terça-feira, 13 de fevereiro de 2018

keep a stiff upper lip: o que isso significa?

After a lot of discussion, especially caused by online environments, it is common for some groups of people to question certain gender roles, differences, identities in society today. It is still a long way, but I want to be optimist and admit there has been some change since back in my day. But personal experiences apart, we see that children are encouraged from a very young age to attribute certain qualities to men and women, self-segregate based on gender, associate specific occupations and academic subjects with each gender, and so on and so forth.

When it comes specifically to boys, it all boils down to masculinity, the ability to show courage in the face of pain/adversity and hide emotions. Those requirements that have been messing with many kids around the world have a lot to do with something your parents might have told you many times in case you are a boy and live in an English speaking country: to keep a stiff upper lip.

You just have to picture yourself as a boy experiencing a situation that upset you and make you feel like crying. As a child, there can be a lot of those. If you keep a stiff upper lip in that case, it means despite the adversity you do everything possible to exercise self-restraint and not cry or show weakness. It is easy to understand the origin of that expression if you consider the fact that when someones upper lip begins to tremble, it shows fear, insecurity or deep emotions. So as a way to remain unemotional and hide all that, you keep a stiff upper lip.

That is all for today, guys. I hope it is helpful. Bye bye

domingo, 10 de dezembro de 2017


Let's say you have been through hell with your last boyfriend. You can say you got to have a happy life at some point during the relationship but from then on he became someone completely different. Now you have recently put an end to all those times of hardships but your boyfriend doesn't seem to understand that. He calls you up on the phone all the time whining for a second chance and saying how sorry he is, but he really has no chance with you this time. Here is a little of what he said the last time he called:

"I've taken myself to the woodshed for the way I treated you, but please take me back. I love you!" But what does he mean by taking himself to the woodshed?

If you take a look at the picture above, you'll see what a woodshed literally is: a small building where wood for burning is stored. I am not sure exactly about the etymology of that expression, but we can imagine it is no fun to be taken to the woodshed. And maybe that is why people say that if you take someone to the woodshed, you are punishing them for something they have done. 

sábado, 9 de dezembro de 2017

Take it for what it's worth (meaning)

A handsome young man moves into the house next door and you and your wife want to follow the rules of american etiquette: deliver a plate of cookies along with a collection of takeout menus from your favorite local places. Yes, that seems like a lot of work to do but you have always taken a lot of pride in your manners.

So you knock on his door, introduce yourselves and do everything planned. On the way back home though, here is what your wife says: "Oh, so not only is he handsome, he is also very nice!" At first you think that is just very kind of your wife to point that out, but soon you find yourself submerged in paranoia. How impressed could she be by that handsome nice young man after all? The thought of your wife sneaking around behind your back having an affair with the new guy next door is so cruel you decide to level with her. Here is what you say: "I tried to take your comment on the way back home for what it is worth but my jealousy makes me think there is some hidden meaning in it."

Your wife cant believe your level of insecurity and make it very clear you can take her comment for what it is worth. In other words, her comment didn't hide any ulterior motives and she meant exactly what she said. Nothing else.

That is all for now guys. Talk to you next time!

quarta-feira, 6 de dezembro de 2017


If you are a very proud person or if at least you know somebody who is, you will understand what I am about to share. A while back, when I was part of a group of friends, I ended up witnessing two good old friends fighting for a really silly reason: girls. It was not really that much of a serious situation, but They said really nasty things to each other and there was no one whose side I could take. They were both wrong.

But the thing is, they are equally proud and stubborn. In spite of countless reasons not to end that friendship and all the years spent together, they haven't really lowered the guard and apologized. Since I was there the first time they had a falling-out, I decided to take them aside talk to them. In one of those conversations, one of them said: "I will never apologize to him for something I didn't do. And I am sure he won't either. He would rather lose money than lose face. So that is it."

So whatever losing face means, if he would rather lose money, it has got to be something really bad for him. And in fact, it really is for many people. When you lose face, you lose status; become less respectable, you do something that makes people stop admiring or respecting you. Well, not that that is what would happen if one of them said sorry, but in their head, that is the price to pay for admitting to be wrong: humiliation.

Well, that is all for now guys. Talk to you next time!

terça-feira, 5 de dezembro de 2017

hear straight from the horse's mouth (meaning)

I signed up for a gym a long time ago and stayed there for as long as I can remember. But recently I had to look for a different one because it ended up going bankrupt. It all seemed to be going pretty well until one day it suddenly closed down. And the fact it was apparently going so well made me skeptical at first when I heard from one of the gym goers about the eminent bankruptcy. I said "there is no way this is going to close down. I am going to need to hear straight from the horse's mouth to believe that." So I went to the closest personal trainer and he confirmed the news.

But do you actually understand what just happened there? I needed to hear straight from the horse's mouth to believe something was real. What is that supposed to mean? Well, that is what people do or at least should do when they want to confirm something: hear from the original or most reliable source. That source can be authoritative, such as a manager or your own boss, but it can also be your neighbor, who you consider to be the most reliable person to trust at that moment.

