Idioms – as clear as mud?
Miranda Steel is a freelance ELT lexicographer and editor. She has worked as a Senior Editor for dictionaries for learners at OUP and has also worked for COBUILD. In this post, she looks at some of the weird and wonderful idioms in the English language. Idioms are commonly used in spoken and written English. Native English speakers are usually confident that their readers or listeners will recognize the idiom, so well-known phrases rarely need to be given in full. Some idioms can be shortened in other ways such as long story short (to cut a long story short). “Anyway, long story short, it turns out Drake isn’t really his father.” Sometimes only a fragment of the original idiom remains. Another common way of changing an idiom is to reverse its meaning. Many idioms are very versatile and can be changed in a variety of ways. “Why use a stick when a carrot will work better?” “Their approach is all stick and no carrot.” “They are using every carrot and stick at their disposal.” Like this: