sábado, 12 de abril de 2014

O que significa a expressão "to have a grip on something/someone"?

While I was listening to the song The Only Exception by Paramore, I couldn't help but notice a very interesting line that goes like: I've got a tight grip on reality. Do you know what that means? If you already know the song I'm talking about, you must know it's about a girl who's learnt from her own life experiences not to believe in love. The thing is, after a while, she ends up falling in love with a boy that makes her believe he's the only exception. That's when she says: I've got a tight grip on reality, but I can't let go of what's in front of me.

When you have or keep a tight grip on something or someone, you have control over it. The girl from the song believed to have some kind of control over her reality until she found a boy that made her rethink her attitude towards love. Having control over reality in this case means keeping it real, being as realistic as possible and never leaving room for love. That's it. See you soon!

sexta-feira, 11 de abril de 2014

Como dizer "levanta, sacode a poeira e dá a volta por cima" em Inglês?

Although it is hard to find someone these days still not joining social medias, sometimes there are some reasons that make people quit them altogether. One of these days, while I was talking to some friend of mine, he said he's no longer on Facebook, Twitter or any of the kind because he's been traumatized since the last time he got hacked. What does that mean? He claimed to have opened his account one day only to find out all his friends and family had received some kind of insult. And it doesn't stop there! He got criticized by people who did not understand the situation and almost got fired from his job. Pretty harsh huh? The thing is, it's been too many years since he's been hacked and still he hasn't managed to get over it. I thought it was time for him to give it another try and see how it goes this time, so I said: Man, you should pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. Do you understand my advice? Let's break it down.

The expressions to pick yourself up and dust yourself off have almost the same meaning. Both means to recover from a fall or problem. You tell people to pick themselves up and dust themselves off when you want them to continue doing something they unexpectedly stopped doing. And the reason they stopped doing it was because it caused them a trauma or fear. In Portuguese, we say: levanta, sacode a poeira e dá a volta por cima. That's actually a very good advice for everybody, don't you think? Let us know in the comment section. See you next time!

O que significa a expressão "burning the midnight oil"?

Today we're going to talk about a very common practice among hard working students: burning the midnight oil. Do you know what that means? Better yet, are you one of those students that are always burning the midnight oil? If you have an upcoming test and you've been working very long hours, it's possible you also study late into the night. When something like that happens, you say you're burning the midnight oil. Let's think of an example to make things easier: your friend calls you up on the phone to invite you to a party. You would really love to go, but unfortunately you have to stay at home working long hours on a project from school. So you say: I'm sorry, but today I'm burning the midnight oil. Maybe next time! If the expression still sounds odd to you and you're curious to know about its etymology, just know that it comes from the use of oil to provide light before the invention of electricity. Up to this day, people still say they're burning the midnight oil to refer to any kind of work they're doing late into the night. That's it for today guys. See you!

quinta-feira, 10 de abril de 2014

Como dizer "meu conselho entrou por um ouvido e saiu pelo outro" em Inglês?

If you're the kind of person that likes to give people advice but most the time is ignored, today's expression will have everything to do with you. Imagine this situation: you have a friend and her name is Sarah. The thing with Sarah is, she is completely obsessed with her boyfriend. She's so in love with him that it seems she's willing to do whatever it takes to keep him around; even when he doesn't deserve it. A while ago, she heard some gossip going on about her boyfriend cheating on her at a party. Actually, they showed her even pictures of him kissing the other girl, but she always finds a lame excuse to not break up. Regardless of what she thinks though, you're trying with all your strength to talk her into ending her relationship and carrying on with her life. You try your best to make her see what for everybody else is obvious: He's a womanizer. Unfortunately, your good advice falls on deaf ears.

But wait, do you understand the expression I just used: to fall on deaf ears? When an advice, a request, an idea falls on deaf ears, people ignore it. In the example above, what happened was that Sarah continued to date her boyfriend even though you told her not to. Your advice fell on deaf ears. If we take a closer look at the expression and compare it to the way we say it in Portuguese, we can remember of a very common way of conveying the same message: meu conselho entrou por um ouvido e saiu pelo outro. I'm not sure about the rest of Brazil, but we always hear someone saying something like that around here. Now it's important to highlight that we can use that expression not only referring to an advice being ignored, but any kind of suggestion that people don't hear. For example, you come up with a great idea in classroom one time, but all your classmates ignore it. Your idea falls on deaf ears. I hope you liked it. Have a great day!

terça-feira, 8 de abril de 2014

Como dizer "deu branco" em Inglês? [post inspirado no comercial da Open English]

If you're Brazilian, you must have watched a commercial of a very famous online English school in Latin America called Open English. During the commercial, we see a well-known brazilian comedian, Paulo Gustavo, doing an interview at the moment he's caught off guard by a question in English. As an attempt to avoid the question, he says he can't speak English by surprise and tries to mumble some words in English that make absolutely no sense.

