Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

English idioms make the language more interesting and vibrant.

Unfortunately, they also make English much more difficult to learn!

The way to connect with any human being is to be vulnerable.

It’s key to let them know when their words hit you in a way that resonates.

Listen in on today’s episode and get one heavy-weight idiom you can leverage to build genuine relationships quickly.

Making connections

In today’s episode, we are talking about the idiom ‘close to home.’

This is a very native and natural expression that you can use.

When you are having a conversation, you are making a connection.

You want to know what phrases to use to make sure you are making that connection deeper in English.

This episode has been inspired by a question sent by a listener of All Ears English.

Hello everyone from All Ears English! How’s everything going? I hope all of you guys are pretty well. I love what you guys do so much and I really appreciate everything you’ve done for all of us, learners. Thank you so much. I’ve got a question for you. Recently I saw in a video the expression ‘hit closest to home.’ Can you explain this sentence to me? The whole phrase is ‘what traits in your character, MJ, hit closest to home for Zendaya?’


Sharing your experiences

In the sentence shared by the listener, the interviewer is asking Zendaya what part of her character hit closest to home for her.

The expression ‘close to home’ means to share something that is a negative experience.

When you hear a positive experience that you can relate to, you don’t say ‘that hits close to home.’

This idiom has a negative implication.

The idiom ‘close to home’ is a high-leverage idiom.

It gets you further because you are sharing your feelings when you use it.

Sharing matters for making connections.

This is one idiom but it has three different meanings and ways you can use it.

#1: To affect someone deeply and emotionally

This idiom is used when a shared experience resonates with you because you have felt the same.

It is a great way to show empathy.


Because I recently lost my grandma, the movie about the girl losing her grandmother really hit close to home.

She is excited for her son to come home from the military. Talking to her hit pretty close to home, since my son is also in the army.

#3: Too close for comfort or dangerous

This is a situation where something happened that makes you uncomfortable or fearful.

You use it to mean that you were worried about something almost happening.


Some of my co-workers were laid off and I was worried that I would be too. That hit too close to home.

#3: The statement is too close to the truth

This is used in a situation where someone spoke their truth and you are aware it is true.

This idiom is a way to express that what they are saying resonates with you.


Lindsay: Well sometimes I feel like you don’t listen to what I’m saying.

Aubrey: Ouch! That really hits close to home. Actually, I’ve noticed that about myself and I need to do better.


There are idioms that have multiple meanings that are nuanced and subtle.

You want to use idioms like ‘hits close to home’ that help you build connections.

Allow yourself to be vulnerable and open up when you are talking to someone.

This gives you a chance to make a deeper connection and bring you closer to the person.

Everyone wants to connect with people with whom they have shared experiences.

It’s reassuring to know that others have gone through similar challenges.

What hits close to home for you?

Share it in the comments below.

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