Idioms are expressions where the expression’s literal meaning differs from the figurative meaning. Some epitomize a real or fictional event (such as “Good Samaritan”), others make imaginative use of figurative language (such as “pushing up daisies”). As they get assimilated in colloquial speech, the words and word order become rigid. Human creativity endows all languages with idioms, and these provide a gateway into that language’s culture and values. For non-native speakers, it makes their speech sound more like that of native speakers. As languages have spread, some idioms may be appropriate in certain parts of the world, but not in others (the Spanish expression “more Mexican than Mole” may be appropriate in Mexico, but not so much in Spain). In some instances, some idioms take on a different meaning in different parts of the world. For example “to table a motion” in the United States means to put it under the table, and postpone discussion. In the United Kingdom it means to put it on the table, and hence consider it. Thus those traveling to other countries need to use idioms — even in the same language — carefully!
This book contains idioms that are appropriate in the United States, and is geared to non-native speakers. It is divided into twenty broad thematic sections, and each section is further divided into sub-categories that fit within that section’s theme. Each page consists of half a dozen idioms, fill-in the blank sentences appropriate for each idiom, and the meaning of each idiom. Answers to the sentences are at the back of the book. An index of key terms, the corresponding idiom and meaning is also at the end of the book.
Unfortunately this book is not setup to help readers look up idioms that expresses a certain feeling or state. There are no sidebars or other interesting notes that would spark additional interest in either the language or English idioms. This book is setup as a workbook that is probably more useful to an instructor rather than an individual reader. The simplicity and uniformity make it ideal for instructors working with a structured curriculum.
Marco Antonio Bussanich