English idioms can be frustrating to understand and use at the best of times. In this video, I’ll teach you how to use some of my favourite ‘body’ idioms!


Video Transcript

Hello! I’m Emma from mmmEnglish. In this video, I’m going to show you how to use my favourite English ‘body’ idioms. English idioms probably ‘drive you crazy’!!

Idioms are really common expressions and together the meaning of these expressions is different than the individual meaning of each word. So in this example, to drive you crazy, we’re not talking about a crazy driver. If someone or something is driving your crazy, they’re really annoying!

Together the words have a different meaning than individually.

Of course there are hundreds and hundreds of English idioms. And actually, you might recognise some of them because they might similar to expressions and idioms in your own language.

In English, there are really commonly used idioms and there are some that are more obscure or less commonly used.

So in this video, I’m going to be focusing on a few that are very commonly used.

Now, idioms are really creative, imaginative and fun ways to use language! If you’re studying for your IELTS or your TOEFL exam or generally you just want to impress someone with your English, then learn to use a few idioms!

Anyway, let’s get started! Remember that I’ve chosen these idioms because they are all to do with the human body, somehow.

  1. Pain in the neck: This idiom is similar to “drive you crazy”. So if something or someone is a “pain in the neck”, they’re really annoying!

Examples.

  • They said that my car was going to be at the mechanics for over a week – it’s such a pain in the neck!
  • I hope he doesn’t bring Peter, he can be a real pain in the neck!
  • Stop it! You’re being a real pain in the neck!

Now you can also use “Pain in the butt”  or ”Pain in the arse”. And so, these two options are a little more crude, a little ruder. You definitely wouldn’t use those with your boss or someone you just met but you would with your friends or when you’re being quite casual, you can say “pain in the butt” or “paint in the butt”.

Same meaning!

  1. Play it by ear: So this is when you don’t have a plan, and you deliberately, you choose not to have a plan, you want to just make it up as you go, be a bit flexible… Do whatever you feel like doing at the time?

Examples.

  • We don’t really have a plan for tonight, we’re just going to play it by ear. You know, if you’re hungry, you’ll eat, if you want to dance, you’ll dance! If you want to go for a walk, you’ll go for a walk! If you decide you want to go to the movies, you go to the movies! You just make it up as you go, whatever you feel like that at the time. You’re playing it by ear.
  • We don’t know what the weather’s going to be like this weekend for the camping trip, so we might have to play it by ear.

It’s kind of like ‘wait and see’ and we’ll make up our plan closer to the time.

  1. (to) cost an arm and a leg: Something is really expensive.

Examples.

  • Taking a family of five on a holiday to Fiji… It’s going to cost an arm and a leg!
  • I love their new kitchen, but it must have cost them an arm and a leg!
  • I want my kids to have the best education possible, but the school fees are costing me an arm and a leg! I just don’t know if it’s worth it.
  1. (to) get something off one’s chest: So if you have a problem or something’s bothering you and you need to tell someone about it, then you’re going to get it off your chest.

Examples.

  • Thanks for listening to me complain about my boss. I just needed to get it off my chest.
  • He’s been frustrated about his boss for month. He just needs to talk to him about it and get it off his chest!
  • Ok, I need to get something off my chest. I’ve been waiting to tell you about it for weeks!
  1. (to) keep an eye on (something): It means to take care of something or to watch over something to protect it.

Examples.

  • I’ll keep an eye on dinner while you’re on the phone. I’ll watch dinner, I’ll make sure that it doesn’t burn while you’re on the phone.
  • Sarah said she’d keep an eye on the kids while we go out.
  1. I’m all ears: It means that you’re fully listening and paying attention.

Examples.

  • Give me just a minute to finish this, then I’ll be all ears.
  • Well, if you’ve got a better idea, I’m all ears. If you think that you’ve got a better idea, then tell me about it! I’m listening!
  1. (to) get cold feet: This is an idiom that you would use when you’re feeling really nervous right before an important event or big event. So if you decide that you wanted to go skydiving and you put all of the gear on (the special clothing) and you fly into the sky in the plane and suddenly you look down and you realise how far away the ground is and you get cold feed! You get really nervous and you think, maybe I don’t want to do this after all.

Examples.

  • He was so nervous before his presentation, I thought he would get cold feet!
  • So, how did it go? Or did you get cold feet?
  1. (to) go over (someone’s) head: If something goes over your head, it means you don’t get it, you missed the meaning or you haven’t quite understood what’s happening. Now when you’re learning a new language, this happens all the time! Someone says something to you and you’re not quite sure what it means. It’s gone over your head. It didn’t go into your head so that you understood it, it went over your head!

This is a really awesome one for you to try out when you’re in an English conversation and somebody says something that you don’t quite understand. You’re not sure about the meaning. You can say to them, ‘Sorry that went straight over my head, can you say it again?’

Examples.

  • I tried to take in what he was saying about nuclear fusion, but most of it went over my head.
  • Sorry that went straight over my head, can you say it again?

This idiom has TWO meanings!

The second one is: To speak with a more important or powerful person, to get what you want.

Example.

  • If he doesn’t start behaving like a manager and treating his staff fairly, I’ll have to go over his head.

Well, that’s it for this lesson! I hope that you’ve learned a few new English idioms that you can try out soon. Make sure that you subscribe to my Youtube channel so that you find out when I release new lessons. There are plenty of other video lessons that are already on my Youtube channel, so check them out!

You can also find me on Facebook or come and check out my website at www.mmmenglish.com where you can learn a bit more about my online English courses.

Bye for now!

 

mmmEnglish Video Lessons are a series of video lessons created to build confidence in English learners and focus on English in daily life. Download them and watch them anywhere! Subscribe to my YouTube Channel to be the first to get my new videos, and come and say hi on my Facebook page!!