Fun English idioms to sound like a native

by | Sep 22, 2022 | Idioms & Expressions, Vocabulary

Maybe you have been studying English for a long time, or maybe you have just started learning this new language. Perhaps you are watching some TV series or movies in English and you feel like you will never be that fluent, even if you already have a good level. Would you like to know some English idioms to sound like a native ?

Well, first of all, remember to be kind to yourself. Learning a new language is always a challenge, with many ups & downs and obstacles along the way, and a lot of uphill walking to be honest, but who said it’s not worth it? The view will be beautiful from the top of the mountain, and you will reach it one day, that’s for sure! It is just a matter of motivation, patience and lots of practice.

In order to learn a new language, you have to study its grammar, pronunciation, and tons of new words… but is there anything missing? Is there anything else that can improve your fluency in English and make you feel more confident and sound just like a native speaker? Is there anything that we do not generally learn in school?

Well, one of the things that will make a difference when speaking a foreign language is knowing its typical idioms (like the case of the animals here. Think about it: how many fun expressions do you use in your everyday life when speaking in your native language? Probably many. Why not learn some of them in English too, then?

In fact, for more advanced students, idioms are the key elements which really make a difference when speaking in English. If you want to sound like a local, you should learn to master as many as you can, so have fun and check out these 10 hilarious expressions in English that people commonly use. Maybe you’ve already heard/seen a few, but now it is time to make them yours!

1. When pigs fly

Have you ever seen a flying pig? Yeah, we haven’t either. This is why this expression is used to describe an unrealistic situation that will never happen.

Woody: Ready to lose at checkers, Slink?

Slinky Dog: When pigs fly. – Toy Story

Fun English idioms to sound like a native

2. The elephant in the room

Well, unless you are living in a big French castle, an elephant in a room of your house will not be too comfortable. We use “The elephant in the room” to refer to an uncomfortable situation, when there is a big issue that everyone is pretending not to see.

When there is an elephant in the room, introduce him. – Randy Pausch

3. A hot potato

No, we are not talking about the game for kids. Have you ever tried eating a hot potato? If you haven’t, just know that it is not a pleasant experience. The expression “A hot potato” is used to refer to a topic that no one wants to speak about or address. 

It is still a political hot potato.

4. To have Van Gogh’s ear for music

This is one of our favorite ones, even though it is a little bit sad for our dear friend Van Gogh. Do you remember what the renowned painter did? He cut his ear off. If you are telling someone that they have Van Gogh’s ear for music, you are not paying them a compliment. You are saying that they do not understand much when it comes to music!

5. Couch potato

Yeah, we do not know why English speakers like talking about potatoes that much. Anyway, what does “couch potato” mean? Try to imagine a potato on a couch. It is not a very dynamic image, is it? Well, a couch potato is someone who enjoys spending his time on the couch, maybe watching TV or… learning new idioms on this website – ha!

When I’m done playing football, I just might be the couch potato dad. – Troy Polamalu.

6. Hold your horses

Hold your horses

As we were talking about sports… have you ever done some horse riding? Maybe, when you did your first lessons, you noticed how hard it can be to hold a horse which just wants to run. Well, if someone is telling you to hold your horses, they are asking you to slow down, not to panic, to stop.

7. Elvis has left the building

What happened when the great Elvis left the building where he was playing? Well, the show was over. That is exactly what this expression means: the party is done. It is time to go home.

8. Raining cats and dogs

Can you picture the scene, with raindrops being cats and dogs? Even though all animal lovers would be very happy about it – until they get hit by a Great Dane on their heads – that would not be very comfortable. When someone is saying that it is raining cats and dogs, it means that there is a heavy rain.

9. To drink like a fish

A fish… drinking? Well, fish live in the water and, with their mouth open, it seems like they are drinking all the time. This is why this idiom is used to refer to someone who is drinking heavily!

I gamble like a degenerate. I drink like a fish. I have three different federal agencies looking to indict me. – The Wolf of Wall Street

10. Put a sock in it

In almost every old comedy movie/show, there was a scene where someone was putting a sock in another person’s mouth to keep them quiet. This might not be the most polite idiom ever, but it’s a colorful expression that may come in handy if you want to tell someone noisy to be silent.

Put a sock in it. I don’t care who does what to your Hershey Highway… And stop shouting. I’m not deaf. You know why you’re shouting? Because it’s in the script. You’re the comic relief. Yes, and you know what else? I’m the hero so shut up! – Last Action Hero

Do you want to know more about funny words in English to speak like a native? If so, click here

Fun English idioms to sound like a native

Article written by Break Into English’s Italian teacher and blog contributor Claudia Di Domenico.

Fun English idioms to sound like a native