Idioms for PSLE

Idioms for PSLE: Exploring the Wonderful World of Language

Let’s first list down 25 advanced idioms for PSLE:

  1. At the drop of a hat
  2. Beat around the bush
  3. Best thing since sliced bread
  4. Burn the midnight oil
  5. Cry over spilled milk
  6. Don’t judge a book by its cover
  7. Get your act together
  8. Give the benefit of the doubt
  9. Hit the nail on the head
  10. In the heat of the moment
  11. Kill two birds with one stone
  12. Let the cat out of the bag
  13. Miss the boat
  14. Once in a blue moon
  15. Pull someone’s leg
  16. See eye to eye
  17. Take with a grain of salt
  18. The ball is in your court
  19. The last straw
  20. Throw in the towel
  21. Under the weather
  22. Up in the air
  23. When pigs fly
  24. You can’t judge a book by its cover
  25. Bite the bullet

Now, let’s elaborate these idioms in a table format, learn it and use it:

IdiomMeaningExample Usage
At the drop of a hatImmediately; without any hesitation“He’s always ready to play cricket at the drop of a hat.”
Beat around the bushAvoiding the main topic“Don’t beat around the bush—get to the point!”
Best thing since sliced breadA good invention or innovation“These smartphones are the best thing since sliced bread!”
Burn the midnight oilWork late into the night“She was burning the midnight oil to finish her assignment.”
Cry over spilled milkComplain about a loss from the past“There’s no use crying over spilled milk.”
Don’t judge a book by its coverDon’t base your opinion on outward appearances alone“He might look unfriendly, but don’t judge a book by its cover.”
Get your act togetherStart to organize yourself so that you do things effectively“It’s time to get your act together for your exams.”
Give the benefit of the doubtBelieve someone’s statement without proof“I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt this time.”
Hit the nail on the headDo or say something exactly right“You hit the nail on the head when you said he was lying.”
In the heat of the momentOverwhelmed by what is happening in the moment“In the heat of the moment, he confessed his love for her.”
Kill two birds with one stoneSolve two problems at once“By studying while commuting, she could kill two birds with one stone.”
Let the cat out of the bagReveal a secret“He let the cat out of the bag about their surprise party.”
Miss the boatMiss an opportunity“He missed the boat when he forgot to apply for the scholarship.”
Once in a blue moonHappens very rarely“I only see him once in a blue moon.”
Pull someone’s legJoke with someone“I was just pulling your leg, I didn’t mean to upset you.”
See eye to eyeAgree fully“My sister and I see eye to eye on the subject of fashion.”
Take with a grain of saltNot take what someone says too seriously“I take everything he says with a grain of salt.”
The ball is in your courtIt is up to you to make the next move“I’ve done all I can; now the ball is in your court.”
The last strawThe final problem in a series of problems“His lateness for dinner was the last straw.”
Throw in the towelGiving up“After losing the third round, he threw in the towel.”
Under the weatherFeeling ill“I’m feeling a bit under the weather today.”
Up in the airUncertain and with an unclear outcome“Our holiday plans are still up in the air.”
When pigs flySomething that will never happen“He’ll tidy his room when pigs fly.”
You can’t judge a book by its coverDon’t form an opinion based only on appearances“She may look strange, but you can’t judge a book by its cover.”
Bite the bulletFace up to unpleasant reality“I hate to do it, but I have to bite the bullet and start studying.”

Primary School Leaving Examination, or PSLE, is a pivotal point in every Singaporean student’s academic journey. Being competent in English is essential, and understanding and using idioms correctly can significantly enhance your language skills. This article explores the universe of “Idioms for PSLE”, gearing it specifically for Grade 6 students who are preparing for this key examination. At eduKate, we go that extra mile, so let’s continue with another set shall we?

Here are 20 uncommon idioms that a 12-year-old might find interesting and challenging:

  1. A dime a dozen
  2. Be up the creek without a paddle
  3. Break a leg
  4. Call it a day
  5. Every cloud has a silver lining
  6. Get cold feet
  7. It’s not rocket science
  8. Keep your shirt on
  9. Make a mountain out of a molehill
  10. Not playing with a full deck
  11. Out of the blue
  12. Put all your eggs in one basket
  13. Smell a rat
  14. Spill the beans
  15. Take it on the chin
  16. Through thick and thin
  17. To be on cloud nine
  18. To cost an arm and a leg
  19. Under someone’s thumb
  20. You can’t have your cake and eat it too

Here they are in table format with their meanings and examples of usage:

