Idiom/Saying Explanation

To be a bookworm.

For example:

"He's always reading. He's a real bookworm."

Someone who reads a lot.

To be a copycat.

For example:

"She always copies my work, she's such a copycat."


Someone who does or says exactly the same as someone else.

To learn something off by heart.

For example:

"I learnt all the vocabulary off by heart."

To learn something in such a way that you can say it from memory.

To learn the hard way.

For example:

"I told her not to marry him. But she had to learn the hard way."

To have a bad experience.

To learn the ropes.

For example:

"She's new here and is still learning the ropes."

To learn how to do a job.

To learn your lesson

For example:

"I got very drunk once and was really sick. I won't do it again, I learnt my lesson."

To suffer a bad experience and know not to do it again

To live and learn

For example:

"I never knew that she was married. Oh well, you live and learn."

Said when you hear or discover something which is surprising:

The school of hard knocks.

For example:

"He learnt the hard way at the school of hard knocks."

Often said about people who haven't had an easy life.

To be a swot.

For example:

"They called her a swot because she was always reading books."

A student who is ridiculed for studying excessively.

To teach an old dog new tricks.

For example:

"He could never learn how to use the Internet. Just shows you can't teach an old dog new tricks."

The older you are the more set in your ways you become.
To be teacher's pet.

For example:

"She always has the right answer. She's a real teacher's pet."
To be the favourite pupil of the teacher.

To teach someone a lesson.

For example:

"I hit him hard on the nose. That taught him a lesson."

To do something to someone, usually to punish them.

To teach your grandmother to suck eggs.

For example:

"He tried to tell me how to drive and I told him not to try and teach your grandmother to suck eggs. I've been driving for years."

To give advice to someone about a subject that they already know more about than you

The three Rs.

For example:

"Some children are leaving school without even the basic three Rs."

Used to refer to the basic areas of education: reading,
writing and arithmetic.

The University of Life.

For example:

"I studied at the University of Life."

People who never went on to higher education often say this.

With flying colours.

For example:

"She got into the university of her choice, because she passed all her exams with flying colours."

If you do something such as pass an exam with flying colours, you do it very successfully.
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