English is a complex language to learn for several reasons. From its complicated grammar to its extensive vocabulary, it is no wonder that English is so challenging to learn as a second language. For many of our students who attend our TOEFL prep classes, one of the most perplexing aspects of English is the idioms. You may have heard some common English idioms when you were talking to a native speaker or watching TV and been quite confused as to what they were saying. An idiom is a common expression whose meaning is not related to the literal meaning of the words. This can make it puzzling because it seems like someone is talking about something completely unrelated to the conversation. Not only will becoming more familiar with idioms help you understand more, using them makes your English sound more fluent. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the most common English idioms so you can better understand what people say. In this blog, we will go over some of the most common English idioms you may hear.


Idiom Meaning Usage
A blessing in disguise Something that seemed bad at first, but is actually good In a sentence
Better late than never It is better to be late than to not arrive at all By itself
Break a leg Good luck By itself
Call it a day Stop working on a task In a sentence
Get out of hand Become out of control In a sentence
Hang in there Don’t give up By itself
Hit the sack Go to bed In a sentence
So far, so good Things are going well so far By itself
To make a long story short To tell something briefly In a sentence
Under the weather Ill/sick In a sentence
Cut them some slack Don’t criticize someone so much On its own
To get bent out of shape To get very upset In a sentence
The best of both worlds A perfect situation In a sentence
You guess is as good as mine I don’t know On its own
To pull someone’s leg To joke with someone In a sentence
That’s the last straw I am out of patience On its own
Give someone the benefit of the doubt To trust someone because they haven’t given you a reason not to         On its own
No pain, no gain You need to work hard if you want something On its own
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it          Let’s address that problem later On its own
Speak of the devil The person we were just talking about just arrived On its own

Now that you know these common English idioms, bring one up in conversation! When you are preparing for the TOEFL, it is important to practice all of your English skills, including speaking. One of the best ways to practice speaking English is with our TOEFL prep classes! When are you are preparing for the TOEFL, check out of one of adult English classes; view our schedule here.