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17                                             Everyday Conversational Expressions                           Particular Conversational Matters p.8

 

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* 17 Particular Conversational Matters (p.8 of 9)

 

17.47   When you stress that success depends on each member of a team

 

You scratch my back, and I'll scratch yours.   Listen   A “You help me and I’ll help you.”   <“You share valuable information with me, and I’ll return favors to you. You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours.”>

One hand washes the other.   Listen   A “You help me and I help you.”   <“Look how quickly we work. I gather fruit, and you juice them. One hand washes the other.”>

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.   Listen   A “The weakest member of a group determines its success.”   <“I don’t think Bob can contribute to our mission. The other members of our team don’t want his involvement either. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”>

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17.48   When you stress that people and things are different

 

It takes all kinds to make a world.   Listen   A “It is normal that different kinds of people surround us.”   <“In Los Angeles, one can see people of various races and ethnic backgrounds.” – “Los Angeles is a very multicultural place, like our planet in general. It takes all kinds to make a world.”>

Variety is the spice of life.   Listen   A “Different experiences make life interesting.”   <“I will always remember our dinner at the French restaurant. I adore Italian cuisine, too. This time I suggest that we go to a Chinese place. Variety is the spice of life.”>

One man's meat is another man's poison.   Listen   A “What one person likes may be disliked by another person.”   <“I know that you can’t stand this sitcom. I like to watch it sometimes, though.” – “I have no problem with that. One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”>

One man's trash is another man's treasure.   Listen   A “What one person considers worthless may be considered valuable by another person.”   <“Why do you keep this old vase on your dining table? It is chipped and cracked.” – “This old vase reminds me of my youth. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”>

Tastes differ.   Listen   A “Different people have different tastes.”   <“I don’t understand why you recreated a rustic environment in your house. We live in the era of technical progress.” – “I was raised in the country. Modern architecture and furniture don’t appeal to me. Tastes differ.”>

There is no accounting for taste.   Listen   A “There is no responsibility or explanation for likes and dislikes.”   <“Many people are crazy about this new actor. I don’t find him exceptionally good.” – “Me neither. Yet, people like him. There’s no accounting for taste.>

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17.49   When you stress that what a person receives depends on what they give

 

As a man sows, so shall he reap.   Listen   A “A person receives according to what he does.”   <“You can’t treat your old friends as if they are nothing. You don’t have anybody else to rely upon. As a man sows, so shall he reap.”>

What goes around, comes around.   Listen   A “What your actions create will return to you.”   <“He has been neglecting the needs of his brothers for years. Now he is in trouble, and nobody is coming to rescue. What goes around, comes around.”>

Tit for tat.   Listen   A “This for that. Repayment of injury with injury.”   <“He hit me in the chest. What a smashing blow! So I kicked him in the stomach. Tit for tat.”>

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17.50   When you highlight a connection between cause and effect

 

One thing leads to another.   Listen   <“I got sick, and lost my job. One thing leads to another.”>

As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.   Listen   A “The beginning of a process determines its ending.”   <“His mother told him to study when he was a young boy. Now, he is an accomplished scientist. As the twig is bent, so grows the tree.”>

April showers bring May flowers.   Listen   A “An unpleasant event may produce pleasant consequences.”   <“The nastier the rains our garden receives, the more fragrant blooms it brings forth. April showers bring May flowers.”>

There’s no smoke without fire.   Listen   A “Any rumor is caused by some fact.”   <“I heard that a prominent politician is involved in this scandal. I think there’s some truth to it. There’s no smoke without fire.”>

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17.51   When you stress the naturalness of what is going on

 

Life is life.   Listen   A “Life manifests itself in natural ways.”   <“I regret your loss. But please don’t let it get you down. Life is life.”>

That's that.   Listen   A “This is the way it is, and there is nothing that could be added to this.”   <“The polar caps are melting because the average annual temperature is rising. That’s that, although we can argue about the cause of this phenomenon.”>

East is East, West is West.   Listen   A “It’s only natural that East and West have their particular characteristics.”   <“You don’t need to expect people in India to follow European traditions. East is East, West is West.”>

Boys will be boys.   Listen   A “It’s only natural that boys and men exhibit their characteristic behavior.”   <“What did you expect they would do? Of course they bought a 6-pack of beer and drank it. Boys will be boys.”>

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17.52   When you want to stop or prevent some action

 

I’ll put a stop to that.   Listen   AI’ll end this undesirable activity.”   <“Two kids are fighting in the backyard. Do something about it! – “I’ll put a stop to that.”>

That's enough!   Listen   AThat’s the limit! Don’t do it anymore.”   <“I can bring you more boxes.” – “Please don’t. That’s enough! I don’t have space anymore.”>

That's enough for now.   Listen   A “Stop temporarily. Don’t do it for a while.”   <“Would you like more wine?” – “No, thank you. That’s enough for now.”>

Enough is enough!   Listen   AThe limit is the limit! It’s over the top!”   <“Hey, guys! You’ve been extremely noisy all the morning. Enough is enough!”>

