a woman showing support and empathy to a sad person, and the word "idioms"

Idioms: empathy and compassion

Worksheet overview

This worksheet is dedicated to 12 idioms that are used to express empathy and compassion. It includes plenty of communicative activities so that students can learn and practise them.

The first activity introduces 6 idioms (e.g. put yourself in someone’s shoes, understand where someone is coming from, to take pity on someone). Students read 6 short dialogues, each containing a different idiom, they work out the meaning of the idiom and match it to its definition. To practise the target vocabulary, students complete 3 questions with 1 word and then use the questions as conversation starters.

Next, students learn 6 more idioms (don’t have the heart to do something, could not bring yourself to do something, compassion fatigue). Students are given 6 sentences and they need to replace part of the sentence an the idiom with a similar meaning. Then students complete the beginnings of a few sentences given with their personal experiences and discuss their sentences with a partner.

After that students complete a multiple-choice task: they need to choose the correct idiom and complete the sentences. The last 2 activities are speaking activities: first students practise with 3 conversation questions and then they talk about what they will do or say in 3 different situations.

This ESL worksheet, together with the conversation cards can be used in various classes in order to practise these empathy-related idioms. It would work great as an addition to lessons about empathy, compassion, communication, feelings, psychology, mental health, emotional support.


Teacher’s lesson plan
Student’s worksheet

Student’s interactive PDF

This worksheet works well in combination with the following lesson plans

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