Today, our lesson is about one of my favorite subjects: idioms.
Idioms are seemingly nonsensical groupings of words. However, they aren’t as they seem. In fact, these phrases are cram-packed with meaning! Their meaning evolved through usage, rather than the entries of lexicographers, Grammarians who decide which words are placed in the dictionary and what they mean.
Idiom of the day: pretty as a picture.
This saying came about during the Victorian Era, the 1800s. It was even used by Mark Twain. In the book A Connecticut Yankee in King Author’s Court, Twain describes a character as “pretty as a picture.” Despite the noted hubbub, this phrase literally means attractive, in fact, there’s not much else to it.
You may encounter a native English speaker saying “She’s as pretty as a picture.” The speaker is telling the listener that the person in question is beautiful.
Some Question Tags use the Auxiliary Verb, but these little action words are nothing to fear. An Auxiliary Verb simply demonstrates tense. For example, can versus could. At this point, we know when to deploy Auxiliary Verbs.
Note: These sentences elicit somewhat complex answers, not merely “yes” or “no” like our earlier lesson, Positive/Negative Question Tags.
Question tags, with or without Auxiliary Verbs are contextually interesting. They transform declarative and imperative statements into interrogative sentences. furthermore, they are often used to communicate irony, insults, and alternate usages of a word. Here’s an example that both use an Auxiliary Verb and express irony.
Speaker 1: “In the ‘90s, I was big in New Orleans.”
Speaker 2: “You were big, weren’t you? The fattest Blues singer in the city!”