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


The story of love in 10 idioms

1. Puppy Love

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To begin with, you might start your romantic relationships with puppy love.

Puppy love is love that you feel when you are young, usually when you are a teenager. This kind of love often goes away as you get older.

Example: “She thinks that it’s really serious between them, but I’m pretty sure it’s just puppy love.”

Song: ‘Puppy Love’ by Donny Osmond on YouTube


2. To have a crush on somebody

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As well as experiencing puppy love, teenagers often develop crushes on other people.

A crush is having really strong feelings for somebody, usually somebody who isn’t interested in you. Crushes don’t usually last for long, but they can be intense!

Example: “I’ve got a crush on my maths teacher – I can’t stop thinking about him!”

Song: ‘Crush’ by Jennifer Paige on YouTube


3. My heart skipped a beat

bursting with love

If you have a crush on someone, or just have feelings for somebody, then when you see them your heart might skip a beat.

Your heart skipping a beat means the feeling that you get when you are excited or nervous about something.

Example: “She came over to me and my heart skipped a beat.”

Song: ‘Heart Skips a Beat’ by Olly Murs feat. Rizzle Kicks on YouTube


4. Falling for somebody

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If your heart skips a beat when you see someone then it might mean that you are falling for them.

Falling for somebody means you are developing romantic feelings for them. It is usually how you feel at the beginning of a relationship, or before the relationship has even started.

Example: “I can’t stop thinking about you. I think I’m falling for you.”

Song: ‘Still Falling for You’ by Ellie Goulding on YouTube


5. To be mad about somebody

Crazy about you

After you have fallen for somebody, you might feel mad about them.

To be mad about somebody means you are in love with them, or you at least like them very very much.

Example: “How’s it going with Dylan?” “It’s going really well; I’m mad about him!”

Song: ‘Mad About the Boy’ by Dinah Washington on YouTube


6. The One

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If you are mad about somebody, then they might be the one for you!

The one means your ideal match – the person that you should be with.

Example: “How’s it going with Dylan?”   “It’s amazing, I think he might be the one!”

Song: ‘She’s the One’ by Robbie Williams on YouTube


7. Pop the Question

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Once you have met the one, you might want to pop the question!

To pop the question means to ask somebody to marry you. Things are getting serious now!

Example: “I really love her. I might pop the question soon!”

Song: ‘Pop the Question’ by Scotty Baker on YouTube


8. tie the knot

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After one of you has popped the question, then it is time to tie the knot!

To tie the knot means to get married.

Example: “We tied the knot last year.”

Song: ‘Tie the Knot’ by Digital Underground on YouTube


9. my other half

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Once you are married, then you can call your husband or wife your ‘other half’.

Your other half is usually your husband or wife but it can also mean your boyfriend or girlfriend if you have been together for a long time.

Example: “My other half is a doctor.”

Song: The Other Half of Me’ by Tiffany Alvord on YouTube


10. Break somebody’s heart

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Once you are married, then hopefully it is happy ever after without any heart break!

To break somebody’s heart means to make someone you love very sad. This usually means ending the relationship or hurting them badly.

Example: “He broke my heart with all the cheating and lying.”

Song: ‘Don’t Go Breaking my Heart’ by Elton John (with Kiki Dee) on YouTube

*Now you try: try to make sentences using each of the above idioms. Good luck!


Which is your favourite idiom? Which song do you like best? Can you think of any more idioms related to Valentine’s Day?

Leave a reply below or email me at charlottesenglishlessons@gmail.com to give me your answer or comment!

I hope you enjoy your Valentine’s Day this year… even if you’re not celebrating! Have a great week!

Come back next week to read my next blog post on Pancake Day in the UK and to learn how to write a recipe in English.


How to improve your writing skills in English

I have written blog posts so far on improving our listening, reading and speaking skills and I have left until last the skill that most people seem to find the MOST DIFFICULT… writing! Eeeeeeek!

Do you think that your writing is terrible?

Most of my students say to me that they can’t write in English… this is not true! But a lot of students lack confidence in their writing.

