10 Sleepy Idioms for World Sleep Day

I don’t know about where you live, but recently here in the UK there have been lots of illnesses going around and a lot of people, including me, have been feeling under the weather (ill).

We have therefore been really appreciative of the topic of this week’s blog… sleep! There is nothing like a good sleep to make you feel better when you’re not feeling great!

So, as the 15th of March is World Sleep Day, here are 10 idioms related to sleep to help you talk about one of our favourite pastimes…


1. Hit the sack/hay

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To hit the sack or hit the hay basically means to go to bed (for sleep).

Example: “Well guys, I’m really enjoying this chat but I think I’d better hit the sack. I’ve got to be up early in the morning.”


2. to be out like a light

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To be out like a light means that when you hit the sack, you are able to fall asleep straightaway.

Example: “I was so tired when I went to bed last night… as soon as my head hit the pillow I was out like a light!”


3. Sleep like a log

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To sleep like a log means that you are in a really deep sleep.

Example: “Your bed’s so comfy – I slept like a log!”


4. Not sleep a wink

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So sleeping like a log is what we would all like to do – sleep deeply –  whereas not sleeping a wink means the opposite. This means being unable to sleep at all… not so fun!

Example: “I’m exhausted this morning. I was so stressed about today’s job interview that I couldn’t sleep a wink all night!”


5. forty winks

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So if no winks means no sleep, then what does forty winks mean? Forty winks actually means a short sleep in the day, like a nap.

Example: “I enjoy having forty winks on the sofa before the kids get home from school.”


6. to drop/nod off

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Whereas forty winks is an intentional kind of sleep (you want to have a nap and so you have a nap), dropping off or nodding off means to start sleeping unintentionally. So you drop off when you were supposed to be awake – ooops!

Example: “Charlotte, are you listening to me?

“Oh sorry, I must have nodded off there for a second! What did you say?”


7. burn the candle at both ends

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If you regularly nod off in public, it could be because you are burning the candle at both ends. To burn the candle at both ends means you are getting up early in the morning and going to bed late at night, so not getting enough sleep.

Example: “You need to start taking care of yourself. You’ve been burning the candle at both ends for weeks, studying for this exam. You need a proper night’s sleep or you won’t be healthy enough to take the exam at all!”


8. Night owl

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Of course, nobody really suits burning the candle at both ends, but some people are happier going to bed late and being up for some of the night. These people are called night owls.

Example: “I prefer to get up early and do yoga before having a nice big breakfast, but my boyfriend’s more of a night owl. He usually stays in bed in the morning and prefers to have his big meal late at night.”


9. early bird

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The opposite of a night owl is an early bird – someone who is happier going to bed in the evening and getting up early in the morning.

Example: “Your grandad was always an early bird – he got up every day at 5am and prepared the breakfast for the rest of the family.”


10. To get out of bed on the wrong side

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Our final idiom relates to what happens when you start your day badly. If you are in a bad mood in the morning, it could be because you got up on the wrong side of bed.

Example: “Morning Charlotte!”


“Oh dear, someone got out of the wrong side of bed this morning!”

*Now you try: Try to make some sentences using each of the above idioms. Are you an early bird or a night owl? How was your sleep last night?

Good luck and I hope you find these idioms useful!


As always, any comments on this week’s blog post or any requests for next week’s post, please write a reply below or email me at charlottesenglishlessons@gmail.com. I love hearing from you!

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Charlotte XX





10 Bookish Idioms for World Book Day

On Thursday the 7th of March 2019 it is World Book Day. I don’t know about you, but I love books! I read at least a few pages of a book every single day. What about you? Do you love reading in your language?

Something we do in the UK to celebrate World Book Day is dress our children up as characters from their favourite book. I had lots of lovely ideas for my three year-old daughter, but she decided she wanted to dress up as… Peppa Pig!

Anyway, to celebrate this day of books I have made a list of 10 idioms that feature the word ‘book’… I hope they’re useful!


1. in my book

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‘In my book’ means ‘in my opinion’.

For example, ‘A man who hits a woman isn’t a man, in my book.’


2. hit the books

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To ‘hit the books’ means ‘to study’, especially to study really hard.

Example: ‘I’ve got an exam tomorrow so I’m hitting the books this evening.’


3. a bookworm

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A ‘bookworm’ is someone who loves reading/studying.

Example: ‘I was a bit of a bookworm when I was a kid.’


4. an open book

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An ‘open book’ is a person who is easy to understand, a very honest person.

Example: ‘I have no secrets; I’m an open book.’

The opposite of this is a closed book.

Example: ‘I just can’t understand him. He’s such a closed book.’


5. don’t judge a book by its cover

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Not being able to ‘judge a book by its cover’ means that you can’t guess what a person is like from their appearance.

Example: ‘I thought that Sarah was really quiet – she looks like a real bookworm. But when we went out the other night she was so loud! I was shocked! I guess you can’t judge a book by its cover.’


6. to read someone like a book

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‘To read someone like a book’ means that you know somebody so well that you know what they are thinking or what they are going to do without being told.

Example: ‘You don’t like her, do you? I can tell just by looking at you – I can read you like a book!’


7. in someone’s good books

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To be ‘in someone’s good books’ mean that the person is happy with you.

Example: ‘I’m in my mother-in-law’s good books at the moment. I helped her out with some things around the house and now she’ll do anything for me!’

