Idioms and expressions with animals πŸ¦˜

Idioms and expressions using animals

One way to sound more natural in another language is to use expressions or idioms which native speakers use. There are so many of them in English, so I thought I would write a quiz using some idioms and expressions with animals.

Look at the expressions/idioms below and match them to the meanings:

  • be raining cats and dogs πŸˆβ€β¬› πŸ•
  • be as stubborn as a mule 🐴
  • be as timid as a mouse 🐁
  • have ants in one’s pants 🐜
  • have a frog in one’s throat 🐸
  • fight like cats and dogs 🐱🐢
  • smell a rat 🐭
  • feel like a fish out of water 🐟
  • let sleeping dogs lie 🐩
  • the straw that broke the camel’s back 🐫

  • think something is suspicious
  • not get along and argue a lot
  • ignore a problem or situation in order to avoid making it worse
  • be raining heavily
  • get scared easily
  • a bad thing which happens after many bad things
  • not be willing to change your opinion
  • feel uncomfortable in new or different surroundings or situations
  • be unable to sit still (often due to being excited or nervous)
  • have a hoarse voice

Now, use the idioms or expressions to complete the sentences below:

Note: You may have to change some words in the idioms or expressions.

  1. You can talk to him but I don’t he will change his mind as he __________________________.
  2. My beach holiday was terrible because it __________________________ every day and _________________________was that I got food poisoning and was too sick to leave my hotel when the sun finally came out.
  3. When I first went to Japan, I ____________________________as it was so different from Australia.
  4. It is hard to believe that she __________________________when she was a child as she is so bold and brave now.
  5. She is going overseas for the first time next week, and she just can’t wait- she ________________and can’t focus in class this week.
  6. She was asked to invest in a business venture but pulled out at the last minute as she _________________. Luckily, she did as it turned out to be a scam.
  7. They _______________________________as many siblings do but they are always there for each other at the end of the day.
  8. Please excuse me as I ____________________ due to a cold. I hope you can understand what I am saying!
  9. She wanted to tell her boss about the ongoing issues in the staffroom, but she decided to _________________________as she thought it wouldn’t be worth the trouble it could cause.

You can get my contact information from the contact page of this website or connect with me on social media for the answers and explanations to this quiz πŸ“

Idioms and expressions with parts of the body πŸ‘£

Idioms and expressions using parts of the body

This is for one of my dear students, Chayeni, who loves learning and using idioms in English. One way to sound more natural in another language is to use expressions or idioms which native speakers use. There are so many of them in English, so I thought I would write a quiz using some idioms and expressions using parts of the body.

Look at the expressions below and match them to the meanings:

  • see eye to eye
  • slip one’s mind
  • have a sweet tooth
  • be all thumbs
  • be in over one’s head
  • have butterflies in one’s stomach
  • cost an arm and a leg
  • have itchy feet
  • from the bottom of one’s heart
  • be a shoulder to cry on
  • think on one’s feet
  • has the cat got your tongue ?

  • clumsy and awkward with one’s hands
  • fully agreeing with someone
  • being sincere when you say something
  • having a very high price
  • asking someone why they are being unusually quiet
  • being kind and offering support when someone is sad
  • reacting quickly and effectively to a situation
  • feeling nervous or excited
  • a situation you cannot manage as it is too difficult for you
  • a strong desire to travel
  • loving sugary food
  • forgetting something

Now, use the idioms or expressions above to complete the sentences below:

Note: You may have to change some words in the idioms or expressions to fit into the sentences correctly.

  1. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t been overseas for over two years and I have________________.
  2. I am so sorry about what I said to you. I was furious when I said it and I didn’t mean it. I apologise _____________________.
  3. He took the job offer but now he is worried he is ________________as he is responsible for more staff members than he thought he would be.
  4. Why are you so quiet today ?___________________?
  5. When new teachers teach their first class they often ___________________.
  6. She _______________________so I think she would prefer something sweet to something savoury.
  7. Australia has a very high cost of living and many overseas visitors are surprised that things which are reasonably cheap in their countries _______________________here.
  8. I have to remind my students to do their homework as it often seems to______________!
  9. Even though we rarely __________________ at work, we get on well outside of the office.
  10. Being a manager means you have to _______________________ as unexpected issues can often crop up.
  11. He was such a good friend when she was going through a terrible time and he was ________________ for her.
  12. He has a brilliant mind but he __________________when it comes to handy work around the house.

You can find my contact information on the contact page of this website or connect with me for the answers and explanations to this quiz πŸ“

The semicolon ; πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸ«

How do I use a semicolon?

