English Idioms and Idiomatic Phrases

Overview

This unit introduces some common idioms and idiomatic phrases in English. Idioms are expressions whose meaning is not literal but figurative. For example: "The early bid gets the worm."

Feeding little bird from hand

Phrasal verbs are verbs that include one or two particles, which change the meaning of the original verb by itself. There are many phrasal verbs used frequently in English. Here are a few examples.

Examples:
She came across an interesting article in the newspaper.
We dropped the kids off at school.
They didn’t look up directions to the festival.

The main verbs “come,” “drop” and “look” have different meanings from the phrasal verbs above:

come across – to find someone or something by chance; to appear a certain way or give a particular impression

drop off – to transport someone or something to a specific destination

look up – to search for information or someone

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Phrasal verbs can be separable or inseparable, meaning that the particle(s) can either occur immediately after the verb or later in the sentence (separable), or they must follow the verb (inseparable). Here are some examples:

Separable – drop off, pick up, take out

Inseparable – come across, get up, sleep in

Some phrasal verbs have two particles. There are not as many of these multi-particle phrasal verbs as those with only one particle. Some common ones include: look forward to, keep in touch, get rid of, come up with.

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English Idioms and Idiomatic Phrases
CORE Languages: Course Level 2-4

This unit introduces some common idioms and idiomatic phrases in English. Idioms are expressions whose meaning is not literal but figurative. For example: "The early bid gets the worm."

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Common European Framework of Reference for Languages

The CEFR is an international standard used to describe language ability. Here are specific details of the CEFR for this topic.

General Explanation:
Can understand sentences and frequently used expressions related to areas of most immediate relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local geography, employment). Can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar and routine matters. Can describe in simple terms aspects of his/her background, immediate environment and matters in areas of immediate need.
Specific Capabilities at this Level
Writing:
I can write short, simple notes and messages relating to matters in areas of immediate needs. I can write a very simple personal letter, for example thanking someone for something.
Spoken Production:
I can use a series of phrases and sentences to describe in simple terms my family and other people, living conditions, my educational background and my present or most recent job.
Spoken Interaction:
I can communicate in simple and routine tasks requiring a simple and direct exchange of information on familiar topics and activities. I can handle very short social exchanges, even though I can’t usually understand enough to keep the conversation going myself.
Reading:
I can read very short, simple texts. I can find specific, predictable information in simple everyday material such as advertisements, prospectuses, menus and timetables and I can understand short simple personal letters.
Listening:
I can understand phrases and the highest frequency vocabulary related to areas of most immediate personal relevance (e.g. very basic personal and family information, shopping, local area, employment). I can catch the main point in short, clear, simple messages and announcements.