Thursday, April 27, 2017

Cheater's Guide to Speaking English Like a Native – Book Review

Cheater's Guide to Speaking English Like a Native
by Boyé Lafayette De Mente

This book comes in two versions: one written in English only and one with Japanese accompanying English. I got the English-only one a few years ago (I don't recall where I bought it) and read some of it. However. the terrible fire incident happening two years ago seems to have destroyed the book. Last year, I came across the Japanese edition at a book fair by Periplus at Plaza fx, Senayan, South Jakarta, and decided to get a copy of it – it was damn cheap! In the last few weeks, I have tried to read the whole book and I completed it of late.

Native speakers don't speak English using literal and direct expressions only. They also use a lot of idiomatic ones and other expressions that might baffle those who are not familiar with them. For instance, one might say "I passed the exam with flying colors", instead of "I passed the exam with a very high/good score." Knowing these expressions is essential and would enable you to communicate more smoothly as well as more naturally. Cheater's Guide to Speaking English Like a Native by Boyé Lafayette De Mente is a book that addresses this matter in an excellent way, and I find this book really lives up to what the title claims the book is.

Firstly, you need to keep in mind that, as the title indicates, this book is intended for improving your spoken English. Therefore, you might find some of the expressions not appropriate if used in writing. This book contains over 700 entries which are in alphabetical order. Personally, I'd say the number is relatively small and thus, it probably doesn't function well as a dictionary (you could read other books such as McGraw-Hill's American Idioms Dictionary instead in this regard). I would suggest reading this book like a novel – from beginning to end – to take full advantage of it. The explanations are overall clear; however, most of them are written in high-level English and not direct. Consequently, low-level learners of English may struggle in understanding the expressions. It is also worth mentioning that many of the explanations include history of the expressions, which might be of some people's interest. Each expression is also accompanied by 3 examples which help provide context for when to use it properly and help readers on how to use it correctly as far as structure is concerned. As well as that, there are a few illustrations (not many) throughout the book that somewhat do this job as well. Lastly, as the price is reasonable (around 11 USD), you won't have to pay through your nose for it.

This book has been really helpful for me and is a great addition to my English book collection. How about you? Write your comment about this book below!

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