Friday, July 27

What is an idiom?

Below is a sample from the book I am writing - Business Idioms in America

Okay, so what is an idiom?
An idiom is a comparison. Let me explain. Look at the following examples.

                        1. Jack is as hungry as a wolf.       
                        2. Jack eats like a wolf.

                        3. Hey, wolfman! How are you? Long time, no see!
                        4. Jack's an animal. The guy's crazy.

In examples 1 and 2, I am comparing Jack to a wolf. A wolf is a wild animal and when hungry, watch out! When I say, "Jack is as hungry as a wolf," I am speaking (writing) figuratively. Is my friend Jack a real (literal) wolf? No. Instead, I am figuratively (idiomatically) comparing him to a wolf to create a picture in your mind. As you can see, an idiom is a comparison that paints a figurative (descriptive) picture using words.                                                                                                         
In examples 3 and 4, I am still idiomatically comparing Jack to an animal. However, I am not using the comparatives "like" or "as." This kind of idiomatic comparison (not using like or as) is called an indirect comparison or a metaphor (met-ah-for). A metaphor is an implied (suggested) comparison. Notice how in examples 1 and 2, I do use "like" and "as." This kind of idiomatic comparison is called a direct comparison or a simile (sim-ah-lee).

Remember: An idiom is either a metaphor or a simile.

รจ How do you know if what you are reading, saying or hearing is an idiom or not? Look for the comparison. If there is a comparison (a simile or a metaphor), then it is an idiom. If there is no comparison (no simile or metaphor), it is not an idiom. If it sounds like an idiom, but there is no comparison, it is probably a common expression, a prepositional phrase, a phrasal verb, or slang.

And that, in a nutshell, is the skinny on idioms. It's time to get the show on the road.

Bruce Stirling

Monday, July 23

Wednesday, July 18

My book reviewed by a Happy test-taker!

July 17, 2012

Helped me get a high score! 
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is for:
i love this book! it helped me score 28/30 for both writing and speaking. it will give you tips on how to answer better. i used the OPDUL=C especially on the speaking section. and it made me answer the questions easier and faster since i have a guide on how i should answer it. i made sure i have an intro, at least 2 examples with details and a conclusion. it's also very helpful when you're trying to map out the conversation and/or lectures. i also liked how they showed samples on how you can improve the paragraphs on the writing section. i find it hard to write about the part where there's a lecture and a reading combined, and the techniques the book gave plus sample paragraphs helped me get thru it! i wasn't able to use most of the techniques, but i made sure i used the OPDUL=C and i am so satisfied with my scores! 

Tuesday, July 10

Rhetorical Strategies You Must Know for TOEFL

A carpenter uses a hammer to build a house. A painter uses a brush to paint a portrait. Speakers and writers use rhetorical strategies to develop, support and analyze fact-based and opinion-based arguments. What is the TOEFL iBT? It's all arguments. Why all arguments? Because argument development and analysis is the foundation of the English-speaking educational system. That means to get a high TOEFL iBT score you must know basic argument development. Start to learn about argument development by learning these basic eight rhetorical strategies. You will use these eight rhetorical strategies for all four sections of the TOEFL iBT.

1. NARRATION: (Chronology)        

She got up at seven. After that she had breakfast, then caught the nine o’clock train downtown.

2. DESCRIPTION: (Person or Place)

His room was tiny, his faded green plant dying, his desk cluttered with empty cups and late assignments.
3. ILLUSTRATION: (Giving Examples)

Google is just one of many search engines.
4. COMPARE/CONTRAST: (Similarities/Differences)

Mary tried the apple pie and decided the cherry pie was sweeter.
5. CAUSE/EFFECT: (Action + Result)

Bill studied hard and passed the exam.

6. CLASSIFICATION: (Dividing into groups)
There are three kinds of wine: red, white, and rose.

7. DEFINITION: (Dictionary Style)
A good student does his homework.

8. PROCESS: (Putting Steps in Order)
Writing consists of three steps: prewriting, writing, and revising.

Remember: To get high TOEFL score, you must know these eight rhetorical strategies. Rhetorical strategies are tools speakers and writers use to support and develop fact-based and opinion-based arguments. What is the TOEFL iBT? All fact-based and opinion-based arguments.

The Pro


and effect...

© Bruce Stirling 2011