Archive for July, 2012

What does it mean if something is “Laughable”?

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

There are so many awesome words that I never hear non native English speakers use. I really want to change that and teach you guys the good stuff. Make sure you actually use these words and don’t just “understand” them. If you don’t use it, there is not much point to learning it.

I’m going to talk about a word like “laughable“. You already know what it means to “laugh”. If you hear a native speaker use this word in context, you might even be able to guess the meaning. But… Can YOU use it? Do you? YOU SHOULD!

If something is “laughable” it means it’s so stupid and ridiculous that you can’t do anything but laugh at it. It’s not because it’s actually funny, it’s really closer to “pathetic”.

Here are some examples:

1. My new job offer was totally “laughable“. — That means, “The job offer (salary, commission, etc) was much lower and worse than I expected.

2. Those two have only been dating for 2 weeks and they are already talking about getting married? That’s such a “laughable” decision. — That means, “It is ridiculous and stupid for that new couple to be discussing marriage after only 2 weeks of dating”.

Love to hear your comments!

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Dropping the Ball

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

I’m sure it’s no surprise to hear I’m telling you this is yet another awesome phrase to know in spoken English. If you “drop the ball” on something, it means that you made a mistake or you really “screwed up”. It usually refers to the kind of mistake that you wouldn’t normally make. It could also be a mistake on an important thing. Some examples will really help you to get the meaning.

“I can’t believe I couldn’t get the company to sing the deal with us. I could see in their eyes they really wanted to sign, but I was really nervous when I was speaking with them and I somehow just totally dropped the ball with the whole thing. Now they won’t even answer our emails.”

“My friend had a really beautiful and friendly girlfriend. They were dating for 3 years and thinking of getting married. They had a great time together and rarely fought. Last Friday night he got super drunk and slept with another girl. His girlfriend found out and she left him. He’s really kicking himself for dropping the ball on that one.

“He slept through (didn’t wake up) his alarm clock and missed a huge job interview. Now he has no chance to get the job he really wanted. He was so excited about it beforehand. I can’t believe he dropped the ball on that one. I really feel sorry for him.”

Throwing Someone Under the Bus

Sunday, July 15th, 2012

This phrase is getting used more and more lately between native speakers. I hear it a lot at work and when speaking about work.

If you “Throw someone under the bus” it means that you tell other people about the bad things that person did. You tattle tail on them. It’s not very nice to do, but it’s a reality in the business world. It’s publicly blaming other people.

Here is an example sentence of how to use this like a native speaker: “I absolutely hate that new guy at work. He always tries to look good in front of the boss by throwing his colleagues under the bus. He does it even for small meaningless little things. He’s such a loser”

So imagine that you and another colleague went to do some presentation together. Then imagine you were 5 minutes late for the meeting. If your colleague decides to tell your boss about that, he’s “throwing you under the bus”. The only reason he’s telling the boss is to make you look bad. It’s a horrible thing to do.

You can also “throw yourself under the bus”. That basically means to take on some risk that isn’t necessary for something. Here’s an example: “I really trust you so I’m going to throw myself under the bus and not force you to sign this document. My boss would kill me if he knew I was doing this, but I don’t think it’s a big deal and I’m sure you won’t trick me”.

It’s a useful phrase and I hope you try it out! Native speakers will be impressed.

If you want to take your English to a higher level really fast, take a minute and consider treating yourself to one year in the VIP room. It will be worth every penny and more!

Is it OK to Use the Word “Gay”?

Friday, July 13th, 2012

This is an interesting question and really has no “right or wrong” answer. It’s not black and white. It depends on who you ask and which situation you are in.

It’s generally true that in most educated circles, ie. most groups of people, you sound like a retarded fool if you really hate “gay people”. Why would you hate them?

Some people are so sensitive to the word though, that in my opinion, it makes them look retarded. You need to hear and understand it in context.

Most people are straight, unless the whole world is lying, and calling something “gay” shouldn’t be a big deal as long as you don’t hate the real gay people.

I was watching the basketball game with my buddies a couple weeks ago and one guy kept saying, “This is going to sound a bit gay but…” He’s a nice guy and doesn’t hate gays at all. It’s just somehow accepted in society to speak like that. You can joke around with your friends and say that their dancing looks “gay”. Their new clothes look “gay” or their new business idea sounds “gay”. The last one just means that it sounds like a bad business idea. It’s easy to understand in context. If you hate this word, I am sorry, I’m just trying to explain how it’s used in real life.

So back to my buddy. He’s not gay at all, but he was saying things like, “I know this sounds a bit gay, but I can totally understand why girls would like to date NBA players. A lot of them seem like super cool guys and they are obviously rich”.

We know he’s not gay, but he’s just saying that he can understand things from a girl’s perspective. I see it as “all in good fun” and not hateful in any way. Some people may disagree, but I thought it would be good to share my honest opinion on the use of a very popular word in our spoken language today. I’d say “Go ahead and use it, but be a little bit careful and sensitive to the feelings of others”.

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I’d love to read your comments as always!