KNOW YOUR ENGLISH Education

Keep your cool!

“My uncle from Nagpur will be spending a few days with us next week.”

“Your uncle from Nagpur? Have I met him? Is he the tall man with a moustache?”

“No, that’s my uncle from Hyderabad. The one from Nagpur is a medium height man.”

“You generally don’t say ‘medium height man’. You can describe someone as being a ‘tall man’ or a ‘short man’. But you cannot say ‘medium height man’.”

“So, if a man is neither short nor tall, what do I say? How do I describe him?”

“You can say, ‘He’s a man of medium height’ or ‘He’s a man of average height’.”

“I see. How about this example, then? My aunt is very short. But her daughter is of medium height.”

“Sounds good. Most people in my family are of average height. There’s no one who is really tall or short.”

“Talking about tall, has your tall friend decided whether he’s going to buy the car he’s been looking at every day for the past two weeks?”

“The two of us took it for a test drive this morning. My friend was really happy with it, and was planning to buy it. But when the dealer quoted a higher price than he had last week, my friend lost it.”

“Your friend lost it? You mean to say that he suddenly lost interest in buying the car? ”

“No, no! He didn’t lose interest in the car. What he lost was his temper! The expression ‘lost it’ is frequently used in informal contexts to mean ‘to lose control of oneself’.”

“I see. In other words, you become very angry! You become rather upset about something.”

“Exactly! You completely lose your cool. You lose control. You may shout and scream at people. When I saw the terrible mess the painters had made, I just lost it.”

“That’s the great thing about my grandmother. No matter how crazy the situation, she never loses it. She’s always calm.”

“That’s true. Your grandmother is truly remarkable. But not everyone can be like her. In India, many people lose it when they’re driving.”

“They certainly do, and I guess they’ve every reason to. Most people don’t follow rules. So, what’s your friend going to do? Is he buying the car or …”

“Most definitely, not! He doesn’t want to be taken for a ride. He’s had enough…”

“I don’t understand! Did the dealer offer to take him for another ride in the car?”

“No, no! The expression ‘take someone for a ride’ is mostly used in informal contexts to mean to cheat or deceive someone. The ageing star was deeply hurt when he realised that his best friend had been taking him for a ride all these years.”

“Getting cheated by your best friend. That must definitely hurt. My father says that one must never buy a second-hand car from dealers. They’re just waiting to take people for a ride.”

“Based on the experience I’ve had the past two weeks, I agree with your father completely. Sunitha paid the money in advance. But she never got any of the items she had ordered. As expected, the artist took her for a ride.”

“If something like that were to happen to me, I’d probably lose it.”

upendrankye@gmail.com


Our code of editorial values

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | May 15, 2022 10:05:37 am | https://www.thehindu.com/education/keep-your-cool/article38280940.ece