Besotted By Idioms and This “Perfect” Language

This lady from Manila gets moved by thunder and spectacle. Or perhaps I am plain easy to please. During an earlier blogging period, a pro writer (Cliff Burns of Beautiful Desolation) blew me away when he injected the idiom “no quarter given bloodbath” on one of his compositions. Dazzled yet barely grasping its absolute meaning, I tried to use it every chance I could – unmindful that I might have been doing injustice to the expression and appalling my reader at the same time.

Idiomatic expressions fascinate me, more so in the not so distant past – in advance of my enlightenment that they’d long been deemed clichés or worn-out articulations according to “The Writer’s Constitution.” The first official post of this blog [I deleted the real initial ones, shh..] was “Idiomatic Nut” in which I gathered a few expressions and pieced them together to come up with coherent sentences. Some examples are as follows:

Don’t talk turkey or you’ll be the talk of the town.

Smart Alec rubs Smarty Pants up the wrong way and becomes a punching bag.

How do you like them apples? Though one bad apple hit rock bottom and gone pear shaped.

A fish out of water drops in the bucket and ends up a flash in the pan.

Cool, huh… No? Anyway, if you wish to see the whole post, click here:

Caution: I’d merely striven for jocosity. Don’t believe a word of it. 🙂

Is that a Cloud Seven or a Cloud Nine, or just a Cloud on the Horizon?
Is that a Cloud Seven or a Cloud Nine, or just a Cloud on the Horizon?

Well, I found doing that quite fun then; I find it quite fun up to this day. Meaning – I’ve done it again. Take a look at the ones I just came up with:

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire – and it’s bringing down the house.

Beating a dead horse is the height of stupidity.

Find the guts to bite the bullet then have it ram down your throat.

Come hell or high water, don’t get caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.

Throw your weight around till you’re blue in the face.

If it’s cut and dried, it doesn’t hold water because it’s running on empty.

Grab the bull by the horns and drop dead in its track.

Bad hair day = Dead man walking

Lay all your cards on the table, put two and two together, then play with fire.

Big Honcho and Queen of Hearts are raising Cain and peeping Tom. It runs in the family.

Beyond the shadow of a doubt, the kiss of death is when you don’t hold your breath.

Enough, enough… I know. That’s how hog-wild I am concerning this language. English is an epic fragment of my enjoyment, not to mention it serves as the focal point of my bread and butter – teaching English, that is. I even get a thrill whenever my boss shoves me into a room with more than half a dozen students inside to train. I love being in charge of a group class; even if our subject matter gets down to the intricacies of grammar. Er, that reminds me, I’m far from being done with my own copy and study of Cambridge’s “Advanced Grammar in Use” – because yours truly is a never-ending work in progress with respect to that discipline.

You see, prepositions (is it really “on my list” than “in my list”?) and perfect tenses are among my grammatical debilities. In my earlier years, simple past had been sufficient for me to refer to finished actions; I didn’t want to have to do with any grammar jargon that has got the word “perfect” in it – like past perfect simple or  future perfect progressive tense. Yikes. But ever since making the decision to spend my remaining productive years as an ESL instructor, I’ve rolled up my sleeves getting acquainted with the various conjugations of sentence construction.

Let me illustrate (before capping this post):

Simple past:

The schmoe acted like a jerk.

Present perfect progressive:

The schmoe has been acting like a complete jerk.

Past perfect progressive:

The schmoe had been acting like an unmitigated jerk for some time.

Future perfect progressive:

The schmoe will have been behaving that way for ages by the time I get the urge to choke him into a state of comma, I mean coma.

See what I mean? Dauntingly convoluted, don’t you think? 🙂

Now you’d better not mention to me the issue of spelling and punctuation.

3 thoughts on “Besotted By Idioms and This “Perfect” Language

  1. A language bred from bits & pieces, cannibalism toward alternative cultural diction over a good many few centuries, kind of continental to the tongue. To be helpful, being invaded every few hundred years for a period over time might of distressed the present outcome a little. Just a fraction 🙂


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