You might not see the semicolon used as much as other punctuation marks, but it is good to use as it can be pretty useful😊

It can add variety to your writing. This is important if you plan to sit an English proficiency exam like IELTS, PTE or one of the Cambridge English tests.
So how do we use it?

  1. We can use it with a transition. When we use a semi colon with a transition, we use it before the transition and then a comma is usually used after the transition.

Note: A transition is a word or phrase which links ideas.

Let’s take a look:

I didn’t answer the question in my essay properly; therefore, my teacher said I had to rewrite it.

I think learning English is enjoyable; in addition, I believe it will help me in my career.

He barely studied for the test; nevertheless, he passed it with flying colours.

2. We also use a semicolon to join two simple sentences or independent clauses together, but the clauses must be closely linked to each other in meaning.

She is a diligent student; she studies every day.

I love teaching; I enjoy seeing my students develop their English skills.

3. We use a semicolon in a list of things where there are already commas. 

My student worked hard on her punctuation problems which included comma splices, capitalization errors, and apostrophe mistakes; her grammatical mistakes which included tense problems, subject verb agreement issues, and incorrect verb patterns; and her vocabulary errors which included spelling and collocation mistakes.

So, as you can see, the semicolon is handy to use and not difficult when you know how to use it. Why not try it next time you are writing an essay ?😊

I or me ? πŸ˜«

When to use I and when to use me ?

This can be confusing for both native speakers and non- native speakers of English 😩

To start with, let’s do a little quiz πŸ“

Which sentences are correct ?

  1. Me and my friends love learning English with our fabulous teacher!
  2. My teacher told my friend and me off for talking in class.
  3. My teacher and I discussed how to improve my essay writing skills.
  4. Could you please email my friends and I the lesson notes ?

Let’s see how you did!

  1. Me and my friends love learning English with our fabulous teacher! ❌
  2. My teacher told my friend and me off for talking in class. βœ”οΈ
  3. My teacher and I discussed how to improve my essay writing skills. βœ”οΈ
  4. Could you please email my friends and I the lesson notes? ❌

Now, let’s take a look at why these sentences are correct or incorrect.

First of all, I is a subject pronoun and me is an object pronoun.
Please note: The subject of a sentence is the person or thing doing the action in the sentence or what the rest of the sentence is about. The object of a sentence is the person or thing the action is happening to.

So, let’s look at the sentences again.

  1. Me and my friends love learning English with our fabulous teacher! ➑️ Me and my friends = subject in this sentence and me is an object pronoun so this is why it is incorrect.
  2. My teacher told my friend and me off for talking in class.➑️ My friend and me =object in this sentence and me is an object pronoun so it is correct.
  3. My teacher and I discussed how to improve my essay writing skills. ➑️My teacher and I = subject in this sentence and I is a subject pronoun so it is correct.
  4. Could you please email my friends and I the lesson notes ?➑️My friends and I=object in this sentence and I is a subject pronoun so it is incorrect.

So, next time you are confused about which personal pronoun to use , think about whether you are the subject or the object in the sentence.

I hope this has helped you to know when to use I and when to use me 😊

Who or Whom β“❓❓

Do I use who or whom?

This is something I see native speakers making mistakes with and something my students ask me about, so here is some information about it as it is obviously confusing.

Both words refer to people and are either question words or relative clauses markers (relative pronouns)

We use who for the subjects in a sentence or question. The subject of a sentence is the person or thing doing the action in the sentence or what the rest of the sentence is about.

Who is teaching the new course ?

The teacher who is teaching the new course is a colleague of mine.

We use whom for objects in a sentence or question. The object of a sentence is the person or thing the action is happening to.
Whom is considered quite formal and it is not used as much these days as it used to be.

Whom will you recommend as a good teacher ?

The teacher whom I admire is very experienced and personable.

Whom is used after prepositions too as this is also considered an object in a sentence or question (indirect object).

To whom are you speaking ?

My friend, in whom I confide, is very trustworthy . Note : My friend, whom I confide in, is very trustworthy is also correct.

You may not hear whom very much in everyday conversation but if you would like to use it, I hope this has helped you understand how to use it correctly and to understand the difference between who and whom 😊

Countable and uncountable nouns πŸ˜…

Is this noun countable or uncountable ?

Most of you would have learnt that some nouns are countable ( dollars $$ ) and some nouns are uncountable ( money πŸ’°) and the rules which go with using countable and uncountable nouns.
Let’s do a little revision on this πŸ‘©πŸ»β€πŸŽ“

*We use many and few for countable nouns.

