Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on pinterest
Share on whatsapp

7 English Idioms to Talk About Change

  • Language level: upper intermediate & advanced /  B2, C1,
  • Skills: advanced English vocabulary: idioms 
  • Time: 7 – 10 mins
  • Updated 8/1/2021
Kerin English Teacher
Lesson by Kerin

Idioms to talk about change!

Have you ever been excited about making a change in your life? Or have you ever faced a difficult change? What changes are you facing right now

Can you talk about this subject confidently in English?

To help you, here are 7 idioms to talk about change that native speakers commonly use.

PS. This lesson is inspired by module 7 How to talk about change in our signature advanced English online course: Road to English Proficiency. 

7 English idioms to talk about change

Want to read the transcript?

In this video we will learn: 7 common and useful idioms that we use to talk about change

Let’s start with two idioms that you likely know, or at least have heard before:

  • To change your mind
  • To change your tune

They may seem the same, but in fact there is a little difference in meaning and use:

Change your mind means that you change your opinion about something:

  • When I first started reading 1984 I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I thought it was a bit slow and too depressing. But I soon changed my mind once I got into it and now I think it’s a fantastic book.

Change your tune similarly means to change your opinion, or your behaviour changes. We use it slightly differently to change your mind. We usually use change your tune when the opinion or behaviour goes from a negative to a positive.

Imagine you have a friend who has been moaning about her boyfriend for weeks. Really negative about him … they are arguing and they are not in a good place. Then suddenly, your friend starts saying how amazing her boyfriend is, she’s really in love with him, he can’t do anything wrong ….

In this context you wouldn’t say to your friend: You’ve changed your mind!

You would say: Well, you’ve changed your tune!

Because they’ve changed their opinion and the way they behave. It’s gone from feeling negatively towards something to feeling positively.

Idiom to talk about change no.3:
to have a change of heart

The next one, is to have a change of heart and again there is a difference in meaning to change your mind:

To have a change of heart really means that you’ve had a change in the way you are feeling about something or a change in attitude towards something or someone:

So my friend Lucy was seriously considering moving back to the UK and she had even gone so far as to give notice on her flat here in Italy. However, after thinking about it loads, she had a change of heart and decided that she’d miss her lifestyle here too much and she decided to stay.

Be careful HOW you use these idioms:

You CAN say:

  • I changed my mind / or he changed his mind

But you wouldn’t be so likely to say: I changed my tune. We tend to use this one when we address other people, not talk about ourself.

So you CAN say: she changed her tune or you’ve changed your tune!

You CAN’T say: I changed my heart. Or He changed his heart.

This idiom contains the verb TO HAVE: I’ve HAD a change of heart / He had a change of heart

Pronuniciation TIP!

7 English idioms to talk about change

Idiom to talk about change no.4:
to change tack

The next idiom we are going to look at is: to change tack

If you change tack or try a different tack, you try a different method for dealing with a situation:

So when I first moved to Florence in 2013, I originally tried to set up business English courses. But I soon realised that the Florentines that I knew, they weren’t interested at all in business English! So I changed tack completely and started a conversation class and wine night! (Which by the way worked much better, it was a hoot!)

Idiom to talk about change no.5:
to change out of (all) recognition

Idiom number 5 is to change out of all recognition: we can use this one when someone something has changed so much or so dramatically that now they are completely unfamiliar or unrecognisable.

For example, Pete has lost so much weight he’s changed out of all recognition.

Or: I wouldn’t have recognised Laura is she hadn’t said her last name. I know it’s been over 20 years since we last saw each other, but she’s totally changed out of recognition since we were kids!

Now the last two idioms that we are going to learn don’t have the word change in them, but they are about change.

Idiom no.6: to turn over a new leaf

Number 6 is to turn over a new leaf: On Monday, I’m going to turn over a new leaf and only drink one coffee a day! 

This idiom means that you want to change a habit, and start to act or behave in a better or more responsible way: Mark has really turned over a new leaf – he is really committed to the project now and giving it 100%.

Idiom to talk about change no.7:
to take shape

And lastly, idiom number 7 to take shape. This means to change and develop into something definite or tangible. For example:

I have been working on English Digital Academy for a while now, but it really started to take shape about 6 months ago. So it really started to change into something clearer and tangible a few months ago.

So there you have it!  7 useful idioms to talk about change, some with similar meanings but used in different ways.


The best way to learn and understand the difference between these idioms is to practise using them. You can write a few sentences in the comments using these idioms and I’ll let you know if you’ve used them correctly.

I hope you have enjoyed the lesson and please share if you think it could be useful for your friends.

Want to learn more?

Check out our advanced English online course, Road to English Proficiency! is A premium online course for high–level English learners, designed to help you move towards a proficient level of English … and have fun while doing it!

If you liked this post, please share!

Share on linkedin
Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on pinterest
Share on twitter

Can't get enough free advanced English lessons? Subscribe to our newsletter!

Subscribe to our newsletter for lots of cool content to help take your English from good to great

Spam is annoying. We promise to only send you good things. By entering your email address below, you consent to receiving our newsletter with access to our latest lessons, articles and offers. You can unsubscribe at any time. Find out more in our Privacy Policy


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Thank you, it’s all clear! I’ll try!
    – I decided to turn over a new leaf and dedicate one hour a day to learning more English.
    – my friend did not want to come to dinner but he changed his tune when I said I would pay!
    – our sales are declining and we need to change tack in order to increase.

Do you want more English?

Subscribe to our newsletter!

By entering your email address below, you consent to receiving our newsletter with access to our latest lessons, articles and offers. You can unsubscribe at any time. Find out more in our Privacy Policy

Top posts

What do you want to study?

explore EDA

What is English Digital Academy?

Hi! I’m Kerin and I’m the creator of EDA! We are a family run online course academy dedicated to upper intermediate and advanced English learners: original courses with a British English teacher for people who love English!

Business English

Posts for bookworms

Posts by topic

You might also like ...

How to say politely no in English

How to politely say NO in English (stress & guilt free!)

Saying ‘NO’, as everyone knows, is hard. And saying no when English is not your first language can be even more stressful!

BUT … it’s okay to say no. And learning how to do it without feeling guilty will make you feel less stressed and more fluent. In this advanced English lesson, I’ll show you exactly how to say no in a polite and clear way in various situations.

Read More »
Inside English Digital Academy

Get content like this sent directly to your inbox!

Follow us for daily pills of English!

Don't miss out on free lessons!
Join our mailing list.