Feather in Her Hat: 200 English Idioms & Expressions for. Advanced English Language Learners

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1 Feather in Her Hat: 200 English Idioms & Expressions for Advanced English Language Learners By Erin N. O Reilly Copyright 2013 Strategic L2 Amazon Edition Cover Art: istock All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without prior written permission of the author/publisher; except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews. This ebook is licensed for your personal use only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it as not purchased for your use only, then please go to Amazon.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. Also by Erin N. O'Reilly, Published on Amazon.com: How to Actually Remember Vocabulary: 51 Strategies for Language Learners ***~~~***

2 Introduction Idiomatic language reflects the culture and values of an individual. Used in daily conversations and written communication, idiomatic language can express underlying desires, opinions, expectations, and predictions. For language learners, idiomatic expressions and phrases can be particularly challenging. Rarely can these expressions be translated word-for-word. Instead, the language learner must rely on contextual clues to understand an expression's meaning. While this approach may help with global understanding, it will do little to help you master idioms that you can use independently in your daily English. Additionally, trying to learn idioms as they occur in spontaneous conversation is not the best strategy for a serious language learner. You will quickly find some idioms and expressions used regularly and others used only for certain topical domains or genres. For this reason, you may hear the expressions so infrequently that it becomes difficult to: (1) remember their meaning and (2) learn them well enough to use in your own language. A deliberate strategy for learning idioms is useful for language learners. This collection of idioms and phrases is designed for English language learners at the advanced or higher levels. At a minimum, you should be reading (or beginning to read) authentic news articles, websites, and blogs written for native English speakers by native speakers. You should be able to listen to and understand the news and daily conversations about a variety of everyday, common topics. All of the phrases and expressions are listed alphabetically. Following each phrase, you will find an explanation of its meaning. After the definition, there are three examples of the phrase used in authentic English speech and writing. These examples come from news articles, quotes within articles, blog posts, and websites. While the majority of the expressions are self-explanatory, some will have a short note about grammar or word choice following the examples. Some examples were edited for clarity (e.g., replacing a pronoun with a proper noun) because they are taken out of context, but every example maintains its original meaning. The examples are not limited to American English, rather a range of "Englishes" used globally. That being said, all of the examples were selected because they are clear and show how the phrase or idiom can be used in different contexts or settings. In other words, none of the examples is limited to a specific geographic region or English dialect.

3 How to Use this Book This book is not intended to be a comprehensive guide for every idiom in the English language. In fact, it doesn't even come close to capturing all of the idioms regularly used in English. Instead, it is a tool to help you understand how English idioms and expressions are used in daily language by native speakers. As you go through this book, many of the sample sentences may be challenging for you to understand. After all, they're written by native speakers for native speakers. Additionally, they're taken out of context, which adds an extra challenge for language learners. Ordinarily, you could probably skip over the expressions while reading, or guess at the meaning from the overall context of the article or speech. Often while I'm speaking with advanced non-native English speakers, they will nod in understanding when I use idiomatic language, even if they're unfamiliar with or unsure of a phrase or term. In this book, I challenge you to try to break yourself of this habit by removing the extra language which would normally precede and follow an idiom. Focus on the words and how the phrase changes grammatically depending on its use. Another important point is that grammar in spoken language frequently has errors. Native speakers will make pronoun reference errors, repeat themselves, interrupt themselves, and speak in phrases (not complete sentences). You will see examples in this book of spoken language (identified by the use of quotation marks) where the sentences are not grammatically correct. If you are having problems understanding the sentence, start by finding the subject and verb in the main clause. Once you have located these two parts of the sentence, build up from there, adding the subordinate clauses and prepositional phrases until you have decoded the entire sentence. Keep in mind that some examples will have multiple independent clauses in the same sentence. Again, these grammatical inconsistencies reflect authentic spoken language. Be patient and try to work through them. Another strategy is to try to imagine the context surrounding each sentence. Where and how was an idiom used? Answer these questions: 1. Is the sentence about politics, business, science, sports, movie stars, or daily life? 2. Are the phrases and idioms used in one context, or can they be used in many different contexts? For example, can you use it in business and daily life? Or just business?

4 3. Who uses this phrase? For example, do politicians, average people, or journalists use it? Finally, after reviewing the examples, you can do three things to help you memorize the idiom or expression: 1. Search for more examples online. 2. Come up with your own sentence using the phrase. 3. Try using your sample sentence with a native, or near-native speaker and ask for feedback. Understanding the expressions in written or spoken English will be easier for you than actually using them yourself. This is why the last step above is so important. If your goal is to be able to use idioms yourself, practice integrating these expressions as much as possible into your own speaking and writing. It will be challenging for you as a non-native speaker to integrate idiomatic expressions into your everyday written or spoken language. However, effectively using this colorful language is one of the signs of higher-level language skills. One way to start is to memorize just a few expressions at the beginning and try to use these whenever appropriate. When you find that you can use them without thinking, then select a few more and memorize those. This takes time, but is rewarding when you find yourself capable of using idiomatic language correctly with native speakers in spontaneous communication. Finally, reflect on how you currently react to native speakers using idiomatic language. Many high-intermediate and advanced learners understand the main message of what is being communicated. Because of this, they can easily gloss over, or ignore, the idioms or expressions native speakers use. They fake full comprehension. While this is a great strategy to keep a conversation going or to quickly read an article or blog post, it will not help you improve your language skills. Whenever possible, ask the person you're speaking with to explain these expressions. Alternatively, remember what was said and look up the expression later. This is one way to quickly build your working knowledge of idioms.

5 Above and Beyond Meaning: to do more than necessary; to do a good job on something 1. It has often been said that, in a service industry, the best client service is based on delivery 'above and beyond'. 2. The award is designed to recognize teachers who go above and beyond expectations to help students succeed. 3. Your efforts that evening went above and beyond what is expected of you, and your actions helped to avert a tragedy. Add Fuel to the Fire Meaning: to make a bad situation worse 1. "The ultimatum and the kind of provocative words that the chief minister is using will only add fuel to the fire. It will worsen the situation further." With rumors about the company's future already circulating, the sale will only add fuel to the fire. 2. These facts only add fuel to the roaring fire of rumors. 3. I know there are religious differences that add fuel to the fire. A Fresh Pair of Eyes Meaning: someone who is asked to review something 1. A new head teacher has vowed to be a fresh pair of eyes after her school was criticized in an inspection.

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