Guest post by William Hawkins
Have you ever heard or used certain sayings, and while you automatically may know the meaning, you’re not quite sure where the saying came from, or why others use that very same saying? These sayings are called idioms. Idioms are special phrases with figurative meanings that are different than their literal meanings. These phrases play a big role for writers who want to connect with their readers in such a way that is not so dry, and by maybe adding a little bit of humor to their work.
Incorporating idioms into your writing might be easier than you think. You probably already “know the ropes,” meaning you understand the details, because idioms are all around us, even if you don’t realize it. Any phrase or saying that you use that isn’t completely understandable by its meaning is most likely an idiom.
A penny saved is a penny earned is a very popular idiom that means by not spending you are actually saving. Has your mom ever told you that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush? Of course she has: all this means is that to have something that is certain is much better than to take a risk for more because you just might lose everything in the process.
Utilizing these phrases can be a great tool for writers to convey their message all while making their work that much more entertaining for their readers. Idioms can also add a new level to whatever it is that you may be writing. It’s a powerful way to show that you can comprehend different and creative phrasing by making indirect references. The reader is being educated without even realizing it.
But you must be careful to not get too carried away with the use of these great phrases, because they can and will get you into trouble. Before using an idiom, make sure you fully understand the idiom that you are using; it will drive your readers crazy if you take an idiom out of context or you use an incorrect idiom in your work.
For example, the phrase “head over heels in love” is sometimes mistakenly written “head over feet in love.” It’s a simple and small mistake to make when you’re writing, but it’s one that can ruin whatever it is that you have written because it’s possible to lose any and all credibility you may have gained. Your work doesn’t have to be full of idioms either, so if you’re not sure what the idiom means or how to correctly use it, just don’t.
If you’re using these special phrases you must be creative with your writing because, remember, this is supposed to be fun. So next time, instead of writing that someone tried to force an issue that has been ended, simply write that they beat a dead horse. Using idioms is nothing more than a drop in the bucket! So now it’s your turn to be a big fish in a small pond.