Have you consulted dictionaries?
Student or Learner
I'm little confused about phrase, idiom and proverb.
What is the differences between a phrase, an idiom and proverb? and how to know phrase, idiom and proverb in the text?
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***** NOT A TEACHER *****
About two years ago, I found some definitions that really helped me. May I share them with you?
1. The words are NOT literal.
a. "To kill two birds with one stone."
b. It does NOT actually mean to kill two birds with one stone.
c. (My note) It means to do two things at the same time.
i. (My example) If I walk to the supermarket, I kill two birds with one stone. That is to say, I (a) get some food that I need and (b) I get some exercise.
d. An idiom can often change tense (my examples):
I will kill two birds with one stone by walking to the supermarket tomorrow.
I killed two birds with one stone yesterday by walking to the supermarket.
1. The words are usually literal. (They mean exactly what they say)
a. "An apple a day keeps the doctor away." (My note: If you eat an apple every day, it will be good for your health. Then you will not become sick and not have to go to a doctor.)
b. Usually you canNOT change the tense. (My note: It is no longer a proverb if you say, "An apple a day kept / will keep the doctor away.")
c. It is usually a complete sentence.
d. A proverb usually reflects folk wisdom. (My note: "Folk wisdom" refers to ideas that people have developed about life.)
Those definitions come from Lexicographic Description of English (1986) by Morton and Evelyn Benson. I found it in the "books" section of Google.
Last edited by TheParser; 13-Oct-2014 at 13:09. Reason: changed one of my notes
An idiom is a phrase that has a meaning of its own that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words.
Here are some examples of idioms:
- to be fed up with means to be tired and annoyed with something that has been happening for too long
- to rub someone the wrong way means to irritate someone
- by the skin of your teeth means that something was successful, but only just barely. “She passed the test by the skin of her teeth” means she almost didn’t pass.
A proverb is a short popular saying that gives advice about how people should behave or that expresses a belief that is generally thought to be true. Here are some examples:
- Don’t cry over spilled milk.
- Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
- A stitch in time saves nine.