7 English Idioms

Here are 7 English Idioms that you can use with native-English speakers today.

1. Start Fresh

To start something again from a new place or in a different manner. This phrase is often used after a failed attempt when a person decides to change his or her approach to the situation. Note: you will also hear a similar phrase, ‘fresh start,’ as the object of the sentence.


Lynn: I’m happy to hear that you’re moving to Toronto for your new job. That’s really exciting.
Uri: Thanks. I love my life in Vancouver, but after my last job didn’t work out, I really wanted to start fresh.

2. Shake Things Up

To make significant changes in one’s life.


Maki: I was bored with my daily routine of taking the bus, going to Tim Hortons every day, and sitting alone during my lunch breaks. I decided to shake things up; now I ride my bike, bring my own coffee, and socialize with coworkers at break times.

3. Nothing Venture, Nothing Gained

If you do not try, you will not succeed. A more casual version of this phrase is ‘no pain, no gain.’


Patty: I really want to travel to Mexico for our school program, but I don’t think my Spanish is good enough.
Nina: You know what they say: nothing ventured, nothing gained. You may not have another opportunity like this, so you should at least try.

4. Get Cold Feet

To feel nervous about something


Glen: How was your date with Maggie last night?
Harry: I didn’t go. I really wanted to, but I got cold feet. I felt so nervous that I decided to stay home.

5. Blessing in Disguise

An event that seems bad or unfortunate but ends up being good or beneficial.


Carly: Two years ago I lost my wallet on my way to work and I was so worried. It had all of my ID and cash as well. It was actually a blessing in disguise. A very nice man found my wallet and he returned it to me later that same day while I was at work. We ended up dating for almost a year and now we are happily married. If I didn’t lose my wallet, I wouldn’t have met my husband.

6. Call it a Day

To stop work at the end of one’s shift.


Vinny: Hey Kenny! It’s 5:30 – let’s call it a day and go home.

7. Pull Yourself Together

To be calm after feeling nervous or upset.


Ron: I can’t believe my brother forgot to buy groceries. I’m so upset!
Sara: Pull yourself together, Ron. We can buy groceries this evening. Your brother isn’t perfect, so don’t worry about it.

For more idioms, check out our previous blog, Common English Idioms and How to Use Them. We also post idioms, phrasal verbs, slang, and grammar tips on our Facebook page. Feel free to contact us with any questions. We’re always happy to help.
By Bryan Candy