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  1. blouen's Avatar
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    #1

    Idioms- how often

    How often do you use idioms in a conversation?

  2. #2

    Re: Idioms- how often

    [CAUTION: I am not a teacher:take the advice and or corrections offered in this post at your own risk.
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    Depends on my mood, with whom I'm talking, and the conversation. I think this varies greatly from person to person as well. I usually add idiom when I'm trying to be funny or euphemistic (say something that might be offensive in a nice way).

    I had an older friend though, who would use idioms so liberally that his speech was often more idiom than direct expression. It was really funny sometimes and slightly confusing at others.

  3. blouen's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: Idioms- how often

    Quote Originally Posted by weiming View Post
    [CAUTION: I am not a teacher:take the advice and or corrections offered in this post at your own risk.
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    It was really funny sometimes and slightly confusing at others.
    [/COLOR]
    Yes, I think furnishing every sentences with idioms would sound very ridiculous.
    I am learning idioms with friends these days and everytime we use those we feel a little uncomfortable and gets everybody to laugh.
    I thought, how often does natives use idioms in conversations? Do they feel uncomfortable too? On second thought, I guess not, for they are used to hear those idioms everytime in conversations. So they wouldn´t be as reluctant as we are in using them.

    Do you have tips on how to feel comfortable using idioms?
    And when to use them? How to deliver them?

  4. #4

    Re: Idioms- how often

    [CAUTION: I am not a teacher:take the advice and or corrections offered in this post at your own risk.
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    Well, if you're making a conscious effort to "insert" an idiom, then you're probably not using it in the way it was intended, either because of context or delivery.

    Like a slightly less common word, idioms are used when more specific definition is required, or when direct speech just doesn't quite define the situation.

    Let's look at an example.

    "He's more than just picky over education, he's positively pedantic."

    Here, "picky over education" doesn't quite describe him, there's a better word which has this exact meaning: "pedantic".

    Further:

    "He's more than just picky over education, he's a dyed-in-the-wool pedant."

    "Dyed in the wool" is an idiom and it is used specifically to refer to someone who has deep, ingrained, usually traditional beliefs and refuses to change.

    It originally referred to dying sheep wool before it is made into thread or yarn, so that the resulting fabric holds its color. This is much more effective than saying "he's a real pedant", or something like that.

    Ideally, idioms should be used to better, or more accurately describe something, although even native speakers sometimes go out of their way to use them in a pretentious attempt to sound clever or knowledgeable.

    [wow, I do think I've outdone myself on this one]

  5. blouen's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: Idioms- how often

    Quote Originally Posted by weiming View Post
    [CAUTION: I am not a teacher:take the advice and or corrections offered in this post at your own risk.
    If you doubt the information, please get a qualified opinion from one of the teachers on these forums.]

    Well, if you're making a conscious effort to "insert" an idiom, then you're probably not using it in the way it was intended, either because of context or delivery.

    Like a slightly less common word, idioms are used when more specific definition is required, or when direct speech just doesn't quite define the situation.

    Let's look at an example.

    "He's more than just picky over education, he's positively pedantic."

    Here, "picky over education" doesn't quite describe him, there's a better word which has this exact meaning: "pedantic".

    Further:

    "He's more than just picky over education, he's a dyed-in-the-wool pedant."

    "Dyed in the wool" is an idiom and it is used specifically to refer to someone who has deep, ingrained, usually traditional beliefs and refuses to change.

    It originally referred to dying sheep wool before it is made into thread or yarn, so that the resulting fabric holds its color. This is much more effective than saying "he's a real pedant", or something like that.

    Ideally, idioms should be used to better, or more accurately describe something, although even native speakers sometimes go out of their way to use them in a pretentious attempt to sound clever or knowledgeable.

    [wow, I do think I've outdone myself on this one]
    That´s great!

    In the explication given, the idiom given I think explicitly shows a deeper meaning of something.

    How about idioms like these:

    * Monday morning quarterback
    * Backseat driver
    * Smart Alec

    - I´m thinking that if I use these idioms, they may quite complicate my sentences that those without such knowledge of idioms will surely not comprehend it easily.

