English Idioms in Use
60 units of vocabulary reference and practice
Self-study and classroom use
By: Michael McCarthy, Felicity O’Dell
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Using this Book
Why was this book written?
It was written to help you improve your knowledge of idioms in English. Idioms are fixed expressions whose meaning is not immediately obvious from looking at the individual words in the idiom. You will come across a great many idioms when you listen to and read English. So it is important that you learn about the meaning of idioms and about how they are used. You can use this book either with a teacher or for self-study.
We wanted to encourage language learners to have a balanced approach to idioms in English. Sometimes in the past, teachers used to argue that it was a waste of time for learners to study idioms as they might start using them in an inaccurate or unsuitably way. But idioms are in such widespread use that it is inappropriate to ignore them. This book focuses just on those idioms which the modern student needs to know and it aims to provide the information and practice which will help you understand and use them correctly.
How were the idioms in the book selected?
There are a great many idioms in English, but some of them sound rather old-fashioned or are not very widely used. The 1,000 or so idioms which are worked on in this book were all selected from hose identified as significant based on computer searches of huge language databases: the CANCODE corpus of spoken English, developed at the University of Nottingham in association with Cambridge University Press and the Cambridge International Corp-us of written English. These databases show us how the idioms have actually been used by native speakers of English in conversations, newspapers, novels, and many other contexts. The idioms selected are all also be found in the Cambridge International Dictionary of Idioms were additional examples and usage notes will also be found. You can search this dictionary online by going to the following website.