27 Idioms for Writing + Quiz


Idioms are expressions that go beyond the literal meaning of words, adding color and flair to our language.

In this listicle, we’ll explore how these idioms can be powerful tools in your writing arsenal. Let’s dive in!

What is an Idiom for Writing?

An idiom for writing is a group of words whose meaning isn’t deducible from the literal interpretation of each word.

These phrases often carry a figurative sense, injecting vibrancy and depth into your prose. Let’s demystify these expressions with meanings and examples.


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Created by Dr. Julia Rossi

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1 / 20

What is a simile?

2 / 20

Identify the simile in the following sentence: “She swims like a fish.”

3 / 20

What is a metaphor?

4 / 20

Which of the following is a metaphor?

5 / 20

What is an idiom?

6 / 20

What does the idiom “break the ice” mean?

7 / 20

What is an adjective?

8 / 20

Choose the adjective in the following sentence: “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”

9 / 20

What is an abbreviation?

10 / 20

What does the abbreviation “e.g.” stand for?

11 / 20

What is a verb?

12 / 20

Identify the verb in the following sentence: “The cat sleeps on the sofa.”

13 / 20

“Out of the frying pan into the fire” is an example of:

14 / 20

Which of the following is an adjective?

15 / 20

The abbreviation “NASA” stands for:

16 / 20

Choose the metaphor in the following sentence: “Time is a thief.”

17 / 20

What does the idiom “hit the books” mean?

18 / 20

Which of the following sentences contains a simile?

19 / 20

“LOL” is an abbreviation for:

20 / 20

Identify the verb in this sentence: “They whispered secrets into the night.”

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IdiomMeaningIn a Sentence
Cut to the ChaseGet to the main point without unnecessary detailsIn my essay, I’ll cut to the chase and discuss the critical issues facing our society today.
Break the IceTo initiate a conversation in a friendly mannerTo ease the tension at the meeting, Sarah decided to break the ice with a lighthearted joke.
Hit the Nail on the HeadTo describe exactly what is causing a situation or problemThe detective hit the nail on the head when he identified the real culprit.
Throw in the TowelTo give up or surrenderFrustrated with the challenging task, Alex felt tempted to throw in the towel.
Burn the Midnight OilTo work late into the night or early morning hoursDetermined to meet the deadline, Emily decided to burn the midnight oil and finish her project.
A Piece of CakeSomething very easy to doSolving that math problem turned out to be a piece of cake for Maria.
All in the Same BoatIn the same difficult situation as everyone elseFacing the impending storm, the team realized they were all in the same boat.
A Breath of Fresh AirSomething new and refreshingThe author’s innovative writing style was a breath of fresh air in the literary world.
Bite the BulletTo endure a painful or difficult situationDespite the challenges, Jack decided to bite the bullet and pursue his dream.
Cry Over Spilled MilkTo lament something that has already happened and cannot be changedInstead of crying over spilled milk, Tina focused on finding a solution to the problem.
Hit the BooksTo study intensivelyWith exams approaching, it’s time for us to hit the books and prepare.
Jump on the BandwagonTo join others in doing something that has become fashionableInspired by the trend, many people decided to jump on the bandwagon and try out the new fitness routine.
Keep Your Eyes PeeledTo stay watchful and attentiveWalking through the unfamiliar neighborhood, Tom kept his eyes peeled for any signs of danger.
Let the Cat Out of the BagTo reveal a secretSarah accidentally let the cat out of the bag by mentioning the surprise party to the birthday celebrant.
Play it by EarTo handle a situation without a definite planNot knowing the exact schedule, we decided to play it by ear and explore the city spontaneously.
Put All Your Eggs in One BasketTo risk everything on a single opportunityInvesting all your money in one stock is like putting all your eggs in one basket – risky.
Shake a LegTo hurry up or get movingWe need to shake a leg if we want to catch the early train.
The Ball Is in Your CourtIt’s your responsibility to make a decision or take actionAfter receiving the job offer, the ball is now in your court to accept or decline.
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand WordsVisuals convey more meaning than words aloneThe striking photograph told a story that words couldn’t capture – truly, a picture is worth a thousand words.
Break a LegGood luck or successBefore the performance, the director wished the actors to break a leg for a spectacular show.
It’s a Piece of PieSomething very easy to do, similar to “a piece of cake”Learning to ride a bike turned out to be a piece of pie for the determined child.
Kick the BucketA humorous way of saying someone has diedWhen grandpa joked about kicking the bucket, we all laughed, not realizing he was serious.
Miss the BoatTo miss an opportunityNot applying for the scholarship, I realized I would miss the boat for funding my education.
Read Between the LinesTo understand the hidden meaning or implicationWhen negotiating a contract, it’s crucial to read between the lines to avoid any surprises.
Rule of ThumbA general principle or guidelineAs a rule of thumb, it’s wise to save at least 10% of your income for the future.
Spill the BeansTo disclose a secretUnable to contain her excitement, Sarah accidentally spilled the beans about the surprise party.
Take It with a Grain of SaltTo be skeptical or not fully believe somethingWhen hearing rumors, it’s essential to take them with a grain of salt until confirmed.