What makes the commercial funny is that Paulo Gustavo tries to say the expression "my mind went blank" in a very confusing way. He does a direct translation from Portuguese to English that ends up in something like "I give the white color in my mind". As you see, that doesn't make any sense, right? For situations like that, when you cannot think of anything to say, the right expression is "my mind went blank". You can say that when you're asked a question you don't know the answer to or when you really want to remember something but for some reason you can't. During a test, for example, your mind can go blank several times. That's it for today guys. Take care!

sábado, 5 de abril de 2014

Como dizer "alguém perdeu pontos comigo/alguém caiu no meu conceito" em Inglês?

Try to think of yourself in this situation: after being single for a long time, your friend feels like she should set you up with a boy. But before introducing you to what appears to be the boy of your dreams, she tells you about all his traits, how good of a personality he has and how much he's looking forward to meeting you. Now you're so excited about that guy that it is going to be difficult for him to live up to all of your expectations. When you finally meet him and start talking, it takes a while till you see he's not exactly what you expected. Actually you two seem to come from different planets. You like pop music, he likes heavy metal; you're more of a stay-in, he goes out every night; you've had only a few previous relationships and he seems to have dated every girl in the city. When the date's over and you both go separate ways, you head straight for your friend's house to talk about him. Among many things you tell her, one of them is:

-At first I thought we were getting along just fine, but then he went down in my estimation when he said he's not looking to get into a serious relationship.

To go down in one's estimation means to respect someone less in a way that you lose interest in him/her. You can go down in someone's estimation when you say something that, for the other person, is wrong. You can also be judged by your acts, your history, anything negative can make you go down in one's estimation. In the example we've just seen, maybe the guy sounded like a good person for the girl until he decided to say he was not looking for a serious relationship. That's what made him go down in her estimation. That's it for now guys. Take care!

quinta-feira, 3 de abril de 2014

O que significa a expressão to squeeze something/someone in?

I was reading a dialogue between a client and a manager when a very interesting expression came up. The client was trying to make sure he'd get his paper ready for print by the end of the week, but the manager tried to tell him how tight his agenda was. After a while, the client's told not to worry anymore because the manager might be able to squeeze it in if he works late a few nights. What just happened here? Do you know what the expression to squeeze something in means? If not, just keep reading...

When you say you're going to squeeze something in, what you're actually saying is that you're going to be able to do something even though you do not have much time. That's what happened in the context of our dialogue: the manager said he would spend a few nights awake, maybe doing extra work during the day as well, so he would be able to get the job done before the week ends. He squeezed it in. We could also say "he squeezed the client in, he squeezed him in" because the expression is also used with people. Let's try to think of a different situation: You've been very busy lately, but then you realize you need to meet up with your workmates to discuss some issues that have come up in your work environment. Although you're already tied up enough, you think you could squeeze a meeting in very early tomorrow morning. You squeeze a meeting in. You found time to attend a meeting even though you had so much to do. How many other things that people usually squeeze in you can think of? Maybe a little trip, some lessons, an extra hour's work, etc. Okay, that's it for now guys. Take care!

quarta-feira, 2 de abril de 2014

O que significa errand? [e a diferença entre errand e chore]

This is a sentence I got from some random website: she ran some errands for her mother, then spent the rest of the day working on an English paper, doing household chores, and listening for the phone.

Forget the rest of the sentence for now and focus on the word errand. Do you know what that is? According to Dictionary.com, errand is "a short and quick trip to accomplish a specific purpose, as to buy something, deliver a package, or convey a message, often for someone else." If you still think it's hard to understand, let's think of the word in context. See one more time the beginning of the sentence above: she ran some errands for her mother. When we don't know the meaning of a word, we have to pay attention to the words surrounding it. In this case, we see the word errand is combined with the verb run: run + errand. That's a collocation. When you run an errand, or do errands, go on some errands for somebody else or for yourself, you're in a little mission to accomplish a purpose. For example, if you still live with your parents, you're very likely to run some errands for your mother. And what are some of those errands? Paying a bill, taking clothes to dry cleaners, going to the mailbox, shopping, etc. Do you realize those example have something in common? That's right: Those are all things you do outside of your house, you have to leave home to attend to those business. There's a different word for routine tasks you lead at home: CHORE. Examples of chores are ironing, cleaning, cooking, taking out trash, washing the dishes, doing laundry, etc.