Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Ocean Idioms that You Can Use to Speak English Like a Native

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 @ 01:19 PM

describe the imageDo you like to spend time at the ocean during the spring and summer?

Even though it's only late April, I spent this past weekend on Boston's South Shore.

The beach can be a great place to escape your daily routine, clear your mind, and relax.

In today's post, you will learn 5 idioms that are related to water and the ocean.

You can use these expressions to speak with native English speakers today!



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#1: To clam up


clam up, English idiomWhen someone "clams up," they aren't able to speak because they are too shy or afraid.

Are you the kind of person who clams up at parties when someone speaks with you?

Maybe you clammed up the last time you had to give a speech?

Sample sentence: He clammed up when the teacher asked him for the answer and everyone in the class looked at him.



#2: To rock the boat


describe the imageWhen you "rock the boat," you create a problem that wasn't there before.

It can also mean that you challenge the status quo.

This is used when someone tries to change a situation that most people believe should stay the same. 

Sample sentence: Lisa rocked the boat when she was the only jury who believed that the suspect was innocent.




#3: To fish for compliments

fish for compliments, American English idiomWhen you "fish for compliments," you try to get someone to give you a compliment.

You might ask people to comment on your hair if you recently went to the stylist. 

You might make a comment about your weight if you know that you have recently lost weight so that other people will compliment you.

Sample sentence: Stop fishing for compliments- you know you are beautiful!




#4: To feel like a fish out of water

to feel like a fish out of water with borderWhen you feel like a "fish out of water," you feel like you are in a place where you don't belong because you are very different from the people around you or because you don't understand what's happening. 

Sample sentence: I felt like a fish out of water on my first day of my semester abroad in France.





#5: To make waves

to make waves with borderTo "make waves" is similar to "rock the boat."

It means to create a problem or to try to change a situation when everyone else is satisfied with the way things are.

Sample sentence: Our new company president is making waves with all of his new ideas and a lot of people aren't happy about it.






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Photo credits: The Marque meddygarnetbugeaters, whologwhy, mikebaird

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