7 English Idioms - Idiom Examples and Exercises for Students #3

This is the third in the series of common idioms with meanings, examples sentences and conversation followed by exercises for students.

Common Idioms

  1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush
  2. Call it a day
  3. Don’t judge a book by its cover
  4. Fish out of water
  5. Look before you leap
  6. Miss the boat
  7. The grass is always greener

Idiom Definitions

  1. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush: It is better to hold onto something you already have, rather than risking it for something that is uncertain
  2. Call it a day: To stop working or end an activity
  3. Don’t judge a book by its cover: Don’t make assumptions about someone or something based on just their appearance
  4. Fish out of water: Feeling uncomfortable or out of place in the situation
  5. Look before you leap: To think carefully before taking action
  6. Miss the boat: To miss an opportunity or chance
  7. The grass is always greener: Alternatives or other people’s situations seems better than yours, even though this may not be true

Example Sentences

  1. The girl could have given up her nice job to start working at the new shop but a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
  2. We’ve finished our homework, let’s call it a day and go play outside.
  3. Sally thought the new student would be mean because of his tattoos, but she learned not to judge a book by its cover when he helped her with her math homework.
  4. When I moved to a new country, I felt like a fish out of water because everything was so different.
  5. Before crossing the street, remember to look before you leap to ensure it’s safe.
  6. Sarah missed the boat when she wanted to join the school choir because she didn’t turn up to the rehearsals.
  7. Tommy always wants to change his role in the play because he thinks the grass is always greener on the other side.

Example Conversations

Amy: “Should I trade my old toy for Jason’s new one?” Sarah: “Think carefully, Amy. Remember, a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. You already have a toy that you enjoy.”

Jack: “We’ve been playing for hours. Should we keep going?” Lily: “No, let’s call it a day. We’ve had a good training session.”

Tom: “I don’t want to partner with Mark for the science project. He seems so quiet.” Lisa: “Don’t judge a book by its cover, you might be pleasantly surprised.”

Mia: “I just moved to a new school. I don’t know anyone here.” Alex: “It’s normal to feel like a fish out of water in a new place. Give it some time, and you’ll start making friends.”

Sarah: “I’m thinking of signing up for the school talent show.” Emma: “That sounds exciting! Just remember to look before you leap and make sure you’re well-prepared.”

Ryan: “I wanted to join the basketball team, but I forgot to submit the registration form.” Emma: “Oh no, Ryan! It looks like you missed the boat. The deadline was last week.”

Mike: “I wish I had a bigger room like yours, Emily.” Emily: “Well, the grass is always greener on the other side. You might not like it so much when you have to tidy up and do the cleaning.”

Idiom Exercises

Identify the Correct Idiom

Delete the incorrect idiom:

  1. Before you jump into the swimming pool, remember to (look before you leap / don’t judge a book by its cover) to make sure it’s deep enough.
  2. We have finished our painting project for today. Let’s (miss the boat/ call it a day) and clean up.
  3. Lisa always wishes she had curly hair like her friend Sarah, but she fails to see that (the grass is always greener/ a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush) on the other side.
  4. Tim thought the new student was not good at sports because he was thin, but he soon realized not to (call it a day/ judge a book by its cover) when he saw him playing basketball skillfully.
  5. I was offered a job in another city with a higher salary, but I decided to stay because (a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush / you should look before you leap) and I felt good at my current position.
  6. I wanted to buy that limited edition toy, but I (missed the boat / call it a day) and decided to save my money instead.
  7. Sarah felt like (a fish out of water / the grass is always greener) when she moved to a new country and had to adjust to a different culture and language.

Complete the Sentence with the Correct Idiom

Fill in the blanks:

  1. As an exchange student in a foreign country, I often feel _________, trying to adapt to new customs and language.
  2. I know you’re tempted to quit your job and search for a better one, but remember that _________.
  3. I wanted to buy tickets for the concert, but they sold out so quickly. I _________ on that one.
  4. Jenny is always dreaming about living in a big city, but she fails to realize that _________ on the other side.
  5. Just because someone looks quiet and serious doesn’t mean they’re not friendly. Remember, _________.
  6. Tommy always rushes into decisions without thinking. I always tell him to _________.
  7. We’ve been studying for hours, and it’s getting late. Let’s _________ and continue tomorrow.

Give an Example with Idiom Use

Give an example when you would say the following:

  1. Call it a day
  2. Don’t judge a book by its cover
  3. Look before you leap
  4. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush

Example #1: I’m too late to join, I have missed the boat again.

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.

Comprehensive List of Idioms

If you are interested in learning idioms then visit our series of articles with definitions, examples and exercises. If you want to find the meaning of an idiom then there is an ultimate list where you will find many idioms with the definitions and example sentences.