Idiomatic expressions

Idiomatic expressions are present in any language.
They are phrases that express ideas.  These phrases are sometimes not clear from the meanings of each individual word and they should be understood as a unit.
It's important to pay attention to them when we are reading or when we are listening to English and, of course, it's also very important to try to use them when we speak.

Read the following text about two sisters and pay attention to the idiomatic expressions (typed in red colour).

Alice was a troubled girl.  She was more often than not in a black mood for no particular reason.  Her manners were not really polite and she sometimes made things on purpose, just for the sake of annoying people.  For example, you could be asking her to do something until you became blue in the face, but she would ignore you completely.

Her sister, on the other hand, was quite the opposite.  She was a very pleasant girl who would always go the extra mile to help others in any way she could.  It was no secret that her father felt that she was the apple of his eye.  He felt so strongly for this daughter that he usually pampered her a lot, but not her sister.

Now, Alice, of course, used to feel green with envy every time her sister received red carpet treatment while she didn’t.  She didn’t mind expressing her opinions directly to her father, on the contrary she never beat around the bush to let her father know how furious she felt for this act of discrimination, as she called it. Her father’s preference for her sister is annoying for her, but it’s also a blessing in disguise because her father doesn’t expect many things from Alice.  He is quite demanding with her sister though.

However, Alice loved her sister, and she secretly admired her.  She reckoned that the two of them were very different, like apples and oranges, but she loved her sister very much and she said that to her sister, yet not very often, just once in a blue moon.

Did you understand what each idiom meant? Check your understanding with the following quiz:

1. When it is clear that you are wasting your efforts because you will get no results, you are ___________

2. When something that is apparently bad turns out to be something good, it's __________

3. When a person feels that he/she wants what the other person has, we can say that this person feels ______________

4. If something happens very rarely, or almost never, we can say this happens ______________

5. When a person tries to do his/her best in order to achieve something, or even more than the best, we can say that this person ___________ to achieve something.

6. He is the person I love most and I'm very proud of him. He's _________

7. It's better if you don't talk to him today. He's __________

8. You can't sit them together. They don't have anything in common. They're like __________

9. If you go to a five-star hotel, you will receive _____________. You feel like a star.

10. Go straight to the point. Don't __________

Score =
Correct answers:
You can also practise these idioms with this matching activity.