Tag Archives: work

Diary-intolerant

diary-intolerant

Photo credit: oldragbaggers.com

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, at some point in the morning I usually listen to Shaun Keaveny’s breakfast show on BBC 6 Music, which never fails to cheer me up.

Today he mentioned he had so many things to do this week (just like me!) that he was struggling to fit in a lunch with a friend, who was also very busy. In fact, that friend of Shaun’s has developed ‘a condition’, which manifests itself in high blood pressure, increased heart beat, etc. whenever the guy tries to write up his to-do list for the coming week. The condition is called ‘diary-intolerance‘. At this point I nearly choked on my muesli! What an excellent pun!

I won’t bother with examples this time – I don’t think there would be many – and I really need to get back to my work. I also need to make sure I don’t look into my diary too often – it’s becoming too scary!

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Losable… and other -able adjectives

losable

Photo credit: funnyjunk.com

What an eventful week… Yesterday I taught my first Russian class at a language school – it was a new experience for me as so far I have only taught individual students. It is also a men-only group, so it was very funny when they arrived and got their little notebooks out and said they felt like they were back to school. Then they started comparing notebooks and telling each other where they got them from – some ‘stole’ theirs from work, while some had to go to a stationary shop. The guy who came with a brand-new notebook said he didn’t know whether to buy a large A4 one or a smaller (A5) size, but decided to go for the smaller one, which, they all agreed, was more portable, but also more ‘losable‘! What an adorable word!

I’ll be honest – I do have a strange fascination with these made-up-on-the-spot words ending in ‘-able’.

When I watched ‘Closer’ for the first time, there was a scene in which Jude Law said about Nathalie Portman ‘She’s completely lovable, and completely unleavable‘, and it just blew me away. I guess one of the reasons I love English so much is that it is so flexible and it lends itself to puns and wordplay and making things up and really encourages a playful attitude to a language.

I am really looking forward to the next lesson in the hope that my students learn some Russian and I maybe learn some an English word or two!

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A week (Monday)

a week Monday usage

Photo credit: timecenter.com

This morning I was listening to my favourite radio show by Shaun Keaveny – together with chocolate & tangerine granola it’s one of the few things that gets me out of bed. Today he chatted to Brian Cox – the great British physicist and, apparently, one of the sexiest men alive, who has just finished filming The Human Universe series. He mentioned that it’ll premiere ‘a week Tuesday’, and I immediately thought that I should write about this ‘a week …’ usage which puzzled me for quite some time.

In fact, it can also be ‘a week on…’, but ‘on’ is sometimes dropped. You use week in expressions such as ‘a week on Monday‘, ‘a week next Tuesday‘, and ‘tomorrow week‘ to mean exactly one week after the day that you mention. 

Examples:

The 800 metre final is on Monday week (Reverso).

– We’ll be back a week on Friday (Oxford Dictionary). 

Actually, after receiving a comment from a friend and a diligent reader of this blog, Zsofia, I double-checked Brian Cox’s twitter and it said that The Human Universe will start on 7 October, which is in one week, also on Tuesday. So when saying ‘a week Tuesday‘ he meant ‘next Tuesday’ because it’s Tuesday today! If he said ‘a week Friday’, then it would mean ‘a week after the coming Friday’.  

You quite often hear ‘Monday/Tuesday etc. week‘ (=the Monday/Tuesday etc after next Monday/Tuesday etc.), which effectively is two weeks, as in:

– I’ll be home Thursday week (if today is Tuesday, 30 September, the person is coming back on Thursday, 9 October).

You might also find this thread on Wordreference forum useful – I certainly did!

P.S. I hope I got it right!

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Gobby

gobby meaning

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Yesterday I went to a meet-up with fellow translators and what a nice bunch of people they are! I met quite a few new people and really enjoyed myself. Towards the end I was talking to a guy who has been working as a teacher at at one of local schools (for girls), and the general conclusion was that when they are young they behave themselves and don’t cause much trouble, but teenage girls often become gobby. Now, that was a genuinely new word for me, even though I knew exactly what it meant because having lived close to a local school I’ve seen quite a few of them.

According to Oxford Dictionary, ‘gobby‘ means ‘tending to talk too loudly and in a blunt or opinionated way’.

Here’re a few examples:

– At convent school, I was always untidy and gobby and got everything wrong (Oxford Dictionary).

– Adele Adkins is a gobby, funny and extravagantly talented 19-year-old whose massive voice is going to make her the biggest singing star of 2008. And, no, she’s not going to be the new Amy Winehouse (The Guardian)

– Those are the teenage girls I love to write about in all their stroppy, sweet, bitchy, gobby, shy, pain in the arse, multi-faceted glory. Because when you’re a teenage girl, being difficult is your default setting (The Guardian).

