Know Your English

Know your english: August 15, 2016

“You were planning to visit your uncle on Sunday, weren’t you? Did you manage to....”

“Yes, I managed to spend about two hours with him. As usual, I spent most of the time listening to his laundry list of complaints.”

“Laundry list of complaints? What does it mean?”

“It means a long list of complaints. The items on the list may or may not be related.”

“So they aren’t really genuine complaints? You’re complaining for the....”

“They may be genuine. You’re not complaining for the sake of complaining. But the problem is, it’s a lengthy list. When I asked Usha how I could help, she gave me a laundry list of things to do.”

“My friend moved into a new apartment a few months ago. Every time I talk to her, she gives me a laundry list of problems.”

“That usually happens when you move into a new place. Tell me, did....”

“Talking about new flats, have you decided whether you’re buying a new one? Has...”

“It’s up in the air. I was planning to...”

“Up in the air? Does it mean that you haven’t made up your mind?”

“Very good! When you say that something is up in the air, it suggests uncertainty. You haven’t really decided what to do regarding someone or something. The company’s plan to hire more people is still up in the air.”

“No decision has been taken. Our trip to Shimla in December is still up in the air.”

“Sounds good. The proposal to build a new airport on the outskirts of the city is still up in the air.”

“I don’t think it’ll ever happen. Five years from now, the government will give a laundry list of excuses why they couldn’t build the airport.”

“Just like you! I’m sure you and your classmates had some lame excuse for not submitting your project today.”

“Most of my friends managed to submit their project, but a few of us have managed to get some extra time to hand it in.”

“Why are you making such heavy weather of a minor project?”

“I’ve heard of hot and cold weather. But heavy weather? What are you....”

“When you say that someone is making heavy weather of something, it means that the person is taking too much time to do something that is fairly simple.”

“I see. So, you’re saying that I’m making the project seem much more difficult than it really is!”

“That’s right! Just like the Indian batsmen. The bowling was mediocre, but our batsmen made heavy weather of it.”

“This is a simple recipe. You should be able to make the dish in twenty minutes. Don’t make heavy weather of it.”

“That's a good example. Now, you’d better go home and work on your project.”

“You’re right. If I don’t do a good job, they’ll make me to do it again.”

“They’ll make you do it again. Not make you to do it again.”

“If I don’t do a good job, they’ll make me do another project.”

“That’s what you get for being lazy.”

* * *

An income tax form is like a laundry list — either way you lose your shirt. — Fred Allen

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