First Friday Friend/Idioms


How important punctuation is.

You’ve seen, I’m sure, the “Let’s Eat Gramma.”  vs. “Let’s eat, Gramma.” buzz on Facebook.   I’m sure Gramma would agree, commas are important.

So are capitals.

Last week I began a new feature I called Friday’s Friends. Because it was my first one, I called it my first Friday’s Friend.

Well, I’m here to announce that I must change this to my First Friday’s Friend.  See the difference that capital F makes on the word first?

On the first Friday of each month, I’ll post something about what I’ve recently found on the web, read about, or heard, that has moved me, stirred me, enlightened me, educated me, or entertained me: one great idea from someone else.  And I’ll pass it on.

Last week — which in hindsight must now be known as my last first Friday Friend — I featured Ronny Edry and his Israelis Y Iranians Facebook post that went viral.

This month, my FIRST FRIDAY FRIEND is Gulzhahan Z. She is my real life friend and my former counterpart and colleague from Kazakhstan. Yesterday was her birthday and in chatting with her (via Skype; the best invention since Easy Off — that’s oven cleaner for anyone under 45) she gave me a great idea. I want to pass it along today, here on First Friday Friend.

“You need to post something for our students,” she told me in no uncertain terms while discussing my new blog.

I explained the nature of social networking, building platform, raising awareness, making friends, and selling books. In that order.

“We need to learn idioms,” she continued, after nodding her head through my iPad window.

Now you have to understand Gulzhahan. She’s been teaching for over fifteen years. Her father was a respected history teacher and I think teaching is just in her blood. She can’t NOT teach.

So, in honor of my friend Gulzhahan and her great idea about idioms for her students and colleagues, I’m going to offer a weekly American idiom on my Facebook Author Page,. I’ll leave it to my Kazakh friends, colleagues, and students to explain, describe, question, or tell a story about the idiom.


How many idioms does it take to make a conversation?

It’s striking to me how much of our everyday language is idiomatic. No wonder it’s often hard to communicate, particularly in a second language. Even the simple sentence, “I want to take your picture” can be confusing to a second language learning. “What picture?” she could ask. And, “Where do you want to take it?”


For February’s First Friday Friend, I’ll pass along some links to a few websites I found that deal with American idioms.


Jump for joy will be my first idiom for my Kazakh friends and former colleagues and students.  Thanks Gulzhahan.

Come on over to   and check it out.

Can you identify the idioms you use most often? Do you see how confusing it might be for a second language learner?  Have you ever conversed for long with an ESL learner? Tell us your story.  I’d love to know what happened.

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