Why do we need to use idioms in creative writing?

Most students do not understand the reason why they need to use idioms in their compositions. Most just memorize a few and then use them repeatedly in their writing. Or they are confused by the literal meaning of an idiom. For example ‘hit the ceiling’.

I explain to them that using idioms in their compositions add a dimension to the story and allows the reader (their teacher) to look past the words that they are reading to the concepts that they are suggesting. In other words, the reader can create an image of certain parts of the story in his or her mind.

I also remind them not to overdo it with the idioms! A few selected ones in certain parts of a story will allow the reader to remember and appreciate the story. Too many, and the reader loses interest.

Time is needed to explain the meaning of certain idioms and practice is essential in using them regularly in compositions.

This week I reviewed Idioms with my P5 group. Using the Jazz Up Your Writing book we wrote a paragraph on two titles using Idioms. The students were given just 10 minutes for each title.

In Trapped in a Lift, the idioms to describe nervousness and fear were reviewed. Here is an example of what one my students wrote:

In a blink of an eye, the lights in the lift flickered and went out. This was no laughing matter. I was all alone, trapped in a lift with no way out. I felt like a cat on hot bricks. Out of the blue, I realized that the emergency button was right in front of me. I kept pressing it urgently while trying to keep a  cool head. Nothing seemed to happen until I heard a muffled voice shout, “Is anyone in the lift?” I felt hope. 

For a list of idioms with explanation go to this website. It has quite an extensive list.