Lesson five Say Yes
Words and expressions • blur: to obscure, to make indistinct • E.g. ~ the line between art and reality • ~ the distinction between right and wrong • Tears ~red my eyes. • The alcohol didn’t blur his brain.
pinch • 1. to nip, squeeze, or compress • E.g. to ~ sb’s cheek playfully • to ~ one’s finger in the door • 2. to afflict or trouble • E.g. be ~ed with cold and hunger • 3. to give or spend sparingly; be mean • E.g. ~ and save / scrape • She ~es on food in order to spend on clothing. • pinch pennies • E.g. We’ve been pinching pennies all year so that we can visit my relatives in Australia in December.
More idioms with “pinch” • at a pinch • E.g. We usually only accept 55 guests but at a pinch we could take 60. • take sth with a pinch of salt • E.g. She told me she knew people in the film industry, but I took that with a pinch of salt. • feel the pinch • E.g. It’s six months since he lost his job, and he is beginning to feel the pinch.
plunge • E.g. The temperature ~d below freezing. • The price of oil has ~d to a new low. • The dangerous policies would ~ Europe into another war. • take the plunge • E.g. After working for twenty years he decided to take the plunge and go back to college.
rummage: to search about for sth • She ~d change from the bottom of her purse. • He ~d about in his drawer. • ~ among back number periodicals for an article • ~ a ship for contraband
Words meaning “search” or “examine” • Did you lock the door? – I’ll go and check. • The water samples were examined for traces of pollution. • The social services are inquiring about the missing girl. • The police probed into his financial affairs.
The team went to the desert to prospect for oil. • He accused the press of prying into his private life. • While she was out, someone had ransacked her room. • We scanned the horizon but no ship were to be seen. • We scoured the market for fresh aubergines. • We discovered that our neighbors had been spying on us.
silverware • -ware: manufactured goods • ironware, software, hardware, glassware, earthenware, ovenware
snap • snap one’s fingers at • E.g. If you continue to snap your fingers at your boss, you may be severely punished. • snap / bite sb’s head off • E.g. He is just making a suggestion: there’s no need to snap his head off / snap at him! • be a snap • E.g. This job is a snap.
snap • snap out of it • E.g. For heaven’s sake, Ann, snap out of it! Things are not that bad. • snap to it • E.g. Come on! Snap to it.
squeeze • E.g. to ~ some juice from the orange • ~ many things into a day • ~ through a narrow passage • a tight ~: a situation where one does not have much space to put things in;
squeeze • put the ~ on sb (to do sth): • E.g. Rising fuel prices are putting the squeeze on farmers and transport businesses. • ~ sb dry • E.g. The war, as well as the economic sanctions imposed by foreign countries, have squeezed the economy dry.
Language points in text • pitch in: start to work vigorously or determinedly; add one’s contribution to a general effort • E.g. If we all ~, we should get the job finished this afternoon.
Don’t take my word for it: don’t accept everything I said as true • take sb’s word for it: believe sth that sb has said • E.g. You know more about cars than I do, so if you think it needs a new gearbox, I’ll take your word for it. • You can take my word for it, I’ll never let you down.
dab: to touch lightly, usu. several times • E.g. • ~ at his mouth with a handkerchief • ~ some beauty cream on her face • ~ butter on a slice of bread • The artist gently ~bed paint on the canvas. • She ~bed the wound with a yellow salve.
feel cornered—expressions similar in meaning(1) • If I help him, the boss will hate me . If I don’t help him the office staff will hate me. I’m between the devil and the deep blue sea. • We’ll really get in Dutch if we lose the car keys. They’re the only ones our parents have. • When we ran out of gas at two o’clock in the morning, I knew we were in a jam.
(2) • Having lost her passport, she is now in deep water. • He has got himself in hot water by quarrelling with his boss. • If you don’t do a good job, you will be in a bind.
(3) • He thought living at home was bad, but now that he is in New York, he realizes that he has jumped from the frying pan into the fire. • We are up against it this year. We’re in urgent need of your help. • When Peter was driving on the free way at midnight, his car broke down and left him up a tree. • I was in a bad pickle when I lost my job.
P126 tone vs tune • tone: 1) sound with reference to its quality: the sweet ~ of the violin; the shrill ~ of the factory whistle • 2) the intonation, phrasing, choice of words etc. of a speaker or writer that expresses a particular meaning, feeling, attitude of him: speak in an angry ~ / in a ~ of contempt / disapproval; • 3) the rise or fall of the voice in speaking or pronunciation: pay attention to the rising and falling ~s in your pronunciation • 4) shades of color: a photo in warm ~; the coat is a light ~ of green
tune: suggests the succession of note forming a melody (of a song), used often in opposition to the words of a song • E.g. He hummed a ~ to keep his courage up. • Never shall I forget that haunting ~.
question vs problem • question is more general, while problem refers to a question esp. connected with numbers and facts, like problems in addition and subtraction • question is more general while problem often refers to a serious difficulty that needs attention and thought
ashamed vs shameful • ashamed: • You should be ashamed of yourself. • He said he felt ashamed of having done so little for the society. • shameful: • It is shameful that she stole money from the blind man. • The correspondent had discovered their shameful treatment of political prisoners.