Have you ever let the cat out of the bag? You have if you’ve ever told someone a secret. Just picture a closed bag holding a secret and a cat jumps out telling that secret.
One way to help you master common idioms on TOEFL is to visualize the idiom and link it to the meaning so it stays in your memory.
Idiomatic expressions are often heard in conversations on the listening section. Yet, if you don’t know what the idioms mean, you may be lost and answer incorrectly, leading to a lower score. To score higher, get to know common idioms that have surfaced on previous TOEFL.
Here are five common TOEFL idioms to practice their meanings.
Let the cat out of the bag to tell a secret
Once in a blue moon (something that happens) rarely
Be on the fence undecided; to have not formed an opinion yet
Raining cats and dogs Raining hard, a downpour
Take a rain check Postpone a plan
Let’s examine each of these five idioms in a sentence to grasp how each may be used in context.
- I’m in the library every night, so I only go to a party off campus once in a blue moon.
- The professor let the cat out of the bag about exactly what was coming up on the final exam.
- During the campaign, I was on the fence which student candidate served others better.
- It was raining cats and dogs, so I couldn’t walk around campus without an umbrella.
- I studied late, so I took a raincheck on going out to the mixer.
Now, it’s your turn. Read the following sentences, and select the correct idiom to insert in context.
- He’d known he was taking a risk when he ___________________________.
- During the storm, some of the plazas around campus became rivers of water since it was _____________________.
- I’ll ___________________________ on that meetup since I plan to study until midnight.
- The university put on a performance _______________________________.
- After she’d listened to both sides of the argument at the campus debate, she was still_________________ .
let the cat out of the bag, raining cats and dogs, take a rain check, once in a blue moon, on the fence
The next step in practice is to try out these idioms speaking to colleagues, so that you use them correctly before the exam.