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Animal idioms

Idioms can be really fun and when you are able to hear them in another language and understand what they actually mean… well that is a great feeling! Why did I italicize actually?

Well the words you hear are not meant to be taken literally but need some kind of interpretation. If you can do this, then you will understand the meaning of the idiom.

For example, HOLD YOUR HORSES is an idiom. You know what the word HOLD means. You also know what the word YOUR means and I’m sure you know what a HORSE is.

Does it LITERALLY mean use your hands to grab onto your horses?

Of course not! LOL 🙂 It’s only what we call a figurative expression. It’s colourful language used to create a picture or image in the minds of the listener AND to give a particular type of message. Hold your horses means WAIT. Just wait.

How could this be used? Well imagine a teacher with a class of pupils at a sport’s day. Children lined up for a race, all eager and keen to begin. Maybe there is a little over-excitement and maybe one or two kids begin to run before they should. So the teacher might call out…

“HOLD YOUR HORSES!”

Can you find out what the following 4 animal idioms ACTUALLY mean? Then try to use them in conversation but not all at once or too often because just like speakers of other languages, native English-speakers use idiomatic language sparingly. If you try and ‘drop’ too many idioms into a conversation at once, it can make what you say sound a bit odd. (If you don’t believe me try it with your native English-speaking friends and watch their expressions hahaha) 🙂

  • the elephant in the room
  • one-trick pony
  • let the cat out of the bag
  • the lion’s share

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