 

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Shirkers

shirker meaning

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The other day I popped into a café after a satisfying visit to my favourite charity shops, and, as usual, there was a nice chap with impressive moustache serving coffee. He is quite a character, but in a good way!

While I was waiting for my coffee the next customer, probably a regular, asked: ‘Are you all on your own today?’, to which the barista replied ‘No, there are a few people around today, but they are shirkers!’

While I’ve come across the verb ‘to shirk‘, I don’t think I’ve heard about ‘shirkers‘ (= people who shirk, i.e. avoid their duties and responsibilities whenever possible).

Here’re a few examples:

– He doesn’t have time for those what don’t care to work, and he’d sooner drown you than put up with idlers or shirkers (Oxford Dictionary).

– Janet Street-Porter said she was a “striver not a shirker” and pensioners like herself should enjoy their travel passes and winter fuel payments (BBC).

– I work in an industry where taking more than three weeks a year holiday is frowned upon – we lose the other days. Taking paternity leave would be job suicide and as it’s a fairly confined industry word would get around that I was a shirker not a worker so would find it hard to find a new position (BBC).

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Learning the ropes

learning the ropes meaning

Photo credit: toledozoo.org

The past couple of weeks have been really hectic – I’ve been trying to finish translation of the third book on time, then I went to Amsterdam on a short break and now it’s more or less back to normal. So yesterday I was my volunteering day and I met a new colleague\volunteer from Australia. It was her first day, and using the till might be a bit a tricky (it still occasionally beeps at me when I press the wrong button), so she was sometimes saying to customers ‘Bear with me, it’s my first day and I’m still learning the ropes‘.

It’s a fairly common expression, but it’s so useful in a situation when you’re new to something and want other people to be a bit more understanding and patient.

Some examples:

– It didn’t take her new assistant long to learn the ropes (MacMillan Dictionary).

– It’s never too late to change direction. However it’s not really possible to break into new sectors without any effort. You’re likely to need to retrain or, at least, take on a lenghty internship to learn the ropes (The Guardian).

– What about businessmen’s political naivety? As might be expected of an education reformer, Sir Ron Dearing suggests apprenticeships. He argues that Lord Young, a cabinet minister recruited by Margaret Thatcher, made a smoother transformation from business to politics because he made an effort to learn the ropes (The Economist).

– Thus as the idea of finding talented employees who could quickly learn the ropes took off, so did the asking price of the star MBA graduates (The Economist).

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In good (or not so good) nick

in a good nick meaning

Photo credit: calliopegifts.co.uk

Today I went for my regular volunteering shift at the local bookshop – to strengthen my willpower by resisting the temptation to buy more books, to get my weekly fix of chocolate biscuits, to spend time around some lovely people and… hopefully to hear some more cool phrases.

A customer came in asking whether we had any more books by Marina Lewycka apart from A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian that we had in the shop. He said he had seen another book, but it was in such a bad nick that he didn’t get it.

I hear this phrase – ‘in good/bad nick‘ – from other volunteers very often. ‘Nick‘ essentially means ‘condition’.

You can also say that a book that is in a bad nick is ‘tatty‘.

I must say that in the days when I was buying books from charity shops like there was no tomorrow, I did buy some tatty ones, but I ended up donating them back to charity shops as I never read them. Much as I love books – all kind of books – I find that they need to look appealing.

I still find that I have hoarded way too many books and I need to slowly work my way through them so that I could buy new books!

This is how my current ‘to-read list’ looks like (or at least its English section – there’re at least as many books in other languages waiting to be read and they make me feel bad):

bookshelf shelfie

And while we’re on the subject of books and shelves… I recently came across the word ‘shelfie‘, i.e. ‘selfie of your bookshelf’. Here are some shelfies from Guardian readers.

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I’ll see you when I see you

I'll see you when i see you phrase meaning parting phrase

Photo credit: dailymail.co.uk

First of all, apologies for neglecting this blog a little bit – sometimes there’s really too much going on, and it has been the case with me for the past few months. Also I spent a couple of weeks in Russia and have been trying to get back into my ‘English’ life.

Today I had another volunteering shift at a local Oxfam bookshop. I was tempted to drop them for the time being while I’m struggling with a large translation project, but I know all too well that you deny yourself one thing, then another and then work just takes over your whole life. I wasn’t going to let this happen.

However, I had a hard time fitting all of the things on my to-do list into my morning, so I was running a bit late. I called the shop on my way there to say that I was going to be late and apologized profusely. To this the shop manager said ‘Don’t worry, we’ll see you when we’ll see you‘.

I remembered that I’d heard this phrase before. It always strikes me as a little bit impolite – as in “we don’t really care that much if / when we are going to see you again” – but according to the results of my Google search it is not meant to be impolite. At least I hope so!

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