Know Your English

Know Your English: June 6

“I know that look. You’re in some kind of trouble again, aren’t you?”

“You’re right. I went out with Jayant yesterday, and he…”

“How many times have I told you not to have anything to do with Jayant? Keep away from him. Every time you go out with him, you get into a pretty pickle.”

“A pretty pickle? What are you talking about? How can a pickle be pretty?”

“The word ‘pickle’ in this rather informal expression means a difficult situation.”

“I see. So, when you say that someone is in a pretty pickle, you mean he’s in a tight spot. He’s in trouble.”

“That’s right! Just like you, he’s in a messy situation and doesn’t know what to do about it. If you quit your job now, you’ll be in a pretty pickle.”

“My father was in a pretty pickle when he lost his wallet during his trip to London.”

“That’s a good example. You’ll find yourself in a legal pickle, if you don’t repay your loans soon.”

“You’d be in a pretty pickle if your landlord walked into your apartment right now. The painters finished their job a week ago. Why haven’t you put things away?”

“I was too tired to clean up. I spent most of the weekend chillaxing.”

“Chillaxing? Does it mean you spent the weekend relaxing?”

“Very good! The word ‘chillaxing’ is a combination of ‘chilling’ and ‘relaxing’. When you ‘chillax’, you chill or calm yourself down and then relax. You have a good time doing nothing.”

“If you want to become rich, you need to work hard. You can’t make it big by chillaxing.”

“My cousin doesn’t go anywhere on weekends. He chillaxes at home.”

“So, are you planning to chillax next weekend as well?”

“Can’t afford to. I have an important meeting on Monday, so I have to…”

“Oh that’s right! Jayant told me about the meeting. It’s with his brother, isn’t it?”

“Really? I didn’t know that Mukund was Jayant’s brother. Is he…”

“According to Jayant, you and Mukund are very good friends.”

“Good friends! Not a chance! How can we be good friends when we haven’t even met each other? Mukund is what I would call an e-quaintance.”

“An ‘e-quaintance’? What does it mean?

“The word is a combination of ‘e’ and ‘acquaintance’. An ‘e-quaintance’ is a friend you’ve made online. All your interactions have been online. You haven’t met the individual.”

“Like everyone else, I have many e-quaintances. How does that sound?”

“Sounds great! Tell me, is my e-quaintance anything like your friend, Jayant?”

“Not really. They’re rather different. But like Jayant, Mukund has the habit of disagreeing to whatever…”

“When you have an opinion that is very different from others, you ‘disagree with’ them. The word ‘disagree’ is not followed by ‘to’. I flatly disagreed with him on his findings.”

“Most teenagers disagree with their parents about everything.”

“That’s a good example. If you leave now, I can continue with my chillaxing.”

* * *

We may not all agree, but if we disagree let us not be disagreeable in our disagreements. — M R DeHaan

Email: upendrankye@gmail.com

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 12:29:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/know-your-english/Know-Your-English-June-6/article14384536.ece

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