In my family, we love to eat apples! My mom makes the best apple pie in the world (in my humble opinion!), and every year, my dad turns the garage into his own miniature factory for canning applesauce. He cans hundreds of jars, and then we eat applesauce all year long and give jars to our friends.


apple idioms in English

Dad’s homemade applesauce. Yummy!


In English, we love to talk about apples almost as much as we love to eat them.


Here are five idioms and proverbs about apples that you can use to sound more fluent in English. If some of these are new to you, please share them so your friends can learn them, too!




Related: Check out Alberto Alonso’s top tips for mastering English + Bonus Audio!


1. a bad apple


In English, a bad apple is one person who has a negative effect on others in a group.


Imagine a barrel of apples. If one apple is rotten, other apples in the barrel will become rotten, too. This is the idea behind this English idiom.


English idiom bad apple


For example, a group of friends isn’t sure what to do after school. Most of the kids in the group want to go to the library or play soccer. However, Alan persuades everyone to vandalize the teacher’s car instead. Alan is a bad apple.



2. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.


My nephew looks exactly like his father, and he behaves like him, too! They even have the same laugh! This would be an appropriate time for me to use the English expression, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”


the apple doesn't fall far from the tree


When we say, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” we mean that a child often behaves like his or her parents.


If the child is good or remarkable in some way, this is a compliment to the parents.


Jane: Wow! Johnny is tremendously kind!
Kate: Look at his mother. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.


In this example, the proverb is used to suggest that Johnny’s mother is very kind, and that is why Johnny is kind.


However, we can also say this disapprovingly to explain the child’s bad behavior. In this case, it is a way to insult the parents.


Jane: I can’t believe Johnny got caught shoplifting again. He’s so smart, but he’s always getting into trouble.
Kate: Well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.


In this example, the proverb is used to suggest that Johnny’s parents also get into trouble a lot, and that’s why Johnny gets into trouble.


3. the apple of someone’s eye


If you are the apple of someone’s eye, that person loves you more than anyone or anything else.


Miss Smith never had kids, so she thought of her students as her children. And although she never admitted to having favorites, Sara Canary was the apple of her eye.


An item can also be the apple of someone’s eye. For example, my uncle’s model trains are the apple of his eye. He treasures his model trains more than his other belongings.



the apple of someone's eye


Who is the apple of your eye?


idiom apple of my eye

My husband Adrian is the apple of my eye.

Related: 10 Adjectives for Memorable Romantic Compliments


4. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.


What should you have for a snack this afternoon, a bag of chips or a bowl of fruit? When in doubt, remember this English proverb: An apple a day keeps the doctor away! In other words, eating healthy foods will make you healthier…and you won’t have to go to the doctor as often!



an apple a day keeps the doctor away


Related: 9 Nautical Idioms


5. apples and oranges


Bobby: Which do you think takes more skill, being an Olympic swimmer or a professional opera singer?
Taylor: That’s apple and oranges! You can’t compare the two!


Sometimes, people ask us to compare two things that are too different to be compared fairly. If you want to sound like a native English speaker in these situations, tell the other person that they’re asking you to compare apples and oranges.


apples and oranges


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