4th Grade - Sayings And Expressions

Speaking and Listening
Sayings and expressions
Identify how language usages (e.g., sayings, expressions) reflect regions and cultures.
The ability to identify how colloquial sayings or expressions are connected with people from different places (regions) and backgrounds (cultures).

Sample Problems


What are language usages? (sayings, expressions, traditions, habits, etc.)


What are expressions? (phrases, terms, words)


What does colloquial mean? (informal, everyday, conversational, etc.)


What are regions? (area or zone of people, land, etc.)


What is culture? (tradition, custom, way of life, etc.)

Learning Tips


Figurative language can be tons of fun. Have a contest or “battle” to see who can think of the silliest expression, or saying, from any culture. You can use puns, idioms, similes, oxymoron, metaphors, or personification. Label your contribution and double your points for thinking of examples that crossover and fit in more than one category. Keep trying to “1-up” the other person or people by thinking of something even funnier! (Note: “Your momma…” jokes and other similar insults are great hyperboles, but should be kept tasteful.)


  • Act naturally! (oxymoron)

  • The sidewalk cracked up at your joke. (personification, pun)

  • To write with a broken pencil is pointless. (pun).

  • The refrigerator called to me. (personification)

  • You’re as silly as a pink elephant! (simile)

  • Stop eating your diet ice cream, couch potato, and get out of your birthday suit! (oxymorons)

  • Don’t let the cat out of the bag! (idiom)

  • There once a cross-eyed teacher that couldn’t control his pupils. (pun)

  • He was as tall as a 6’3” tree. (simile)

  • Get your mind out of the gutter! (idiom)

  • My brain is in screensaver mode. (metaphor)

  • The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while. (imagery/ metaphor)


Choose a few expressions that you could act out. Do this in a figurative (what the expression means as a whole) or literal (taking each word for its actual, real meaning) way.


  • You can’t teach old dogs new tricks.

  • Break the ice.

  • Stick your neck out for a friend.

  • Brush that chip off your shoulder.

  • Toot your own horn, why don’t ya!

If you have a video camera, it could be hilarious to record these acts, otherwise, “savor the moment”!


Next time you watch or go to a movie, try to catch the common expressions and phrases used in the movie. Many sayings originate from movies, and always will. Does the setting of the movie or the background of the director, actors, producers, etc. affect the phrases used? Probably so – “look into it”!


Cut out as many advertisement clippings as you can from newspapers, magazines, posters, etc. that contain a motto, slogan, or catchy phrase. Make a collage of all the different expressions from and across different cultures – do they sell the product regardless of the place?


A jingle is a musical layer added to an advertisement to make it stick in your mind. The Berma-Shave jingles from the 1950’s are probably the best known. Check them out at http://burma-shave.org/jingles/.

Extra Help Problems


What is an idiom? (a “figure of speech” or natural expression native to a language, whose literal meaning makes no sense)


What is an example of an idiom? (put your money where your mouth is, is there a frog in your throat?, it’s raining cats and dogs, etc.)


What is a motto? (a short saying that expresses a rule to live by)


What is an example of a motto? (“carpe diem” – seize the day, “Think before your speak,” etc.)


What is a slogan? (a short, catchy phrase to identify a company, product, or goals of a group)


What is an example of a slogan? (“Just Do It” – Nike,)


What is a jingle? (a catchy repeated tune or verse)


What is an example of a jingle? (“I heard it praised by drug store clerks.

I tried the stuff. Hot dog! It works!” – Burma-Shave, 1951)


Why do advertisements use jingles, mottos, and slogans? (they are catchy, or easy to remember, and set in the memory of potential customers so that they will later buy their product)


Can people that speak the same language have different names for the same things? (yes!)


Can people that speak different languages have the same names for things? (yes!)


Where do expressions often come from? (way back – from ancestors; from movies; from advertisements; etc.)


Do people within a similar field of work use the same expressions? (usually, but not always – it is called lingo or jargon)


What is lingo? (specialized language, speech, or set of terms)


What is jargon? (particular terminology for a topic or area)



Related Games


Copyright ©2009 Big Purple Hippos, LLC