Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Brush Up on Your English Idioms with this Quiz

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Dec 17, 2012 @ 11:59 AM

American English idiom quiz, piece of cakeAre English idioms a piece of cake for you? Are they easy to understand and easy to use in everyday conversations?

Grammar is good to know and so is pronunciation but if you are an advanced English student, you probably want to start sounding less like a grammar textbook and more like a natural English speaker, right?!

You want to be able to understand what local people say and that means you should have a look at English idioms!

Get started by figuring out what you already know. Take this quiz today and then check your answers below. Good luck!




English idioms, make wavesIf you are new at your workplace, you should try not to ______ waves even if you disagree with the way that things are done.


a) create

b) make

c) splash

d) build




describe the image

When I travel I like to _____ it by ear instead of following a schedule or itinerary.


a) do

b) take

c) see

d) play





needle in haystack

 Searching for someone in New York City is like searching for a _____ in a haystack.


a) pin

b) pencil

c) needle

d) button






English idioms, timeI almost missed my flight but I got to the airport just in the ______ of time.


a) rush

b) last minute

c) nick

d) speed






We are having a surprise party for Mary on Saturday. Please don't let the _____ out of the bag.


a) dog

b) trash

c) horse

d) cat





 # 6

rain bucketWe have made a lot of progress on the project so far but it's just a _____ in the bucket. We have so much more to do!


a) drop

b) drip

c) plop

d) rinse




Check out the answers here:


1) b  - To make waves: When someone makes waves, they create a problem within an organization or a group by disagreeing with what the group is doing or by being confrontative.


2) d -To play it by ear: To "play it by ear" is to avoid planning and to decide what to do in the moment, instead of making a plan ahead of time and sticking to it. 


3) c - A needle in a haystack: We use this idiom when we want to say that something is very hard to find because it is in such a large area or space.


4) c - In the nick of time: This idiom means that something happens at the last possible minute, just before a deadline or at the end of a countdown.


5) d -To let the cat out of the bag: When we "let the cat out of the bag" we give away a secret that was not supposed to be shared.


6) a- A drop in the bucket: A "drop in the bucket" is one small piece of a larger whole. We can use this idiom when we want to talk about making small progress towards a goal or to emphasize that much more needs to be done before something is finished.



Did you get them all? If you found this quiz helpful, be sure to click on the orange button below to get more quizzes and lessons like this one every week. Good luck and keep studying!

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Photo credits: Maggie Hoffman, stevendepolo, comedy_noseMSVGfauxto_dkp, Peter Kaminski, ladydragonflyCC,

Topics: English Lessons, English Idioms

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