domingo, 25 de maio de 2014

Você sabe o que smarty pants e fancy-pants significam?

By the title of the post, you must have noticed how similar the two expressions are. They can really have a lot to do with each other, but there are certain things we should always take into account. Let's start with smarty pants. That's a very well known expression I hear all the time on movies and the like. Try to see yourself in this situation: you're in classroom and there's this little guy next to you who's always raising his hand to answer all the questions. You think he's a real apple polisher [someone who attempts to curry favor with authority for personal gain], but what he's really trying to do is to seem cleverer than everybody else. That's a smarty pants. A smarty pants is that person who makes a point to cause a good impression and make everybody think he's smart. Are you a smart pants? Do you know a smarty pants? Many people consider that kind of people very irritating. What do you think?

Now let's move on to our second expression "fancy-pants". You might be wondering why that expression has a hyphen and the first one does not. Well, that's one of the differences between the two expressions [besides their meanings]. Smarty pants is a noun, whereas fancy-pants is an adjective and therefore should always be used before a noun. If you want to make it a noun, all you have to do is drop the hyphen and there you have it. The same way in order to turn smarty pants into an adjective, include a hyphen and use it before a noun. Simple as that. But back to fancy-pants, if something or someone is fancy-pants, it tries to seem too attractive or too clever in a way that is false. What does that mean? Let's use an example to understand the expression better. You go to a very fancy restaurant and you order some expensive french dessert you quite don't understand. All you know is that it is pretty pricey. When it finally comes to your table, you realize it is nothing but a mango cut into little pieces, a fruit that is actually very common in the place you come from. You can't believe you're paying 10 times as much for something you get for free straight from your own mango tree at your backyard. When someone asks you about your experience at the restaurant, you say: The place was great, but not the fancy-pants food. That's it for today guys. Take care!

sexta-feira, 23 de maio de 2014

Você sabe como dizer que um produto está fora da validade em Inglês?

You've been very busy at work and don't have much time to go shopping for food. One day, when you decide to take a look at what you still have in the fridge, you see most your food is past their sell-by date. A sell-by date is a date put on food products to show the latest date that they can be sold. If some food's past its sell-by date, it means the food should not be consumed because it's very likely to be rotten. So there you have it. Next time somebody asks about the sell-by date of some food, you already know what you're supposed to look for.

The thing is, that expression is also used in a figurative way referring to people too old to be useful or wanted. Just like the food whose sell-by date is exceeded, when someone's past his sell-by date, he can be judged by his great age. For example, some woman you know wants to have a baby, but she's been single for a very long time and now she may be too old to be pregnant. While telling her about the risks of having a baby at such advanced age, she tells you: There's plenty of time to have a baby, I'm not past my sell-by date yet. That means she doesn't see herself as someone very old and therefore can keep a pregnancy. That's it for now guys. See you next time!

quinta-feira, 22 de maio de 2014

O que significa "to put it in a nutshell"?

Do you know what a nutshell is? If you have never heard of that word before, just take a look at the picture above. That's what a nutshell is. Simple huh? But now you may be wondering what that has to do with the expression of the day. Well, technically nothing. An expression doesn't have to be necessarily attached to the literal meaning of its words. That's actually one of the main characteristics of an expression/idiom. But let's learn the expression with the word nutshell!

You know those moments when you want to be as straightforward as possible with someone? Maybe you're in a very complicated situation where you have to say something really embarrassing to someone. You want it to be really quick, so you make sure you use as fewer words as possible. For example, you're the boss at a very important company and now you have to lead a meeting with several of your employees to fire them. So, in the middle of the meeting, while you're trying to finally get to your point, you say: To put it in a nutshell, you're all fired.

In a nutshell means very briefly, something you say when you want to be very concise. So maybe during that meeting, you would have to go through all the explanations as to why your company needs to make many employees redundant. So to make things faster and easier [at least for you], you put it all in a nutshell and get it over with. The idea behind the expression is that a nutshell is very tiny and therefore it would hold a very small amount of anything. So imagine that when you use that expression, you're using a very small amount of words so it will fit in a nutshell. That's it for now guys. Take care!

quarta-feira, 21 de maio de 2014

O que significa "sticky hands"?

