Idioms used in everyday English

They are numerous idiomatic expressions in English and they cause a great deal of confusion for a non-native speaker.

Here is a quick list of idioms very common in every day speech and writing.


If something happens 24/7, it happens twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. That means it happens all the time.

  • Their customer support center works 24/7.

A short fuse

This expression is used to refer to a person who has a short temper.

  • James is a nice guy, but he has a short fuse.

A taste of your own medicine

When you get a taste of your medicine, you get bad treatment deservedly.

Butterflies in your stomach

When you have butterflies in your stomach, you are very nervous.

Down for the count

When you are down for the count you are tired and unable to practice any longer.

  • No, I can’t accompany you to the market. I am down for the count after working in the garden all day.

Draw the line

To draw the line is to stop an activity at the point where it goes from okay to not okay.

Easier said than done

If something is easier said than done, it is more difficult than it appears to be.

  • You want me to work 14 hours a day? Easier said than done.

Every cloud has a silver lining

Used to say that you can find some good in every bad situation.

Fish out of water

This expression is used to refer to a person who seems out of place or uncomfortable.

Get something off your chest

To get something off your chest is to finally talk about something that has been bothering you for a while.