Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Those Darn Idioms! #1

Probably the most difficult for a non-native speaker of English are all it's idioms and expressions that make very little sense when directly translated. A few years ago I found a lovely book, The Wordsworth Dictionary of Idioms, in a bookstore, which has ever since been resting peacefully in by bookcase. I decided to pop it out for a bit of an exercise for this blog however, and intend to, at very irregular intervals, to write posts with some interesting idioms found in my lovely book. Also, I have some other interesting finds in my bookcase that I will write more about later, for those of you who, like me, adore the English language and all it's nuances. Now, however, I will focus solely on idioms. The definitions are all taken from the aforementioned book. Enjoy!

Make a mountain out of a molehill
"to exaggerate the importance of a problem"
E.g.  "Don't make a mountain out of a molehill. I'm sure one mistake will not lose you your job."

Beggars can't be choosers
"if one is in need one must accept whatever one is given whether or not it is what one would have chosen."
E.g.  "You are in luck. I would like to say no, I really would. But beggars can't be choosers, so I guess I will have to go along with your suggestion."

Sweet nothings
"loving but unimportant things whispered to some attractive of the opposite sex."
E.g. "He whispered sweet nothings in her ear, his warm breath caressing her skin."

No great shakes
"not very good or important."
E.g. "I read his report, and it was no great shakes. Do you think I should offer to proof-read it the next time?"

A king's ransom
"a vast amount of money."
E.g. "I wouldn't go out with you for a king's ransom!"

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