First of all, do you know what sticky means? If you're an intermediate English student, you must have realized that many adjectives tend to end with the letter y. Those are usually adjectives that come from a verb. Sticky, as our example, is actually everything related to something that sticks, that is to say, something that has the property of adhering to a surface. The thing is, sticky is part of many idiomatic expressions. Today we're going to learn one of them. Stay around and you won't regret.

What would you think if someone told you a friend of yours has sticky fingers? We've learned in the introduction of this post that something sticky is everything that has the property of sticking to a surface. So, does it make sense in your head if you said someone has sticky hands? Don't rush into thinking that that person is like spider-man that can crawl up buildings by just sticking to their walls. As an expression, when someone has sticky hands, it means he has a tendency to steal. It comes from the idea that everything that person touches sticks to his hands. So, imagine you're at work and something's been stolen. The thing is, over the past months, people from your work, including you, have missed something from their desk at some point of the day. So, People are starting to believe there might be someone in the office that has sticky hands. That's it for today guys. Take care!

terça-feira, 20 de maio de 2014

O que significa "pet peeve"?

Can you remember of something that's constantly annoying you? No matter what you do, there's no way you're getting rid of it for good. It will always come right back at you and haunt you once more. That's basically what we call a pet peeve. Bu let's dig into it a little further. It will be fun.

Let's think now about women. Everybody knows that women go through a certain sensitive period every month and we as men should therefore be more careful with every move we make around them. Many things can piss them off. One of the biggest pet peeve of theirs is men not putting down the toilet seat for them. We call it a pet peeve because it's a frequent annoyance, a very often encountered annoyance. But everybody has one or more pet peeves, not only women. For me, for example, one of my biggest pet peeves is waiting in line. I'm from Brazil and everybody knows how obsessed with lines we are. Even in places where lines are not even required, people make a point to form them. I just don't get it. It's a big pet peeve of mine. So what about yours? Tell me one of your biggest pet peeve in the comment section below! See you next time!

domingo, 18 de maio de 2014

Você sabe o que significa a expressão "hit and miss"?

The expression hit and miss has basically two meanings. We're going to get to know both of them through the examples I'm about to give you. I got those examples from Twitter, which is actually a very good way to look for an idiom and be certain of how native English speakers use it. I highly recommend it. One of the twits was like this: Blog awards can be really hit and miss. Do you understand what that means? Let's break it down.

When you call something hit and miss, you're saying it was carelessly planned. What the person from twitter meant to say by calling the blog awards hit and miss was that we shouldn't trust it, because it is actually made in such a random way that it shouldn't even be taken seriously. Let's think of a different example. Suppose you're given the mission of putting on a surprise party for one of your friends. All your mutual friends give you their contribution in money and you're expected to think about everything. The thing is, you didn't mention you would be very busy during all the preparations and the party ends up a total failure. The friends who entrusted you with that task get so shocked at how careless the place looked that some of them criticize you very harshly. One of them says: We entrusted you with that very special task and now everything seems like there was no planning. This party is just hit and miss!

A different twit shows the second meaning for the expression hit and miss. This time, we have someone speaking harshly about an actor and his works. The twit goes: He's not done anything funny since his last movie, and that was largely hit and miss. What does that mean? He was saying the only funny movie that actor's been part of was a success that happened by total chance, that is to say, by pure luck. There's another thing that's commonly called hit and miss. You know weather forecasting? it's become more accurate over the past years, but it used to be very hit and miss. It was as likely to be bad as to be good and people couldn't really trust it very much. Do you have your own examples? Leave us in the comment section bellow. See you!

O que significa a expressão "for old times' sake"?

People like to remember old memories right? There's even a very known saying that goes like "remembering is living", which in Portuguese would be something like "relembrar é viver". Old memories are also related to loved people that are no longer too close to you. For example, you had a very good childhood, but all your friends from the past have disappeared and the only thing left now are your memories. Suppose one day, while you're walking down the street, you run into a childhood friend you haven't seen in many years. It takes you a while to recognize him, but soon as it hits you that's your old friend, you run up to him for a very warm greeting. You try to do some catching up, but there's very much to tell. That's when you say: Do you want to have lunch together sometime, just for old times' sake?

When you do something for old times' sake, you do it as a way to remember a happy time in your past. Maybe you and your friend used to go out a lot in your childhood, but now for some reason you can't get together as often. So, for old times' sake, you have lunch together and catch up on each other's news. Speaking of which, if you know and like the american sitcom "Friends", you also must know that since its final episode, which was about 10 years ago, fans have expected them to reunite on the screen someday just for old times' sake. The thing is, Friends was such a huge success in the past. Putting the cast together just for one last time would be a very good idea, but I'm afraid that's never going to happen. That's it for today guys. Take care!

sábado, 17 de maio de 2014

Você sabe o que significa o termo "backseat driver"?

