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Idioms and Common English Expressions

A short collection of English Expressions and Idioms that can help with getting a higher score on the IELTS: International English Language Testing System exam (in particular the IELTS speaking test):

Help with IELTSA leopard can’t change its spots

An apple a day keeps the doctor away

An offer one can’t refuse

Anyway you slice it

Appearances can be deceiving

You can’t judge a book by its cover

As far as I can see

All in

At the end of their rope

Beggars can’t be choosers

Be right with you

Bet the farm

Bet your bottom dollar

Between you and me

Before you know it

Big brother is watching

Bite off more than they can chew

Bite the hands that feeds you

Boxed in a corner

Busy beaver

Busy bee

Busy work

Busier than a one armed paper hanger

Can do

Can’t hit the broad side of a barn

Can’t win them all

Can’t argue with that

Can’t be bothered

Can’t complain

Can’t cut the mustard

Can’t fight city hall

Can’t hold a candle to

Can’t judge a book by the cover

Can’t see farther than their nose

Come back to bite you

What goes around comes around

Changed your mind

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t

Fool me once, shame on you; Fool me twice shame on me.

Feel sorry for them

Get on their good side

Get on their bad side

Get more than you bargained for

Give two cents worth

Give another chance

Give a minute

Give them a heart attack

Give them the third degree

Given the green light

Good luck with that

Has their head stuck in the sand

Heads up!

Here you go

Having a hard time

Happy as a clam

If you can’t stand the heat, keep out of the kitchen

If you can’t beat them, join them

Can’t see the forest for the trees

Can’t take it with you

Could sell ice to an Eskimo

Count on the fingers of one hand

Cut loose

Draw them a picture

Spell it out

Don’t dare

Don’t know how they could sleep at night

How does that grab you?

Hair of the dog

Under their thumb

On a tight leash

Hold on a minute

I kid you not

I didn’t catch that

I didn’t get that

Keep a secret

Kick the can down the road

More than one can shake a stick at

Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.

Nice work if you can get it!

On track

On vacation

On welfare

On wheels

On your six

Once and for all

Once bitten, twice shy

Once the dust has settled


Once in a blue moon

Once in a while

One after another

One at a time

One and only

One can’t run before they can walk

Open a can of worms

It is the least one can do

They can dish it out, but they can’t take it

They were taken to the cleaners

Take it from me

Two can play that game

When pigs can fly

When hell freezes over

Will cross that bridge when we get to it

You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink

You can run, but you can’t hide

You can’t fight city hall

You can’t take it with you

You can’t win them all

You can say that again

You can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs

You can’t miss it

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks

You never can tell

Note: If anyone can think of any others please add them in the comment section.


Green-Eco-EV News Reporting by Ken Green Burridge

kenneth green burridge Kenneth Burridge test-drives electric Nissan LEAF in Melbourne Australia

EV of the Year Judge, independent green journalist, photographer, author and sustainability activist that has published over 1000 articles. Mr Burridge’s travels have taken him to over 40 countries and 300+ major cities. He is originally from the USA, but has been residing in Australia for the last seven years. Connect to Ken Burridge on: Twitter, facebook, Google+Linked in or website