Learning idioms in American English can be difficult. They seem so common, but in reality, they’re often used by people who don’t speak the language. So how do you learn these important phrases? It all starts with listening. You need to get a good feel for the way Americans use these idioms. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth the effort.
1. The first step is to listen and write down what you hear.
2. Start using a dictionary to look up words that are unfamiliar to you. If you don’t understand what a word means, you’re less likely to use it.
3. Look for similar words that are similar in meaning. For example, when I asked my students about the phrase “to catch a falling knife”, many of them came back with “to catch a falling star”. This makes sense because both of these phrases mean “to do something unexpected or surprising”.
4. Listen to American English speakers. They’ll be able to explain things better than most written English learners because they’ll have the experience and understanding of idioms.
5. Find a good podcast to listen to. Many people think they can learn American English from listening to podcasts, but this isn’t true. Podcasts are great for learning new vocabulary, but not so good for learning idioms. The reason for this is simple: American English has a lot of different idioms that don’t exist in British English.
6. Listen to movies and TV shows. Even if you’re not sure what they’re saying, you can still learn what American English sounds like.
7. Finally, use Google Translate. It’s free and easy to use. Just type in a phrase you don’t understand and it will give you a translation.