Many of the more frequently-used English idioms and expressions originate from sports. However these 10, and countless others, are now so commonplace that they’ve taken on lives of their own in our everyday speech.
|Term/Expression||Origin||Non-Sports Meaning||Example sentence|
|Ballpark||Baseball||To give an estimated guess||Could you ballpark an estimate on next month’s sales figures?|
|By a nose||Horse racing||To finish something by a slim margin of distance or time||He won the election by a nose.|
|Down to the wire||Horse racing||To finish something at the last minute||It came down to the wire, but I finished all my homework before class.|
|Off-base||Baseball||Something that is inappropriate||Her comments about my hair were way off-base.|
|Out of left field||Baseball||A surprising or unexpected event||The news about his firing came completely out of left field.|
|Par for the course||Golf||The expected behavior for a certain situation||Andrew forgetting his umbrella is pretty par for the course.|
|Rain check||Baseball||To postpone an invitation to do something until a later date||Can we take a rain check on our date tonight? I’ve had a long day.|
|Saved by the bell||Boxing||Spared from misfortune at the last instant by some outside force||I was literally saved by the bell when the fire alarm went off during our test.|
|The ball is in my/his/her/your court||Tennis||Someone’s turn to take action next||We’ve done everything we can to help him; the ball is in his court now.|
Person, persons, people and peoples.
A person is a human man, woman, or child. It is a singular countable noun.
- There was one person at the door.
- When did you see this suspicious person?
- She’s a very interesting person. You should talk to her.
People and peoples
The plural of person is people. It refers to a group or a number of human beings. It is a plural countable noun.
- There were three people at the door.
- How many people do you know?
- The people who live here are very rich.
People can also mean nation. Peoples is the plural form of this meaning. Peoples means nations.
- The Aztecs were a people that lived in the Americas.
- The English are a strange people.
- There are many peoples living on the Earth.
- When the peoples of the Earth unite, we will have peace.
Persons is a more formal, more polite form of people. It’s a plural countable noun and is most often seen written down – such as on signs, in newspapers and in the context of the law.
- This lift can hold a maximum of 15 persons.
- The police expect to catch the persons responsible for the theft.
- My client has never seen these persons before and so he is innocent.
Most of the time, I greet my students with a hearty ‘Hello!’ and ‘How are you?’ at the beginning of class, followed by a “Goodbye!” or “See you!” at the end.
But in English, there are so many other great ways to say these things, especially when hanging out with friends.
Instead of ‘Hello’ and ‘How Are You?’, try…
- Hey there
- Good morning
- Good afternoon
- Good evening
- How’s it going?
- What’s up?
- Sup dude (men only)
- What’s happening?
- What’s going on?
- What’s good?
- How have you been?
- How are things?
- What’s new?
- What have you been up to?
- Hey man (men only)
- How’s life?
- How’s your day going?
- Long time no see
Instead of ‘Goodbye’ or ‘See you’, try…
- Bye bye
- Good night
- See you later
- Talk to you later
- Catch you later
- Later alligator
- Have a good day
- Have a good night
- Have a good one
- Take care
- Take it easy
- So long
- Peace out
- I’m out
- I’m off
- See you next time
- I’ve got to get going
- I ‘ve gotta go/jet/dip/bounce/split/roll/head out/hit the road
- Good seeing you
- Good talking with you
- I’m outta (out of) here
- I’m going to call it a day/night
- See you on the flip side
- See you on the flippity flop
*Spanish, but sometimes (American) English speakers say it for fun
Some music, whether songs or full albums, are able to evoke complete atmospheres; an exploration in emotional landscapes if you will. We are nearing the end of the rainy season (I hope), but I wanted to share an album that always complimented rainy days for me. The album is Disintegration by The Cure. While Robert Smith directly conjures images of rain in his lyrics and song titles, the music really makes the listener feel it. The album starts out very romantic and dreamlike but steadily descends to this gloomy, sunken place where it perpetually rains on dark vegetation (that album cover really captures my imagination). But don’t worry, there are also lighter pop moments that give you shelter along the way. Here’s a very literal “rainy” song but please give the whole album a listen to understand the journey!
2013 was a magical time for social media. Although YouTube and Instagram had been around for a while, someone decided that the world needed a balance between long-form video and static images. Twenty minute long videos and scrolling through feed after feed of pictures could no longer hold our entertainment-saturated, A.D.D-addled brains. Thus, to fill the void, Vine was born.
What is Vine, you ask? Much like YouTube, a user could film themselves or a subject using an app. The catch? The video was only six seconds long. In order to get those coveted “revines”, a user had to make sure to jam pack their content with something that could hold the viewers attention for at least six seconds. It’s harder than it sounds! Sure, there were some duds, namely a lot of videos of people simply lip-synching to music or chatting with friends. However, quite a few YouTubers got their start and built their fanbases using Vine; the Logan brothers and Lele Pons, for starters.
Although Vine was put on indefinite hiatus in 2016, its legacy lives on in current app features such as Snapchat’s 10 second and Instagram’s 1 minute video sharing. Thankfully, Vine has archived all of its current videos which leave us with gems like this: