Archive for February 17, 2010

idiom: to cost an arm and a leg


Today, I’d like to go back to idioms. We have many idioms about body parts. Previously, I taught “to play it by ear” and today we have another idiom about our bodies: “to cost an arm and a leg”. This means that something costs a lot of money, in other words, it’s VERY expensive.

You can imagine that if you want to buy something and the store clerk says, “Ok, I’ll trade you one of your arms and one of your legs for this item.” Now, I don’t know about you, but my arms and legs are VERY valuable to me, and therefore would be worth a LOT of money. So that’s why this idiom means that something is very expensive. For example:

The tickets to the concert cost an arm and a leg, but they were worth the price. We had such a good time!

Renting an apartment downtown will cost you an arm and a leg. Why don’t you stay in the suburbs?

Bob just bought a new house. I hear it cost him an arm and a leg.

Please remember that when you use idioms, you can’t change any of the words. Therefore, if you say, “It cost me arm and leg.” or “It cost me an arm and leg.” or “It cost me arm and a leg.”, it will sound strange. So please don’t forget to say “a”, “an” and “the” when you’re memorizing  sentences. Articles ARE important. 🙂

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