Idioms, adages, and proverbs

Idioms, adages, and proverbs

I can explain the meanings of idioms, adages, and proverbs.

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Idioms, adages, and proverbs

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Idioms are everywhere in English. They help make our language more interesting, and they help us communicate complex ideas with very short phrases.

The trouble with this is that idioms can be difficult for people to grasp! An idiom is a phrase that does not follow its literal meaning but is understood because of common usage. Younger students, or students for whom English is not their first language, can thus find idioms confusing if they do not already know the commonly understood meaning of an idiom.

This lesson will review many common idioms, and then draw a distinction between idioms, proverbs (a saying that communicates a broad truth or lesson), and adages (a proverb that has been used for a long time and is well understood).

For more English lesson plans that engage students while reviewing important concepts in reading comprehension and writing, create a free Gynzy account today and begin exploring.



Learning Objective

Students will be able to recognize and explain the meanings of idioms, adages, and proverbs.


Students will look at the sayings, "Don't count your chickens before they've hatched," and "That's a piece of cake!" They will discuss whether they have heard them before. Explain that these popular sayings are known as idioms and why they are important to know.


Students will read idioms and determine their meanings from a list of choices. Next, they will read a short passage, highlight the idiom, and determine the meaning.

Students will also learn about other types of figure language: adages and proverbs. Discuss why they are important to know. Next, they will read examples of adages, like, "When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." They will also read a short passage, highlight the adage, and determine the meaning. They will then match adages to their meanings.


Students will answer ten multiple-choice and true/false questions.


This lesson ends on a fun closing activity consisting of four common idioms:

- First, students will draw what the idiom is literally expressing
- Then, they will write what they think the idiom actually means
- Finally, they will try to use that idiom correctly in a sentence

Bonus activity: can your students think of any idioms that weren't included in this lesson?

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