Metaphors can illuminate the art of writing, like comparing it to a journey into the uncharted territories of imagination. To explore more metaphors for writing, you can visit this link: Metaphors for Writing. Similarly, similes provide comparisons that make writing more relatable, such as saying it’s as intricate as a spider weaving its web of words. Discover additional similes for writing here: Similes for Writing.

Idioms for Writing

1. Cut to the Chase

Meaning: Get to the main point without unnecessary details.

In a Sentence: In my essay, I’ll cut to the chase and discuss the critical issues facing our society today.

2. Break the Ice

Meaning: To initiate a conversation in a friendly manner.

In a Sentence: To ease the tension at the meeting, Sarah decided to break the ice with a lighthearted joke.

3. Hit the Nail on the Head

Meaning: To describe exactly what is causing a situation or problem.

In a Sentence: The detective hit the nail on the head when he identified the real culprit.

4. Throw in the Towel

Meaning: To give up or surrender.

In a Sentence: Frustrated with the challenging task, Alex felt tempted to throw in the towel.

5. Burn the Midnight Oil

Meaning: To work late into the night or early morning hours.

In a Sentence: Determined to meet the deadline, Emily decided to burn the midnight oil and finish her project.

6. A Piece of Cake

Meaning: Something very easy to do.

In a Sentence: Solving that math problem turned out to be a piece of cake for Maria.

7. All in the Same Boat

Meaning: In the same difficult situation as everyone else.

In a Sentence: Facing the impending storm, the team realized they were all in the same boat.

8. A Breath of Fresh Air

Meaning: Something new and refreshing.

In a Sentence: The author’s innovative writing style was a breath of fresh air in the literary world.

9. Bite the Bullet

Meaning: To endure a painful or difficult situation.

In a Sentence: Despite the challenges, Jack decided to bite the bullet and pursue his dream.

10. Cry Over Spilled Milk

Meaning: To lament something that has already happened and cannot be changed.

In a Sentence: Instead of crying over spilled milk, Tina focused on finding a solution to the problem.

11. Hit the Books

Meaning: To study intensively.

In a Sentence: With exams approaching, it’s time for us to hit the books and prepare.

12. Jump on the Bandwagon

Meaning: To join others in doing something that has become fashionable.

In a Sentence: Inspired by the trend, many people decided to jump on the bandwagon and try out the new fitness routine.

13. Keep Your Eyes Peeled

Meaning: To stay watchful and attentive.

In a Sentence: Walking through the unfamiliar neighborhood, Tom kept his eyes peeled for any signs of danger.

14. Let the Cat Out of the Bag

Meaning: To reveal a secret.

In a Sentence: Sarah accidentally let the cat out of the bag by mentioning the surprise party to the birthday celebrant.

15. Play It by Ear

Meaning: To handle a situation without a definite plan.

In a Sentence: Not knowing the exact schedule, we decided to play it by ear and explore the city spontaneously.

16. Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

Meaning: To risk everything on a single opportunity.

In a Sentence: Investing all your money in one stock is like putting all your eggs in one basket – risky.

17. Shake a Leg

Meaning: To hurry up or get moving.

In a Sentence: We need to shake a leg if we want to catch the early train.

18. The Ball Is in Your Court

Meaning: It’s your responsibility to make a decision or take action.

In a Sentence: After receiving the job offer, the ball is now in your court to accept or decline.

