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Idioms versus Metaphors
I’ll jump out of a plane when pigs fly!

Idioms versus Metaphors

This English Language quiz is called 'Idioms versus Metaphors' and it has been written by teachers to help you if you are studying the subject at middle school. Playing educational quizzes is a fabulous way to learn if you are in the 6th, 7th or 8th grade - aged 11 to 14.

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Idioms and metaphors are so very much alike that it is very easy to confuse them. There is a way, however, to tell the difference.

Idioms are words or phrases that say one thing but mean something else.

For example, to say “She’s sharp as a tack,” does not really mean she’s a tack but, rather, it means her mental state is very good.

Metaphors are figures of speech that relate one thing with another thing. In other words, two things are compared to each other. For example, “life can be a circus”. This compares life with a circus.

Below is a series of idioms and/or metaphors. Can you guess the correct answer that describes the true meaning of the idiom or metaphor?
My sister was ALL EARS when her boyfriend came around!
was very attentive
was spying
was excited
was very nosey
When someone is “all ears” it means that they are giving their full attention to something. Answer (a) is correct and this is an example of an idiom
When my sister gets up in the morning she looks just like Frankenstein’s bride!
sister - morning
sister - she
Frankenstein's - bride
sister - Frankenstein's bride
This sentence is an example of a metaphor at it compares two things, i.e., my sister and Frankenstein’s bride. Answer (d) is correct
I’ll jump out of a plane WHEN PIGS FLY.
when pigs board an airplane
when pigs grow wings
when farm animals do
How often have you ever seen a pig fly? Right – never! The phrase that something will happen when “pigs fly” means that it will never happen. Answer (b) is correct. This is also an example of an idiom as two things are not being compared
My EYES ARE BIGGER THAN MY STOMACH when I go out to a restaurant.
eyes are filled with amazement
eyes take in everything on the menu
eyes want to eat more than I can handle
eyes get filled up with tears
When someone says that their “eyes are bigger than their stomach” it means that what they can see with their eyes to eat is really more than what their stomach can handle. This is an idiom and Answer (c) is correct
When the song was over there wasn’t A DRY EYE IN THE HOUSE.
anyone without tears
a sound heard
any water running
an angry person in the house
To say that there wasn’t “a dry eye in the house” means that no one was without tears. Answer (a) is correct and this is an example of an idiom
Kelly always seems to have her NOSE IN A BOOK.
nose sniffing pages in a book
head hiding behind a book
nose itching
nose in a book to read
As two things are not being compared in this sentence, we know it is an idiom and the phrase “nose in a book” means to always be reading so that their nose is always in a book. Answer (d) is correct
I could have sworn MY EARS WERE BURNING this morning.
someone was talking about me
my ears got sunburned
my ears were infected
my ears were blocked
When the phrase “my ears were burning” is used, it means that someone was talking about that person, generally out of sight or hearing distance of the person. Answer (a) is correct and this is an example of an idiom
Mr. Arnold would be BLIND AS A BAT without his glasses.
funny looking
unable to see
To say someone is blind as a bat means that their vision is extremely poor. In this case, Answer (c) is correct and this is an example of an idiom
Her voice cut like a knife in the night.
voice - knife
voice - night
knife - night
cut - night
This sentence is an example of a metaphor at it compares two things, i.e., her voice and a knife, both of which are sharp. Answer (a) is correct
Her newborn baby looks just like an angel!
newborn - baby
baby - angel
her - baby
looks - like
This sentence is an example of a metaphor at it compares two things, i.e., newborn baby and an angel. Answer (b) is correct
Author:  Christine G. Broome

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