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Idioms: surprise, shock and confusion

Worksheet overview

This ESL worksheet is about idioms that are used when expressing surprise, shock and confusion. It includes speaking activities (conversation questions, role-plays, sentence completion) so that students can learn them through practice.

The first 6 idioms (e.g. to catch someone off-guard, to wrap one’s head around something, didn’t see that coming, to drop a bombshell) are introduced through a short text. Students work out the meanings of the idioms from context and match them to their definitions. Then they complete a gap-fill activity to check understanding. Next, students complete 6 sentences with their own ideas and use them to start a conversation with a partner. As a last practice activity about the first group of idioms, students match the 2 halves of 6 questions and discuss the questions in pairs or small groups.

The rest of the idioms (e.g. to get our wires crossed, in a fog, to boggle the mind, to catch someone red-handed) are introduced through a multiple-choice activity: students look at a sentence containing the idiom and then decide which is the correct meaning out of 3 possible answers. To practice, they paraphrase 5 sentences, using the correct idiom. Finally, 2 role-play scenarios are given for students to practise all idioms from this lesson.

You can use the conversation cards to review the idioms and for some more speaking practice.



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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