English Idioms in Use
Leave Us a Review
  • English Idioms in Use
  • Michael McCarthy and Felicity O’Dell
  • Published by: Cambridge University Press
  • Level: Intermediate
  • First Published in: 2002

This course book presents over 1000 of the most commonly used idiomatic expressions used in the English language. Students will find examples, illustrations, and comprehension questions to help them learn and memorize these common expressions and phrases.

Review posted: 06/11/2013
Have you used this book?

Only studying grammar and vocabulary will only get a language learner so far. When you are learning a language it’s important to understand the connotation of everything that is said. This can sometimes be difficult: what is said is not always what is meant. Words and phrases take on different meanings depending on how and when they are used. For example, it may be obvious to a native English speaker that the phrase “in the blink of an eye” means “in an extremely short amount of time”. A non-native speaker, however, may get caught up in the literal meaning of the expression.

While idioms come naturally to native speakers, they have to be studied, understood, and often memorized, by non-native speakers. That’s where English Idioms in Use comes in handy. This book was designed to help English language learners understand the actual meaning of phrases and expressions used in everyday conversations.

The book doesn’t just list out the idioms for the student to study. Rather, English Idioms in Use categorizes the idioms by subject or by how it is used in specific situations. Some of the topics include “Health", “Work”, “Necessity and Desirability” and so on. Under each subject, the student will find a collection of appropriate idioms. There are further explanations when required, followed by practical exercises to help the student put the idioms to use.

One of the problems with this book is that there isn't a clear difference between American idioms and British idioms. Some idioms used by a Briton will not be immediately understood by an American and vice versa. This book does not help the student understand the difference. There are also many idioms presented in the book which are fairly outdated or only used among older generations.

"One of the problems with this book is that there isn't a clear difference between American idioms and British idioms."

This book is a great book for a student to keep as a reference. It will help them to continue building fluency and overall comprehension of the English language. However, as the book is purely of idioms, it may not be the best choice for a classroom setting. As an ESL teacher, you could use it as a supplementary book, but it really should not dominate your lessons. You can assign the exercises as homework and try to incorporate a few of the idioms into your classroom discussions, but always keep in mind that learning idioms is only a small part of studying English.

Idioms, slang, and colloquial speech are not one in the same –an important fact to know before delving into the teaching material. Understand English Idiom’s in Use’s goal before teaching your students.



Leave your review for 'English Idioms in Use'

Fields with * are required.