Don’t even think about it.   Listen   A “Do not even think about doing it.”   <The criminal reached for his gun, but the cop said firmly, “Don’t even think about it.”>

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17.53   When there is no choice

 

You don’t have a choice.   Listen   <“There’s only one way out of this situation. You don’t have a choice.”>

You can’t pick and choose.   Listen   AYou can’t be too selective.”   <“Sometimes you have to take what you are given. You can’t pick and chose.”>

Take it or leave it.   Listen   AYou can take either this one or none.”   <“We have made our final offer. We are not negotiating any more. Take it or leave it.”>

Like it or lump it.   Listen   AYou’ve got to accept this situation even though you don’t like it because there is no other choice.”   <“I don’t like to live in this town.” – “Our home is here. Our jobs are here. Like it or lump it.”>

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17.54   When you forgot a word or name

 

You know what I'm talking about.   Listen   <“They are building a new road around that lake north of the town. You know what I’m talking about.”>

You know what I mean.   Listen   <“To make butter, you need to beat and shake milk vigorously. You know what I mean. You need to churn milk.”>

What's his name.   Listen   <“Last Sunday I bumped into the former schoolteacher of our children. What’s his name. Mr. Swenson. He moved out of state a few years ago.”>

What's his face.   Listen   <“This is a brochure from the real estate agent who helped us purchase this house many years ago. What’s his face. Currently he specializes in commercial real estate.”>

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17.55   When you stress the importance of rules and regulations

 

Just follow the rules.   Listen   <“You want to be a good driver, don’t you? Then, just follow the rules.”>

Rules are meant to be followed, not broken.   Listen   <“You already got two speeding tickets this year. That’s not good. Rules are meant to be followed, not broken.”>

Do what you're told, or suffer the consequences.   Listen   <“You’re in the army. That means you ought to follow orders and rules. Do what you’re told, or suffer the consequences.”>

Do as you're told, or else.   Listen   ADo what you are told, or suffer the consequences.”   <“Our new teacher is very strict. Listen to him, and do as you’re told, or else.”>

That’ll teach you a lesson.   Listen   AYou did not follow the rules, so you got justly punished.”   <“A cop gave me a parking ticket.” – “That’ll teach you a lesson. Be observant when you drive.”>

Be religious about doing it.   Listen   ABe faithfully meticulous when you are doing it.”   <“If you want to get high credit, you’ve got to pay your bills on time. Be religious about doing it.”>

Go by the book.   Listen   AStrictly follow formal rules.”   <“This is a government contract. All expenses are under scrutiny. Go by the book.”>

You must go through proper channels.   Listen   AYou must comply with the relevant bureaucratic procedures.”   (Sometimes used with the)   <“I know, it will take forever. But there is no other way. You must go through proper channels.”>

That's how we do it here.   Listen   <“Yes, the thief tried to steal from you. But you can’t take the law into your own hands. You have to call the police. That’s how we do it here.”>

You can’t fight City Hall.   Listen   AYou have to comply with a bureaucracy.”   (Here you may be impersonal and mean one)   <“You wanted to expedite the introduction of some changes into the State tax code. What’s the result of your efforts?” – “I lost the battle completely. Nobody wanted to listen to me. You can’t fight City Hall.”>

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17.56   When you stress the importance of order

 

There is a place and a time for everything.   Listen   AYou have to do everything appropriately in a certain place at a certain time.”   <“You don’t need to be dressed formally at the beach. At the same time, you should put on a suit and tie for a formal dinner. There is a place and a time for everything.”>

All in due time.   Listen   AEverything will happen at a proper time.”   <“The inauguration is scheduled for the next month, but we haven’t received our invitations yet.” – “All in due time. You just wait.”>

Everything has its season.   Listen   AEverything is appropriate at a certain period of time.”   <“It’s a pity that the Senator has to step down. According to the law of the State, a person can serve as Senator for two terms only.” – “Everything has its season. The Senator will continue to be active in politics.”>

First things first.   Listen   AMost important things should be done first.”   <“I know you want to ask me a number of questions.” – “Yes, Mr. Secretary, I do. First things first. What is the chief result of your negotiations?”>

Don't count your chickens before they’re hatched.   Listen   (Sometimes used with before they hatch)   ADon’t plan on using something before it has happened.”   <“First, you have to graduate from your college. Only after that you can get a good job and make decent money. Don’t count your chickens before they are hatched.”>

Let's cross that bridge when we come to it.   Listen   ALet’s deal with a problem when it is real.”   <“Aren’t you concerned that our project can run out of money before completion?” – “Right now, adequate funding is guaranteed by the government. Let’s cross the bridge when we come to it.”>

Don't put the cart before the horse.   Listen   ADon’t confuse the order of things.”   <“First, put together a good proposal. Second, convince some venture capitalist to fund your project. And only then spend your time on technicalities and petty issues. Don’t put the cart before the horse.”>

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