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English idiom go bananas
English idioms recharge your batteries

Over 100 English Idioms Explained in Detail, such as...

Fly by the seat of your pants

Go bananas!

Recharge your batteries

Engish idioms fly by the seat of one's pants
English idiom neck and neck

Neck and neck

"Learning English Idioms: Exploring Figurative Meaning Through Pictures and Practice" is a textbook that teaches second language learners well-known idioms in a pedagogically sound, memorable, and engaging way. This is the only idiom textbook on the market that focuses on examining metaphor through pictures and thorough explanations for understanding and remembering the meaning of metaphorical English idioms. 


Textbook features the following for all of the more than 100 idioms:

  • vivid and meaningful illustrations with thoughtful question prompts 

  • carefully crafted metaphorical and/or etymological explanations

  • multiple example sentences modified from authentic English

  • collocations, context appropriateness, and supplementary information

  • multiple controlled practice activities to master form

  • multiple free practice activities to master fluency

  • chapter and unit reviews to consolidate learning for long-term memory



Each chapter opens with a dialog to introduce thematically-related idioms:





















Each idiom is accompanied by input and output activities:























1) Is this textbook for individual or classroom use?


It is suitable for self-study or as a supplementary textbook as part of a course. All of the output activities have been designed so that they can be completed independently or in pairs or small groups. 


2) What kind of English learner will most benefit from this textbook?


Efforts have been made to simplify vocabulary in order to make it more accessible. That being said, idioms are typically more appropriate for intermediate-level learners and above. Though low-level English learners might still be able to understand and enjoy learning idioms receptively, they will probably struggle to use them correctly in conversation, and so they will benefit less than the more advanced learners who are already semi-fluent in spoken English.


3) I've seen idiom textbooks with pictures before. What makes this          one special?


For my PhD topic, I examined what type of picture best promotes the learning of newly-met idioms. I spent years of my life researching the literature, collaborating with illustrators, and testing materials on English learners. What I found was that learners benefit most from pictures that have both the literal parts and the metaphorical meaning expressed in a simple, but thought-provoking, interesting, or comical way. Learners can often recall images associated with words, and if the pictures are carefully crafted in the way described, the literal parts help anchor the form of the word, while the metaphorical meaning expressed through the pictures help learners retrieve the idiom's figurative meaning.


Though there are dozens of idiom textbooks on the market, none have invested the time or resources to craft pictures in such way, and when pictures are included in other textbooks, they usually only present the literal meaning with little or no attention to the metaphorical meaning.


Let's compare two examples to show what I mean for the idiom tie the knot, which means to get married.















The picture on the left merely displays a picture of a hand tying a knot, but this reveals little if anything about the figurative meaning of getting married. On the right, we can see a picture which links both meanings with a marriage ceremony representing the concept of marriage. Furthermore, the knot tied around the couple symbolically reinforces the notion of commitment and unity while at the same time providing a visual link to the written form of the idiom (tie the knot). The amount of effort put into ensuring that all the pictures presented in the textbook meet this criteria adequately is what separates it from all the other idiom textbooks on the market.


4) What other features of this textbook make it better than the              competition?


One of the most common complaints I hear from teachers about idioms is that learners always seem to misuse them. Truly, idioms are more challenging to use correctly than most other words because they have multiple parts, restrictions on use, and tend to be especially sensitive to context. In spite of this, most idiom textbooks give only superficial attention to individual idioms. In fact, some idiom textbooks introduce over 1,000 idioms, many of which sound old-fashioned, or are no longer in use!


Rather than give very little attention to a great number of idioms, I decided to choose a more reasonable number of idioms that were 1) metaphorical and interesting, 2) recognized and used by native speakers, and 3) amenable to visual representation. The result is over 100 idioms that are dealt with in depth so that learners get the input and output practice necessary to actually learn and acquire the idioms presented.


5) When will this textbook be released?


The publication for this textbook is TBA. If you are interested in this textbook, please fill out the form below and I will send updates about its release (your contact information will not be used for any other purpose). If you have questions or comments, please leave them here.








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