The opposite of this is to be ‘in someone’s bad books’.


8. to take a leaf out of someone’s book

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‘Taking a leaf out of someone’s books’ means to act like another person.

Example: ‘You’re so organised! I’ve decided to take a leaf out of your book and buy a diary to write everything down.’


9. by the book

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To do things ‘by the book’ means to do things properly, in the correct way; to follow the rules exactly.

Example: ‘You should go with this lawyer – she always does everything by the book so you know there’ll be no problems in court.’


10. to throw the book at

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People who do not do things by the book might have the book ‘thrown at’ them! To ‘throw the book at someone’ means to punish them in the worst, harshest way.

Example: ‘Alex got arrested for speeding last night. The police threw the book at him as he’d been caught before so he has to go to court and he might even have to go to prison!’

*Now you try: try to make ten sentences about you or people you know using the above idioms. Good luck!

I hope that these bookish idioms were useful for you!

For World Book Day, tell me your favourite book and/or favourite book character. I hope you have a better favourite character than Peppa Pig!

To let me know, just write a reply below or email me at charlottesenglishlessons@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you!

If you enjoyed these idioms, then come back next week when I will be giving you 10 idioms related to sleep for Sleep Awareness Week!

See you then!

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Charlotte XX


How to improve your reading skills in English

Last week I wrote about listening and how to improve your listening skills in English. This week I want to turn our attention to reading.

The main problems my students have with reading are:

  • it can be too difficult so they just give up,
  • it can be boring,
  • there are too many unknown words in the text.

Do these sound like the problems you have?

If so, then read on for my advice!

Read in English whenever you can

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  1. Try to read something in English every day.
  2. Change the language setting on your phone to English so that whenever you look at your phone you have to read in English.
  3. When you are reading an article on the internet (news, celebrity gossip, football game reports – whatever you like) try to read it in English first instead of your language. If you see an interesting headline, google it in English and read the English article first. Then read it in your language to see how much you understood.

*Can you change the language settings on your phone? Try it now!


Try graded readers

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Have you heard of graded readers before? They are books written in easier English so that even low-level students can understand them.

Have a look at Pearson graded readers, Oxford graded readers and/or Macmillan graded readers.

You can choose your level (or do a level test first, if you’re not sure) on their website and then choose books written at that level.

Some of them are the physical book and some of them are the digital book so just have a look and see which you prefer!

*Have a look at one of the above websites now and see which book you would like to read!


Combine your listening practice with your reading practice

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Do you find reading a bit boring?

Or do you really not have much time in the day to read?

If that sounds like you, you may like to do your reading and listening practice together!

If you choose to read a graded reader, you can often listen while you read – lots of graded readers come with the audio, so you can read the book and listen at the same time. This makes it a bit more interesting!

If you are listening to a podcast or something with a transcript, just read the transcripts of what you are listening to, and that also counts towards your reading practice. So it is a good way of practising both skills if you don’t have much time!


*Now you try: decide which of the above tips you want to try first and give it a go! Find something to read and try just a little to start with. Then read a little more each day.


Good luck and enjoy your reading!


Do you have any other tips on how to improve your reading skills in English? If so, write a comment below or send me an email on charlottesenglishlessons@gmail.com.


Would you also like to improve your English speaking skills? If so, come back next week to read my next blog post on ‘How to improve your speaking skills in English’. Have a brilliant week!


10 Very British Words

Are you interested in British English? If so, then you’re in luck!

This week I’ve had a request for some typically British words to help you communicate with people from my home, the little island of Britain.

So if you would like to understand us Brits a bit better, here are ten words to help you…

[Just remember that these are all informal English words, so don’t use any of these in an essay or business email!]


1. Gutted

This is an adjective that means “disappointed”.

For example, “I’m gutted I failed my exam.”


2. Hoover

This is a verb or noun that means “vacuum” or “vacuum cleaner”.

For example, “I’m just doing the hoovering”.


3. Dodgy

This is an adjective that means “suspicious” or “not to be trusted”.

For example, “Don’t get your phone out near that man; he looks a bit dodgy”.


4. Loo

This is a noun that means “toilet”

For example, “Hang on a sec; I’m just going to the loo”.


5. DIY

This is an abbreviation that means “do it yourself”, which we use for home improvements.

For example, “I need a hand putting this wardrobe together. Are you any good at DIY?”


6. Knackered

This is an adjective that means “tired”.

For example, “I’m going to bed; I’m knackered”.


7. Chuffed

This is an adjective that means “pleased with myself” or “proud”.

For example, “I got the job! I’m pretty chuffed.”


8. Shambles

This is a noun that means something like “mess”. We use this if something goes badly.

For example, “This meeting was a shambles. Everyone was talking over each other and we didn’t decide anything.”


9. Cheeky

This is an adjective to describe a person who is naughty or rude but in a charming way.

For example, “He is such a cheeky monkey; he always asks my age!”


10. Faff

This is a verb that means “mess around” or “waste time”. It can also be used as a noun that means “effort”.

For example, “Stop faffing around and come and help me!” or “I can’t be bothered to help; it’s too much of a faff.”

*Now you try: Write me an email using at least one of these words at charlottesenglishlessons@gmail.com . I will write back and tell you if you used the word(s) correctly!