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Now, it’s time for Phrases and Their Tales — a program from VOA Studying English.

Every week, we inform the story of phrases and expressions utilized in American English. Some are outdated. