Examples of Idiom with Sentences
What does ‘A Stone’s Throw Away’ mean?
What is an idiom?
An idiom is a group of words that mean something different from what the actual words say. This means that what is said in an idiom is not exactly what is happening, but often describes another feeling or action. Idioms are like codes – we need to solve the puzzle to figure out what they really mean!
When discussing this idiom, act it out for students. Don’t be afraid to ham it up!
Literal Meaning – (what the words ACTUALLY mean)
- Teacher says, ‘Often beach holiday houses advertise they are, “Only a stone’s throw from the beach”. If we take the literal meaning of this idiom, it means if I am at the house and have a stone in my hand, the distance to the beach is roughly the distance I can throw the stone’. (Pretend you’re holding a stone in your hand and throw it with all your might). ‘The beach is actually a lot further away as I can’t throw the stone very far’ 🙂
Figurative Meaning – (What the INTENDED meaning is)
- Reveal the figurative meaning of this idiom to students. ‘When we say, “a stone’s throw away” this group of words describes a short unmeasured / not known distance away or something not too far away. It doesn’t mean right in front of me or just down the hallway, but about the distance I’d be able to throw a stone… and then a bit more. Sometimes people may say, “within stone’s throw”’.
Origins of the Phrase – (Its Etymology)
In books from long ago, authors wrote about throwing a few different things like darts or lances. This short distance was important when it came to battle as you would not want to be within a darts throw of your enemy. ‘A stone’s throw’ first recorded use (that we know of) is in a story from 1712 by John Arbuthnot that described how no one would come close to a woman who had a dreadful illness.
“Mrs. Bull’s condition was looked upon as desperate… the patient grew worse every day; she stunk so, nobody durst come within a stone’s throw of her…”
Idioms with Sentences
– Display the dialogue models and have students act them out:
Example 1 –
Harvey: We had the perfect hotel for our vacation. It was right next to the beach.
Michael: My grandad would say it was, ‘a stone’s throw’ from the sand and waves!
Harvey: Why would I be throwing stones from the hotel? Mum would not be happy with me.
Michael: Since your hotel was pretty close to the beach, you could have thrown a stone from the hotel and reached the beach. It means that it wasn’t too far away.
Example 2 –
Emily: I met my new neighbor. She’s really nice. I’m glad her house is only a stone’s throw away.
Diego: I’m pretty sure you shouldn’t be throwing stones at someone’s house. What if you break a window?!
Emily: That’s not what a stone’s throw means! It means that their house is close to mine.
– Explain, ‘There are not many people carrying around stones to throw whenever they want to test out a distance. When someone uses this idiom, what do you think they REALLY mean?’ Give students some quiet think time, have them write down their thoughts and then share it with a partner.
Students Experiment with the Idiom –
Have students play and experiment with their new idiom. You can have them do a ‘Think, Pair, Share’, ‘Think, Pair, Square’, and when they are feeling confident ask for victims… do a double take… I mean… volunteers to perform their skit for the class.