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“Wow! These sweets are great. Where did you get them?”

“My friend Sunil went to Nagpur to attend a wedding. He got them from there.”

“Sunil? Isn’t he the chap who helped you pass the chemistry exam?”

“Not just chemistry — all science subjects. He's always been there for me.”

“One of the few all-weather friends you have, I guess.”

“All-weather friend? What are you talking about?”

“An all-weather friend is someone who will stick by you no matter what. He will not desert you when the situation becomes bad. For example, people say that Deepa is my sister’s all-weather friend.”

“When my neighbour lost his job, most of his relatives stopped visiting him. It was a few of his all-weather friends who helped him get back on his feet.”

“That’s a good example. The interesting thing is you won’t find the expression ‘all-weather friend’ included in too many dictionaries. But the expression is beginning to be used quite frequently — especially in the media.”

“I see. So, what would be the opposite of an all-weather friend?”

“I suppose it would be a fair weather friend. He is someone who will be by your side as long as things are going smoothly. But should you run into problems ...”

“If you begin to have problems, the person will probably simply disappear.”

“Exactly! These are the kind of people one cannot depend on. When the Minister lost the election, most of his fair weather friends deserted him.”

“My parents kept saying that Sunil would turn out to be a fair weather friend. But they were wrong. He’s probably the only all-weather friend I have.”

“Talking about friends. Whatever happened to that crazy Sneha?”

“We had a big fight last year. I don’t even remember what it was about. But every time she sees me now, she gives me a dagger look.”

“Dagger look? You mean ...”

“When you give someone a dagger look, you ...”

“You don’t give someone a dagger look. The correct expression is ‘to look daggers’ at someone. It means ...”

“It means to look at someone angrily or with a lot of hatred.”

“When he was given out LBW, the batsman looked daggers at the umpire.”

“Geetha looked daggers at her husband when he refused to set the table.”

“Does Bala know how to set the table?”

“I have no idea! My mother looks daggers at my father when he spreads too much butter on the four toasts he has for breakfast.”

“That’s understandable, considering the fact that his cholesterol level is pretty high.”

“But he doesn’t care. He spreads a lot of butter on his toasts.”

“The word ‘toast’ is an uncountable noun. You don’t say four toasts. Instead you say, four slices of toast.”

“I see. My father has four slices of toast for breakfast.”

“Or you can say, my father has toast for breakfast.”

“Would you like to join me for breakfast?”

“No, I’ve got to go. But before I do, can I have some more of those sweets from Nagpur?

******

“A true friend is someone who thinks you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.”Bernard Meltzer



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Printable version | Apr 19, 2019 11:25:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/books/know-your-english/know-your-english/article6497647.ece

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