As I prepare for the beginning of a new semester, I’m excited and a bit overwhelmed. As usual, I am attempting to accomplish more than is humanly possible by one small dedicated teacher. I do this every time despite promising Mr. C, my cat, my friends, and myself that it won’t happen again! That said, I’m going to have to reduce the frequency of the language blogs as I just can’t manage the once a week goal I had set on top of teaching, writing, taking classes, and trying to have some semblance of a balanced life. For the rest of 2017, I will be blogging only every other week. If ideas or inspiration strike, I might add a bonus blog or two.

This week’s blog examines some great idioms for finishing something, the summer, and getting back to school. These are all currently used English idioms, so you can learn them and use them confidently in your own speech.

The idioms will be introduced first and then used in context.

I hope you learn something and enjoy the language!


The End Of The Road

This is used to express an ending. It can be a positive ending, but more often used to express the sadness that something is finished. Breakup songs like the one by Boyz II Men often use this phrase as well.


It’s All Over But The Shouting

I love this sports game idiom. It refers to the end of a game when one team is so far ahead of the other that there is no possible way the losing team could win, but they game still has to be played to the end. It can be used for any situation that is “finished” but still goes on until the time is up.

The Sky’s The Limit

This idiom is rather obvious to indicate that there are really no limits. It can be used when discussing most any kind of achievement.

Sowing Seeds

Sow is a great verb not used much in urban environments and has to do with planting. It is pronounced just like so and sew. Don’t you just love English! It can be used to plant anything and watch it grow. Sow seed collocates better to plant seeds.  

 Hit The Books



While sometimes we all may feel frustrated and actually want to slug or physically hit, this idiom is more about hitting with the brain. To hit the books means to open them up and study. It is usually used to express intense, not necessarily fun or easy study.

Get Thinking Cap On

This idiom is fairly straightforward. How does one come up with an idea? Put on a “thinking cap!” It is a fun, positive idiom used to express trying to come up with ideas.

As Easy As 123 or ABC

The first thing English speaking children learn is numbers and letters; thus, 123 and abc are simple basic building blocks for knowledge and relatively easy to learn. There are songs about this too.

Learn The Ropes

I love the ocean and being on boats, so sailing idioms are in my wheel house (another boat idiom that means tool box or things I can do). On a boat, especially a sailboat, ropes are very important for navigation and braking, so to sail successfully, you must know your ropes. This is another positive idiom that can be applied to most any topic.

Smooth Sailing

When the seas are calm, the sun is bright, and there’s just enough wind, then sailing is awesome! However, with a bit of storm, chaos can ensue. This idiom refers to situations that are all going well with no problems and again, can be applied to most all life circumstances.

Summer has come to the end of the road, and basically, it’s all over but the shouting. My summer class finished on a high note. My entire class passed, save the one person who quit coming. Clearly, when students put their minds to it, the sky’s the limit to their success. Despite the difficulty of studying at a college level in another language, by sowing the seeds of diligent effort and deliberate application of ideas, writing and language improvement is possible, even in 10 weeks!

Fall semester starts for me next week, so it’s time for us to hit the books again and get those thinking caps on! ESL 201 at IVC is not as easy as 123 or ABC. It is a difficult intensive class that covers a lot of ground with multiple books and essays and assignments and activities. Nonetheless, I have every confidence that my students will quickly learn the ropes of my class and have smooth sailing before they know it!