The idiom of the day called my attention in a special way because I know someone who's a real backseat driver: my mom. I don't have my licence yet, but my brother's had his for a while and since the very first day he stepped into a car to drive, my mom's been giving him instructions from the backseat although she can't drive herself. In English, we call someone like that a backseat driver. Those are the people who continuously tell the driver how they should drive and can be very annoying at times. Do you know anyone like that?

The interesting thing about that idiom is that you can use it with anyone who tries to control things even though it is not their responsibility. People like that usually like to be the leader of everything and have a lot of trouble being controlled. I personally like a very famous brazilian TV show called O Aprendiz, which is actually based on the american TV show The Apprentice. The show stars some business people splitted into two teams competing in an elimination competition. What that show has to do with our idiom is that, since there's a different leader appointed by the two teams every week, we can clearly see who are the real backseat drivers. Those are the ones who always end up leading tasks that are supposed to be led by the leader. They always get in the way of some important decisions and want to have the final word in every argument. Backseat drivers usually get into a lot of troubles because they have a very strong personality. I'm not sure if that's a strength or weakness in the business world. What do you think? See you next time!

O que significa a expressão "give someone a pass"? [expressão retirada do seriado Men at Work]

One of these days, while I was watching Men at Work, a very cool american sitcom, I heard somebody saying something like: I'll give you a pass on that. Do you know what that means? Here's what was happening when that idiom came up: after fighting over silly things, a couple was finally trying to make up. In the middle of their reconciliation, the man said something that was not very appropriate for that moment. The woman was so happy and distracted that she decided not to get mad at him and give it no importance. That was when she said: I'll give you a pass on that.

When you give someone a pass, you overlook something and give it only a cursory examination [even when the person deserves to be criticized]. You can do that for several reasons. Like in the case of the woman in the american sitcom, you may be too happy for caring about what they did or said. If we take a closer look at the idiom, we will realize it has everything to do with the context of a school. For example, a teacher may decide to advance a difficult student out of his grade for simply wanting to get rid of him. So he gives him a pass even though the student is not prepared. Do you have any examples of your own? Leave us in the comment section bellow. Talk to you next time!

O que significa "in one's second childhood"?

The expression of the day is very interesting because everybody is going to relate to it. You know those days when you're feeling like a child and want to do things adult people normally don't do? Our expression has everything to do with that feeling. Imagine, for example, you've always dreamed of going to Disneyland but your parents couldn't afford the trip when you were a child. Now you're all grown up, can afford your own trips and everything in your life has changed except for one thing: you still wanna go to Disneyland. One day, when you finally make it there, you're so blown away by everything in the place that you start acting like a child. People around you say you're in your second childhood. But wait, what does that mean?

When you're in your second childhood, you're interested in things or people that normally interest children. Can you remember of some examples of your own? C'mon! Everybody's like that at some point of their lives. For instance, if you still have your grandmother, don't you feel like you're back in your childhood every time you're around her? Let's suppose you spent the whole weekend at your grandma's and now you're back home talking to a friend of yours. He wants to know about your weekend and you say: It was awesome! Every time I spend weekends or holidays at grandma's, I feel as if I'm in my second childhood. We make cake, I go to the river and throw stones, she tells me all her stories and it's awesome. That's it for now guys. Talk to you next time!

segunda-feira, 12 de maio de 2014

2 idioms com a palavra STRAIN

Are you familiar with the word strain? If not, stick around and not only will you learn the definition of the word, but also learn three new expressions. Strain can work both as a verb and a noun. As a verb, to strain means to make a great effort to do something, as in "I strained forward to get a better view". Strain as a noun refers to "a severe demand on strength, resources, etc", as in "It's a real strain having to get up early every morning". I've googled the word strain for some combinations and here's what I've found: muscle strain, eye strain, physical strain, mental strain, etc. Now let's learn some expressions with the word strain!

