Tuesday, 14 June 2011


What Is An Idom...?

An idiom is an expression consisting of a combination of words that have a figurative meaning. The figurative meaning is comprehended in regard to a common use of the expression that is separate from the literal meaning or definition of the words of which it is made.Idioms are numerous and they occur frequently in all languages. There are estimated to be at least 25,000 idiomatic expressions in the English language. (source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Idiom) 
Can I Use Idioms In My Essay...? 
  • Students are encouraged to  use idioms in PT3 and SPM examinations.Using relevant and suitable idioms in an essay will help students to get a better mark for their essay. 
  • Don't simply use idioms just for the sake of getting better grades for your essay paper, this will backfire if the idioms you use are irrelevant or out of place. 
  • You can use idioms in the beginning paragraph or in the body paragraph or in the closing paragraph. It all depends on the topic and suitability of the idioms used. 
  • Be careful not to over do it.You might be impressed but it does not necessarily mean the examiner would be.
  • Do not use idioms when writing formal letters or business letters.
  • So, for a better grade use at least three idioms.If you can't write three at least write one idiom in the closing paragraph.

Sample Sentences With Idioms...
  1. The suffering Adam went through in life was actually a blessing in disguise,for it has taught him to be prudent and thrifty with his finances. 
  2. Many obese Malaysians are actually couch potatoes.They just like to sit and eat on a couch all day long watching movies without moving an inch.
  3. Students who like to drag their feet will not be able to finish their school project on time.
  4. Students need to widen their horizons in order to face the challenges of globalisation.
  5. People who like to be mules for drug traffickers must learn to face the music if caught by the authorities.
  6. Sam has a gut feeling that something bad is going to happen today.
  7. Parents need to have a heart to heart talk with their teenage children often.This will help them to  understand the emotional turmoil their teenage children are going through better.
  8. Reading helps a person to be knowledgeable about his surroundings and not be in the dark.
  9. Parents need to keep an eye on their children's after school activities.
  10. We packed our things and headed to the remote village in Manjala. The journey was quite challenging and dangerous but we managed to steer clear of danger and reached the village safe and sound. 

  1. My father and mother are always at loggerheads, they never once agreed on anything, always pointing fingers at one another over silly matters.
  2. Sandy was on cloud nine as she got through her SPM examination with flying colours.
  3. After waiting for six long years, Pat and Mandy finally tied the knot. Their parents gave them an out of this world wedding reception as a wedding gift.
  4. Henry is quite wrapped up with his construction work. He just can't afford to take a break or put up his feet even for a second.
  5. Miranda has put on weight after giving birth to her baby girl. She plans to work out more to shed the extra pounds.
  6. Starting from 2013, every student must pass their History paper. Students are worried that they might not be able to sail through it because History is all Greek to them. 
  7. The old house opposite my house has a ghostly presence, it gives me goose bumps just looking at it.
  8. The bank was robbed in broad daylight.The police are not leaving any stones unturned, they are working out a game plan to catch the mastermind.
  9. People around the world must have an attitude of give and take in order to enjoy continuous peace.Insensitive words or religious undertones will only create ripples which can turn into a vicious cycle of unnecessary violence.
  10. The two opposing political parties are hoping for a landslide victory this coming election. Working committes from both parties have rolled up their sleeves for some serious campaining.


  1. good use of idioms on
    essays.... its very inspiring

  2. good ideas of use of idioms on essay....... i want more please give me more ideas on my yahoo id frank_niraj22@yahoo.com

  3. Helloooo. Idioms SHOULD NOT be used in essays. In fact, they're on par with cliches and should be avoided because they show a lack of originality and expression.

    1. Remember, this is Malaysia, where English is a second language. In some parts, it is considered as foreign language. I don't see that it is wrong to teach students to use idioms in their essay. Yes, it might kill the creativity, but remember as well that there are still many students who are not fluent enough in English language, making it not easy for them to come out with 'original expressions.'

  4. Dear Anonymous,

    Thanks for the comment,

    It is alright to use idioms in your essay. Just be careful not to overdo it.The idiom(s) that you choose must be relevant and appropriate to the theme or the topic of your essay.I agree that one must original in using idioms in his/her essay.Keep it simple and genuine.

    But, if you are not familiar on how to use them, then I would advise that you refrain from using them.

    *As for me,I prefer to teach my students to think out of box rather than following mundane one tracked essay writing style. A writer must be free to explore all boundries of his thoughts and imaginations and setting rules and boundries will only stifle and choke the life out of one's creative mind.

    1. Hello Kopitiam,

      What did you mean by 'keep it simple and genuine'?

      Did you mean we can make our own idioms?

      I agreed your point that there's a thing that restrain us students to be artistic, which is rules.

    2. Simple - try not to over do it, one or two idioms will do.As for genuine, use the original idioms which you can find in books or on the net.Well, if you can create your own idioms then that would be really cool.

      Be free to explore and if you manage to come up with your own idioms - check it out with your English teacher(s). All The best.

  5. Good examples OF idioms =)
    Can you help me ? i am confused with the sentence no.7 .
    -> This will help them to BETTER UNDERSTAND the emotional turmoil their teenage children are going through.

    ~ BETTER UNDERSTAND or UNDERSTAND BETTER ???? please explain . thank you :)

    1. Hi Anonymous :-

      "To better understand" or "To understand better" - which is right and which is wrong or can I use them both and if so how?

      Let's start with "Split Infinitive" - What are they...?

      1.A split infinitive is an English-language grammatical construction in which a word or phrase, usually an adverb or adverbial phrase, comes between the marker to and the bare infinitive (uninflected) form of a verb.

      2.Split infinitives happen when you put an adverb between to and a verb.

