Learn 9 American English Phrases in 10 minutes

AUF DEUTSCH

You’ve been practising English for years now…practicing the grammar..trying new vocabulary which you forget in 2 days anyway…joining classes…but it hasn’t worked. [I’m not asking you, I’m telling you that. I know it.]

The best way to learn a language is not by mastering its grammar but by listening to it and adapting to the nativity and fluency. You best pick it up subconsciously, just the way you did your mother tongue.

Watching movies, TV series or reading books is a great way of “picking up” a language. It will help you to learn faster, with fun and a more “authentic” English, not the academic grammar-oriented English but the real, “native” one. Let me show you how.

First watch the whole of this Big Bang Theory clip at one go. And then re-watch it alongside the explanations of the phrases below

First phrase you could immediately start using in your daily English is “all-time favorites” [00:36] – It means something that you’ve really liked for a long time. What is important is that it means that this one thing that you’ve liked is not necessarily the only one..there could be other similar things you really like. For example, Bruce Springsteen’s Dancing in the Dark is one of my all-time favourite songs. Another one of my all-time favorites is Eagles’s Love Will Keep Us Alive.

[00:39] despite the glaring [story] problem – “Despite” means achieving a result in the presence of non-supporting circumstances. For example, He got admission to Harvard Law School despite his poor LSAT score. What this means is that his poor LSAT score should have caused him to not get the admission but still he did. So in this clip, Amy says she enjoyed the movie even though there was a logical flaw in the story of the film.

“Glaring” means something that is clear and easily noticeable. There was a glaring fault in her thesis report.

[00:49] dewy-eyed moon calf — signifies innocence.

[00:55] Lovechild — When you do something with extreme passion and produce a good result but together with someone else. This business is the lovechild of my father and my grandfather [means your father and grandfather together started the business with extreme passion and love]

[00:58] Gifted filmmakers — You use the word “gifted” to say for someone who is great at some specific thing.

Picasso was a gifted painter.

Messi is a gifted football player.

My boss is a gifted negotiator.

[1:09] I defy you to find a story problem — “to defy someone to do something” means you are challenging someone to do something. For example, I could believe that you are a bad football player and I could defy you to beat Messi at football. Or, you could be great at running fast and you could defy your friend to run faster than you. Got it?

[1:13] Drop a jaw — It means to amaze someone. When you are really amazed at something, it causes you to be left with literally an open mouth sometimes, doesn’t it? So that’s the idea here.

Messi drops jaws with his skills.

Avatar is a jaw-dropping movie.

You think you’re a great singer? Drop my jaw!

[1:23] Turn out — the final result of something or to find some truth.

My roommate turned out to be gay — I found out that my roommate is gay; I didn’t know that earlier.

The movie would turn out exactly the same without Indiana Jones — means the movie would end in the exact same way if Indiana Jones wasn’t in the story.

[2:07] I’d kill for that woman’s bone structure — The phrase “I’d kill for [something]” means you want something so badly that you could do an extreme act like killing someone for it…of course, it doesn’t mean actual killing..it’s just the way to describe how much you really, really want that thing. So in this scene, Raj says he likes Halle Berry’s bone structure so much, he could kill for it.

Another example could be, I would kill for a red Porsche Boxster GTS [meaning you want that model of Porsche really very much]

Hope you enjoyed it. If there’s something in this that I didn’t cover, feel free to drop me a line at reemasinghal2005@gmail.com and ask for more help. 🙂

AUF DEUTSCH

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7 Comments

  1. Thank you so much, It’s really useful, love it!

  2. I don’t get the meaning of phrase “it’s still light out”. T.T

    • It’s not an official phrase, TT..I mean to say it’s not something that is recognized. A lot of times Americans are known to twist around words to imply something and the listeners just derive a meaning out of it. For example, when somebody has a road accident, it can be said, ‘He met with an accident and died.’ But an American might say – ‘He got creamed.’
      This ‘light out’ phrase is one of those cases. Most likely it would mean something like ‘when it’s dark’ or ‘when the lights are out’..
      This phrase is not something I would recommend you to use in your vocabulary, specially if you’re an early user of English. 🙂
      Hope this helps.
      -Reema

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