  6. #6

    Re: Idioms- how often

    [CAUTION: I am not a teacher:take the advice and or corrections offered in this post at your own risk.
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    The same is true of a slightly complicated, and less often used word. You would be amazed how many people don't know (but think they do) the meaning of terms like "inhumane", "mano a mano" or "ironic". When some use these terms, and others hear them, they may not be clear on their meaning, but often no one is the wiser, perhaps because of their own ignorance.

    This is often what leads to the "doubling up" or use of a word or idiom after an explanatory phrase, or in a specific context. The context in which I used the "pedantic" and "dyed-in-the-wool" examples makes it fairly clear what they mean. Usually an idiom is the culmination of an explanation or description, so it has an explanation "built in to it". as:

    "He would seize any opportunity to remind us of the dangers of any adventure, he would try immediately to deflate our excitement at the prospect of exploring, he was the quintessential wet blanket."

    People retain a shaky knowledge of certain words and some idioms long into their acquisition of language, or even throughout their lives, this is evidenced everywhere in writing and speech. For this reason many speakers or writers consciously or unconsciously "explain" idioms as they use them.

    I, for example, have no idea what a "Monday morning quarteback" might imply. You should certainly consider the ability of those listening to you or reading your writing when you choose to use an idiom, and remember that any idiom or word
    (except, necessarily, the simplest words) can be explained with simpler words.

    But I think its great that you are incorporating them into your speech, and your language will be much better because of it. Of course, you should use an idiom just as you use any other word, when you feel it accurately conveys what you are trying to say.

    Last edited by weiming; 05-Sep-2007 at 05:14.

  7. blouen's Avatar
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    #7

    Re: Idioms- how often

    Quote Originally Posted by weiming View Post
    [CAUTION: I am not a teacher:take the advice and or corrections offered in this post at your own risk.
    If you doubt the information, please get a qualified opinion from one of the teachers on these forums.]


    But I think its great that you are incorporating them into your speech, and your language will be much better because of it. Of course, you should use an idiom just as you use any other word, when you feel it accurately conveys what you are trying to say.

    [/COLOR]
    I try to incorporate idioms in my language these days. I think I´d be needing them someday, especially at work and work related matters. Yes, I think that one sign of one´s skill to have been masterly nurtured is by the proper use of idioms. Words, of course, are a great deal in a language but furnishing it with idioms makes it brighter and life.

    I am now starting to make use of some words I tend to ignore before, like those that you´ve mentioned in your post, words that are not quite very common to people. I do have a hard time though, at some time I do, but still the the saying ¨Practice makes perfect¨ stays true.

    It has been a dream to masterly utilize adjectives, adverbs, phrasal verbs, and idioms, not to mention proverbs. I bend over backwards to excel in these aspects, and I´m pleased to see that my writing has improved remarkably(based on my own evaluation).

    Thanks for the tips Weiming.
    See you!

  8. #8

    Re: Idioms- how often

    [CAUTION: I am not a teacher:take the advice and or corrections offered in this post at your own risk.
    If you doubt the information, please get a qualified opinion from one of the teachers on these forums.]

    You might be greatly interested in this site, tell your friends if you find it useful:

    Expressions & Sayings Index

    "Practise makes perfect" is liked for its alliteration, but I find it to hardly be true in well...practise.

    I would argue that phrases like "perfect practise makes perfect" and "practise makes better" are closer to reality.

    But don't let that stop you from using this popular saying.

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    #9

    Re: Idioms- how often

    Quote Originally Posted by blouen View Post

    - I´m thinking that if I use these idioms, they may quite complicate my sentences that those without such knowledge of idioms will surely not comprehend it easily.
    It is a good idea to get into the habit of using idioms appropriately; there's little point in using idioms with a speaker whose language knowledge is insufficient to understand you.

  9. #10

    Re: Idioms- how often

    By the way ...

    American Football is, I believe, usually played on Sundays, thus "a Monday morning quarterback" is someone who on Monday morning criticizes what the players (most often the quarter back) have done on the football field the day before, i.e. in hindsight.

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