It is no secret that English is an international language spoken in a great number of countries. This option gives people the opportunity to travel around the world and communicate with the citizens, even if they do not know the language of the country they visit.
In a majority of regions, they learn the so-called ‘standard’ English - means, its British variant. And this often unmask them - ‘gives the black cap’ (if you want to sound like an American) :D
In the USA, they have a large number of peculiar expressions. When you are in this country, like it or not, you WILL make use of words and phrases to communicate with people. And, here comes the magic - from the very first word, an American will see if you are a native or not.
In this article, I’d like to pay your attention to some ‘strange’ English phrases that are ‘okay’ for native citizens.
Ready? Off we go!
By the skin of your teeth
Some of you may think that Americans are strangers, and their teeth are covered with skin, but calm down they are the same people as you are. When they say that somebody does something by the skin of their teeth, they mean that the person has just succeeded in something.
Get out of hand
It doesn’t, actually, mean that one has butterfingers or somebody was in the hands of another person and decided to get off them. Usually, people use such an expression to tell that somebody or something became difficult to control. So, don't get rattled! It is a usual practice to hear such words from natives :) Let’s move on!
Bob’s your uncle
When you tell an American that you are going to pass a difficult exam or anything, you haven’t done before, and hear “Bob’s your uncle”, do not try to reclaim the speaker telling that Bob Marley is NOT really your uncle. Using this expression, Americans mean that everything is going to be alright, and you are going to succeed. Agree, strange, but roll with it!
Go cold turkey
No, Americans do not have supernatural power, and they can’t transform into turkeys! When they say that one goes turkey, it means that the person has suddenly decided to get rid of a quirky habit like smoking or something else.
Actually, I do not understand why a turkey, in particular.
On the ball
When you hear these words for the first time, it may seem that somebody is doing yoga, but indeed, to be on the ball means that one is very clever and perfectly catches the new information!
Find your feet
There is no need to call 911 when you hear that somebody finds their feet, it is more likely that no one has really got hurt and lost their legs. When one is finding their feet, it means that they try to get used to some new events in their life, and that’s it :)
Smell a rat
Oh sure, the person who said it to you is not an idiot, though, and they didn’t really smell a rat. Among native Americans, to smell a rat means to feel that something unfair is currently happening or is going to happen in the nearest future.
You might have no idea how easily an American can get to know whether you are native or not. So, as soon as you hear one of those, at first sight, strange words, do not rush to a conclusion that Americans are aliens - they just have some tricky ways to sense foreigners :D
If you learn all these expressions as well as search for some more examples, you are more likely to be on the ball and make even natives believe that you are one of them ;)