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Learning English with Vietnamese Connect

Common English Idioms

Learning English idioms is to not only present your professional skills but also allow you to understand native English speaker easily. We have compiled a list of 20 commonly used idioms, explaining the meaning and also give you examples of how to use them. Learning, practising and using them, you will improve your professional English.


1. A blessing in disguise

Meaning: a good thing that seemed bad at first

Example: Diet is a blessing in disguise. After a while no junk food, you will have a great body.

2. A dime a dozen

Meaning: Something common

Example: Wearing face mark is a dime a dozen in Vietnam

3. Beat around the bush

Meaning: Avoid saying what you mean, usually because it is uncomfortable

Example: When my friend asked me how was her new outfit, l had to beat around the bush.

4. Better late than never

Meaning: Better to arrive late than not to come at all


A: Yesterday is Mike’s birthday, but l forgot to send him a birthday card.

B: Better late than never

5. Bite the bullet

Meaning: To get something over with because it is inevitable

Example: Decisions have to be taken and as a director, you have got to bite the bullet.

6. Break a leg

Meaning: Good luck


A: I have an exam tomorrow

B: Break a leg

7. Call it a day

Meaning: Stop working on something

Example: I think you should call your work a day, you need a break.

8. Cut somebody some slack

Meaning: Do not be so critical

Example: Kate was late again but let’s cut her some slack, she had a hard time in the hospital with her son.


9. Cut corners

Meaning: Doing something poorly in order to save time or money

Example: My salary has been cut down due to pandemic, then we need to cut corners.

10. Easy does it/ Take it easy

Meaning: Slow down

Example: Why you drive too fast? Take it easy/ Easy does it, l am afraid of speed

11. Get out of hand

Meaning: Get out of control

Example: If your party get out of hand, the police will knock your door.

12. Get something out of your system

Meaning: Do the thing you've been wanting to do so you can move on

Example: Let the kids play a little longer, maybe they will get out of the system.

13. Get your act together

Meaning: Work better or leave. To start to organize yourself so that you do things in an effective way.

Example: You look so tired, l think you should get your act together

14. Give someone the benefit of the doubt

Meaning: Trust what someone says

Example: He said ‘that girl is his classmate’ and l give him the benefit of doubt

15. Hang in there

Meaning: Do not give up

Example: Studying will be very stressed when the exam is coming but hang in there.

16. Hit the sack

Meaning: Go to sleep

Example: l usually hit the sack quite late, around 1 am.

17. It’s not rocket science

Meaning: It's not complicated

Example: this task is not rocket science, take it easy and you can do it.

18. Make a long story short

Meaning: Tell something briefly

Example: Let’s make a long story short, we are running out of time.

19. Pull someone’s leg

Meaning: To joke with someone

Example: l usually pull my boyfriend’s leg

20. On the ball

Meaning: Doing a good job/ be aware of any changes and quick reaction to them

Example: We need someone who is really on the ball to answer the professor’s questions.

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