There are many students who study online these days .

*We use much and little for uncountable nouns.

Do you have much knowledge about uncountable nouns ?
Note : we use much in negative statements and questions.


*We use a lot of for both countable and uncountable nouns.

There are a lot of different smartphones on the market these days.

Nowadays there is a lot of new technology which makes our lives easier.


*Uncountable nouns take a singular verb.

The new software is very user-friendly .


*We must use a determiner ( a / the / my etc. ) before a singular countable noun.

My new laptop is amazing.


When we first learn that nouns can be countable or uncountable, we learn which ones are which, but as you advance in your English learning, you will see many nouns can be both countable and uncountable depending on the context.

Let’s look at the following sentences which have nouns which can be both countable and uncountable.

Can I please have a slice of cake ? 🍰 In this sentence, the person is not asking for a whole cake but a piece of a cake so cake here is uncountable.

Can I please have a cake? 🧁 In this sentence, the person is asking for one whole cake so cake here is countable.

I want chicken for dinner πŸ— In this sentence, the person is saying they want to eat chicken meat for dinner and it is uncountable.

There are many chickens on that farm πŸ“ In this sentence, chickens refer to animals and here they are countable.

He hasn’t had much experience in this industry so we need to train him. Experience in this sentence means time spent doing something in a specific area or industry and it is uncountable.

I had many interesting experiences when I lived in Japan. Here, experience refers to different things or events which one can experience and it is countable.

Do you have enough time to help me with this project? Here, time is uncountable and is used in the context of how much time ( measured in minutes, hours, days etc.) it takes to do something.

He has been to Fiji many times. In this sentence , time is referring to how often one has done something ( it refers to an occurrence ).

Could I please have a glass of wine? 🍷
In this sentence, glass is countable as it refers to a container you put drinks in.

These wine glasses are made of beautiful glass. In this sentence, we have glasses as countable ( in the plural ) and then we have glass as an uncountable noun- it refers to material which is used to make things.

Mini quiz time πŸ“

Are the following sentences correct ?

There isn’t much room in my house.

I think the furnitures in this house are beautiful.

There isn’t enough light in this room to read.

I must go shopping to buy more equipment for my new project.

Answers :

Number 1 is correct ( There aren’t many rooms in my house is also correct – room is both countable and uncountable )

Number 2 is incorrect ( furniture is uncountable)

Number 3 is correct ( There aren’t enough lights is also correct – light is both countable and uncountable )

Number 4 is correct ( equipment is uncountable)


So , please keep in mind that although you may have learnt a noun as countable or uncountable , it could be both depending on the meaning and context 😊




Complex sentences πŸ€”

In English we use simple, compound and complex sentences and in this post I will write about complex sentences.

If you want to take your English to the next level, using complex sentences instead of only simple or compound sentences is an effective way to do this.

So what are complex sentences and how do we form them? They are sentences made up of an independent clause ( this is part of a sentence which can stand alone – a simple sentence ) and a dependent clause ( part of a sentence which cannot stand alone- it needs some more information for it to make sense ).

Let’s look at an example.

I really enjoy my English lessons because my teacher is fabulous.

Which part of this sentence ( or which clause ) can stand by itself and make sense?

Which part of this sentence ( or which clause) cannot stand by itself or needs some extra information for it to make sense ?

➑️ I really enjoy my English lessons- this can also be a simple sentence as it can stand alone and it is complete.

➑️ Because my teacher is fabulous – this is incomplete; it needs some extra information for it to make sense.

Let’s look at another example:

If you are serious about improving your speaking skills, you should speak English every day.

Can you find the independent and dependent clauses ?

➑️ If you are serious about improving your speaking skills is the dependent clause ( you cannot say/write this by itself)

➑️ you should speak English every day is the independent clause because it can stand alone and make sense. It can also be a simple sentence if you start it with a capital letter.

Note : When you start the sentence with a dependent clause, you can add a comma between the clauses like I have just done in this sentence and in the example above.

Note : A dependent clause is made up of a subordinating conjunction plus the clause. Subordinating conjunctions are joining words and using these makes your language complex. This will take your English to the next level which is important not only for everyday use but for the speaking and writing parts of English proficiency tests.

