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Publisher's Summary

Let's face it, English is confusing, perhaps one of the most confusing languages in the world.

Anyone who has experienced learning English as a second language knows the many challenges that conversational English presents. Just when you think that you have learned nearly perfect English you find that conversational English is about as far from perfect as it gets.

There are numerous idioms, expressions, slang terms and catchphrases that pop up in everyday conversation that can be confusing to anyone who didn't grow up "Speaking American". When we factor in that there are both regional and generational variations and that the tone and body language that accompany these sayings can completely change what they mean sometimes it seems like the most difficult task in the world to determine what people are actually trying to say.

While there are plenty of ESL books out there, this book is meant to serve as both a handy reference for many idioms in use today and a learning tool to help the listener learn and understand these common expressions that are anything but common. Take a journey through the twists and turns of the English language as we seek to clear things up a bit with this book.

This book lists many of the common expressions you will encounter when speaking with native English speakers in alphabetical format, defines them, and offers real world examples to provide some context to the meaning.

Sp, let's explore the interesting, often misunderstood and sometimes completely nonsensical world of idioms, expressions and common sayings of the English language.

©2017 Michael N. Jacobs (P)2017 Michael N. Jacobs

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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English what it really means

Any additional comments?

It is a good supplemental resource in a high intermediate classroom. Native English speakers, if you are love learning about how languages work, you will enjoy this audiobook and find it interesting!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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What we say

This is a fast, fun ride to what we say and why we say things A to Z.Mike Norgaard was a fine narrator.“I was given this free review copy audiobook and have voluntarily left this review." 

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  • Mike
  • Glendale, AZ, United States
  • 08-21-17

I never read "Shi_ My Old Man Would Say" but that

could be the title for this book. The author is a master of prose and the narrator gives the idioms their due. Awesome work, I wonder if they plan a world tour of idioms and slang in native tongues? Would love the U.K. and Australia editions.

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Great Listen

Enjoyable, and I would highly recommend this to anyone travelling to the states.
If English is you second language I think they would find this very informative. I`m from Australia so we pretty much say the same things, and add a heap of our own slang.

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Fun!

I love idioms and actually have books on various language idioms and their origins. This is my first audio though, and it was fun too. Though geared for English learners, it was still a fun and quick listen.

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Speedy review of English Idioms & Expressions

What made the experience of listening to What We Say in the USA and What It Really Means! the most enjoyable?

Smiling to myself as I wondered about the etymology of some of the stranger idioms and sayings.

Which character – as performed by Mike Norgaard – was your favorite?

There were no characters as this was a non-fiction book written to assist those new to US speakers and our odd idioms and expressions.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, but I could also expect a fair number of the target audience of this book will listen to it multiple times.

Any additional comments?

I thought it was a very good review of the topic and really enjoyed the narrator.

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English Language Learners!!!

What a fabulous audiobook! What We Say in the USA and What it Really Means!: English Idioms, Expressions, and Sayings by Michael N. Jacobs, Narrated by Mike Norgaard is a book for English Language Learners who are ready to advance their speaking to the next level by learning to correctly use (and understand) common expressions that are used by many native English speakers across the United States. It could also act as great supplemental resource in a high intermediate or advanced level ESL classroom. Native English speakers, if you are anything like me and love learning about how languages work, you, too, will enjoy this audiobook and find its contents quite interesting! :-)


The organization is superb. Each chapter is broken up by a letter in the alphabet, arranged chronologically. For each letter, a variety of sayings/idioms are given that start with that particular letter or sound. For example, one of sayings the letter D gives is "Devil's Advocate." The meaning is then defined to the listener and an example is given of when the saying could be used, or possibly come up in conversation by using it in a sentence, so the learner is able to hear it being applied to a real-life situation. I love that an example is given for each expression because when learning something new, defining it isn't always enough, especially when learning idioms! The English language has so many different rules to follow that do not always make sense and don't always apply when you think they should, based on the rule. For example, "i before e, except after c" is a rule for spelling in the English language, but do you know there are more words that break the rule than there are that follow it? In fact, a study was done awhile back and out of about 923 words with the "cie" spelling, only 44 of them follow the rule?!!! That's horrible! This rule is basically useless and should not be taught! This book gives various examples similar to that rule...Fat chance vs. Slim chance...how can opposites both mean that something probably won't happen?! All I have to say is I feel blessed to be a native speaker of the English language! These examples prove why a 2nd language learner must have a good grasp on speaking the language before trying to use these common expressions, and why I say that this is not a book for beginners. This is strictly my own personal opinion, but as a language teacher for the past 18 years, I wouldn't start using or teaching these types of sayings to my students until they could effectively communicate in the target language. 


Michael N. Jacob's writing is completely accurate. This book is a little under an hour, giving plenty of time to learn a variety of idioms. There were 2 of them that I have never heard of or used before, so I was able to learn something new, too! The examples used are up to speed with how people speak today, and they were all presented in the exact way I would use them. I didn't hear anything that was inaccurate. This is why I rated the "Story" category a 5/5. 


The narration by Mike Norgaard is excellent! His speech is clear and his pronouciation is perfect, making it easier for the listener to understand and learn how to use each of these expressions. He keeps an academic tone throughout the entire book. It is his accuracy, consistency, and easy to listen to voice that earns him the 5/5 star rating in the "Performance" category. 


Overall, this audiobook deserves a 5/5! I really enjoyed listening and I feel it will be beneficial to those willing to take on the challenge of advancing their English communication skills. I think the length is perfect, as it does not overwhelm. I recommend the learner listens to it on audio, rather than just reading it because being able to hear the correct pronunciation, accent, and tone of the expressions said by a native English speaker, Mike Norgaard is more advantageous than hoping you "get the big picture" when reading it to youself...hehee, see what I did there? :-) Plus, being that this audiobook has excellent organization, the listener is able to easily pick up where they left off or revisit specific sections they would like to go over again, or review. 


Thank you so much for reading my review! I hope it was helpful. :-)

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  • APUser
  • Reading, PA USA
  • 07-17-17

This book is On The Money

Would you consider the audio edition of What We Say in the USA and What It Really Means! to be better than the print version?

Yes, I believe the audio is better than reading. It was good to hear the inflection in the narrator's voice. This really gives the listener assistance in understanding how we American's use these idioms and sayings.

What other book might you compare What We Say in the USA and What It Really Means! to and why?

I am not familiar with a book similar to this. The only thing I would think would be similar would be "Googling" the sayings.

Have you listened to any of Mike Norgaard’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No, I have not listened to any other performances from Mike Norgaard. His narration was spot on for this type of audiobook. Very clear and easy to understand.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes, this book less than 50 pages and a 53-minute audiobook. I was prepared to listen in one sitting.

Any additional comments?

While I am an American and use most of these idioms and sayings on a regular basis, not everyone in the world knows what a "snore-fest" is. I can only imagine what sayings like that bring to the mind of someone that is not familiar with our usage of sayings such as this. Michael N. Jacobs includes older sayings and new sayings. He explains what it means to "Google" something. He references Pokemon Go in an example and he explains LOL. When explaining fat chance and how slim chance mean the same thing yet fat and slim are opposites, this really made me think. I actually stopped the audio and shared this with those around me. We were all "scratching our heads." Narrator Mike Norgaardis perfect for this type of audiobook. He has that knowledge sharing/academic voice. If you know of someone who could benefit from learning about our American idioms and saying, this is a great reference and beings it is less than an hour in length it is not overwhelming.

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