- December 30, 2015
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Idioms that I take for granted will amuse or baffle my five year old daughter. Recently, I commanded her to ‘cut across the grass’ to get to the other side of the lawn. “Mommy! I can’t cut all across the grass. I don’t have scissors and why would I do such a thing anyway?!” I had to explain that it was an expression and that I wasn’t urging vandalism. And as I explained that one and many other idioms since, I have come to realize how confusing some of them can be to someone just learning language, whether a child, or an adult.
The fun part for us was researching the origin of some of these idioms, most of which I never knew myself. It was educational and entertaining at the same time, trying to put the words into context to understand the time period in which they were created. My daughter was so enamored by them that she tried coming up with a few idioms of her own. Like, ‘Don’t throw sand.’ Her way of saying, ‘Don’t ruin a good moment.’ A little literal, but who knows? Maybe it’ll catch on one day?
Some idioms I note, along with their responses, for their amusement value to my child:
1. “Right on the nose” as in you answered that correctly, ‘right on the nose’. “No mommy, I answered it with my mouth!”
2. “Hop to it”. “Silly Mommy, why can’t I just walk?”
3. “That’s the cat’s pajamas”. “Mommy, we don’t have a cat.”
4. “Every time I look up I see a mess!” “Mommy, just don’t look up.”
I also hadn’t realized how often I use idioms in everyday speech, until she pointed them out. I decided to stop, for now, before I ‘confuse the spots off a leopard.’