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Jose Mitchell
Jose Mitchell

Know Your English by S. Upendran: A Guide to Idioms and Their Stories (PDF)

Know Your English by S. Upendran: A Review

If you are looking for a fun and easy way to learn English idioms and their stories, you might want to check out Know Your English, a book series by S. Upendran. Based on his popular column in The Hindu newspaper, this series will help you understand the meaning, usage, and origin of hundreds of common and uncommon idioms in English. In this article, we will review the book series and tell you why you should read it.

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What is Know Your English? It is a four-volume book series that covers various aspects of English language and communication, such as idioms, words, grammar, pronunciation, etc. Each volume contains a selection of articles that were originally published in The Hindu as part of S. Upendran's column, which has been running since 1982.

Who is S. Upendran? He is a professor of linguistics at the English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) in Hyderabad, India. He has a PhD in linguistics from Cornell University, USA, and has authored several books and papers on language teaching and learning. He is also a well-known columnist, speaker, and quiz master.

Why is it important to learn idioms and their stories? Idioms are expressions that have a figurative meaning that is different from their literal meaning. For example, when someone says "it's raining cats and dogs", they don't mean that animals are falling from the sky; they mean that it's raining very heavily. Idioms are very common in everyday speech and writing, and they can make your language more colorful, vivid, and expressive. However, idioms can also be confusing and challenging for learners of English, especially if they don't know their meaning or origin. That's why it's useful to learn idioms and their stories from a reliable source like Know Your English.

Overview of the book series

How many volumes are there? There are four volumes in the book series, each focusing on a different topic. The first volume is called Idioms and Their Stories, and it contains more than 300 idioms with their meanings, examples, and origins. The second volume is called The Right Word, and it deals with words that are often confused or misused in English, such as affect/effect, imply/infer, etc. The third volume is called Grammar Matters, and it covers various aspects of English grammar, such as tenses, modals, clauses, etc. The fourth volume is called Speaking and Writing, and it offers tips and advice on how to improve your spoken and written communication skills in English.

What are the main features of each volume? Each volume has the following features:

  • A clear and concise introduction that explains the purpose and scope of the book.

  • A table of contents that lists the titles of the articles and their page numbers.

  • A series of articles that are arranged in alphabetical order or thematic order, depending on the topic.

  • Each article has a catchy title, a question from a reader, an answer from S. Upendran, and sometimes a dash of humor or a quiz at the end.

  • Each article is written in a simple, conversational, and engaging style, with examples, anecdotes, and references to support the explanations.

  • Each article is about one or two pages long, making it easy to read and digest.

  • A glossary that explains the meaning of some difficult or unfamiliar words used in the book.

  • An index that helps you find the articles or topics that you are interested in.

How are the idioms organized and explained? In the first volume, Idioms and Their Stories, the idioms are organized in alphabetical order, from A to Z. For example, you can find idioms like "a bolt from the blue", "a chip off the old block", "a dime a dozen", etc. under the letter A. For each idiom, S. Upendran provides the following information:

  • The meaning of the idiom in simple English.

  • One or more examples of how the idiom is used in sentences or dialogues.

  • The origin or history of the idiom, if known or available.

  • Some related or similar idioms, if any.

Here is an example of how an idiom is explained in the book:

A dime a dozen

What is the meaning of a dime a dozen? (Rajesh Kumar, Delhi) When you say that something is a dime a dozen, what you mean is that it is very common; it is not at all rare. The expression suggests that you can buy twelve of these things for just ten cents which means they are very cheap as well. * Good ideas are a dime a dozen. What we need is someone who can execute them. * Dont worry about losing him. Guys like him are a dime a dozen. How is the expression a dime a dozen used? (K. Ravi, Madurai) This expression is mostly used in American English in informal contexts. The British equivalent of a dime a dozen is two a penny. * These days good books are two a penny. Where did this expression come from? (P. Murali, Vizag) No one really knows for sure. Some scholars believe that it came into existence around 1930. During this period, there were many things that one could buy twelve for ten cents doughnuts and eggs, for example. * * *

Benefits of reading the book series

How can it improve your vocabulary and communication skills? Reading Know Your English can help you improve your vocabulary and communication skills in several ways:

  • You can learn new words and expressions that are useful and relevant for everyday situations.

  • You can learn how to use words and expressions correctly and appropriately in different contexts.

  • You can learn how to avoid common errors and mistakes that can affect your clarity and accuracy.

  • You can learn how to express your ideas and opinions more effectively and persuasively.

  • You can learn how to adapt your language and style to suit different audiences and purposes.

How can it enrich your knowledge of culture and history? Reading Know Your English can also enrich your knowledge of culture and history in several ways:

  • You can learn about the origin and evolution of words and expressions, and how they reflect the social and historical changes that have taken place over time.

  • You can learn about the cultural and literary references that are embedded in words and expressions, and how they convey different meanings and connotations.

  • You can learn about the similarities and differences between British English and American English, and how they affect the usage and spelling of words and expressions.

  • You can learn about the influence of other languages on English, such as Latin, French, Hindi, etc., and how they have enriched its vocabulary and diversity.

How can it entertain and inspire you with stories and humor? Reading Know Your English can also entertain and inspire you with stories and humor in several ways: 71b2f0854b


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