What is Idiomatic English?
Using "idiomatic" English means speaking and writing in a normal way.
This is a little different from "correct" English. It's possible to make English sentences that are completely grammatically correct, but they're not idiomatic.
For example, consider the following conversaton:
A: What is your job?
B: Umm... I'm a nurse.
The question "What is your job?" is grammatically correct, but it's not the question that English speakers usually ask. When someone wants to find out about another person's job, they usually ask:
A: What do you do?
B: I'm a nurse.
There are other idiomatic ways to ask about a person's job, of course, but "What is your job?" is not one of them.
How do you learn Idiomatic English?
You should aim to use idiomatic English as much as possible. You can do that by learning multi-word phrases.
Don't think about language as single words connected by grammar. Think of it as phrases which combine with each other. So instead of learning a single word like this:
...learn some phrases like these:
take the initiative
an education initiative
Make sure that you're not only learning English from textbooks. Learn from real-life sources as well: conversations, videos, websites, etc. with native English speakers.
On the other hand, you won't always be able to speak idiomatically. If you need to say something, but don't know the normal way to phrase it, just do your best using the words and phrases you already know!Print this Article