American Idioms

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David W. Miller

Learn English Idioms I

Learn English Idioms I
The title needs work but it describes best what is inside. Send this to whomever you like. It’s FREE! This ebook covers, in order of appearance, the entire Idioms poster (approximately 1050 idioms) located at the site. Additional learning resources are also on the site. I’ve made this ebook as small as possible so that you can help send it around the world! Remember, it’s free to share and send. I welcome your comments and suggestions for this book and for the website.

Congratulations! You are beginning a journey that will enhance your knowledge of English as well as your knowledge of American idioms. You will learn a great deal about American culture and how Americans think from this ebook. If you have read this far, you know that this ebook is for advanced language learners. It is impossible to overstate the importance of idioms in a language. They are all around us in everyday use. I created this ebook not as a final reference to American language idioms but as a handy guide to using them. It will help you understand the ways in which Americans use idioms (and we use them often, and most of the time without realizing we are using them). You will need to ask a native English speaker for additional ways to use these phrases. I have tried to be as clear as possible in defining them. Sometimes the best way to define them was to use them in situations instead of using a dictionary definition. I have used most of the idioms at one time or another during my life. Others were sent to me by well-meaning individuals who knew about this project. I have separated the idioms into a few categories but many fit into two or more. So, without any further introduction, read these and try to hear them. Since there are 1000 to choose from, you should have no trouble hearing them. Soon you may actually be using them too! I am including a “frequency of usage” field to indicate which idioms are used every day and which are seldom used. You may even be able to surprise your American friends. The categories I’ve chosen for “frequency of usage” are as follows: frequently often sometimes rarely Obviously phrases might be used more in different situations. “often” and “sometimes” were difficult categories. Why did I choose often and sometimes? In reality, those two categories are sometimes blurred. I could have used 6 or 7 categories and still not be as accurate as I’d like. The other two, “frequently” and “rarely” are extremes. You either hear them or you don’t. I have tried to create “real world” examples of the idioms. In some cases, the explanation is the example. Enjoy this book. I know I enjoyed writing it. Email me at and tell me what you think. I’d really like to know. My hope is that this will be passed on to the entire ESL community. It’s free! It would be very interesting to me to see exactly where this ebook goes!

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David W. Miller

Learn English Idioms I

A big if “A big if” is used when a person wants to emphasize the word if. It is typically used at the end of the phrase. Example: If we decide to go to New York, we will go to the theater… and that’s a big if. Frequency of usage: frequently Above board If the company or a person is doing thing illegally, then they are not “above board.” Essentially, it means, is the company legitimate? You do not want to do business with a company that is not above board. Example: I have no way of knowing if this company is above board or not. Frequency of usage: sometimes Above and beyond the call of duty Usually this phrase is spoken in its entirety. It means that someone has done much more than was required of him. It is obviously a compliment. Example: I gave him the afternoon off because he went above and beyond the call of duty...
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