English Idioms Inspired By People

Dating couple scene, love confession461997309Idioms are a great way to improve your English knowledge, and it can be fun way to get some insight into the culture! Every language has it’s own idioms, and some may just make you laugh, crazy, or cock your head in confusion. Here are a few of our favorite English Idioms inspired by people:

To Go Dutch – a restaurant meal in which each participant pays for what he or she ordered/ate.

example: While friends often go Dutch when they eat lunch together it is probably not a good idea if you are trying to impress a girl on Valentine’s Day!

Note: As illustrated in the example above, the “Dutch” used in this idiom is a proper noun and should be capitalized no matter where it appears in the sentence.

To Keep Up With The Joneses – to work (somewhat competitively) to have the same things as your neighbors or peers.

example: When Jackie became the fourth girl in her class to get the same model of cell phone I knew she was just trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Note: Again, as this idiom is based around (idealized) people – The Joneses – the fictional family name should always be capitalized.

To Run In The Family – to have a similar characteristic or trait among different members of the same family.

example: Before I met Katy’s mother and father I always wondered whether her height was a family trait or not. After seeing how tall her parents are, though, I knew immediately that height runs in the family.

The Real McCoy – genuine, not an imitation

example: I suspected the opposite but Jeremy told me that the diamond ring he bought his girlfriend was the real McCoy – and quite expensive!

Note: For this idiom be sure to capitalize the family name – McCoy – but not the world “real”.

Check out our dedicated discussion of Idioms to better understand their importance and, of course, find additional practice!


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