This is a guest post by Cheryl Posey. She is a licensed and nationally certified speech pathologist that focuses on Accent Reduction and Communication Skills Training. You can find and follow her on her Speaking Your Best website.
For anyone who speaks English as a second language, idioms can be very confusing and difficult to understand. This article will review some common expressions/idioms using the word “get” and offer some advice on how to improve your spoken English. Memorize these idioms, and soon you will “get the hang of” (understand) what Americans are really saying!
Don’t let not understanding every word someone says “get you down” (make you sad or depressed). The main thing you want to do is “get the idea” (understand the concept) of what they mean. That is not to say that you won’t “get stuck” (have difficulty) on some words people say from time to time, but you can always “get out” (take out) a notebook and write down specific words to look up in a dictionary later. Also, try to “get up the courage” (be brave enough) to ask people what they mean if you don’t understand.
You will encounter many different types of people in your life: some people talk so much, you won’t be able to “get a word in edgewise”, while other people are so quiet, they only say enough to “get by” (the minimum). Try not to let people “get on your nerves” (annoy you), but instead try to make each new experience a learning opportunity! This is the best way to “get ahead” (advance in life)! I know this might “take some getting used to” (may be unpleasant at first, but after a while it will not be so bothersome). Mastering any language is difficult, especially when it comes to idioms, but “getting there” (the process of starting your goal and achieving it) is half the battle.
Remember, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” (when things get difficult, don’t give up). If you continue to practice your speaking skills, make learning new words a focus of communication, and ask questions when you don’t understand something, you will see a quick improvement in your English!
Question: What is your most frustrating idiom?