Imagine you have a relative who's been working great amount of hours a day and everybody's worried about his health. One day, when you have a rare chance to get a minute of his attention, you try to talk some sense into him. You say: If you continue to work like crazy that way, you're eventually going to crack under the strain. What does that mean? When you crack under the strain, you have a mental or emotional collapse because of continued work or stress. If we try to think of some more examples, we may remember that more and more women these days have to take care of their home and still work outside, which may be a great source of too much stress. If they never break that strict routine, they may crack under the strain. What do you think about that?

Now let's suppose your friend's been dating this really jealous guy who never lets her do anything out of his sight. You think that relationship is making her more and more depressed and soon he'll drive her crazy. Before that happens, you call her aside to have a little talk and among the many things you tell her, one of them is: I think you should break up with your boyfriend. Your troubling relationship puts a strain on you. If something puts a strain on you, it burdens or overloads you. That's the figurative usage of the expression, but we can also say something is putting a strain on something or someone in a literal way. For example, you're in your car about to drive across a fragile bridge when you see there are too many trucks passing past you at the same time. You're worried the weight of the trucks might place a strain on the bridge, so you pull over for a minute until the way's clear. That's it for today guys. See you next time!

O que significa "to go through the motions"?

I don't know if you've ever stumbled upon the idiom of the day, but it's very likely you have. It is a very common way of addressing people who are not putting their heart into what they're doing, and what do I mean by that? When you're going through the motions or, as I said before, are not putting your heart into something, you're doing it in a cursory fashion because you're expected to do it, not because you want to. Let's go over some examples of people who are just going through the motions.

There are many reasons for someone to be making a feeble effort to do something. If you're sad, for example, and you still have to do something, you may not put all effort into it and end up going through the motions. When someone very close to you dies, you may get so sad you wind up going through the motions of living. That means you're going to keep living because you have to, but you're not going to feel much of it, maybe you're going to follow through your routine in a very automatic way.

Let's think of a less dramatic situation: your husband has been pretty busy lately, and every time he gets home, he seems to want nothing but rest. Last time you asked him to play with the children and help them with their homework, you could see he was actually just going through the motions. He just sat by their side with his eyes barely open and it all seemed like a brutal torture. The thing is, the situation is getting so bad even during sex time you get the feeling he's just going through the motions. That's it for today guys. Take care!

domingo, 11 de maio de 2014

Aprenda 3 idioms com a palavra Jack

Hey guys, I know it's been a while I've not come up with new posts, but this time I'm going to try to update my blog more often. Today we have some interesting expressions with the word jack. You may recognize that word as a man's name, but do you know any expression containing the word jack as a common noun? Let's see!

Our first two expressions have something in common because they are related to romantic relationships. Picture this: you have a married male friend who's always complaining about his wife. Actually, you think he has no reason to be complaining about her because he's been doing things married people shouldn't do. You believe his wife is just reacting to the unpleasant way he's been treating her lately. One day, while you're talking to your friend, he finds a way to start complaining about his wife again, and that's when you decide to speak your mind. You say: Don't blame your wife for being short-tempered with you; you've been so unpleasant to her lately. A good Jack makes a good Jill. Do you have any idea what that means? When you say a good Jack makes a good Jill, you're just saying that if a husband wants his wife to be loving and respectful, he should be loving and respectful in the first place. Saying "a good husband makes a good wife" is another option. You can only use that expression with couples, but we can all agree it could apply to any kind of relationship. When you want respect from someone, you should respect him first. What do you think? Leave us your opinion in the comment section bellow!

Our second expression, as I said before, is also related to relationships. Have you ever heard of the expression "Every Jack has his Jill"? That's very easy to understand if you keep in mind Jack's the representative of a man and Jill's the representative of a woman. In Portuguese, when we want to say that everybody will eventually find a romantic partner, we say something like "toda panela tem sua tampa". In English, saying "every Jack has his Jill" is almost the same thing, only with a little difference: you can only say "Every Jack has his Jill" to a man. You may have a male friend who's always sad for not having a girlfriend. Next time he turns to you for comfort, you can say "Every Jack has his Jill". Maybe that'll do.

And finally our third expression of the day: a jack of all trades. This expression is a little different from the other two because it's not used as the name of a man, and therefore, its first letter should not be capitalized. Being a jack of all trades is something good, everybody would like to be a jack of all trades or at least have someone like that around. That's because a jack of all trades is someone who has many skills or does many different jobs. Women usually turn to men when they need to fix something at home. When they have a husband who can be considered a jack of all trades, they don't have to be worried. They can do plumbing, carpentry, or even a bit of gardening.