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Note 111 – What is an idiom?

“It was raining cats and dogs” is a well-known idiom and although the phrase does mean it’s raining heavily, it has nothing to do with cats and dogs, according to book The Queen’s English.  In his book Bernard C Lamb explains that “in idioms, the words taken together have a different meaning from their separate literal meanings”.

My brother sent me a link to The Phrase Finder, which is an excellent website created by Gary Martin; you can look up idioms, as well as phrases, sayings and expressions.  A few extracts from the site are as follows:

  • More fool you
  • What’s not to like
  • Mum’s the word
  • Jack of all trades

My thoughts: I believe that it’s fine to use idioms in your writing, but as Bernard C Lamb writes “only use idioms that your readers will understand”, which makes sense.

I hope you enjoyed today’s blog. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to receive my daily blogs by email so that you don’t miss any. Just click ‘sign me up’ on the home page. Alternatively you can follow my blogs on Twitter – @madeirasandra.

Until tomorrow…


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Reference list:

Bernard C. Lamb The Queen’s English (2010), UK

The Phrase Finder


About Sandra Madeira

I am a full-time working mum with a passion for writing and inspiring others. Subjects I tend to blog about are life skills, parenting, decluttering, worklife balance, etc. At the moment I am on a decluttering mission creating space in my house, garden and mind. I have challenged myself to do at least ten minutes a day and write about it. Have a good day! Sandra Freelance Writer


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