English Idioms And Expressions For Everyone

Date Fri, December 23 2011

Admission: I don’t own a copy of the AP Style Guide. I really should. It would probably save me a lot of time when writing articles. I do, however, now own a pretty useful little book called English Idioms And Expressions For Everyone, Yes, Even You! Yea, the name’s a bit long but it’s much easier to read this book and, as a writer, I appreciate it in ways that the author maybe didn’t intend.

Essentially, this is a thesaurus of idioms and expressions. As a writer, I frequently search for ways to vary my words and phrases and this type of tool is useful. Reza Mashayekhi wrote this book with non-English speakers in mind. If you’ve ever watched NCIS, you’ve seen Ziva’s character struggle with expressions that Americans use and that happens in real life, too. In fact, we use so many expressions that aren’t literal that we’re not even aware of it. This book was eye opening in that way; I started looking at expressions that I regularly use and realized that so many of them weren’t literal and, because of that, could be confusing to my readers. On the other hand, if you’re learning English or transitioning to an environment with native English speakers, this can help you to better understand what they’re saying and blend in.

This book is self published but it doesn’t feel cheap. The front cover uses an illiustration that appears like someone has torn it back to reveal some expressions in different fonts. The back includes an anecdote from the author about English idioms, what the book includes, information about the author and recommendations from others. You wouldn’t necessarily be able to tell that that it’s self-published and it wouldn’t be out of place in a reference section.

The format is basic but works very well for the content. Mashayekhi has arranged over 2,000 expressions in alphabetical order by the full sentence. Thus, the first few pages contain sentences that start with “a” as in “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  To the right of the idiom is the definition and, when applicable, an example of usage. Reza also includes notes about expressions with the same meaning that may not be included with the book and similar expressions which are included.

One thing I found particularly useful was the inclusion of similar idioms in other languages or from other cultures. It really impressed upon me how universal some ideas are even if they’re packaged differently.

If you’re looking for a specific idiom, you can check out the index for common words. If you even wanted to use an idiom that revolves around specific ideas, you could do the same.

English Idioms And Expressions For Everyone would be useful to a variety of people: students, teachers, professionals, tourists, immigrants, writers, bloggers and anyone who simply wants to communicate more effectively or learn more about English. It would make a great gift and there’s really not a whole lot of room for improvement because it’s already excellent.

Leave a Reply