Learn 5 Common English Idioms to Describe People

KrystalListening and Speaking:Beginning

Krystal, Level 1 Listening and Speaking Instructor

Sometimes, even when you know a lot of English, you can have difficulty finding the right words or phrases to describe people’s appearance and personality. Having the right words to describe the different people that you meet is helpful. Here are 5 English idioms that you may hear when people are describing others.

1.   Has a heart of gold – hǽz ə hɑ́rt ə́v gól

  • A person who has a heart of gold is very kind and considerate.
  • Example: She has a heart of gold. She’ll always help anyone with anything.
  • ʃí hǽz ə hɑ́rt ə́v góld. ʃíl ɒ́lwèz hɛ́lp ɛ́niwən wɪθ ɛ́niθɪ̀ŋ

Image courtesy of inkfoundry.com 

2.   Pain in the neck – pén ɪn ðə nɛ́k

  • A person who is a pain in the neck is very annoying or a bother.
  • Example: My little sister is a pain in the neck.
  • máj lɪ́təl sɪ́stər ɪ́z ə pén ɪn ðə nɛ́k.

3.   Happy-go-lucky – hǽpi gó lə́ki

  • A person who is happy-go-lucky is very cheerful and carefree all the time.
  • She is a happy-go-lucky girl. She’s always so cheerful.
  • ʃí ɪ́z ə hǽpi- gó- lə́ki gə́rl. ʃíz ɒ́lwèz só tʃɪ́rfəl.

4.   Hard as nails – hɑ́rd ǽz nélz

  • A person who is (as) hard as nails is unsentimental and shows no sympathy.
  • He doesn’t care who he hurts. He’s as hard as nails.
  • hí də́zənt kɛ́r hú hí hə́rts. híz ǽz hɑ́rd ǽz nélz.

5.   Average Joe – ǽvərɪdʒ dʒó

  • A person who is an average Joe is someone who’s just like everyone else; a normal person.
  • He is an average Joe student. He isn’t rich and famous.
  • hí ɪ́z ǽn ǽvərɪdʒ dʒó stúdənt. hí ɪ́zənt rɪ́tʃ ǽnd féməs.

Now you give it a try. Can you think of people you can use these idioms to describe?

Is there an English idiom you don’t understand? Post your idiom question below as a reply, or send me an e-mail (kkillcre@aum.edu) and tell me about it. I’ll try to help you understand it better.

Happy Learning!

Image courtesy of chappellroberts.com


Spring-1 End of Term Luncheon


Spring-1 End of Term Luncheon

Make plans to attend the end of term luncheon this Thursday, March 14, from 11:45am – 1pm in Room#2. Lots of fun games, prizes, awards, and good food are just a few of the reasons you don’t want to miss this special activity. Make sure and let your listening & speaking instructor or the ESL office know if you plan to attend.

Daylight Savings – Time Change

Krystal, ESL InstructorIt’s that time of year again, time to spring forward! Every spring and fall the clocks are changed in the United States in almost all states. As an international student, this may be something new to you if you do not have daylight savings time in your country (check out the map at the bottom of this post to see which countries participate in daylight savings time -DST). So, we enjoy our sleep while we can, and we look forward to more sunshine in the days ahead. Spring is right around the corner!

Here’s what you need to know…


The clocks will be springing ahead one hour this weekend. Clocks are scheduled to change on Sunday, March 10, 2013, from 2:00 AM to 3:00 AM.  You can change your clock before you go to sleep on Saturday or when you wake up on Sunday morning. Just remember to change it, or you’ll be late for class on Monday morning!

More information about Daylight Savings Time can be found here.


image courtesy of Wikipedia