Sometimes when we learn English, we cannot simply read it literally as we could mistake it for another meaning. For example, when someone tells you that she is ‘under the weather’ today. It’s not that she is really ‘under the weather’, rather it means that she is feeling sick! Let’s take a look at some phrases which cannot be literally translated!


1. Blow someone away


The little girl is only 7 years old, but her singing performance has blown the audience away.


2. Stand somebody up


Jack is always standing up his friends and without apology. Therefore, his friends have decided to stand him up this time as revenge. When he arrives at the restaurant at 8pm they won’t be there.


3. Cook the books


The accountant of this company tried to cook the books to misguide the readers of the financial report. He was trying to hide the fact that he was stealing money from the company.


4. Open book


My friend is an open book, so I can tell if she is lying or not.


5. Closed book


Science has always been a closed book to the students studying liberal arts.


6. Lose your touch


She has stopped practicing the violin for 3 years, that’s why she has lost her touch.


Please note that the meanings are different between ‘lose your touch’ and ‘lose touch with (no longer communicating with someone)’, so don’t mix them up!


7. Hit the hay/ Hit the sack

‘Hay’ means dried grass, which is used as animal food, whereas ‘sack’ means a large bag of rough, woven fabric. However, ‘hit the hay’/ ‘hit the sack’ means to sleep.


It’s Monday tomorrow and I have to get up early for work. I’m going to hit the hay now.