All of us had a bite of everything so let’s go Dutch

He could pay for the entire meal since he is loaded but he won’t as he is a very surly person

February 27, 2023 08:30 am | Updated 08:30 am IST

Know your English

Know your English | Photo Credit: /iStockphoto

“Have you been busy? Haven’t seen you all week.”

“My cousin from Australia is here, and I’ve been taking him around. We had lunch at the new restaurant yesterday. The one you’ve been dying to go to.”

“Heard it’s very expensive. Did you go Dutch?”

“Dutch? I told you my cousin is from Australia and not…”

“When two people decide to ‘go Dutch’, they share the bill.”

“I see. Does each person pay for what he ordered?”

“Some people do that. Others, however, contribute towards half the bill. Here’s an example. The tickets to the rock concert were expensive. My friend and I decided to go Dutch.”

“Whenever Sujatha and I go out, she insists that we go Dutch.”

“Sensible thing to do, I suppose. ‘Dutch treat’ means the same thing as ‘go Dutch’. After all the shopping, neither of us had a lot of money left. For dinner, we settled on a Dutch treat.”

“Yesterday’s lunch wasn’t a Dutch treat. My cousin paid for it.”

“Your cousin must be loaded.”

“Loaded? What are you talking about?”

“In informal contexts, when you say that someone is ‘loaded’, what you mean is that he has a lot of money. He’s wealthy — this is one of the meanings of the word.”

“I see. My cousin comes from a wealthy family. So, I guess you could say he’s loaded.”

“Tennis star, Boris Becker, was loaded once upon a time. Now he claims to be bankrupt.”

“Happens to a lot of people. When I was growing up, I didn’t know anyone who was loaded.”

“I still don’t. Tell me what does your cousin do? Is he into…”

“He has his own software firm. Why is it called a ‘Dutch treat’? What’s the connection between the Dutch and a treat? Are the Dutch known for their hospitality and …”

“Quite the opposite, actually! The Dutch were considered to be very stingy individuals - that’s what the British thought, anyway. You must remember that in the past, the English and the Dutch hated each other. An Englishman thought that a Dutchman was selfish and stingy – someone who was incapable of treating a person to lunch or dinner. This is true of all expressions with the word ‘Dutch’ in them. They all have a very negative connotation.”

“I didn’t know that! Tell me, how is s…u…r…l…y pronounced?”

“The first syllable is pronounced like the word ‘sir’. The word is pronounced SIR-ly with the stress on the first syllable. Do you know what it means?”

“In the novel I’m reading, the author refers to his main character as being a ‘surly old man’. I guess it means someone who is grumpy.”

“Very good! Someone who is ‘surly’, is unfriendly. He’s usually very rude.”

“The person is usually in a bad mood, and this makes him very irritable.”

“That’s right! Here’s an example. I don’t know what Mala sees in her boyfriend. I’ve met him twice, and on both occasions, the guy was surly.”

“Maybe he doesn’t like you! How about this example? At the restaurant yesterday, we were served by a surly waiter.”

“Hope you complained to the management. Usually new restaurants have friendly waiters. How was the food?”

“It was just great! The two of us should go next week. A Dutch treat!”


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