English Idiom – Take something with a pinch of salt or Take something with a grain of salt

Meaning – To listen to a story or explanation of something with reasonable doubt. To view something with skepticism. If you take something with a grain or pinch of salt then you do not automatically believe something is true, you listen with common sense and don’t take it literally.

  • Pinch of salt is the preferred British English expression.
  • Grain of salt is the preferred American English expression.
  • This is an important idiom to remember today. In the era of fake news, biased media and untrustworthy politicians it is important to take everything with a pinch of salt. If you are reading something on the internet – take it with a pinch of salt!
Usage:

When could you use this idiom?

  • If you believe that someone is not being totally honest with you.
  • A dishonest politician is making a speech.
  • You are reading a story in a newspaper that is known for being biased in some way.
  • A story on the Internet makes an outlandish claim.
Example:
  • “Did you listen to the speech last night? It was very good but you have to take everything she says with a pinch of salt. She’s lied before and she’s been caught red-handed!”
In The News:
Discuss:
  • Is there an idiom like this in your country?
What is an idiom?

An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally.  An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.