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Many common English expressions were created by authors of classical literature. Here’s a list of the most popular expressions by Lewis Carrol!

Many common English expressions come from literary geniuses like Lewis Carrol, Shakespeare and Roald Dahl amongst others. Sometimes authors play with language and create their own imaginative phrases. After using them in their stories, they’re picked up by readers and become common English expressions.

In celebration of Lewis Carrol’s birthday, let’s have a look at some common English expressions in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. After learning these common English expressions, download the movie or read the book to see them in context. Do any of these common English expressions sound familiar to you?

1. MAD AS A HATTER

If you’re mad as a hatter you’re completely and utterly deranged. That is to say, — really crazy. While this phrase had been used since 1835 to describe an unusual medical condition affecting hat manufacturers, it became popular because of Lewis Carrol.

2. CHASING A WHITE RABBIT

Chasing a white rabbit means to chase the impossible – a fantasy, a dream. It’s one of the best common English expressions to use with dreamers and escapists.

3. TO FALL DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE

To fall down the rabbit hole can mean to enter a confusing situation. We also use this expression to mean we got interested in something to the point of distraction. We lose all track of time.

4. CHESHIRE CAT GRIN

To have a Cheshire cat grin, or to grin like a Cheshire cat means that one is grinning broadly, and cleverly, perhaps after finding out some exciting information.

5. CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER

The most interesting of Carrol’s common English expressions! Although the word curiouser is grammatically incorrect, (the OED acknowledges curiouser and curiouser as a phrase which means “increasingly strange”.

Use these common English expressions in the following sentences:

1. With the new evidence, the investigation took a new twist. “___________!” said the detective, as he tried to put the puzzle together!
2. I think their date went well because he walked in here with a _________________.
3. My teacher keeps on talking to herself and asking us the same question over and over. She’s ________________.
4. “Sorry I’m latey! I was looking up ideas for my next trip and I ___________ of travel blogs!”
5. At the age of 40, Robert still thinks he has a chance of becoming a famous actor – personally I think he’s __________________.

Answer Key *

Come back for more common English Expressions that originate from classic literature.

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