The Idiom Book: Text
by Hal Niergarth
with Elizabeth Niergarth
Number of Pages: 204pages
ISBN: 0-86647-259-2, 978-0-86647-259-3
The Idiom Book High-Intermediate to Advanced Young Adults and up
Idiom Book Answer Key - 26 pages pdf
The Idiom Book
Idioms, the most difficult and entertaining element of the lively living international language that is English today.
The two-page format of each lesson has four sections.
A short lively conversation sprinkled with ten idioms. The topics include a variety of situations and people: college roommates, business associates, husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, factory workers, family members, office workers. The language is colloquial and authentic. The tones of the conversations include neighborly chats, gossip, irreverence, complaint, friendly and not so friendly advice. The conversations are available on two CD's.
Pablo: Tomo, I wouldn't mind some exercise. Let's go bowling.
Tomo: Bowling is really not my thing, you know.
Pablo: That's OK, I'll show you the ropes.
The same ten idioms are repeated in the context of emails, journal entries, memos, letters, and notes. The idiom is gapped.
From: Robert Gonzales email@example.com
To: Amanda Jones firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: The Lake House
My Dear Amanda,
You know, I wouldn't buying this
place .... schmoozing with the owners is not
really my , but I suppose you
could show me ropes . . . . . . . .
A matching exercise in which the idioms are matched with a brief definition. The contexts of the preceding two sections help establish the meaning for the learner.
1) not one's thing ( )
2) wouldn't mind ( )
3) show someone the ropes ( )
4) go ahead ( )
(a) to proceed or continue
(b) to teach someone a task or activity
(c) not very good, skilled, or interested in
(d) would like being or doing something
The learners are now asked to use the idioms by rewriting sentences, replacing words and phrases with the appropriate idiom.
- I'd like a piece of that pie.
I wouldn't mind having a piece of that pie.
- No thanks, I'm not very good at karaoke.
Karaoke is not my thing.
- There's no problem using the mike - I'll teach you how to do it.
There's no problem using the mike. I'll show you the ropes.
- I think the tiger has gone, but you go first; I'll follow you.
Idioms 1010 Book Review:
by Joyce M. Baron, ESL tutor, Top Floor Learning
Adult Literacy and Lifelong Learning Newsletter
I have recently had the pleasure of working with The Idiom Book 1010, written by Hal Niergarth with his wife Elizabeth. I find that as an ESL tutor working at Top Floor Learning at the Palmer Library and online, my students are at very different levels. I have shared this book with a lady from Poland, a young man from Korea, and a young man from Kurdistan. Each one enjoyed the way the material was presented and within a short time was able to negotiate through the lessons easily and confidently.
As a tutor, I find that the way the book is written guides the learner through the lesson. The first part presents the idiom. The next three parts present a challenge because, although the initial idiom is there, it is presented in a subtly different form, often by changing the tense or person. By the time the fourth part is completed, the student understands the meaning of the idiom.
In a short time, we found that simply checking off the items as we used them helped the learner and me stay focused. Each learner voiced delight with the presentation and felt that the idioms were much more understandable. I will continue to present this book to my students in the future. Kudos to the Niergarths.