What happens sometimes is that there are some events that can only be reliably explained by the people who witnessed them. And that is how justice is usually done. A crime is committed and as a way to punish the real lawbreakers all the witnesses are called to testify. So they are the horse's mouth.

Talk to you next time. Bye bye!

segunda-feira, 4 de dezembro de 2017

kick someone when they're down (meaning)

You get to work ahead of time one day and find a coworker sitting at the back of a dark room. You approach him and try to find out what is the source of that weird behavior. He ends up breaking down in front of you and confessing to be in a very low place right now for being rejected by his long-term girlfriend. You manage to calm him down for a moment before everybody else showed up for the first hours of the days work, but he remains silent and miserable for the rest of the day.

By the end of that day, when your coworker thinks there is nothing that could make it worse he has a very unfortunate surprise. His boss stops by his table and leaves another extra load of paperwork to work through and still gives him a scolding for missing a deadline. Yes, he was so involved in his own misery with his ex girlfriend he forgot completely about a very important project. You understand his boss was just doing his job, but also very inconsiderate of him not to have noticed how mournful and dismal he was. No need to kick him when he is already down.

When you kick someone when they are already down, it means you criticize, exploit, insult, or otherwise treat badly someone who has already suffered a setback or is in a vulnerable position.

That is all for now. Talk to you next time!

domingo, 3 de dezembro de 2017

Get up to speed: voce já ouviu falar dessa expressão?

I was having issues with my internet provider a few days ago. It was very annoying because every time I thought things were up to speed I got disconnected and had to call the technical call center again. They always made me follow through several standard step-by-step instructions before scheduling a technician to perform a thorough evaluation. Two of those came over and brought the connection up to speed, but sometimes all they had to do was step out of the house before another disconnection. 

When you say something is up to speed, it means it is at its highest level of efficiency. The same way if you bring something up to speed, it means you caused it to be working at its highest level of efficiency.

But what you may not know is that people can be up to speed too, but this time in a whole different meaning. In order to explain that, I am going to need you to picture yourself as a journalist now. And as any other good journalist, one of your best traits is to have all the latest information about what is going on in the world. It seems like a lot to handle, but that is your job and you do it with absolute precision. During one of these job interviews, the interviewer asks you a very typical question: What are your greatest qualities?" and one of your answers is that you get up to speed on things pretty quickly.

When you get up to speed, it means that you reached the point where you have all the latest information about something. And as a journalist, you have to get up to speed on politics, fashion, entertainment, sports, etc. When people read what you write, what you are doing is also bringing them up to speed.

That is all for now. Talk to you next time!

sábado, 2 de dezembro de 2017

Uphill battle/fight/job/task: o que essa expressão significa?

Do you know what uphill means? Maybe if you take a look at the picture above in this post you will have an idea of what I am talking about. When you say something is uphill, it means it leads to a higher place on a slope. So when you take an uphill journey for example, you have to walk or drive in an ascending direction up a hill or slope. Kind of the same thing people are doing in the picture above I just mentioned.

But the thing is: doesn't it make you tired just by looking at those people climbing uphill? Thats because we are talking about a very daunting task that takes a lot of effort to be done. And the expression we are touching on today has a lot to do with that: an uphill battle. You can call anything challenging and not easy to do or deal with an uphill battle. Examples for difficult things can vary from person to person, but here are a few examples: 
  1. It has been an uphill battle for her to get an education. 
  2. Convincing the senator to see our point of view was an uphill battle, but we finally succeeded. 
  3. It is an uphill battle to get the children to bed at night. 
  4. It was an uphill battle getting here.
  5. Resolving the problem was an uphill battle.
Like you see on the title, battle is just one of many options to go with uphill. You can also say uphill fight, uphill struggle/fight/job/etc without affecting its meaning. That is all for now. Take care!

sexta-feira, 1 de dezembro de 2017

For want of a better word: o que significa e quando usar essa expressão

While flipping through channels, I ended up stumbling upon one of those countless reality shows on TV right now. What grabbed my attention was a dialogue between two people in the house about a certain component. It was more like a gossip to be more specific. They were complaining about how expansive, effusive and extravagant that person's personality was. They claimed she kept speaking too loud, drinking way too much at parties, jumping into conversations and, like they said, pushing it way too far (

As an attempt to make himself clearer about how bothered he felt by her personality, the guy became a little aggressive. He went like... "I can't believe how much of a... ergg.. for want of a better word... a jerk she is". But what kind of expression is that you can use while hesitating?

That is something you may hear people say a lot when they cannot think of a more exact/appropriate way of describing or explaining what they mean. The guy in the reality show could have gone for many other words, such as obnoxious, annoying or even irritating, but for want of a better word, he chose a more aggressive one.

