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Year 5 Language and Literature

Familiar Sayings

a tragic story

Every culture has some sayings and phrases that can be difficult to understand if you have never heard them before. In this section we introduce a handful of common English sayings and phrases and give examples of how they are used.

Blow hot and cold

This phrase comes from one of Aesop’s Fables , in which a man blows on his fingers to warm them up and then blows on his soup to cool it down. In both cases, the man is blowing air, but with a different effect. If a person says one thing and later says the opposite, we say that the person is blowing hot and cold.

a tragic story

‘Is Felicia going to try out for the swimming team this year?’ Stacy asked.
‘I don’t know,’ Tricia replied. ‘Last week she was saying yes, but this week she’s saying no. She’s really blowing hot and cold.’

Money burning a hole in your pocket

Sometimes when you have some money, you are really tempted to spend it. You want to spend it so quickly that it seems like it’s burning a hole in your pocket. .

‘A lot of people on my paper round gave me tips for Christmas,’ Luke said. ‘I’m rich!’
‘So why don’t you open a savings account and start putting your money in the bank?’ Julie asked. ‘Otherwise, that money’s just going to burn a hole in your pocket!’

a tragic story

Seeing is believing

This saying means that you can’t necessarily believe that something exists or is true unless you see the evidence for yourself..

‘You should have seen the fish I caught,’ Eddie said. ‘It was this big!’ He spread his arms as wide apart as he could.
‘Yeah, right,’ said Mollie, shaking her head. She knew Eddie liked to exaggerate.
‘I’m not kidding!’ exclaimed Eddie. He ran into the house, then staggered out holding a gigantic fish. ‘Wow!’ said Mollie. ‘Seeing is believing.’

Now can you think of a different example of a way you could use each of these sayings in a different sentence?


This activity is adapted from pages 59-68 of What Your Year 5 Child Needs to Know. This activity has a connection: click below to see the related activity.

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