      Now that we know what they mean, let's move on to the next issue, which is
      "Die hard Grammar Guys" - whom I call Sticklers (Splitting the infinitive is a big No!No!).

      and "Creative and Explorative Guys" - whom I call Stylists (It's okay to be creative for language is subject to change)

      The Answer :- Formal English -[Stickler]

      7. Parents need to have a heart to heart talk with their teenage children often.This will help them to understand the emotional turmoil their teenage children going through better.

      The Answer :- Informal / Creative English- [Stylists]

      7. Parents need to have a heart to heart talk with their teenage children often.This will help them to better understand what kind of emotional turmoil their teenage children are going through.

      *In conclusion - "YES" you can use both terms-just be careful how you use them.In formal writing you should not split it....

      for better understanding on this matter check out the links below,they will clear your doubts for sure...




    2. Hello. I am a student sitting for SPM this year. My teacher tells the class that we should write our own narrative essay and submit it to her so she could correct them. After that, we would be using that essay in SPM for Section B's narrative essay. I have already made mine but I'm more into gory stuff and I tend to insert gory elements into my writing. I'm hesitant to submit my essay to my teacher because I'm afraid her impression of me might change.I'm hoping you could asses my writing instead. Please email me if you're okay with it; shut.the.hellup.16@gmail,com

    3. Send it to my gmail add....I'll check it when time permits...ok!

  6. Replies
    1. Glad that it could be a help to you!

  7. Teacher, can you give me some information and examples for the idioms . Please send to nikoning17@yahoo.com ~ Thanks a lot.

  8. Good Examples..

  9. teacher,i copy these idioms. thanks. *broken english.

    1. lol, no problem-use them wisely.

  10. it was useful...

  11. Dear Writer,

    Nice idioms.


  12. Thank you for the idioms :)

  13. For my SPM trial this year i almost lost out on my essay because my English teacher said that I did not use enough idioms and creative phrases. However my previous English teacher always told me to keep it simple and to dumb down my essays a little as it might make the examiners miss the point. Who do I trust?

  14. There are some truth in what both your teachers told you....

    Firstly, when writing an essay try not to overdo it by using bombastic words/some classy phrases which might look/sound cool but it may cause you to miss out on the point/fact you are writing about.

    As for using idioms-choose idioms which are suitable and in accordance with your point(s). Usage of wrong idiom(s) can cause you to loose marks.Don't use too many idioms as well in your essays.

    Min - 1
    Max - 3-5

    *The most important thing when writing an essay is - understanding the subject matter and writing accordingly. Flowery words or too many idioms do not promise high marks. Keep it simple,understandable and readable by using strong verbs,adjectives,adverbs,phrasal verbs and touch up with some idioms/words of wisdom.

  15. this is sooooooooooooo awesome like crazy babe

  16. Is that the Word highlighted in Red Colour Are Wrong?

    1. Not at all.
      The 'RED' letters shows how you can use 'TWO' idioms in a sentence.
      The 'BLUE' letters show how you can use more than two idioms in a sentence.

  17. Thanks ! It would be a big help for tomorrow exam XD

  18. this is very helpful!

  19. Great! Thank you teacher.. :-)

  20. i do think it is gooh anonymous,and tq 4 giving this

  21. tq kopitiam.my teacher gave me this web site.she told everyone in the class about your blog.

    1. You're Welcome,Sundram. Do thank your teacher for me for mentioning about my blog. I really appreciate it.....

  22. waa Nice. Thank you. wish me succses on my middle examination. To all students break a leg for ur exam ^^

  23. Hi, my mum always encourages me to include idioms in my essays but my teacher tells me to refrain from using them. Is there a certain way to get away with using idioms and somehow please both people? Thanks:)

    1. My advice - listen to your mum. She has foresight.

      There many reasons why some teachers discourage their students from using idioms in their essays. I can list them out but it will be of no benefit to you.

      As for me, I encourage my students learn to use idioms in the essay and in their daily conversation. It adds colour to your writing and speech.

  24. Dear kopitiam,i can remember idiom but i cannot/don't know how to put it in my essay..what must i do?

    1. Hi Anonymous, I can see your struggle....knowing idioms and knowing how to use them correctly are two different things.

      --First of all, you must understand its meaning. Only then you'll be able to use them(it) properly or correctly. Many students memorize the idioms but fail to use them(it) correctly. This is one of the reasons why many teachers don't encourage students to use idioms in their essays.You can learn how to use them by trial and error. Don't be afraid but use them as much as you can in your essays. For every mistake you make check with your teacher for clearity.

  25. this is great ever. ! thanx !

  26. Nice & helpful. You should put the meaning too so that readers can understand more. Thanks! :D

  27. Dear writer,
    it is very useful for me as a student
    thank you

  28. Mr kopitiam,i really need your help.My English is so lousy.I wish that you can teach me during the holiday.Next year I have to sit for SPM.And guess what,my English teacher always scold me..I never get other greds instead A before,but this year,i cannot pass with flying coloura for English.I dont know her technique actually.She only say the same thing everyday,ABOUT THE WORLD...Inbox me through my Messenger..this is my FB Villavicer Park.

    1. Hello young man, I have sent a friend's request to FB page --- add me and tell me your problem in detail....let me see what I can do..ok!

    2. It was a bit helpful can you tell me how to use "end in smoke" idiom in essay.

    3. First, let's look at the meaning of 'end(s) in smoke' - If something ends in smoke, it produces no concrete or positive result.

      Example 1 :- They lost the football match again. All their hard work and training just ended in smoke.

      Example 2 - Mr Benny invested a lot of money in his new beauty product business venture But, it can end in smoke if he doesn't manage to make a profit within two months time.

  29. how can i improve in my essay....