7 English Idioms - Idiom Examples and Exercises for Students #2

Do you want to use idioms like “once in a blue moon”, “call it a day” or “beat around the bush” like a native English speaker? Well why not “kill two birds with one stone” ,meaning achieve two things at the same time, by first learning idioms and their meanings, and second, practice using idioms and phrases used in everyday conversations.
Here are the second set of seven common idioms in English with their meaning to help students learn English. In the English language when the meaning of the individual words becomes different than their literal meaning it is called an idiomatic expression or simply an idiom. 
An idiom is a phrase whose meaning is “figurative”, which means that you’re saying a group of words that have a meaning that is different than its words. So “back to the drawing board” is to start again rather than return to a board.

Common Idioms

  1. Cost an arm and a leg
  2. Pull someone’s leg
  3. Jump on the bandwagon
  4. Every cloud has a silver lining
  5. Fingers crossed
  6. Raining cats and dogs
  7. Piece of cake

Idiom Definitions

  1. Cost an arm and a leg: very expensive
  2. Pull someone’s leg: to tease or joke with someone in a playful manner, often by saying something that is not true
  3. Jump on the bandwagon: to join or support a popular trend or movement, especially when it becomes popular
  4. Every cloud has a silver lining: there is often something positive even in a bad or difficult situation
  5. Fingers crossed: a gesture of hope for good luck or a positive outcome
  6. Raining cats and dogs: very heavy rain
  7. Piece of cake: easy to do

Example Sentences

  1. The race car was beautiful, but it cost an arm and a leg to buy and maintain.
  2. When Sarah told her amazing story, nobody believed her, thinking she was just pulling their leg.
  3. With the latest trend, everyone jumped on the bandwagon and started wearing the fashionable sunglasses.
  4. Despite the rain ruining their picnic, they found a nice café to take shelter in; every cloud has a silver lining.
  5. Jane crossed her fingers and hoped that she would win the lottery.
  6. We had to cancel the outdoor event because it was raining cats and dogs.
  7. The math problem was challenging for most students, but for Tim, it was a piece of cake; he solved it effortlessly.

Example Conversations

Emma: “I heard the new phone is amazing, but it costs an arm and a leg. I don’t know if I can afford it.” David: “Yeah, it’s too expensive. I will wait for it to get cheaper.”

Alan: “Did you really go to that party last night?” Eric: “No, I was pulling your leg yesterday, I was never really going to go.”

Lisa: “I’ve been hearing a lot about this new fitness craze. Should I try it?” Mark: “Well, a lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon, but make sure it’s suitable for you.”

Emily: “I failed my driving test. I’m really disappointed.” Alex: “I know it’s tough, but every cloud has a silver lining. You can learn from your mistakes and try again.”

John: “I have a job interview tomorrow. I hope I get the position.” Anna: “Fingers crossed for you.”

Kate: “I can’t believe how heavy it’s raining outside!” Tom: “I know, it’s raining cats and dogs.”

Ben: “I have a presentation to deliver tomorrow, but I haven’t prepared yet.” Sophie: “Don’t worry, Ben. You’re a great speaker, and I’m sure it’ll be a piece of cake for you.”

Idiom Exercises

Identify the Correct Idiom

Delete the incorrect idiom:

  1. When my favorite singer released a new song, I (jumped on the bandwagon / pulled someone’s leg) and downloaded it right away.
  2. My teacher told us that (every cloud has a silver lining / it’s raining cats and dogs) and even though we lost the game, we learned a lot from it.
  3. My friend always likes to (pull someone’s leg / cross fingers) and make jokes to make us laugh.
  4. Don’t worry, the test will be easy. It’ll be a (piece of cake / fingers crossed)!
  5. Even though (every cloud has a silver lining / it’s raining cats and dogs), we can stay indoors and play board games.
  6. The new video game console (costs an arm and a leg / has a silver lining) but everyone wants to buy it.
  7. I have an important job interview tomorrow, so please keep (fingers crossed/ pulling my leg) and wish me luck!

Complete the Sentence with the Correct Idiom

Fill in the blanks:

  1. I hope everything goes well in your job interview tomorrow. ____________________ for you!
  2. Even though she lost her job, she remained positive and believed that ____________________.
  3. Yes, it will be ______________, you’ll ace it.
  4. Don’t believe everything he says, he’s always _____________________.
  5. The weather forecast said it would be ____________________ tomorrow, so don’t forget your umbrella.
  6. When the new smartphone was released, everyone ____________________ and bought one.
  7. Wow, that designer handbag must have ________________. It’s so expensive!

Give an Example with Idiom Use

Give an example when you would say the following:

  1. Raining cats and dogs
  2. Fingers crossed
  3. Piece of cake
  4. Pull someone’s leg

Example #1: I know it is only a craze but I will jump on the bandwagon and buy the new single like everyone else.

Reading Comprehension Exercises

The English for study skills lessons will have a section to improve reading skills. Follow this link to read the reading texts and answer the simple reading comprehension questions.