Idioms by Definition

Purpose/Goal: to use idioms in personal stories

Number of Players: any number

Materials: paper

Procedure:

  • Have students think of an especially eventful day in their lives.
  • Tell them to turn to a partner and tell him/her about that day.
  • After both partners have talked, give students 20 to 30 minutes to write a narrative of the day’s events: who they met, how they felt, what they did. (This can also be done as homework.)
  • Have students read their own writing again, and add appropriate idioms to their stories.
  • Ask the students to exchange papers and read their partners’ narratives. Have students suggest idioms that their partners might use, explaining why they think each idiom is appropriate.
  • Have each student tell the rest of the class what idioms they have used in their writing.

Note to Teacher

Contextualizing idioms is very difficult. Idioms are so deeply connected to cultural identity and communication norms that non-native speakers have difficulty in using them correctly. This activity is for advanced speakers of English. It is not meant to be an activity with right and wrong answers. It is meant to give learners a chance to ‘play’ with idioms in the context of their own writing.