segunda-feira, 28 de novembro de 2011
- A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush = It is better to give value and being content with you have than to reject in the hope of getting something better, that can never happen.
Example: Don't throw away this opportunity! A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
- Do as you would be done by = to threat others as you would wish them threat you.
Example: You only will be treated well if you treat the others in the same way. You must always do as you would be done by.
domingo, 27 de novembro de 2011
An idiom is a combination of words that has a meaning that is different from the meanings of the individual words themselves. It can have a literal meaning in one situation and a different idiomatic meaning in another situation. It is a phrase which does not always follow the normal rules of meaning and grammar.
"To sit on the fence" - can literally mean that one is sitting on a fence.
"I sat on the fence and watched the game."
However, the idiomatic meaning of "to sit on the fence" is that one is not making a clear choice regarding some issue.
The politician sat on the fence and would not give his opinion about the tax issue.
Many idioms are similar to expressions in other languages and can be easy for a learner to understand. Other idioms come from older phrases which have changed over time.
"To hold one's horses" - means to stop and wait patiently for someone or something. It comes from a time when people rode horses and would have to hold their horses while waiting for someone or something.
"Hold your horses," I said when my friend started to leave the store.
Other idioms come from such things as sports that are common in the United Kingdom or the United States and may require some special cultural knowledge to easily understand them.
To cover all of one's bases -means to thoroughly prepare for or deal with a situation. It comes from the American game of baseball where you must cover or protect the bases.
"I tried to cover all" of my bases when I went to the job interview.
Let's see some examples...
"Money doesn't grow on trees"- money is not easy to get and you must work hard for it.
-The girl's father often says that money doesn't grow on trees when she asks him for money.
"The early bird catches the worm"- arriving early gives one an advantage
-My boss always comes to work early because he believes that the early bird catches the worm.
"The pen is mightier than the sword"- writing and ideas are more powerful than the use of force.
-The pen is mightier than the sword and a good idea or strong beliefs will defeat the strongest army.
"Facts speak louder than words ."- People show what they are really like by what they do, rather than by what they say.
Fool me once, shame on you;
fool me twice, shame on me. - One should learn from one's mistakes
Below, we have a modern proverb...
sábado, 26 de novembro de 2011
The word literally is often misused both in speech and writing. If we say that something happened literally, then we mean that it actually did happen and that our statement is not exaggerated in any way. So, if there were literally thousands of people at the meeting, the statement means just that and not simply that there were a lot of people there.
An often quoted example of the misuse of literally is 'Every time he opens his mouth he literally puts his foot in it'. Well, no he doesn't - unless he happens to be a contortionist that is. The use of literally here removes the idiomatic meaning from the idiom to put one’s foot in it (to accidentally say something that is embarrassing or that upsets or annoys someone).
It is difficult to imagine a situation in which you were so busy that you were literally rushed off your feet (very busy) and likewise literally having one foot in the grave (being very ill and likely to die soon) would present quite a graphic image.
If you have cold feet about something (feel nervous about something you have planned or agreed to do), your nervousness would probably manifest itself in other ways than in the temperature of your feet, and if your children are under your feet (in the way and annoying you), they are unlikely to be literally under your feet.
But if you put your feet up (sit down and relax), this might conceivably be with your feet raised off the ground.
Similarly, if you are back on your feet (well again) after an illness, this could mean that you are once again able to stand up.
Most of the time, however, it is advisable to avoid the use of literally, especially with idioms. Otherwise, you might repeat the error of the English football manager who famously said of a player 'He literally has two left feet'.
- I would never tell her my secrets. I've heard that she let the cat out the bag.
- To skate on thin ice: To do or say something which requires great care or tact, because it could easily be misunderstood, cause trouble, etc.
- When you talk to Marian don't forget that you are skating on thin ice. She is easily offended