5 Must-Know American Sports Idioms For Non Native English Speakers
Idioms and slang are perhaps one of the most challenging areas for non native English speakers to learn. Idioms and slang have culturally embedded meanings that most non native speakers are not aware of. Sports is an integral part of American culture, so it is not at all surprising that American English has a rich haul of sports idioms. Most American sports idioms stem from popular sports such as baseball and football but there are some sports idioms that have originated from basketball and ice hockey too.
American Football (often referred to as football in the US) and Baseball are not so widely played in Europe and Asia, which prefer cricket and soccer, and as a result some American sports idioms may be confusing for non-native speakers, specially those who have learnt English in Asia or Europe.
Here are 5 must-know American sports idioms that should be part of every non native English speaker’s active vocabulary.
1.) To play ball:
If you play ball, you agree to do what someone asks you to do, or to agree to work with someone in order to achieve something together. In most cases, the task or project at hand is somewhat manipulative or negative.
John had no choice but to keep his mouth shut and play ball with the CEO
2.) Playing quarterback:
If you are playing quarterback, you are directing and leading a process or a project. You are the one who makes important decisions.
Katie quarterbacked the whole website redesign project, from start to finish.
3.) Monday morning quarterback
If you are criticizing and saying how you would have done something better or differently after the event has passed.
It’s easy to be a Monday morning quarterback when you see the drop in sales in this quarter, but there are no easy answers to increasing sales in the short term.
4.) Ball is in your court
If the ball is in your court, it means that it is up to you to make the next decision or move.
The HR manager knew that the ball was in his court now.
5.) Going south
A deal or project that is not going as well as expected
If we don’t get the IT team on board quickly, this project will be going south
There are tons more free resources that will help you learn American Sports Idioms. Here’s a good list to start with.