• Alex

5 Idioms to Give Advice

We could all use a little advice sometimes. If you would like to help your friends, or if you would like to increase your understanding of idiomatic English, keep reading for 5 idioms you can use to give someone advice. All of these idioms, explanations, and examples are from my book, 200 Practical English Idioms. Make sure to check it out if you find these idioms useful!


1. "Look before you leap"

consider the possible dangers and consequences before you decide to do something; plan intelligently (to leap means to jump)

“Do you make enough money to buy a house in that area? Look before you leap.”


“Don’t start a relationship before knowing more about him. Look before you leap.”


“He didn’t look before he leapt, and now he’s stuck with a car he doesn’t like.”



2. "Don't count your chickens before they hatch"

don’t make plans and decisions based on something you hope will happen, or you might be disappointed

A: “I’m going to buy a new car after I get my promotion.”

B: “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” (don’t make plans before you actually

get the promotion)


“He hasn’t gotten the job yet, and he’s already bought a new TV. He’s counting his chickens before they hatch.”


A: “What should I buy after I win the lottery?”

B: “Are you serious? Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.”



3. "Don’t judge a book by its cover"

don’t judge someone or something by outward appearance alone

(variation: “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”)

“I was shocked to learn he was a millionaire!” “Don’t judge a book by its cover.”


A: “Their house looks old on the outside, but is totally modern on the inside.”

B: “I guess you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.”


A: “He’s almost three hundred pounds, but he finished a marathon!”

B: “Wow. Don’t judge a book by its cover, right?”



4. "Do unto others (as you would have them do unto you)"

treat other people how you want to be treated; behave towards others how you want them to behave towards you; also called “the Golden Rule” in Christian theology

“I try to live my life by the Golden Rule: Do unto others.”


A: “I want revenge!”

B: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”


“A version of the Golden Rule exists in almost every religion or ethical system.”



5. "Get your act together"

get organized and get serious; be more serious and worthwhile; don’t be so careless

(also: “pull yourself together”)

“You’ve been slacking for two weeks. Get your act together.”


“You look like a mess! Go shower, shave, and get your act together.”


“Tina has really gotten her act together since the divorce.”

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Did you learn something new today? Would you like to learn more? Check out 200 Practical English Idioms for only high-frequency idioms, clear explanations, and common situations for each idiom. Let me know if you have any questions or feedback in the comments below!


Until next time, I wish you success with your studies.


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