Just remember to use a variety of sentences when speaking or writing . Mix it up a bit and use some simple , compound and complex sentences 😊

English mistakes native speakers make πŸ€¦πŸ»β€β™€οΈ

Mistakes to avoid😫

I always suggest to my students that they hang out with English native speakers as this is a fast way to improve their English. I did the same thing when I lived in Japan and my Japanese improved quickly. However, native speakers make mistakes and these can be learnt by accident. So, I want to write about some typical mistakes English native speakers make so students can avoid using them 😊


See how many mistakes you can find in the email below ⬇️ (there are 9)

Dear Amanda,

Hello, how are you? I am writing to you to ask you for some advise and to say hi to.

I would of written earlier if I had not been so busy, but I am working on Sunday’s now so I am pretty busy. Today is my day off and I am just laying on the couch so it’s a great time to write.

Your very helpful, I wanted to ask you about my friends and there business which is doing worse then when we last spoke….

Did you find all the mistakes? πŸ“

Let’s find out and see what is wrong with these mistakes.

  1. Advise is a verb. The noun is advice and in the sentence, we need a noun because we ask for something ( a noun).
  2. To is a preposition or part of the infinitive form of a verb (to + base verb) but in this context the word should be too which means also.
  3. Would of is not a grammatically correct structure at all as after modal verbs we always use the base verb. We use would + have + present participle to form part of a third conditional structure which is in the sentence.
  4. Sunday’s- we do not use apostrophes with plurals unless we want to show possession so the correct word is Sundays. Please see my blog post Apostrophes to show possession for more information on this.
  5. Laying is a transitive verb (it needs an object after it ) so the correct verb is lying as there is no object in the sentence and lying is an intransitive verb (it doesn’t take a direct object after it).
  6. Your is an adjective showing possession. We use is before nouns but in this sentence we need to use you are or you’re because helpful is an adjective and so we need the be verb which is ” are ” because the subject is “you”.
  7. You’re a very helpful person, I wanted to ask you …..This is a punctuation mistake called a comma splice and you can read more about it in my blog post comma splices .
  8. There shows existence but the possessive adjective their is needed in the sentence to show the business belongs to the friends.
  9. Then shows time or sequence and we need to use than here as the comparative is used.

Number six (your) is my pet hate (something I really don’t like at all ) but unfortunately, I see this a lot 😱

So, if you see any of these mistakes , please don’t use them and you may even want to teach your friends why they are wrong πŸ˜‰

Phrasal verbs- part two πŸ₯³

More phrasal verbs!

In a previous post, I went over some information about phrasal verbs (you can check it out here Phrasal Verbs – friends or foes) , but some questions have come up from some of my students so I came up with the idea of writing another post on phrasal verbs.

First – how many phrasal verbs have you come across in this post so far?

Five ! We use them a lot as native speakers so they are very important for you to learn too!

Even if you don’t know the meanings of these phrasal verbs, you might be able to work them out (another phrasal verb) from the context. This is an important skill to learn to improve your reading skills.

See how you go in this little quiz πŸ“

Match the following phrasal verbs with the meanings below :

go over     come across check out       work out             come up come up with                           
*find something you weren’t looking for         *think of an (idea or suggestion)     
*look at something to see what you think *understand something or resolve it *look at something or examine it  *appear        

Read on to see if you were correct ⬇️

Let’s talk about different types of phrasal verbs :

Intransitive – these phrasal verbs do not have objects.

Some questions have come up. ( appeared)

Transitive these phrasal verbs always have objects.

I went over( examined/looked at) some information about phrasal verbs.

I came up with ( thought of ) the idea of writing another post on phrasal verbs.

These phrasal verbs are inseparable which means the phrasal verbs can’t be separated – we cannot put an object in between parts of the phrasal verbs.

Separable phrasal verbs can be separated- the object can come in the middle of the phrasal verb.

You can check my phrasal verb post out here ( look at my post to see what you think )
* Please note that you do not have to separate the phrasal verb -You can check out my phrasal verb post here.

However, if we use a pronoun instead of a noun as the object , we must separate the phrasal verb -we must put the pronoun in the middle of the phrasal verb:

You can check it out βœ…

You can check out it ❌

Even if you don’t know the meanings of these phrasal verbs, you might be able to work them out (understand them) from the context. This is also separable so the object can come in the middle of the phrasal verb or after it (if we use the noun as the object but we must separate the phrasal verb if we use the pronoun)

You might be able to work the meanings out βœ…

You might be able to work out the meanings βœ…

You might be able to work them out βœ…

You might be able to work out them ❌

Check out the phrasal verb quizzes from my blog post Phrasal verbs -friends or foes and try to work out what kind of phrasal verbs they are 😊