Idioms are those phrases that mean more than the sum of their words. Which made us wonder: what are their favorite idioms in their own tongue? Below, we asked translators to share their favorite idioms and how they would translate literally. The results are laugh-out-loud funny.
The idiom: Tomaten auf den Augen haben. It refers to real objects, though — not abstract meanings. The idiom: Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof. The idiom: Die Katze im Sack kaufen. Other languages this idiom exists in : We hear from translators that this is an idiom in Swedish, Polish, Latvian and Norwegian. The idiom: Ej bekot.
The idiom: Avaler des couleuvres. The idiom: Les carottes sont cuites! I am alive because of your help. It means doing something hastily. By Krystian Aparta They say that children learn languages the best. Their best strategies distill into seven basic principles: Get real.
Decide on a simple, attainable [ … ]. As she tells stories from her life as a Palestinian-American comedian with cerebral palsy, Zayid cracks with wordplay. He let us know that in terms of the latest polls, it would be at least two weeks. But in terms of the timeline, we should not expect much in terms of results until they get back to us.
The news conference droned on and on like this. Spoken, it goes almost unnoticed. The mental calisthenics of wading through all the unnecessary words before untangling the meaning is exhausting. Like Jill, the one that really drives me round the bend is the misuse of apostrophes. Language evolves darn it! In 50 years, speaking and writing in what we consider proper English will seem quaint. LOLCat will become our official language.
It drives me crazy and I hear and read these used incorrectly, by journalists and writers, ALLthe time. Thank you! Great reminders, and definitely a few ideas that I had never thought of before. Alexis has edited one of my posts for Brazen Careerist, and as I was reading this I had to open up my submission and see how many of these I was guilty of! Excellent tips, and hopefully this will help your engaged readers produce better content. Not every sentence deserves a new paragraph, and it makes it quite distracting to try to read it that way, IMO.
Great post! However, the dubious history of the term remains indelibly part of our heritage. Great article! Regardless, as your post says, if we want people to read our content, we should ensure we create it with quality assurance and quality control! Granted, most folks are just happy grateful! But, occasionally, you run into someone who insists that he or she is the perfect writer who needs no help. I am bookmarking your list so that I can refer others to it who ask for help in improving their writing.
You have done a generous service to writers and editors everywhere! Love it!
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Glad to help, Gina! Agree with this wholeheartedly. I do try to catch them by proofreading again and again at different times. They even get defensive if you give constructive criticism! I will now though. Thanks for the tip! Thanks for a great post, Alexis! Loved it. There are lots of reasons my posts fall short. My posts fall sort for many of the reasons listed. Always room to improve. You cannot just substitute one for the other whenever you feel like it and just add a comma.
Thanks so much for this post. The purpose of communication is to convey meaning. Words are the tools we use to do that. We use grammar to oil the wheels. Way back in about , I was a young Training Officer. I still refer to it.
I loved this, so many excellent points and suggestions. I tend to write without using contractions, which I really need to watch. Great stuff! All of us can use a refresher course like this once in a while. As a freelance editor, I can vouch for these. Number 3 was my favorite. I have a question about the contractions though. Years ago when I was in school our English teacher taught us that contractions should never be used in serious writing.
That habit is still with me as I write my first book. My editor is telling me that using them is too personable for a book, but quite OK for blogs and newsletters.
What do you think? That sounds like an unreasonably rigid rule to me. That could be just what your readers want. Writing without contractions can sound very formal and stilted. I agree with Sue.
I agree with all of the points except for over vs. Insisting on this is nothing but an exercise in pedanticalness.
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Since you seem ot be a fan of Grammar Girl,. Interesting — Thanks for sharing that link! I agree with all of your items, except one. I would suggest weighing the meaning of any sentence, however, when determining the best word choice when it comes to these two basic synonyms. This was a great and helpful post, thanks! Another pet peeve I have about people writing lists or bullet points is a lack of parallelism. If you have a list, they should all be the same parts of speech whenever possible or show a similar structure.
Great post, since English is not my first language there are some little things I tend to forget or possibly never knew about to begin with.
Nice tips. But I think the title is not fully descriptive of the content. A lot of the items are not necessarily a fault in grammar but of style and usage, I would say.
A matter of making your article pleasurable to read or a pain in the neck. I think those do actually introduce confusion, rather than just being differences of style. Hi Alex! Excellent post and I agree with on the point to use simple and short sentences, this will create a great authority with in you readers because they can easily understand your words and message and than they could react as apropriate.
Like some of the other commentators, I work in a multi-lingual environment with English as the source language, and I think most of these tips can be transferred to other languages as well. The cleaner the source, the better the target copy, I think. I already do all this stuff! Good advice. My pet peeves include some of yours, as well as the overuse of exclamation points. A crutch for lazy writers. Could we remove that key from all computers?
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