IdiomMeaningExample Usage
A dime a dozenVery common“These kinds of problems are a dime a dozen.”
Be up the creek without a paddleTo be in serious trouble or difficulty“If I don’t finish this project, I’ll be up the creek without a paddle.”
Break a legGood luck (often used before someone goes on stage)“Break a leg in your performance tonight!”
Call it a dayTo stop work for the day“We’ve done enough work, let’s call it a day.”
Every cloud has a silver liningYou can find something positive in every bad situation“He failed his test but every cloud has a silver lining—he realized he needed to study more.”
Get cold feetTo become nervous or hesitant“I was going to audition for the play but I got cold feet.”
It’s not rocket scienceIt’s not very complicated“Come on, it’s not rocket science, just add the two numbers.”
Keep your shirt onStay calm and patient“Keep your shirt on, the bus will be here soon.”
Make a mountain out of a molehillMake a small problem seem big“You’re making a mountain out of a molehill—it’s a tiny mistake.”
Not playing with a full deckSomeone who lacks intelligence“I don’t think he’s playing with a full deck.”
Out of the blueUnexpectedly“She called me out of the blue after not speaking for years.”
Put all your eggs in one basketRely on a single solution or plan for success“Don’t put all your eggs in one basket—apply to several colleges.”
Smell a ratTo suspect trickery or deception“I smell a rat—there’s no way he could have finished the test that quickly.”
Spill the beansTo reveal a secret“Don’t spill the beans about the surprise party.”
Take it on the chinTo accept criticism or punishment without complaining“He made a mistake and took it on the chin.”
Through thick and thinIn both good and bad times“My best friend has been with me through thick and thin.”
To be on cloud nineTo be extremely happy“When I found out I made the team, I was on cloud nine.”
To cost an arm and a legTo be very expensive“This designer dress costs an arm and a leg.”
Under someone’s thumbUnder someone’s control“He does whatever she wants—he’s under her thumb.”
You can’t have your cake and eat it tooYou can’t enjoy both of two desirable but incompatible alternatives“You have to choose—you can’t have your cake and eat it too.”

Top Strategies to Master Idioms for PSLE:

  1. Read Widely: Reading a variety of books, newspapers, and magazines can expose you to different idioms and their usage.
  2. Practice Writing: Try using idioms in your writing to familiarise yourself with their usage and to gain confidence.
  3. Flashcards: Write idioms and their meanings on flashcards. This will help you revise them effectively.
  4. Contextual Understanding: Practice understanding idioms within the context of sentences and paragraphs, rather than in isolation.
  5. Regular Revision: Regularly revise the idioms you learn. Repeated exposure will help cement them in your memory.

Dive Deeper into Idioms for PSLE

Let’s take a step beyond the common primary lists and dive deeper into some lesser-known but equally powerful idioms you can use to ace your PSLE!

1. ‘A Drop in the Ocean’

This idiom implies that something is very small, especially when compared with something much larger that is being discussed. For example, “My savings are but a drop in the ocean compared to the cost of a new house.”

2. ‘The Ball is in Your Court’

This means it is up to someone to take the next action or decision. For example, “I’ve done all I can, now the ball is in your court.”

3. ‘Throw In the Towel’

This idiom means to give up or surrender, especially in a competition or challenging situation. For example, “After trying to fix the computer for hours, I finally had to throw in the towel.”

4. ‘Bite the Bullet’

This phrase refers to facing a difficult or unpleasant situation bravely and stoically. For example, “I know you’re scared of the dentist, but you’ll have to bite the bullet and go.”

5. ‘Kick the Bucket’

This is a less formal way to talk about someone’s death. For example, “I don’t want to kick the bucket without having seen the world.”

Resources for Mastering Idioms

While mastering idioms can feel like a daunting task, there are several great online resources that can make the process enjoyable and effective. Here are some useful websites:

  1. Idioms and phrases at This site offers a comprehensive list of idioms, along with their meanings, examples of usage, and quizzes to test your understanding.
  2. Learn idioms with EnglishClub: This site organizes idioms into thematic categories, making it easy to learn idioms related to specific topics.
  3. Interactive learning at Idioms.In: A user-friendly website offering a plethora of idioms, including illustrations and example sentences.

Wrapping Up

Mastering “Idioms for PSLE” can give you an edge in your English examination. It not only improves your vocabulary but also enables you to express your thoughts more vividly. By learning and using idioms correctly, you’ll be one step closer to acing your PSLE. So, bite the bullet, throw yourself into the wonderful world of idioms, and watch your language skills soar!

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