Can I use this idiom when I talk about “studying”?

For example:

I’m going to Canada to study and learn the ropes of English.

It doesn’t seem right to me, but I don't know.

  • 2
    I wouldn't. "Learn the ropes" in my experience is always in relation to a new task, or set of tasks, not in relation to a general subject.
    – Colin Fine
    Jun 16, 2020 at 8:57
  • Learn the ropes or be shown the ropes is generally associated with skilled manual labour rather than academic learning. I believe it`s an old naval term concerned with learning how to handle the ropes and lines. Jun 16, 2020 at 9:43

1 Answer 1


As a native speaker, I agree with Colin Fine and wouldn't use this.

Learn the ropes is defined as:

If you learn the ropes, you learn how to do a particular job or task.

It isn't really used in relation to a new language/subject.

I would say:

I’m going to Canada to study and start my learning experience in English,

learning experience indicates you are new to English and fits well in your sentence.


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