Examples of Idiom with Sentences
What does ‘Caught My Eye’ mean?
What is an idiom?
An idiom is a group of words that mean something different from what the actual words say. This means what is said in an idiom is not exactly what is happening but often describes another feeling or action. Idioms are a bit like codes when we first meet them. We can solve the puzzle to figure out what they really mean!
Idiom of the Week:
I am a big fan of introducing a new idiom each week. Not with the express goal of learning a lot of new phrases, more to raise awareness of idiom in general. Print out a poster each week, discuss and play with it and then display it on the wall. Once you start looking, phrases will ‘catch your eye’ all the time 🙂
When discussing this idiom, act it out for students. Don’t be afraid to ham it up!
Literal Meaning – (what the words ACTUALLY mean)
- Ask students ‘Show of hands… who likes to play baseball? Netball? Football (with the elongated ball). Often people practice these games by throwing a ball back and forth with someone.’
- Dramatize – with a partner mime – gently tossing a tennis ball to each other – passing a netball, throwing a pass in football etc After a while mime having a wet eye in your hand and throwing it to a partner and then the partner catching it. – Warning! There may be a a chorus of ‘Gross!’ & ‘Ew!’ Laughter may ensue. Let them enjoy it. Create some memories.
- Once the merriment dies down, discuss how the phrases like these are really hard for people learning English. The actual words used have a different shared meaning to what someone new to English would think. It is only when we see them in conversation can we work out what the words REALLY mean.
- Show poster (open the PDF of the whiteboard screen or visit the website)
- To ‘catch someone’s eye’ is a very commonly used phrase but it doesn’t really mean throwing and catching a wet, slimy eye.
Figurative Meaning – (What the INTENDED meaning is)
- What could the following sentence mean? ‘The new Math teacher’s way of teaching has “caught the eye” of the principal’. Think Pair Share.
- Reveal the figurative meaning of this idiom to students. When something “catches your eye”, someone or something gets your attention. It might be a piece of clothing, an attractive boy or girl, an advertising sign or someone doing something interesting. The phrase can also be used when trying to get someone’s attention without talking to them e.g. trying to ‘catch the eye’ of the wait staff at a restaurant. The other use is to be doing something well enough to be noticed e.g. The busker “caught the eye” of the talent scout.
Idioms with Sentences
Display these dialogue models and have students build them into quick plays:
Sanjae: I’m looking for a new shirt to wear to school on Monday.
Jaxon: I like this blue striped one. It really caught my eye.
Sanjae: But your eye is right there on your face…
Jaxon: That’s not what I mean. The bright blue color of this shirt got my attention, so it is said to have ‘caught my eye!
Tess: I’m still thirsty. I could use a refill on my water.
Leia: Try to catch the waiter’s eye next time he walks by.
Tess: Ew! I’m not touching his eye!
Leia: I don’t want you to touch his eye either! That phrase means that you want to get his attention to get more water.
Bad Acting / Bit of Fun
Examples created to illustrate points in teaching can often be a little… ‘forced’ to say the least. When faced with these sorts of examples, it can be a lot of fun to develop a sort of ‘in joke’ to highlight / over emphasize the author’s intended learning.
Here are a few tips to try:
- pretend to be nervous
- pretend you are reading from a TelePrompTer you can’t quite see
- don’t move your feet
- overact a wink
- put an emphasis on words in the ‘wrong’ places like some newsreaders
- add a fake laughs
- add fake laughs in unison
- add fake laughs with over accentuated hand movements
- stilted talking, ‘I’ve… come… to clean… your pool’
- talk a lot s-l-o-w-e-r when it comes time to make a point – you might even like to introduce the word con-desc-end-ing
Students Experiment with the Idiom –
In pairs students create a very short play that ends with the line, ‘When pigs fly’. 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.