Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Review of "Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms, Phrases & Sayings," by Marvin Terban

Review of
Scholastic Dictionary of Idioms, Phrases & Sayings, by Marvin Terban ISBN 0590381571

Five out of five stars
 One of the most interesting, educational and entertaining aspects of learning English is to research the origins of common phrases. When I was in elementary school, the teacher wrote sayings on pieces of paper and we drew those papers out. Each student was then required to research the origin of their selected saying and present their findings in class. It was challenging to track down the origin and very entertaining when the students reported their findings to the class.
 This book contains more than 600 phrases with their origins. While many of them are fairly obvious, some are unexpected. For example, the phrase “Jack of all trades” is based on the seventeenth century use of the word “Jack” to refer to a “trade laborer.” No lesser light than Shakespeare is also mentioned as the origin or popularizer of a common phrase. One such instance is Mark Antony yelling to the crowd, “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears.”
 Written at the middle school level, this is a book that is both a reference and fun to read.

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