In my view the best way to learn English idioms (fixed expressions) is by topics with explanations of meaning, examples of usage and subsequent exercises. Practising idioms can be done through exercises in listening comprehension, speaking, reading and writing. I suggest the following sequence of learning English idioms (5-10 idioms per lesson):
1. Read clear precise meanings of idioms with usage examples in several realistic sentences in a good thematic dictionary of English idioms.
2. Make your own sentences for using idioms in real life situations.
3. Do ready-made exercises from text books in idioms practice. Exercises in idioms practice can include dialogues, narrations (telling stories), thematic texts, questions and answers with idioms in various situations, discussions, talking points and expressing opinions and views on real life topics and issues).
The most comprehensive aids for learning English idioms are dictionaries of English idioms that contain thematic arrangement of idioms.
Below is the list of the most important dictionaries of English idioms:
1. Longman Idioms Dictionary (over 6,000 idioms; choose the right idiom with the unique Idiom Activator).
2. Longman American Idioms Dictionary (over 4,000 idioms).
3. Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms (7,000 idioms ; with 15 topic classification of idioms).
4. Collins Cobuild Dictionary of Idioms (6,000 idiom expressions, has a thematic index of idioms)
5. Oxford Dictionary of Idioms (over 5,000 idioms, with a thematic index of idioms).
6. Oxford Dictionary of English Idioms (volumes 1, 2).
7. Oxford Idioms Dictionary for Learners of English (10,000 idioms).
8. NTC's Dictionary of Everyday American English Expressions (over 7,000 expressions presented according to topic and situation).
9. NTC's Thematic Dictionary of American Idioms (900 thematic headings).
Useful information, actually that's exactly the way I do it. Practising idioms takes quite a lot of time and thus revision is necessary. One should always practise speaking in real life situations !
USING ENGLISH IDIOMS.

The English language is rich in idioms, and although it is possible to converse correctly in non-idiomatic English, a student with only a superficial knowledge of English idioms will find himself (or herself) at a serious disadvantage in his (her) reading, and even more so when he (she) takes part in discussions and debates. Ready-made copious usage sentences of English idioms taken from real life offer guidance on the most effective way to use them. The English Idiom Dictionaries listed by me in this post provide clear idiom usage explanations and several realistic idiom usage sentences. Many native English speakers, especially when they converse among themselves use idioms, informal colloquial expressions and slang.
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BuvaleyMany native English speakers, especially when they converse among themselves use idioms, informal colloquial expressions and slang
What I find disturbing is that many different idioms are used in many different regions. So you might for example use an idiom somewhere where the people have never heard of it. Nonetheless if you are a student you should have a profound knowledge of idioms.
I do not advocate learning English idioms solely from textbooks, dictionaries, audio and video materials. I am fully aware that actual long-term real life communication with native speakers of English on a multitude of topics is paramount for proper using of English idioms and mastering of various aspects of English.
However, before being able to use English idioms correctly, a learner of English must know clear meaning of idioms, in what contexts (formal or colloquial informal) and with what regional limitation if any they can be used correctly. No native speaker of English (who is no expert in proper usage of English vocabulary) can explain meaning of English idioms better and provide more correct usage examples than good English Idiom Dictionaries compiled by native English language experts. English dictionaries can provide the most precise explanations of vocabulary meaning and various diverse usage sentences.
BuvaleyEnglish dictionaries can provide the most precise explanations of vocabulary meaning and various diverse usage sentences.
Yes, that's true!
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