Those who study English sooner or later face the necessity to study English idioms and phrases which make the English language bright and colourful. If your vocabulary doesn’t possess even the simplest idioms, even grammatically correct speech will seem plain giving away your student’s status.
Though idioms are more often met in the colloquial speech of common Americans and Englishmen, their importance is that they penetrate each layer of the language, both colloquial and standard. It is vitally important one should master English idioms to understand colloquial speech and read formal books and authentic articles in the newspapers.
Let’s look deeper into the English language and train our knowledge for better understanding and speaking.
The idiom of the day is ‘Play by ear‘. Initially, this referred to the playing of music without reference to printed notation. More recently it is also used figuratively to mean ‘handle a situation in an impromptu manner’, i.e. without reference to pre-determined rules or guidelines.
Examples in speech:
- I’m not sure if I can go bowling or not, I’ll just have to play it by ear.
- He never prepared his presentations. He always played things by ear.
Many idioms are used in movies, so you can see how this idiom is used in ‘Bad teacher’ movie with Cameron Diaz.
Lynn: ‘Wally’s got that big orientation in the auditorium.’
Elizabeth: ‘Yeah, I’m not gonna hear that.’
Lynn: ‘Oh.. It’s mandatory. I’ll probably won’t go either. Huh..no I might, I’m probably going to sit in the back, maybe leave early. Maybe stay the end half…Play by ear…Or just stay the end. Okay…Oh! This was fun, huh?’