19. A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words

Meaning: Visuals convey more meaning than words alone.

In a Sentence: The striking photograph told a story that words couldn’t capture – truly, a picture is worth a thousand words.

20. Break a Leg

Meaning: Good luck or success.

In a Sentence: Before the performance, the director wished the actors to break a leg for a spectacular show.

21. It’s a Piece of Pie

Meaning: Something very easy to do, similar to “a piece of cake.”

In a Sentence: Learning to ride a bike turned out to be a piece of pie for the determined child.

22. Kick the Bucket

Meaning: A humorous way of saying someone has died.

In a Sentence: When grandpa joked about kicking the bucket, we all laughed, not realizing he was serious.

23. Miss the Boat

Meaning: To miss an opportunity.

In a Sentence: Not applying for the scholarship, I realized I would miss the boat for funding my education.

24. Read Between the Lines

Meaning: To understand the hidden meaning or implication.

In a Sentence: When negotiating a contract, it’s crucial to read between the lines to avoid any surprises.

25. Rule of Thumb

Meaning: A general principle or guideline.

In a Sentence: As a rule of thumb, it’s wise to save at least 10% of your income for the future.

26. Spill the Beans

Meaning: To disclose a secret.

In a Sentence: Unable to contain her excitement, Sarah accidentally spilled the beans about the surprise party.

27. Take It with a Grain of Salt

Meaning: To be skeptical or not fully believe something.

In a Sentence: When hearing rumors, it’s essential to take them with a grain of salt until confirmed.

10 Quizzes About The Idiom in The Article

Quiz 1: Cut to the Chase

  1. What does the idiom “Cut to the Chase” mean?
    • a. Running quickly
    • b. Getting straight to the main point without unnecessary details
    • c. Skipping important information
  2. In which sentence is “Cut to the Chase” correctly used?
    • a. The detective decided to cut to the chase and started jogging.
    • b. In my presentation, I’ll cut to the chase and discuss the key findings.
    • c. Let’s cut to the chase and go on a scenic drive.

Quiz 2: Burn the Midnight Oil

  1. What does the expression “Burn the Midnight Oil” mean?
    • a. To start a fire late at night
    • b. To work late into the night or early morning hours
    • c. To conserve energy during nighttime
  2. Choose the correct usage of “Burn the Midnight Oil.”
    • a. The party was so much fun; we decided to burn the midnight oil.
    • b. Determined to finish the project, she burned the midnight oil.
    • c. Let’s burn the midnight oil and catch up on sleep.

Quiz 3: Let the Cat Out of the Bag

  1. What does the idiom “Let the Cat Out of the Bag” mean?
    • a. Releasing a pet cat
    • b. Disclosing a secret unintentionally
    • c. Engaging in a surprise party
  2. Which sentence uses “Let the Cat Out of the Bag” correctly?
    • a. She let the cat out of the bag and bought a new dress for the party.
    • b. We decided to let the cat out of the bag and adopt a kitten.
    • c. Trying to keep the surprise, he let the cat out of the bag.

Quiz 4: Shake a Leg

  1. What is the meaning of the idiom “Shake a Leg”?
    • a. To dance enthusiastically
    • b. To shake someone’s hand
    • c. To hurry up or get moving
  2. In which sentence is “Shake a Leg” appropriately used?
    • a. Let’s shake a leg and finish the dance routine.
    • b. He decided to shake a leg and read a book.
    • c. To celebrate, they shook a leg and had a leisurely stroll.

Quiz 5: Break a Leg

  1. What does the expression “Break a Leg” signify?
    • a. Encouragement for good luck or success
    • b. A warning against physical harm
    • c. To intentionally harm someone’s leg
  2. Choose the correct usage of “Break a Leg.”
  • a. Wishing her friend good luck, Sarah said, “Break a leg!”
  • b. Be careful not to break a leg while hiking.
  • c. After the accident, she told her brother to break a leg in the upcoming race.

Feel free to use these quizzes to test your understanding of the idioms discussed in the article!

Conclusion

Congratulations, you’ve navigated the colorful seas of idioms for writing! By incorporating these expressions into your work, you’ll add depth, creativity, and a touch of personality to your writing.

Cite this entry:

Phrasesdirectory.com. “,” Retrieved from Phrases Directory – Accessed

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