So if this sounds like you, read on and I will try to help you with how you can feel more confident writing anything in English – emails, essays, reports – absolutely anything you need to write!


1. Read!

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In my last blog post, I wrote about how the perfect way to improve your speaking is to speak to native speakers. This is because you are not only speaking to them, but listening to how they speak.

In the same way, to improve your writing you need to not only work on the writing itself, but also you need to read how people with English as their first language write.

If you need to write emails, read emails that have been written by native English speakers. If you need to write essays, read essays that have been written by native English speakers. This will show you the style and a lot of the language that you will need to write in this way.

Also, as I wrote in my blog post about improving your reading skills, try to read something every day to increase your vocabulary. The bigger your vocabulary, the easier writing will be for you.


2. Write a diary

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This is something that I always tell my students to do if they are struggling with their writing. Writing a diary encourages you to write every day, which is really good practice.

Also, you will need to use a lot of language to write about yourself and your job/hobbies/daily life so you will learn vocabulary and phrases that will be useful for your speaking, too.

Bonus: Download my free ebook ‘5 Tips to Improve Your Listening Skills in English’ Click here to get it


3. Study grammar

Bitmoji Image Sorry, this probably isn’t what you want to hear! I know a lot of students find grammar boring and difficult, but to have good writing it is necessary to find your grammar mistakes and then learn from them.

A good way to do this is to ask a native speaker (or, even better, a teacher) to look at a piece of your writing for you. Ask them to show you all of your mistakes. Then, when you know what you are making mistakes with, you can look it up and practise that grammar point.

For example, if you are making mistakes with verb tenses – using past simple instead of present perfect, let’s say – then you can practise that and improve for next time.

If you would like me to look at your writing for you and send you back a report with your mistakes, I offer this as a service called a Level and Skills Check for Writing. Email me at charlottesenglishlessons@gmail.com or click here for more information!

Bonus: Download my free ebook ‘5 Tips to Improve Your Listening Skills in English’ Click here to get it


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!


How to improve your listening skills in English

A lot of students tell me that listening is the most difficult skill for them. Some of the most common problems are:

  • people speak too fast,
  • their pronunciation is too difficult to understand or
  • they use unknown vocabulary.

Do these sound like the problems you have too? If so, don’t worry! You can easily improve your English listening skills by following this advice…


1. Start a Listening routine

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  1. Try to listen to something in English every day – even 10 minutes a day will help you improve your listening skills.
  2. If you can make listening every day into a routine, that will really help, so try listening to something at the same time each day. When I was living in Japan, I used to listen to a Japanese podcast every time I took the train, which made my commute to work a bit more interesting!

*What time of day would work best for you to do your English listening practice?


2. Listen to the right things

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  1. If you are short on time, English language learning podcasts are excellent and you can listen to them on your phone at any time of day! Try one of the podcasts from BBC Learning English, EnglishClass101.com or the British Council.
  2. TED talks are fantastic for improving your English listening skills. You can search for any topic that you are interested in, and they will probably have a talk about it!
  3. Watch a film or TV series! Try to watch films or TV shows that you have seen before so you don’t have to work too hard, and watch them in English for a bit of fun.
  4. Watch videos on YouTube – again, if you don’t have much time, videos on YouTube can be great. Just choose a video on something that interests you and watch in English.

*Which do you think you would like to try first?


3. Use my simple method

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The best way to improve your listening skills is to use the following method.

Listen to the same thing three times:

  1. Firstly, without subtitles/transcripts. The first time you listen you should be trying to guess what is going on.
  2. Secondly, read the transcript/subtitles as you listen. This is when you should be paying attention to vocabulary and trying to understand in detail what they are saying. When you listen the second time, pause the video/recording whenever you need to and write down any new words or phrases.
  3. Finally, listen again without subtitles/the transcript. This is when you should be just listening and trying to enjoy the content without working too hard!

If you don’t have time to listen to something three times in one day, try listening to the same thing over 3 days.

*Now you try: choose a time of day when you are going to listen, choose what you are going to listen to from the above list and try to listen using my method above.

Good luck and enjoy your listening!

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

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