Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Common American Phrases in Everyday Contexts: A Detailed Guide to Real-Life Conversation and Small Talk (McGraw-Hill ESL References)
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on October 21, 2002
Here's the problem: Context isn't considered in the book's FORMAT; the book gives phrases and idioms in alphabetical order. There are examples of usage given for each entry, but the alphabetical listing is not helpful for students learning new phrases, that is, there is no grouping in context. For example, if you want to learn a set of common phrases used when telephoning, or when you perhaps want to find out how to interrupt someone politely or otherwise, you're out of luck with this book. No way to go to a section on phoning, or conversational guidelines. To use this book, you need to have heard a phrase, memorized it, and want to look it up. It can be a good reference, probably useful for students doing translations.
In short, it's a shelf book, not a book geared for teachers to teach with or students to teach themselves from.
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on April 29, 2006
...and also for those who have at least advanced or intermediate skill in English language. In my case I bought this book hoping to enrich my general conversational vocabulary. I have NOT achieved my personal goal since the book is full of most simple phrases that are very quickly learned from daily communication by anyone who lived in the US for more than 2 months (Thanks! Sorry 'bout that! See you! How you've been? and similar.)

However, I found this book to be particularly helpful in terms of idioms and expressions that are otherwise not clear to a non-native English speaker even in context (drop the ball, gone out the window, let's touch base tomorrow, and similar phrases.)

I would highly recommend this book for anyone who is new to the country and needs to master the American slang and daily communication.
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on May 8, 2004
The author is neither mad nor ashamed. This reference work is
filled with expressions that perplex ESL students, yet do not
often appear in dictionaries of slang or idiomatic English.
This is a reference work, not a teaching textbook. I think the first edition appeared in 1991, and the title has been in demand in the ESL market since it first appeared. Native speakers may not find the entries remarkable, but learners of English do. Check the sample pages. It may serve your needs.
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on January 4, 2006
I watched a lot of American Movies and Sitcoms. There are too much expressions that I cannot really understand ~! They are all composed of simple words,but when they are together, I just cannot get it. Like "Might as well","who do you think you are kidding",and tons of others....This book explains a lot to me. The entries in this book are really used very frequently in American Movies and on TV. I heard almost all of them before.It teaches me much more than my ESL classes !! ELS students ~buy it and Enjoy it !!
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on August 20, 2007
I came to the United States as an adult engineering student with a F1 visa. I could read my textbooks in school, but I could hardly understand some of my American classmates/friends when they used some strange and incomplete expressions in their conversations. I had never seen these English expressions in my English textbooks. The things became worse after I graduated from school and joined the work force. Sometimes my American coworkers asked me some questions using some of these strange and incomplete sentences, and I had no idea for what they were asking for and how I should answer their questions properly.

I found this book, <<Common American Phrases>>, about two weeks ago from the local library. After having read a few chapters, I realized that the strange and incomplete expressions, which I had difficults to follow, are "Common American Phrases". American people do not speak the whole sentences out, since these phrases are so common that everybody understands them. But these phrases are very difficult for an ESOL/ESL foreigner to follow.

I am so glad that I finally found this book.
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on September 12, 2005
I have very intelligent adult students who are trying to improve their English. Most of them are from East Asian backgrounds. This book is very much enjoyed by my students because it gives them an insight into phrases that people use around them often. Most people don't realize how much they use these phrases. Moreover, we don't realize how strange they sound to non-native speakers.
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on October 10, 2003
I found this book in a public library and renew it several times since it is very helpful to me. It not only provides us everyday phrases and sentences that Americans use over and over in their greeting, goodbyes and everyday small talk, but also tell me an important method to study and us English: The effective use of language is not in being able to create and understand an infinite number of sentences, but to use the right sentence the right way in a given context. About the shortcomes, the phrases are in an alphabeta order, not easy to memorize.
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on December 18, 2009
I bet no dictionary can beat this reference! It's based on down-to-earth conversations and I had never seen a lot of informal expressions even in my electronic dictionary before. Especially, I was amazed to find there are many colloquialisms which omit subjects such as I, You, and There is(are). Of course, I suppose these things happen in daily conversations and take it as a way of life. But I didn't expect there would be so many! And every explanation is so informative that I can easily guess what they mean. Therefore, this reference may help you interact more smoothly with Americans if you make the best use of it. How about buying this if you are planning to stay or live in the US?
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on July 23, 2009
I don't like this book.
It doesn't help for ESL guys, myself.
If you want to learn phrases, I would like to suggest you to learn ISBN-10: 0764127764; Handbook of Commonly Used American Idioms,Adam Makkai,(Author). Pocket size. Can bring along with you wherever you go that Barron's Educational Series.

Don't buy this Mcgraw-Hill book.
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on March 8, 2007
I will positively be heistate to recommend this to other probable buyers becuase this book is composed of contents it is not helpful to learn English expression.

In addition, this book loses my common and prevalent idioms.

I don't like to recommend all of you to get this book.
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