This morning I heard someone use the phrase “preaching to the converted” in reference to someone insisting on telling another person something they already knew and believed.
My mother used to use that phrase all the time, while my usual idiom in response to that behaviour is “singing to the choir”.
It got me wondering: are there any other common phrases for that kind of behaviour? And do they all relate to religious practice, or are there others drawn from other aspects of life?
I asked a few friends who have different interests in life if they knew of any others. They made some great suggestions:
“That horse has already bolted” and ‘flogging a willing horse” are both metaphors drawn from the world of horse-racing. This is definitely not religious imagery… unless you’re Australian, in which case, it could be.
“I’ve already picked up what you’re putting down.” This seems to be a metaphor related to card games.
“We’re beating the same drum” and “We’re singing from the same song sheet” are both appealing musical images.
Similarly, one could say “We’re on the same page.” Exactly which page that is remains helpfully unclear, allowing for some flexibility of reference and application.
I’d love to know if you use or know of any other such terms, particularly if you are from somewhere other than Australia, or if we all say similar things.
In case you were wondering:
Idiom: a popular expression or way of saying something that has significance other than its literal meaning.
Idiom is often specific to a particular language or a particular group of people.
Metaphor: an image that sounds literal, but is understood not to be a literal statement.
For example, someone “singing to the choir” may neither actually be singing, nor in the presence of a choir.
What Do You Say When People Try To Tell You What You Already Know? #language #words #imagesTweet