La GC, al parecer, juega un papel relevante en el proceso de adquisición de la Fraseología; de hecho, el cognitivismo está dando inicio al desarrollo de estrategias aplicadas a las unidades fraseológicas (UF) como podrían ser la metonimia, la metáfora, etc. Aunque la GC es una disciplina con un basto campo todavía por explorar —cuya investigación se centra, entre otras cosas, en la interpretación y aprendizaje de las UF—, parece indudable que nuestra capacidad de conceptualizar la realidad es de naturaleza metafórica. Esto explicaría las similitudes notorias entre las distintas lenguas en lo referente a idiomaticidad.

Es a esto último a lo que invitamos: a descubrir semejanzas con nuestro idioma entre los ejemplos de fraseologías en inglés que se desarrollarán en el contenido gramatical que sigue.

*Cognición: (del latín, “cognitio”) facultad de procesar información a partir de la percepción, la experiencia o el aprendizaje; estando íntimamente relacionada con los conceptos abstractos.

Fuentes: Reyes Llopis García, experta en GC y ELE. – “El enfoque cognitivista en la fraseología”, Mª Ángeles Recio Ariza (USAL)

Over the past few months we have been looking at many different idioms and to be honest we have barely scratched the surface. English is full of common sayings and idioms that can be very confusing for the average language learner, but once they have been learnt and interpreted, they can be extremely useful.

So let´s look at a few more.


Barking up the wrong tree – This literally means that you are either asking the wrong person for information or you have come to the wrong place. It can also mean that your idea of what is the right thing is incorrect. If you had a problem with your taxes, you would be barking up the wrong tree complaining about it at the bank. Even though your taxes come out of your money. Here´s another example –

John – “I need someone to fix my computer. Can I give it to you?”
Mark – “Nah mate, you are barking up the wrong tree coming here. We only do electrical appliances like fridges and freezers.”


Don´t give up your day job – This means that someone thinks that you have done something very badly and it infers that you shouldn´t do it to earn money. Basically, if you wanted to do this to earn a living, it would be a bad idea and you should stick with your current job. For example –

Mary – “What do you think about my new painting?”
Steve – “I don´t want to be rude, but I wouldn´t give up my day job if I were you.”


Wouldn´t be caught dead – This means that there is something that you would never do or wear because you think it is terrible. You would normally use it with the structure of “I wouldn´t be caught dead wearing (or doing) that. It is ridiculous.” Let´s look at another example –

Sam – “What do you think about my new suit?”
Harry – “Personally, I wouldn´t be caught dead wearing a yellow tie with that suit, but you do what you want to.”


Missed the boat – When we say that someone has missed the boat on something, it means that they have missed an opportunity or it is too late to do something. For example, I really missed the boat for learning a language at an early age and now it is hard for me to catch up. Here is another one –

Joan – “There were some Barça tickets available this morning, but they are all gone now.”
Anna – “Yes. I really missed the boat on that one.”


As you can see, there are a lot of idioms in the English language and some of them can be quite tricky to figure out the meaning of without any kind of context attached to them. Hopefully when you hear an idiom you are not familiar with, you can work out the meaning from the context. But, it is not always possible to do so. So, good luck.


K. Charles

Download Exercise