Five Useful English Idioms

Five Useful English Idioms

When gaining fluency in a language it’s always a pleasure to learn commonly used idioms. I thought I’d focus on five very simple, yet great English idioms that can be incorporated into your speech no matter what your level of English is.


When something finally happens that should have happened a long time ago you can use the expression “it’s about time”. You can also use it to express that it is nearly, or almost time to do something.

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– It’s about time the Richardson’s got a divorce. They’ve been unhappy in their marriage for years! (they’ve finally gotten a divorce)
– Don’t you think it’s about time we buy a new car? Ours is falling apart! (it’s nearly time to buy a new car)


The expression “all set” is another way of saying that you’re ready.
– We were all set to go to the beach when it started to rain. (we were all ready to go)
– All set? (another way of asking “are you ready?”)


When you want to get “a bite to eat” it means that you want to get something to eat, usually something that is quick or convenient.

– The play’s going to be long, so maybe we should grab a bite to eat before it starts. (we should get some food quickly)
– We’ve been on the road for four hours now! Can we stop to get a bite to eat? (can we stop and eat some food?)


If you’re finished with your work and are ready to go home you can use the expression “call it a day”.

– We’ve been working on this project for six hours and still haven’t finished it! I think we should call it a day. (we should quit working on the project and go home)

– The soccer team decided to call it a day after the center-back broke his leg during practice. (the team decided to stop playing soccer and go home)


When a dangerous situation almost happened you can call it “a close call”. You can also call an election or competition “a close call” when more than one person has a good chance of winning.

– I managed to swerve the car just in time to miss hitting the dog. However, it was a really close call. (I almost hit the dog)
– Today’s F1 race is a close call between Britain’s Jenson Button, Brazil’s Rubens Barrichello, and Australia’s Mark Webber. Who will win it is anyone’s guess! (they all have a good chance of winning)

And now it’s about time for me to call it a day. I’m off to go get a bite to eat! Até o próximo!

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Ashley Smith

Ashley Smith é americana que mora no Brasil desde 2001. Durante os primeiros sete anos aqui ela dava aulas particulares de inglês, e atualmente trabalha como diretora de conteúdo do site

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