“pouring down” or “raining cats and dogs”?

There are trends in languages too, and English is most susceptible to changes. This is one of the difficulties that language teachers often come across. Should the latest colloquial expressions be part of the syllabus? Should we rule out slang in class? Should we accept ungrammatical constructions if they are generally used by native speakers? These are questions without easy answers.

But we do find answers to our queries sometimes. We may doubt whether a particular expression is more acceptable than a similar one, or whether it is generally used despite being theoretically ungrammatical. We can solve the problem by entering the expressions in Google, with inverted commas. And Google provides tools specifically designed to make our lives easier:

Google battle and Google fight are similar in use: you just type the phrases you want to compare and the tool gives you data with the number of entries that include that particular expression.

And the winner is…

A third tool, Phrase.in, gives an extra bonus: it gives us the winner as we type the phrases, and automatically searches for contexts in which the expressions are used, all in one screen.

(Topic suggested by Antonio Jiménez in our FB group “Cosas que encuentro para clase”)


4 thoughts on ““pouring down” or “raining cats and dogs”?

  1. Isn’t it funny how the first example of an idiom our students will normally give is one that we hardly use in daily life?! I love using phras.in, especially because I found that GoogleFight isn’t very reliable, though the graphics are great.
    Thanks for sharing this,

    • Hi, Sandy! I suppose we all loved “cats and dogs” when we first started learning English because it’s so absurd that it’s impossible to forget. And all our students love it. We have to stop mentioning it even as a joke, just in case it’s the only one they’ll use :).

      Thanks for visiting our blog!

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