Literal/Nonliteral Phrases (Idioms)

I can determine the meaning of words.

What is a nonliteral phrase?

Idioms are expressions that would have different meanings if you took the words apart. The individual words in the idiom don’t usually help you make sense of it; you just have to know what it means.

Here are a couple examples, along with their meanings.

In the dark- The actual meaning for this would be that there is no light were you are, but the meaning of the idiom is that you don’t know what’s really going on. They didn’t want her to know, so they kept her in the dark about it.


To review nonliteral phrases, click on the video below.
Raining Cats and Dogs - Idiom

Idiom List

Click on the link below for a list of idioms in alphabetical order.

Are you ready for some practice?

Animal Idioms

Click on the link below for practice with animal idioms.

Paint by Idioms Game

Click on the link below to play a game with idioms.

Are you ready to retest?

Red Leaves

Read the passage below.
Dan's favorite aunt was nicknamed Aunt Red. She was called Red because of her hair. It was as red as a fire engine. When Dan was a baby, Aunt Red sent a gift, a little tree. The note with it said, "May Dan and this tree both grow up strong and healthy."

The tree grew as Dan grew. Its trunk was as straight as an arrow. Its branches reached for the sky. Each autumn, its leaves turned a bright red.

Aunt Red lived far away and didn't get to see the tree. But this year she was coming for a visit in October. That was when the tree wore its bright red jacket! Dan couldn't wait for her to see the tree dressed in red. Then two days before Aunt Red came, wind blew all the bright red leaves off the tree!

Dan was sad, but then a lightbulb glowed above his head. He had come up with a great idea. He pressed the reddest leaves in wax paper. Then he made a rubbing on the tree's trunk and drew branches on it. He taped the waxed leaves to the branches. Then he taped his tree to a window.

When Aunt Red arrived, she saw Dan's tree and the real tree without its leaves. She knew how hard Dan had worked. It touched her heart. She knew that both the tree and Dan were growing up well.

Your Task

Use a sheet of notebook paper to identify at least three examples of nonliteral language (idioms). After listing the examples, explain the meaning of the idiom.