Have you ever taken the time to stop and think about what some common expressions in the English language mean? If English is your first language you might not even think twice when someone tells you to “Keep your shirt on” when you are in a hurry or “I just got a pink slip” when they get fired. You would know what they meant. But if English isn’t your second language, or even if it is, often it can get confusing. In Reza Mashayekhi’s book, English Idioms and Expressions For Everyone, Yes, Even You, he explores many of the idioms and expressions in the English language. His book has easy to understand meanings of more than 2,000 commonly used English idioms, expressions, and phrases. He also includes the origins of some of these expressions, examples and expressions in sentences, and also some interesting expressions from other cultures.
It was amazing for me to realize while reading over Mashayekhi’s book just how many expressions I use all the time that I never really thought about before. It almost reminds me of the Amelia Bedela books where she takes everything literally. This book is a great tool for anyone learning English as a second language but is also important to help those of us who have been speaking it all our lives to remember to phrase things differently when speaking to others who might not understand.
I really found this book interesting but what really touched me the most was a story that Mashayekhi tells of a foreign exchange student who was tragically shot to death when he walked on someone’s property. The armed homeowner yelled, “Freeze!” but the student understand what the homeowner meant and was shot to death. This is an extreme example of how expressions can be confusing but this book did open my eyes. I am also looking forward to sharing this book with my children to help explain expressions to them.
Examples from the book:
Ace in the hole
Big secret help. A winning factor kept hidden.
She is our ace in the hole. With her at our side, I’m sure we’re going to win this thing. But keep it to yourself for now. The prosecutor had an ace in the hole: an eyewitness!
This may have its origin in the game of poker where you have an ace with the face down, until it’s time to show it.
Burning the candle at both ends
Working too hard.
Doing too many things at once.
Dollar bills, paper money, in general, because they mostly have portraits of the late U.S. presidents on them.
A “Hot one” is a $1 bill.
An “Abe” is a $5 bill.
A “Jackson” is a $20 bill.
A “Grant” is a $50 bill.
A “Benjamin” or a “C-note” is a $100 bill.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Reza Mashayekhi was born and reared in Tehran, Iran. He later attended the University of Michigan, where he received a degree in aerospace engineering.
Reza has always been interested in learning the intricacies of the English language. This is why, alongside of his engineering work, he has taught English to non-English speakers. He has done this because he has wanted to expand his knowledge of English, and he has a good explanation for his reasoning.
“When you want to learn a subject, you approach it from your own perspective,” he says. “Once you feel that you know enough about it, you typically move on to something else. When you teach a subject, however, you have to learn everything about it before you can satisfactorily answer all of the questions that are raised by the students.”
Reza also consults with non-English speakers to prepare them for their public speaking events, or to help with their day-to-day conversational skills, both in the form of workshops and on a one-on-one basis.
Being a non-native speaker of English, living and working in the U.S., Reza’s experience through the years and his interactions with his students and clients has led to the compilation of this book.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for performing this review. I received a free book to read and review. The opinions and statements expressed by me in this post are my own personal and honest opinion of this book.
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