating with your English teacher and with the occasional tourist asking for directions in your hometown.
Happy with your progress, you have decided to start watching a television series in English and you just don’t get it. “Hold on! Did he say a piece of cake? How can “buying online” be a piece of cake?”, “Learn the ropes? Why should studying a rope be important?” Baffled, you start flicking through your dictionary. You have just discovered idiomatic expressions.
Idioms are everywhere!
Idioms are everywhere in the English language. Yet, there are teachers, especially those teaching English as a foreign language, who are reluctant to dedicate time to teaching them. They claim that even for upper-intermediate students idioms are difficult to retain and use correctly.
It is true. We all know how little space, if any at all, is dedicated to teaching idioms in low-level textbooks. Even at more proficiency levels, more often than not, idioms are presented out of context and grouped in ways such as ‘idioms containing colours’ or ‘idioms with the verb take’, which doesn’t really help students incorporate these expressions in their everyday speech.
But, on the other hand, idioms are part of the language students are trying to learn. They are an essential part of the general vocabulary of English and for this reason, if we choose not to teach them, we will be depriving our students of a very important cultural element of the language.
Most of us, teachers and students alike, are constantly exposed to music, films and series in English and idioms are just there. My students might not have a real necessity to actively use idioms, but surely they do need to understand what they mean if they want to follow a normal conversation. They might not have to actively use a lot of them, but they will need to have the most common ones in their passive knowledge if they want to maximize their understanding of the language.
Test your knowledge!
In this little quiz below I have selected 15 common idioms that students really need to know. Don’t worry! It’ll be a piece of cake!