As a native English speaker, I had always used idioms, as most native speakers do, with little thought as to their complexity. It never occurred to me that non-native speakers would have any trouble in using these common figures of speech. It had never occurred to me that the meaning of many idioms is obscure, and cannot easily be gleaned from the words alone. Having been an English teacher for some 15 years now, I have come to see that students need a lot of help with idioms.
Solving the Problem for Students
Once I realised that idioms were incredibly problematic for my students, I set about gathering as many idioms as I could and making videos about them for my YouTube channels. I also created the website, BritishIdioms.com, as a place that students could visit to learn some of the more common idioms.
As I created my videos, and collated the idioms, I realised that many idioms could be grouped together in videos such as my Egg Idioms, Colour Idioms, Heart Idioms, and so on. I also realised that by far the biggest number of idioms were related to parts of the body, and so I decided to bring them all together in this book.
An Easier Way to Master Idioms
I am determined to make idioms as accessible for all students as any other part of the English language. Reading and memorising lists of vocabulary is not the most productive, interesting, or useful exercise in English language learning. I wanted to create a book that would encourage the reader to not only learn and remember the idioms, but also to have fun with them, as having fun is a great aid to learning and remembering.
After toying with a number of ideas for the content and layout of the book, I decided to present the body idioms grouped by parts of the body, and then to revisit each of the idioms in a series of crosswords. This way we get essential repetition, which helps you to learn, remember, and use the idioms in this book.
Crosswords for Essential Repetition
The book contains 25 crossword puzzles which give you the chance to revisit the idioms and by revisiting them, master them. Repetition is an essential part of learning new vocabulary in any language.
As the Kindle or other devices are not really suited to crossword completion, I have created online copies of each of the 25 crosswords. The crosswords are free to access and use, but the clues are only found in the book itself.
If you want to print the crossword grids for your own use or for use in the classroom, you can do so from the online puzzles.
Most Comprehensive Collection of Body Idioms
I originally thought that we would have around 100 to 200 idioms, but as I continued gathering the idioms for each part of the body, I realised there were going to be considerably more. With an ever-growing list of idioms before me, I despaired of ever being able to complete the definitions and examples that would be required for each one. However, with a bit of elbow grease, I put my back into it, and managed to complete all 522 of them.
Bear in mind that you don’t have to use all the idioms in this book, but it is important that you know what each one means, as native English speakers use them with alarming regularity. I hope that as you work your way through the book you will make some of the idioms your own and use them regularly like a native. Either way, I hope you enjoy the book.
Body Idioms in Multiple Formats
Body Idioms is available in formats to suit everyone.
I have also included a PDF version that you can download from at Britlish.