Idioms with body parts: speak your mind

Idioms are a fun way to express ourselves. These sayings add color and meaning to any conversation. 

We are continuing our discussion of idioms related to parts of the body. Recently, we explored the relationship between feet and bills through the idiom “foot the bill,” but today our phrase is “speak your mind.” 

Someone who speaks their mind is outspoken. Often, they are not very popular because they say things that offend others, their words may be hateful or blunt. 

For example, “people who speak their minds aren’t well-liked”. By saying this, the speaker is telling the listener that those who always reveal their true thoughts are disliked. You may also say “they tell it how it is,” both phrases possess the same meaning.



To wish for something is a strong desire for a specific outcome. 

The word “wish” is a Verb, it’s one of those action words where no physical labor is required to engage in the action, something somewhat abstract. Other abstract Verbs include trust, worry, and forget as well as many other thoughts and feelings. But, “wish” is the most yearning of these Verbs.

Making a wish is common in both the West and East.  For example, you may have encountered a wishing well. A place where tossing a penny into a deep drum of water grants your deepest desire. Or, you may have seen a movie in which the players ask a genie to bring love into their lives. 


Wish + would

The word “wish” is the desire or hope for something that isn’t easily obtained. It’s a Verb, an abstract Verb, but still a Verb. Often, abstract Verbs are feelings. 

Most of us are familiar with the phrase “wish upon a star”, a cliché used to express hope for the most unlikely of outcomes.  But today, we are discussing the Verb group “wish […] would.” 

You may encounter a Native English speaker saying “I wish you would eat more vegetables.” By saying this, the speaker is expressing a desire for the listener to consume healthier foods. 


Could vs Can – Ability

“Could” is a Modal Verb. In fact, it acts as the past tense of the Modal Verb can. This Modal Verb refers to the ability to have done something, Don’t worry, this is not as confusing as it seems, here’s a simple dialogue:

Can you pass the test tomorrow? 

I don’t think so.

Could you have passed yesterday’s test? 

Definitely not.

Alternatively, the speaker could’ve said, “Can you pass the test now?”. If they wanted to use the Modal Verb “can” in the present tense. 

Image representation: A boy giving the test

Could vs Can – Request

Both “can” and “could” are Modal Verbs. Despite this similarity, “can” speaks of present/future actions, and “could” speaks of actions that occurred in the past. Here is an example of dialogue:

Can penguins fly?

No, they cannot. 

Could they fly a long time ago? 

No, they couldn’t. 


Adverbs of frequency “never”

“Never” is an Adverb of Frequency. Adverbs of Frequency describe how often an event happens, for example, trains arriving and departing a station.

“Never” means that something doesn’t occur at all, in fact, it’s the opposite of always, which means that something occurs at all times. Can you think of something that doesn’t happen at all?

Humorously, it’s said that one should “never say never,” because they will eventually be wrong. However, native English speakers often use the Adverb “never.” The word is used as an exaggeration. For example, you may encounter the phrase, “You’ll never guess who I saw”. In actuality, you may be able to guess whom the speaker saw, it was a mutual friend. 

A picture representing the above Phrase

Adverbs of frequency “always”

In all cases, an Adverb describes a Verb, Adjective, or another Adverb. For example, “quickly” is an Adverb that may be used to describe the speed of action. It is often used in sentences like, “He quickly runs”. But today, we are discussing Adverbs of Frequency. Adverbs of Frequency describe how often an event occurs.

There are two types of Adverbs of Frequency, definite and indefinite. Definite Adverbs of Frequency give the exact time of an event, such as hourly. For example, you may hear a native English speaker say, “The train arrives, hourly”. But, Indefinite Adverbs of Frequency are abstract. “Always” is an Indefinite Adverb of Frequency, a few things always happen.


What is mixed conditional?

When talking to native English speakers, you will encounter Mixed Conditionals. In these sentences, the main clause’s tense differs from the tense of the Object. To clarify, in a Mixed Conditional sentence, the Subject and the Object refer to different periods of time. The Subject refers to the past and the Object to the present or future.
Interestingly, Mixed Conditional sentences discuss an unreal event by using the Conjunction “if.” Here’s an example, “If we had bought a map, we wouldn’t be lost.” Buying the map is not a real event, it’s hypothetical.

A Mixed Conditional contains: If + past perfect… would + Infinitive

The bare Infinitive does not function as a noun., these are somewhat complex, but just know that they are in the final Verb group
Don’t worry, it’s not complicated to make a sentence with the Mixed Conditional. Let’s look at an example:

“If it hadn’t snowed, I wouldn’t be cold.”


What is Zero conditional?

When talking to a native English speaker, you will encounter the Zero Conditional.  It’s used to speak of rules of games or science. But don’t panic, it’s easy to spot,  Zero Conditionals always have the words “if” or “when” in them. For example, “If it gets below zero, water freezes”. In this sentence, and in all conditional sentences, “if” means in the event that A happens, B will follow. By saying this, the speaker is expressing that  “below zero” = “freeze”


What is a phrasal verb “Get away”?

A phrasal verb, such as “get away”, contains two or more words, a verb along with other elements of language. While listening to a native English speaker, you will encounter one of these three Phrasal Verb linguistic structures (word orders):

     Verb + Adverb (eg break down)

     Verb + Preposition (eg see to)

     Verb + Adverb + Preposition (eg look down on)

The Adverbs related to these structures (syntaxes) are referred to as Adverbs of Manner. They are always placed after the Verb. 

A few common examples of the Adverb + Verb structure are speaking softly, did well, and get away (the subject of today’s lesson).