Is she more of a live wire or a wet blanket?

If she is the latter, I will make my friend promise not to invite her to my function next week

January 30, 2023 08:30 am | Updated 08:30 am IST

Know your English

Know your English | Photo Credit: Getty Images

“I ran into Sujatha yesterday. She said that you guys had a lot of fun at the picnic.”

“We certainly did. We would have probably had a great time if Rajiv hadn’t showed up. The guy is such a wet blanket.”

“Wet blanket? Does it mean someone who prevents other people from enjoying themselves?”

“Very good! When you refer to someone as being a wet blanket, what you’re suggesting is that the individual does or says something that spoils everyone’s mood.”

“And in the process, prevents people from enjoying themselves.”

“Exactly! The person dampens other people’s enthusiasm. The expression ‘wet blanket’ is mostly used in informal contexts.”

“How about this example? My cousin Hema is such a wet blanket that no one invites her to any of their parties.”

“Poor Hema! Here’s another example. I’m going to skip the reception tonight. I have a really bad headache. If I go, I might just end up being a wet blanket.”

“You certainly don’t want to end up being one. Some of my friends think that just because I don’t drink like them or crack dirty jokes, I’m a wet blanket.”

“That’s a pity! Someone needs to tell them what a live wire you are.”

“Live wire? What are you talking about?”

“A live wire is a person full of energy. Someone whose company people enjoy.”

“In other words, unlike a wet blanket, a live wire is someone who is fun to be around with.”

“Exactly! The informal expression also suggests that the person is mentally alert and keeps people on their toes. You should see Asmita playing tennis. She’s a real live wire on court.”

“Unlike the former Vice Chancellor, the new one is a live wire. Everyone on campus is truly excited about the appointment.”

“Let’s hope she does something. Unlike her brother, Devaki is a live wire.”

“Tell me, what’s the connection between a wet blanket and curbing other people’s enthusiasm?”

“In the past, whenever there was a fire, people sometimes used to pour water on a blanket and used the wet blanket to put the fire out.”

“So, when you call a person a wet blanket….what’s the fire he’s putting out?”

“The person is not putting out a fire. Just like the wet blanket, he’s smothering something. In this case, it’s not a fire, but people’s enthusiasm. The person is dampening everyone’s mood. He’s taking the joy out of everything.”

“A wet blanket is not someone you want to have a conversation with at a party, I guess. If you’d asked me, I would have told you to not invite Rajiv to the picnic.”

“Not to invite Rajiv.”


“You said, ‘to not invite Rajiv to the party’. Careful users of the language would say, ‘not to invite Rajiv to the party’. In such sentences ‘not’ and ‘never’ come before ‘to’. Here’s another example. I promised him never to be late again.

“The students requested the teacher not to have a test on Friday.”

The painter told the children not to sit on the chair for another two days.

“I promise never to invite wet blankets to parties.”

“Good idea.”

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