Spoken English has a lot of little expressions that are used frequently by native speakers – and some of these expressions are so similar that you might accidentally mix them up. Two such expressions are peace of mind and a piece of one’s mind – they sound almost the same, but they are in fact very different!
Today you’ll learn what each expression means and how to use it. You can learn hundreds more expressions inside my Everyday English Speaking Courses.
PEACE OF MIND
Peace of mind describes being calm, without worries, having a feeling of tranquility and security. We often talk about having peace of mind or things that give us peace of mind:
- I’d rather make less money and have peace of mind than have a high-earning, high-stress job.
- Our home security system gives us peace of mind because we know our house is protected.
Try to make your own example sentence – What’s one thing that gives you peace of mind? I’ll mention my example – I have a really good babysitter for my daughter, so I have peace of mind when I’m away from home, because I know my daughter is being cared for well by the babysitter.
GIVE SOMEONE A PIECE OF YOUR MIND
The expression give someone a piece of your mind means to express your honest feelings, when those feelings are angry, criticizing, or negative in some way. When you give someone a piece of your mind, you don’t make your criticism more polite or diplomatic; instead, you express your negative feelings in strong and direct words. Here are some examples:
- After my employee was late to work for the third time this week, I gave him a piece of my mind. (For example, I said something like “Lateness is completely unacceptable. If you’re late one more time, you will be fired.”)
- My roommate always gives me a piece of her mind whenever I leave a mess in the kitchen.
(For example, she says something like “Why don’t you ever clean up? You’re such a slob!”)
Now put it into practice – think of a time when you gave someone a piece of your mind, or when someone gave you a piece of their mind.
I’ve got an example. I had a flight booked for the afternoon, but recently the airline changed the schedule and now the flight leaves at 5:30 AM. I called the airline and gave them a piece of my mind – I expressed how upset and disappointed I am about the schedule change and the very inconvenient new time.