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!!!!