Engage with everyday expressions in a completely different (and fun!) way, with this entertaining and interactive book of common phrases that can turn a humdrum gathering into a raucous game night.
We use expressions and idioms all the time. When you feel sick, you’re “under the weather.” When you feel great, you’re “on top of the world.” But whether you’re a “smart cookie” or a tough one, you—and almost everyone you know—have a veritable smorgasbord of expressions stored deep in your brain.
So to Speak: 11,000 Expressions That’ll Knock Your Socks Off is the largest collection of its kind. Thoughtfully divided into sixty-seven categories—from Animals to Food & Cooking, from Love to Politics, this reference guide may have more in common with an activity book!
Don’t look for definitions and etymologies, because the book is just the beginning. So to Speak is the launchpad for your lifelong journey to explore the universe of expressions. In fact, it’s designed to get readers off the page—and engaging with each other through word games and puzzles. So to Speak spurs discussion, debate, and play, while encouraging the art of listening and celebrating the joy of words.
Authors Shirley and Harold Kobliner spent more than half a century nurturing and teaching children. So to Speak is a reflection of their deeply held belief that regardless of a person’s age, the most impactful learning happens when you’re having fun.
Whether it’s grandparents teaching their favorite expressions to their grandkids, teens helping adults with the latest lingo or slang, or millennials indulging in their love of wordplay and games, this is the perfect book for any lover of language.
About the Author
Shirley Kobliner received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Queens College, and was a chemistry teacher in a number of New York City high schools. She was a fierce advocate for students with disabilities, and was one of the earliest supporters and participants of the Association of Neurologically Impaired Brain Injured Children. Harold and Shirley raised three kids who have given them six wonderful, expressions-obsessed grandchildren.
Harold Kobliner received his PhD from New York University’s School of Education and became principal of the award-winning Marie Curie Junior High School in Queens, New York. He was also chairman of the Board of Examiners, the independent agency that created and administered tests to teachers, principals, and superintendents throughout New York City. He was named the US Army’s Soldier of the Month for creating a program for soldiers to earn high school diplomas.
“A testament to a life filled with love of family and of language. You’ll wonder at the vast creativity embedded in our language and at the dedication of the couple who pulled it all together.” —Mignon Fogarty, New York Times bestselling author of Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
“This is a fun and playful compendium of sayings and idioms for fans of words, and for people like me who always get them wrong!” —Michelle Rial, author of Am I Overthinking This?: Over-Answering Life’s Questions in 101 Charts
“So to Speak is an embarrassment of riches: thousands of expressions sorted into logical categories that wind up juxtaposing familiar phrases so that they glimmer with a new sheen. The result is an invitation to cavort with some of the English language’s most eccentric characters, which one can do simply by browsing or by playing the games outlined in the book. Either way—any way—it’s a very good time.” —Emily Brewster, senior editor and lexicographer at Merriam-Webster
"Shirley and Harold Kobliner's astonishing collection provides readers of all stripes with joyful appreciation of 11,000 expressions, phrases, and sayings that teem our daily speech and writing. If you do not find this book entertaining and enlightening, I'll eat my hat, crow, humble pie, and dirt. If you do not see this book as learning dressed up to have fun, I'll fall on my sword, cry in my beer, and be down in the mouth and the dumps. If the grand gallery of sprightly illustrations of expressions in action doesn't knock your socks off and leave you pleased as Punch and tickled pink, I'll be bug-eyed, bowled over, and caught off base with my pants down." —Richard Lederer, author of National Bestseller Crazy English
“So to Speak showcases a cascade of expressions sure to press your memory buttons. Every page triggers a ‘remember when?’ or ‘oh yeah!’ or a ‘ha!’ The variety and creativity of the English language is on display, spanning eras, generations, pastimes, professions, geographies, and attitudes. It’s a deep collection of the new, the old, the facetious, the funny, and the absurd. A browser’s delight.”—Grant Barrett, co-host of public radio’s A Way with Words
“One of the greatest gifts we give to our children and friends is to fill our language with life. We live our lives in language. But much of what we say is conventionalized and ritualized. The chunks of language that do the heavy lifting are almost invisible unless we step back and take a fresh look. Looking at our language with a fresh pair of eyes brings simple joy to our hearts and minds. How can we bring these chunks of conventional language back to life? The answer is to give the gift of awareness of these expressions. It is this awareness that brings life back to our words.
So to Speak is an embarrassment of riches. It’s a steal, so get your act together, dip into your savings, and enjoy the ride through our language.
The games section brings it all together. Playing these games shows us how well we have mastered the language game itself.
Harold and Shirley Kobliner gave this gift to their family first; and now they share this gift with us.” —Robert Parks, Ph.D., President of Wordsmyth, The Premier Educational Dictionary
“This painstakingly compiled compendium of expressions offers something for everyone: the word lover, the student of English, the language researcher, and the parlor game enthusiast will all find much to enjoy, presented in an entertaining and easy-to-use format.”—Orin Hargraves, lexicographer and author of Mighty Fine Words and Smashing Expressions: Making Sense of Transatlantic English
“Instead of going bonkers, losing your marbles, or screaming bloody murder, breathe a sigh of relief, let your hair down, and spare no expense to get your hands on a copy of So to Speak. The illustrations are outstanding, the quizzes are delightful, and the word games the authors propose are perfect for intellectually stimulating, intergenerational recreation during the pandemic and beyond. This is one of the most congenial and accessible collections for word lovers to come along in years.” —Charles Harrington Elster, author of How to Tell Fate from Destiny and other Skillful Word Distinctions
“I’m letting my word-nerd flag fly with this one: So to Speak is a compendium of 11,000 expressions organized into nearly 70 categories, including a bonus, “Our Favorite Family Expressions and Nana-isms” (e.g., “He’s a stick in the mud”). Why do you need this, you ask? First, it’s the largest collection of its kind. Second, it’s “a catalyst for endless conversations among people of all ages—and some of the most fun can be had by reading it aloud with friends and family,” writes co-editor Harold Kobliner, who worked steadfastly on this book with his wife of 65 years, Shirley, until she passed away in 2016. The result, he tells us, is a “true celebration of the love of language with the love of my life.” Third, 25 games such as a rhyming game, an expressions improv game and one based on “The Newlywed Game” are included. It’s a must-have for any language lover’s library.”—BookPage