6 English Sayings You Ought To Know

September 12, 2011

in Creative writing

Oh the good old English with all their colloquial sayings, it’s a language unto its own! English sayings make for very useful alternative ways of expressing yourself when writing. The majority are metaphorical and make for fun visuals, jumping out at the reader and straying from the path of boring generic ways of writing about particular people or situations. Here are 6 classic English sayings and their meanings.

1. Swings and Roundabouts

If someone says, “it’s all swings and roundabouts”, they are referring to things evening themselves out. So you might find $5 and then lose $5, this would be “swings and roundabouts.” Swings go up and down and roundabouts go round and round, thus why this phrase is used to represent karmic-like happenings.

2. Every Dog Has Its Day

Why dogs are used in this reference I don’t know. But the concept here is that each person shall have their moment of fortune, or their time to shine in the spotlight. In other words, everyone has an opportunity at some point to make a mark in life.

3. Smokes and Mirrors

This gem of a metaphor represents a deceptive, fraudulent or insubstantial explanation or description. You might choose to use this saying about a person who lies a lot or is shady and cagey about things.

4. It’s All Gone Belly Up

This one is pretty obvious. It quite simply means a situation has gone entirely wrong. However, it refers to a situation that was previously going very well but has turned on its belly, meaning turned negative.

5. It’s Neither Here Nor There

If you are debating with someone and they make a point that has no real contribution to the debate, or no effect on the point at hand, you may choose to say, “That’s neither here nor there. ”This saying basically means that the point is irrelevant and has no place anywhere within the given context.

6. Too Many Cooks Spoil The Broth

A classic old English saying that refers to the fact that when too many people are involved in a task, no matter how competent each person is as an individual, the extra manpower will negatively affect the outcome.

Feel free to add more in the comments section!

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