What is an idiom?
An idiom is an expression or phrase that takes on a symbolic meaning. This means that you can’t take it literally.
It’s raining cats and dogs is an example of an idiom. It doesn’t literally mean that cats and dogs are indeed falling from the sky. Rather it means it’s raining heavier than usual.
Why should I use idioms?
There are many people who insist on writing as simply as possible. They think that doing so makes them more professional writers. Even so, there are still plenty of reasons why using idioms is a good thing. Here are some of them:
1. It lets you be more creative
Whether or not people agree to this or not, writing is a form of art. Other than for school essays, college thesis, or any other academic papers, people also write to express themselves. Being too literal defeats the creativity that comes with writing.
It’s no secret that a lot of people think writing is boring. Well, then just think about how the reader would feel if you were to write in a very technical manner.
Using idioms lets you think outside the box. Stating your thoughts this way will not only make way for better writing, it will also help your reader relate to what you’re saying.
2. It saves you from more grammatical mistakes
Sometimes it will take you a few minutes before you can form a sentence that will coincide with your idea. There are even times that you’re forced to include an awkward sentence just so you can stick to your idea.
Using idioms will relieve you from this kind of situation. Since it’s less formal, it’s much easier to construct. Apart from that, idioms can also be slang expressions, which means that they aren’t very sensitive to grammar, as long as you convey the message.
3. It makes you look smart
I think we can all agree that even though we consider idioms to be a less formal instrument of writing, only a few people can actually understand what these idioms mean.
Being able to use idioms in your sentences means that you knowledgeable about what you are talking.
If I told you that I left the key in your closet, then anyone would understand it. It’s much too literal to miss. I mean really, the only probable reason for anyone to misunderstand this is inability to read, which is very unlikely.
But if I tried to write something like yeah, when pigs fly, then some people will most definitely miss the meaning. There will probably be some majority who’ll get it immediately, but there will always be less informed readers that will question what it actually means.
4. It makes you more persuasive
I’ve never met one persuasive writer or speaker that speaks in a very formal language. You won’t convince people by using hifalutin words. They’ll get bored and probably stop reading.
The hardest part about proving your point is gaining the trust of the other party. The only way you’ll be able to do so effectively is if the reader sees himself in how you state your points.
You’ll agree with me if I say that using a figurative tune in writing gives off a more humanistic approach compared to using a technical one.
How do I use idioms?
The first thing in using idioms is getting to know some of them. You can’t just make up your own idiom as it definitely won’t make sense to the reader.
Here are some idioms you can use for academic or other more serious writings:
- Play the devil’s advocate
Pull yourself together. This doesn’t really have anything to do with the devil. Playing the devil’s advocate only means that you’re supporting a stand or argument, that you don’t personally agree with.
- Kill two birds with one stone
Before you throw that rock, know that killing two birds with one stone only means that you’re multitasking, or doing two things at once.
- Go the extra mile
No, I’m not telling you to walk for a mile. This expression means you have to do more than what is expected.
- Don’t judge a book by its cover
You’ve probably heard of this many times before. It’s one of the most popular idioms in the English language. This means we shouldn’t judge something or someone based on the outside appearance.
- Once in a blue moon
Have you ever seen a blue moon? Probably not, and if you have then it certainly doesn’t happen very often. People use this idiom to describe something that rarely happens.
About the guest author
Monica Morgan is a free-spirited woman with vast experience in article writing. She loves to travel Asian countries, writing reviews on each of them on HQessays.com. She prefers using diverse writing styles to properly engage with a wide array of readers.