This is just what I needed. I had learned British English and was lost in the States. I could not understand half of everyday things and they could not understand me either. It is no good pretending the language is the same. It is not at all! Now I am learning proper American. I shall do better next time I go to the States.
I got this with another book as a gift for my sister who doesn't 'get' American culture.. she is enjoying it very much - a bit like a travel guide it is full of interesting information so can be browsed through as much as used for reference.
This book is an excellent idea. Is there a chance that a version for Americans could be produced. "Speak English". We all know that Americans speak American but they think they speak English and that is their main pitfall when they visit England !! "Can I get this can I get that "!!- No I will get it for you I am a waitress that is my job !! Also a lot of their idioms and metaphors are mutations of English ones . Try explaining why "not by a long shot" is not the equivalent of "Not by a long chalk" But to Americans they are the same !! In English and argument is not over "not by a long chalk " and a Long Shot is merely a difficult achievement . Americans will use "shot" instead of "chalk" - Surprise surprise !! They didn't speak English when Oscar Wilde was a lad and they speak even less today !! hence this book !!
As a matter of fact, I couldn't clearly tell the specific difference between US and UK or Australian usage until I bought this. One day a British man I know felt perplexed when I used "a stickler" meaning a difficult problem. At first, I didn't get why that happened. Of course, I explained the meaning to him. However, I felt as if I made a big mistake and wondered why he looked confused at the same time. Consequently, he found out what I meant in his dictionary and I got relieved. Here's why; I didn't notice a stickler I used doesn't make sense in his home country. It's an American informal expression, in short! After all, this reference can help me understand the clear-cut definition between US and UK or Australian usage. And this reference indicates that so informatively. The bottom line is this; this reference is for Non-Americans as well as Non-English speakers. You'll get burned if you take this for granted!
This is a small book absolutely packed with useful information. I have other hefty tomes on life in the US which were just too heavy to pack for my trip to the States, but I couldn't leave without this, which tells you how good it is. Money well spent.