Just like that, Valentine’s Day is upon us. A time when the shops start stocking up on flowers, chocolates and heart-shaped everything. Whether you love it or hate it, it’s the perfect excuse to show your cheesy, romantic side. 

With the flowery, lovey-dovey language that Valentine’s Day brings, it provides the perfect opportunity to teach Breadies about how language can be made more interesting. Therefore, this blog will highlight some ways you can introduce your Bready to figurative language, with a romantic twist of course!

Idioms  

An idiom is a phrase or expression whose meaning does not relate to the literal meaning of its words. They are used quite frequently around this time with phrases like ‘tying the knot, ‘having a crush or ‘falling head over heels for someone. One way in which you can introduce Breadies to Valentine’s or love-related idioms is to use some of these commonly used expressions in your lessons. Some examples may include: 

Heart of gold: to be generous of sincere 

Heart of stone: to be cruel, cold and unloving 

Love birds: an openly affectionate couple 

Puppy love: a budding love, crush or infatuation  

An activity that’s always great for teaching idioms is matching games. You provide the Bready with a small sample of idioms, as well as illustrations or images to demonstrate each idiom. The Bready’s task would then be to match each idiom to its correct image. If they guess correctly, they earn a point. If they do not guess correctly, the answer will be revealed and explained to them. This activity is a great starting point for a discussion activity, as well as a way for you to assess the Breadies abilities.  

You can even take it a step further and ask the Bready to match the idiom to its meaning. Not only is this a fun icebreaker, it can also spark some interesting conversations about language and culture. Does the Bready have any similar expressions in their native tongue? Ask them! This is a great opportunity to break down social and cultural barriers between you and your Bready. Matching games are also a lot of fun to play in group sessions!  

You can read more about teaching idioms to Breadies in our previous blog here: [http://blog.iqbar.co.uk/index.php/2019/12/23/tis-the-season-to-feast-on-christmas-idioms-tips-for-teaching-idioms/].  

Similes 

A simile uses language to compare two things that are not alike, by using the words ‘as’ or ‘like’ to compare them.

To introduce Breadies to the idea of similes, you can ask them how they would describe certain things. For instance, for the simile ‘her eyes were as blue as the ocean, you could show the Bready a picture of the ocean and ask them to describe its qualities. One of the adjectives the Bready is likely to use is ‘blue’, therefore presenting the perfect opportunity to introduce this simile, as well as the concept of figurative language in general.    

Similes are of course not always so simple, they can be abstract, such as: ‘my love is like a burning flame’. This therefore provides a great opportunity to educate the Bready on abstract concepts, and how they are often used in the English language when speaking figuratively. After this activity is completed, you can ask the Bready to create their own similes using the word ‘love’, thus allowing them to practice using abstract words in conversation. 

Some other similes that would be good to include are:  

Her smile is as bright as the sun. 

You’re as cute as a button. 

He’s as sweet as sugar. 

Our love was as never-ending as the sky. 

Metaphors 

Metaphors are very much like similes in the sense that they make comparisons between two things, however they do not use the words ‘like’ or ‘as’. Whether we like it or not, love-related metaphors are practically shoved down our throats around this time as they are commonly found in songs, poems and Valentine’s Day cards. Phrases such as ‘we go together like peanut butter and jelly’ or ‘your voice is music to my ears might seem cheesy, right? However, when we put the cheesiness aside, these expressions are actually a great way to introduce Breadies to metaphors, and how they are used in casual speech. Begin by providing the Bready with a sample of Valentine’s Day cards and asking them what they notice about their messages. Additionally, to help Breadies understand metaphorical language you can ask them what they love in their lives – their family, friends, pets, hobbies? It’s always beneficial to the Bready when parts of the lesson are directly related to them.  

Here are some more soppy metaphors you might find useful for your lesson: 

Love is a tree with many branches. 

You’re my sugar pie. 

My heart jumped out of my chest the first time I saw you. 

It was love at first sight 

Why is it beneficial to teach this kind of figurative language? 

As English speakers, it is very easy for us to express our love through our language. However, not all cultures share these same practices. Despite this, the concept of love is something that binds us together as human beings, as it’s a universal phenomenon. Therefore, this is a perfect topic to introduce to Breadies, as it can spark interesting linguistic and cultural conversations. Figurative language is a high-level skill, even for a native English speaker, therefore this topic might be appropriate for advanced learners. Not only is this beneficial to Breadies who aspire to study abroad in an English-speaking country, it also encourages creative discourse and abstract thinking.  

We hope you felt the love while reading this blog, and that these lovey-dovey messages have melted your hearts. Do you have your own tips or tricks for teaching figurative language? Can you think of anymore over the top Valentine-themed idioms, similes or metaphors? Let us know on our Facebook page! https://www.facebook.com/IQBarEducation/ 

Finally, we at IQBar would like to wish you all a wonderful Valentine’s Day!