English level: A1
Objective: Trying to understand some frequently used idioms in English writing and speaking.
When teaching English abroad, you’ll notice that most students at a high level are quite interested in idioms and would like to know their exact meaning.
You can have a lot of fun translating the idioms word-for-word to the students´ mother tongue, before you give them the meaning and use.
Some idioms have equivalents in the students´ mother tongue.
Give the students this list of idioms and have them translate them literally. Then they should try to find the equivalent idiom in their mother tongue.
-I caught the waiter´s eye.
-I´m up to my ears in work.
-I couldn´t keep a straight face.
-I´ll keep my fingers crossed.
-You ought to let your hair down.
-Don´t lose your head!
-Try not to lose heart.
-I´m pulling your leg.
-He´s a pain in the neck.
-It was on the tip of my tongue.
Activity 2: Produce
Give the students a number of idioms each (2 or 3) and tell them to write a short text (only a few sentences) where each idiom is being used.
Have them read their texts aloud. Comment on their sentences, have a lot of fun, and correct any misunderstandings.
Activity 3: Another practice activity
Tell the students to rearrange the following idioms to fit the definitions alongside.
|She had a bee in her bonnet.||had the most|
|He killed two birds with one stone.||was obsessed|
|She took the bull by the horns||was suspicious|
|He had butterflies in his stomach||decided to face the problem|
|She let the cat out of the bag.||was very upset and worried|
|He used to get my goat.||gave away the secret|
|She had kittens.||achieved two aims with one action|
|He got the lion´s share.||annoyed me|
|She smelled a rat.||felt very nervous|
Activity 4: Fun exercise
Have the students think of some idioms in their own language which can´t be directly be translated into English.