When I was a kid, I used to enjoy reading The First Aid In English book, and all the 'funny' words and phrases it contains.
Now we've got this book for our girls, and they are enjoying exploring it too!
We recently looked at Similes.
Similes compare things which are alike in some respect, although they may be different in their general nature.
So things like,
"as blind as a bat" or "as hungry as a wolf"
As our girls read through the list, there were a few questions that we couldn't answer - and Googling the answers proved interesting for us too!
"As happy as a sandboy"
What's a sandboy?
Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable
AS HAPPY AS A SANDBOY: Very happy. An old-established expression from the days when sandboys (or men) drove their donkeys through the streets hawking bags of sand, usually obtained from beaches. The sand was used by people for their gardens, by builders and by publicans [tavern keepers] for sanding their floors. The happiness of sandboys was due to their habit of indulging in liquor with their takings. (source )
"As old as Methuselah"
Who was Methuselah?
According to the Hebrew Bible, the oldest person to have ever lived - he supposedly lived to 969 years old and was the grandfather of Noah!
"As patient as Job"
Who was Job and why was he so patient?
Job is a character in the Bible, who lost his family and livestock but never became angry with God because he was a very patient man!
"As pleased as Punch"
Who is Punch?
Punch here comes from "Punch and Judy" puppet shows, which our girls have only seen once on a travel show on TV about the UK. We grew up with these puppet shows but here in Cairns, Australia, there don't really seem to be any! (If you've not seen one before, click here to go and see a YouTube clip of one!) . In the puppet show, Punch is always pleased with himself and his evil actions!
At the end of the 2 page list of similies in the book, there is a page of exercises, which the girls read through and did to see if they could remember the similes.
Things like this remind me how important general knowledge is in understanding expressions and parts of languages. Something to look at another time I think.
I'd definitely recommend this book (The New First Aid in English) for kids and adults - I'm enjoying reading through it again and it's a great reference book.
(The links to The Book Depository in this post are affiliate links meaning if you click on them and then choose to buy from there I would receive a commission. However, the opinions in this post are entirely my own - I genuinely enjoy this book and find it very useful)