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What is an idiom?

What is an idiom?
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If you’re going to converse with English speakers, you’ll need to master our most commonly used idioms. What’s an idiom, you ask? Google.com’s handy dictionary offers the simplest explanation:

Idiom (noun): a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words (e.g., rain cats and dogs, see the light).

The thing about idioms is that they’re often scrambled, mixed, and lost in translation! Here are some of the most common mix-ups. Don’t miss the grammar mistakes you could be making.

Bat vs. back

Bat vs. back
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Right: Right off the bat

Wrong: Right off the back

What the idiom means: From the very beginning…

Here are 70 more words and phrases you’re probably getting wrong. 

Ear vs. year

Ear vs. year
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Right: Play it by ear

Wrong: Play it by year

What the idiom means: Don’t make solid plans; just see what unfolds.

Don’t miss these amusing stories behind common expressions. 

Pod vs. pot

Pod vs. pot
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Right: Two peas in a pod

Wrong: Two peas in a pot

What the idiom means: Two people who get along beautifully.

Dog eat vs. doggie

Dog eat vs. doggie
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Right: Dog eat dog world

Wrong: Doggie dog world

What the idiom means: It’s rough out there! People can be competitive and aggressive.

Scot vs. scotch

Scot vs. scotch
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Right: Got off Scot-free

Wrong: Got off Scotch-free

What the idiom means: To get away with something.

These are the common sayings that kind of make no sense.

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Bud vs. butt

Bud vs. butt
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Right: Nip it in the bud

Wrong: Nip it in the butt

What the idiom means: Stop something bad from becoming worse by catching it early.

Here are 10 ways you’re using apostrophes incorrectly. 

Up vs. in

Up vs. in
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Right: That’s right up my alleyWrong: That’s right in my alley

What the idiom means: This is the kind of thing I like!

These are the 13 idioms that are most commonly used in the English language. 

Insult vs. salt

Insult vs. salt
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Right: Add insult to injury

Wrong: Add salt to the injury

What the idiom means: To make a bad situation worse.

Court vs. hand

Court vs. hand
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Right: The ball’s in your court

Wrong: The ball’s in your hand

What the idiom means: It’s your turn to make a move.

Can you pass this high school English quiz?

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– The Reader’s Digest team