But now maybe you're wondering if jerk wasn't what he purposefully went for. And that is where you find the answer: You can also use that expression when you mean to be sarcastic or funny. You claim not to be able to find a better term or phrase to describe something or someone, but what you really want is to use the more aggressive or funny one.

That is all for now guys. Talk to you next time!!!!

quarta-feira, 29 de novembro de 2017

Throw a tantrum: O que isso significa?

Before I get into the expression, I want to suggest that we try to focus on the word tantrum alone. This is one of those expressions that give us a clue of what they mean by just understanding the literal meaning of each word.

Tantrum is usually used around young children because it gives name to a childish behavior. But since we all know people can behave childishly at any age or place, we had better have that word at the tip of our tongue from now on. Tantrum means an uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration and it usually goes with the word temper, as in "a temper tantrum". But just like I said before, it is not like any kind of display of anger. It is actually a childish display of unreasonable anger, frustration or distemper.

So imagine you are at a restaurant with some friends when you hear a lady yelling at the waiter from way back of the room. You stop and try to listen to what she says and her complaints revolve around too many things: Slow service, meals and beverages served at incorrect temperature, poorly situated table, servers with a sloppy appearance, among other things. It was like nothing at that restaurant was good enough for her.

The thing is, you have been a potential customer of that restaurant for many years and actually that is one of your favorites in the city. You're sure not even half of what she says can be possibly true. She is just an unpleasant lady throwing a tantrum in public.

Alright guys. That is all for now. But before you leave, let me know in the comment section bellow if you know anyone who throws a tantrum every time something doesn't go their way. Bye bye!

terça-feira, 28 de novembro de 2017

Significado da expressão TAKE SOMETHING IN (ONE'S) STRIDE

There is a guy here in my city that is going through a very delicate phase of his life: he is battling cancer. He actually might be just one in thousands of people around here, but there is something different about him that kind of got me wondering. Regardless of how worsened his situation has become, he keeps his head up and accepts such an unfortunate setback just as naturally as he would accept an advantage.

He became known in the city because he keeps an Instagram account to raise money for a surgery that is way too expensive for his financial circumstances. Down in the comment section, I saw once someone mentioning to be very inspired by him because despite the problem, he was able to take it stride. The comment was getting a lot of likes and he replied by saying that her support was part of what made it easier for him to take it in stride and keep going. He also added a few smiley emojis.

But wait, taking something in stride? What does that mean?

When you take something in stride, it means you deal with something difficult or unpleasant in a calm and competent way. It doesnt have to be something as extreme as battling cancer. It can be daily unpleasant experiences, such as a stressful job, criticism, financial problems, tight deadline, etc; or even sudden changes, as in “she was able to take her sudden rise to fame in stride”. As for the guy battling cancer, he may not always be as positive and strong as it shows on his page, but you have to be very courageous to stop cancer from dimming your light.

That is all for now guys. Take care!

domingo, 26 de novembro de 2017

Expressions and vocabulary related to COLLEGE and UNIVERSITY

I don't know if you're in college already or if you're about to get into it, but the thing is you are interested in learning some vocabulary related to that universe. So Im going to bring you a few expressions that might come in handy when you need to talk about your college to others in English.

You may have noticed that the system that allows us to get into college here is different from what they have in the USA for example. If you want to know how to say something like vestibular in English, which is actually something very unusual to them, you can check that out here. But Regardless of having an entrance exam or not, some students will eventually want to apply to college. And if that is your case, you might be constantly asked what college major you are going to sign up for. But before we get into that, a major is your main subject at college or university, and if you sign up for it, it means that you are going to take it. You could also say you will enroll in Psychology. Those mean the same thing.

If you didn't take High School seriously, college is not going to be the perfect place to skip classes (to miss class, usually intentionally and without a legitimate reason), cheat on the test or just fool around. You will be surprised at how many nights you will be spending burning the midnight oil. And if you have no idea what I just said, burning the midnight oil refers to the act of staying up late working on a project or task. The phrase comes from the outdated practice of using an oil lamp. And if some friend calls you in the middle of your intense studies to invite you to a party, you can also say you are hitting the books and cant go out now.

I dont know if thats what you'll really say and do when tempted by such appealing invitation, but the first thing your professor will expect you to do the next morning is to hand in the assignment. Handing in anything like a project, an assignment or paper means that you are giving it to a person in authority. On the other hand, if you say your professor handed out an assignment, it just means he distributed it.

But let us go back to when you were hitting the books in the middle of the night and your friend invited you to a party. Suppose you did accept that invitation and ended up forgetting about the assignment. The next morning you go to college and plead with the teacher to give you an extra day to hand in the assignment because you supposedly were very sick in the hospital. If by a miracle, your professor cuts you some slack (which means to do something that makes life easier for someone else), you will have to to pull an all-nighter. That means you will remain awake all night long again, but this time not for partying, but to complete something. You can use that expression with anything that will require you the same thing in order to be done. It is usually used for studying though.

Alright guys. That is all for now. Talk to you next time!!!!