24 English idioms, which almost all make mistakes

If you are going to live in the United States or to communicate with native English speakers, you need to learn most frequently used idioms. Feature of idioms is that they are often mixed and lost in translation. The publication Reader’s Digest has gathered 24 of the most common idioms that many people say incorrectly.

24 английские идиомы, в которых почти все делают ошибки

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Right off the bat

The error is: Bat and back

  • Right: Right off the bat
  • Wrong: Right off the back

What idiom means: from the beginning

Play it by ear

The error is: Ear and year

  • That’s right: Play it by ear
  • Wrong: Play it by year

Idiom which means: do not build concrete plans, just see what happens.

Two peas in a pod

The error is: Pod and pot

  • Right: Two peas in a pod
  • Wrong: Two peas in a pot

What means the idiom: two people who get along well.

Dog eat dog world

The error is: Dog eat doggie and

  • Right: Dog eat dog world
  • Wrong: Doggie dog world

What means the idiom: In some places (named in the interview) people are rude and aggressive.

Got off Scot-free

The error is: Scot and scotch

  • Right: Got off Scot-free
  • Wrong: Got off Scotch-free

What means the idiom: have something down someone with it.

Nip it in the bud

The error is: Bud and butt

  • Correct: Nip it in the bud
  • Wrong: Nip it in the butt

What means the idiom: don’t let something bad getting worse, preventing him.

That’s right up my alley

The error is: Up and in

  • Correct: That’s right up my alley
  • Wrong: That’s right in my alley

What means the idiom: this is exactly what I like.

Add insult to injury

The error is: Insult, and salt

  • That’s right: Add insult to injury
  • Wrong: Add salt to the injury

What means the idiom: to aggravate a bad situation.

The ball”s in your court

The error is: Court and hand

  • That’s right: The ball”s in your court
  • Wrong: The ball”s in your hand

What means the idiom: it’s your turn to make a move.

She’s at your beck and call

The error is: Beck and beckon

  • That’s right: She’s at your beck and call
  • Wrong: She’s at your beckon call

What means the idiom: she is always ready to help you when you need it.

Chalk it up to the good weather

The error is: Chalk and chock

  • Correct: Chalk it up to the good weather
  • Wrong, Chock it up to the good weather

What means the idiom: to pay tribute.

You’ve got another think coming

The error is: Think and thing

  • That’s right: You’ve got another think coming
  • Wrong: You’ve got another thing coming

What means the idiom: be careful — if you think it’s the result of your actions, think again!

Don’t use your friend as a scapegoat

The error is: Scapegoat and escape goat

  • That’s right: Don’t use your friend as a scapegoat
  • Wrong: Don’t use your friend as an escape goat

Idiom meaning: a scapegoat is someone being accused of something.

He’s on tenterhooks waiting for her to call

The error is: tender hooks Tenterhooks and

  • That’s right: He’s on tenterhooks waiting for her to call
  • Wrong: He’s on tender hooks waiting for her to call

What means the idiom: tenterhook is a hook used for drying clothes, but to be “on tenterhooks” means that a person can’t wait for something to happen.

Rest assured, the issue is being discussed front and center

The essence of the error: and and in

  • Right: Rest assured, the issue is being discussed front and center
  • Wrong: Rest assured, the issue being discussed is front in center

What means the idiom: the subject matter is the main priority.

I’ll take the fifth

The essence of the error: Take and plead

  • That’s right: I’ll take the fifth
  • Wrong: I’ll plead the fifth

What does the idiom: “take the fifth” means to avoid acknowledging his guilt. Its use is based on the fifth amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which specifies that you do not need to answer the question in court, if it will make you guilty

That gallon of milk should tide you over for the rest of the week

The error is: Tide and tie

  • Right: That gallon of milk should tide you over for the rest of the week
  • Wrong: That gallon of milk should tie you over for the rest of the week

What means the idiom: you have to have enough of something to last until you get more.

For all intents and purposes, the library is the best place to find out-of-print books

The error is: Intents and intensive

  • That’s right: For all intents and purposes, the library is the best place to find out-of-print books
  • Incorrect: For all intensive purposes, the library is the best place to find out-of-print books

What means the idiom: practical reason or practical sense.

The child’s reading skills are a work in progress

The error is: Work in and working

  • Correct: The child’s reading skills are a work in progress
  • Wrong: The child’s reading skills are a working progress

What means the idiom: work in is a way to say that there is room for improvement, but progress is being made.

He told his constituents a bald-faced lie

The error is: Bald-faced and boldfaced

  • Correct: He told his constituents a bald-faced lie
  • Wrong: He told his constituents a boldfaced lie

Idiom meaning: to say that someone is bald-faced, so he’s shameless; say bald-faced lie means to tell an outright lie.

The concert whet my appetite for more rock and roll

The error is: Whet and wet

  • Correct: The concert whet my appetite for more rock and roll
  • Wrong: The concert wet my appetite for more rock and roll

What means the idiom: whet means to sharpen the interest.

It’s a moot point to bring up an alibi after the trial

The error is: Moot and mute

  • That’s right: It’s a moot point to bring up an alibi after the trial
  • Wrong: It’s a mute point to bring up an alibi after the trial

What means the idiom: moot point means that something is in doubt or adds little practical value to the situation.

Try to get a sneak peek of your birthday present

The error is: Peek and peak

  • That’s right: Try to get a sneak peek of your birthday present
  • Wrong: Try to get a sneak peak of your birthday present

Idiom that means: a sneak peek means to look at something before you need to peep.

Her deep-seated opinion is that they should move to Wyoming

The error is: Seated and seeded

  • That’s right: Her deep-seated opinion is that they should move to Wyoming
  • Wrong: Her deep-seeded opinion is that they should move to Wyoming

Idiom that means: deep-seated means that something is firmly established, for example, the idea.

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