If you’re learning American English, you should know that you don’t need to be laughing to have a funny feeling. Americans often use the expression to say they have a hunch that something will turn out differently than expected.

Below are five other idiomatic phrases that might be more than just a laughing matter:

To have the last laugh


What it means: To have the final success in an argument or situation, especially after previous defeat or doubt of others.
In conversation: “Trisha’s book was rejected by 10 publishers, but she had the last laugh. She published it herself, and now it’s a best-seller.”

To have a sense of humor

What it means: To be able to laugh at and see the humor in life’s situations.
In conversation: “The president of the company has a great sense of humor. When her employees make stupid mistakes, she laughs and says it’s part of the learning process.”

To crack jokes


What it means: To tell jokes.
In conversation: “My best friend cracks jokes all the time. When I’m with him, I’m always laughing.”

Comedy of errors

What it means: A situation with so many mistakes and problems that it is funny (from the William Shakespeare play The Comedy of Errors).
In conversation: “On my vacation, so many things went wrong that it turned into a comedy of errors.”

Funny business


What it means: Dishonest behavior intended to trick someone.
In conversation: “If you try any funny business while working for this company, you will be fired immediately.”

Learn more

Other idioms common in American speech include those that take their inspiration from the sky, animals and food.

ShareAmerica offers a series of everyday conversations that include audio clips to help you practice English. The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily.