English is just amazed by its extraordinary linguistic diversity. The focus of this is to share consideration on the importance of idioms for non-native speakers as part of their mastery of the English language.
An idiom is a phrase or saying that is commonly used in everyday English to express certain ideas or opinions. Understanding English idioms is important because they require a deeper familiarity of the English language to comprehend what someone means when they use them in conversation.
Idioms give you a new way to express yourself in the English language, though learning idioms is certainly not a piece of cake (very easy), but once you know them, they can be a lot of fun, and anyway, because English people use idioms nonstop you will be all at sea (totally confused) in most conversations until you learn the ropes (understand how things work).
The meaning of an idiom generally depends on the specific context in which it is used. When someone in America tells you to ‘break a leg’ (Good Luck), for example, they aren’t saying that in a literal sense, but instead are wishing you good luck, usually before a performance. Similarly, if someone asks you to ‘think outside the box’(Being Creative), they mean that you should use a different approach than what you might normally do.
Understanding Idioms Can Boost Your Conversational English Skills
You may encounter idioms most often in spoken or written conversations. Idioms can help improve your conversational skills because it shows native speakers that you understand the cultural meaning and context behind the idiom you’re using. This can help you feel more comfortable and confident with your conversational abilities the more you practice it during your courses.
Idioms are always something special about any language; they build up some distinctive features which differ one language from another. What is more, idioms reflect certain cultural traditions and depict the national character. Idioms are not a separate part of the language which one can choose either to use or to omit, but they form an essential part of the general vocabulary of English. A description of how the vocabulary of the language is growing and changing will help to place idioms in perspective. Idioms appear in every language, and English has thousands of them.
Few Examples :
Back to the drawing board
To go back to the drawing board means to start over, and to look at a failed idea in a new way. You can also this phrase when you need to rethink a decision.
Get the ball rolling
This phrase means to start a new project or business activity.
It can also be used to describe a small action that leads to the beginning of something.
A ballpark number / figure / estimate
The ballpark is the sports ground or stadium where baseball is played.
Giving a ballpark figure means giving an estimate of the value, time or number of something. It is used when the specific amount or number is not yet known or agreed upon but an estimate is required.
A ballpark is very large! So, this expression is specifically used for giving a very rough estimate or a large range in value.
To learn the ropes
Imagine that you are on an old-fashioned sailboat. The first thing you would learn is how to tie knots and work the sails. In other words, you would learn how all the ropes work! That is what this phrase is referring to.
To learn the ropes means to learn how to do your job or a particular task, especially if you have no prior experience. Because of this, it is commonly used when referring to new employees in training.
If you change it to say “to teach someone the ropes,” you can use it to describe a boss or more senior person helping a new employee understand their role and responsibilities.
A win-win situation
You might hear that something is a win-win situation, or that something is win-win in both business and regular English. The phrase describes a situation where everybody involved in the event or deal benefits from the outcome.
In business, it is often used during negotiations or trades, where both parties receive something that they need from the other.
Some Caution Advise:
When you’re writing, keep a list of idioms handy so you can draw from that list and incorporate these sayings into your writing where appropriate. Be careful not to “go overboard” (Be very enthusiastic). Too many idioms can be a distraction. Also, be sure that you know the correct meaning of the idiom before you use it in your writing. Not using it in the right context can confuse readers and turn some of them off to your work.