(Level A2 and above: Idioms and phrases related to sugar and honey – with songs)
Written and compiled by Benedicte Gravrand, The Language House.
Sprinkling (saupoudrer) some sugar on your English is a piece of cake. It can put the icing (glaçage) on the cake. And it’s as easy as pie. For example, you can call your loved ones “honey” or “sweetie” or “sugar”. You can say “isn’t it/he/she sweet?” or, “it was so sweet of you to do that” (sweet: sucré, doux, adorable).
After all, you can catch more flies (mouches) with honey than vinegar.
Do it in your own sweet time. Do it when you want to say something serious: as the proverb says, a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine (médicament) go down. But be careful, too much sugar will make you as nutty as a fruitcake. You’ll start believing you are Mary Poppins. And if you do too much sweet talking, people will start to take what you say with a pinch (pincée) of salt. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. That’s a recipe (recette) for disaster.
George Harrison: My Sweet Lord
- A piece of cake – too easy.
The interview was a piece of cake.
- The icing on the cake / the frosting on the cake – If something is the icing on the cake, or the frosting on the cake, it makes a good situation or a good result even better.
I’m really happy playing here, and if we win today, that will be the icing on the cake.
- Easy as pie – very easy.
Michael understood at once. `Why, that’s easy as pie,’ he said as the rest of us scratched our heads.
- “Honey” – pet name. A pet name is an informal friendly name for a friend or member of your family.
Hi, honey, I’m home!
Have you seen the film “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”?
- “My sweet” – you can address someone as “sweetie” or “my sweet” if you are very fond of them.
Pass the sugar, sweetie.
Do you know the song “Sweet Home Alabama”?
- You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar – you are more likely to get the results you want from other people if you treat them with kindness or flattery, rather than being aggressive, demanding.
I think the kids would visit you more if you were nicer to them. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, you know.
- In (one’s) own sweet time – At one’s own preferred pace, without consideration for how it will affect others.
He certainly took his own sweet time getting here.
- A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down – something good makes something bad more tolerable.
I’m going to put on some fun music while I work on this boring project because a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.
- As nutty as a fruitcake – Very strange or completely mad.
The man is a charmer – intense, funny, and nutty as a fruitcake.
- Sweet talk – to talk to someone in a very nice way in order to persuade them to do something.
He even tried to sweet-talk the policewoman who arrested him.
- Take with a grain of salt / take with a pinch of salt – If you take what someone says with a grain of salt, or with a pinch of salt, you have serious doubts about the truth or accuracy of what they say.
“Listen,” he said, “you must take what Bob says with a grain of salt.”
- You can’t have your cake and eat it (too) – it’s impossible to have something both ways, if those two ways conflict.
He wants to stay with his wife but still see his girlfriend – talk about having your cake and eating it!
- A recipe for disaster – Something is a recipe for disaster if it’s going to cause trouble or serious problems.
The new parking rule is a recipe for disaster.
MORE idioms and expressions (B2+): Idioms are not a piece of cake
Zaska: In your own sweet time
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