I’m not going to write about the 14th February, which here in Malta (and maybe in your countries too) is known as Valentine’s Day. Everywhere you look, you see hearts decorating shop windows, restaurant menus, newspaper adverts … they have even made it to NotOnlyGrammar.com!
I won’t write about Valentine’s Day but I will tell you about 3 of my favourite HEART idioms. You don’t have to love the day but maybe you’ll fall in love with one of these three expressions:
- When I was still in secondary school, one of the things I hated most was having to learn poems, sometimes up to two pages long, BY HEART. The teacher would choose a poem on a Friday and tell us that by Monday we had to know it word-for-word without looking at the book. In other words, we had to learn it BY HEART. Those became some of my worst weekends ever.
- Also when I was a child, if I said something but my parents didn’t believe me, I would add the phrase CROSS MY HEART. For example, my dad suspected that I was playing video games instead of studying so I’d answer, “I was studying all the time, CROSS MY HEART.” It’s a kid’s way of saying I promise.
- Do you know what a cockroach is? If not, do an image search on Google. If I see one of these in my apartment, I HAVE MY HEART IN MY MOUTH. I know that these insects won’t bite or hurt me, nevertheless I’m terrified of them. Interestingly, I never HAD MY HEART IN MY MOUTH whenever I saw a snake while running in the wood near my home.
Which of these expressions do you prefer? Did you have to study anything BY HEART when you were a pupil? In what situations do you (or did you) HAVE YOUR HEART IN YOUR MOUTH? Write in using the comments box below.