Ten Idioms from Cartoons

As a part of my effort to use interesting ways for teaching English, I’ve decided to gather a collection of pictures from popular cartoons which are perfect for teaching idioms in English. You can use these images for practicing speaking and vocabulary.

Every image represents one idiom. The focus of you lesson would be to explore the meaning of the idiom and to analyze the image, and figure out how to relate the image to the idiom. Along the way, you could:

  • Introduce other idioms
  • Talk about the cartoon
  • Talk about situations when students were in the similar situation

Exercise: Each image illustrates one idiom. There are three possible answers below each image, and the goal is find the correct one. (Correct answers are in the end of this article).

1. Against the clock

idiom_against_the_clock

a) In a great hurry to get something done before a particular time.
b) Just in time, at the last possible moment.
c) Not worrying about the time.

2. Better late than never

idiom_better_late_than_never

a) You should not be late.
b) It is better to do something after it was supposed to have been done than not to do it at all.
c) It is better not to do anything if you are going to be late.

3. Have eyes in the back of your head

idiom_have_eyes_in_the_back_of_your_head

a) To wear glasses.
b) To know everything that is happening around you.
c) To have a friend behind your back.

4. Tip of the iceberg

idiom_tip_of_the_iceberg

a) The part of a problem that can be seen, with far more serious problems lying underneath.
b) Uncertain situation that could cause harm.
c) Almost doing or experiencing something.

5. Keep an eye on

idiom_keep_an_eye_on

a) To be enthusiastic about someone or something.
b) To be responsible for someone or something.
c) To watch or give your attention to someone or something.

6. It’s raining cats and dogs

idiom_raining_cats_and_dogs

a) To fall or drop down on someone or something like rain.
b) To rain very heavily.
c) Doing something that spoils someone’s plans.

7. Smell something fishy

idiom_smell_something_fishy

a) To seem suspicious.
b) To seem to easy to be true.
c) To have a strong or unpleasant smell.

8. Miss the boat

idiom_miss_the_boat

a) Not being able to do something because it’s too difficult.
b) To be just in time, at the last possible moment.
c) To be too late to get something that you want.

9. Not see the forest for the trees

idiom_not_see_forest_for_the_trees

a) To pay too much attention to details and not understand the general situation.
b) To do everything others are doing.
c) To be lost and unable to find the way.

10. Sleep on it

idiom_sleep_on_it

a) To sleep until you’re fully relaxed.
b) To wait before making an important decision.
c) To sleep despite the problems and worries you might have.

Answers:

1. a            2. b          3. b            4. a             5. c
6.b            7. a           8. c            9. a             10. b

Teaching Pronouns in English

Teaching English using music is a great way to engage your students, especially if you use songs they like. In one of my lessons,  I have used Taylor Swift’s song “Ours” to teach pronouns in English. However, I’ve also added some vocabulary and grammar exercises related to the text.

Here are the instructions on how to use this lesson in class:

1. Listen to the song without the text.

2. Listen to the song again. This time students have the text with missing words. The goal is to fill in the missing words. Have in mind that all of the missing words are in fact pronouns (you can leave out some other words as well).

Ours – Taylor Swift

Elevator buttons and morning air
Strangers’ silence makes _______ wanna take the stairs
If you were here we’d laugh about their vacant stares
But right now _______ time is theirs

Seems like there’s always someone who disapproves
They’ll judge it like they know about _______ and _______
And the verdict comes from those with nothing else to do
The jury’s out, but _______ choice is you

So don’t you worry _______ pretty little mind
People throw rocks at things that shine
And life makes love look hard
The stakes are high, the water’s rough
But this love is ours

You never know what people have up _______ sleeves
Ghosts from your past gonna jump out at me
Lurking in the shadows with their lip gloss smiles
But _______ don’t care ’cause right now you’re _______

And you’ll say
Don’t you worry your pretty little mind
People throw rocks at things that shine
And life makes love look hard
The stakes are high, the water’s rough
But this love is _______

And it’s not _______ to speculate
If _______’s wrong and
Your hands are tough
But they are where _______ belong and
I’ll fight their doubt and give you faith
With this song for _______

‘Cause _______ love the gap between your teeth
And I love the riddles that you speak
And any snide remarks from my father about _______ tattoos will be ignored
‘Cause my heart is _______

So don’t you worry your pretty little mind
People throw rocks at things that shine
And life makes love look hard
Don’t you worry your pretty little mind
People throw rocks at things that shine
But _______ can’t take what’s ours
They can’t take what’s ours

3. Discuss the pronouns in English before you go on with the exercises.

Exercise 1 – Write the missing pronouns:

Personal pronouns    Possessive adjectives    Possessive pronouns
I                         ________                     ________
________                  your                         ________
he                        ________                    his
________                  her                          hers
________                  its                          its
we                        our                          ________
they                      ________                     ________

Exercise 2 – Circle the pair of words that rhyme:

Shine – Mine
Love – Move
Life – Live
Rough – Tough
Make – Cake
Rough – Roof

Exercise 3 – Find the synonyms:

distrust, concern, disallow, glimmer, glare, difficult, big

1. worry
2. hard
3.  stare
4.  doubt
5. shine
6. disapprove
7. high

Exercise 4 – Write the full forms:

… If you were here we’d laugh about their vacant stares …
… Seems like there’s always someone who disapproves
They’ll judge it like they know about …
… So don’t you worry your pretty little mind …
… The stakes are high, the water’s rough …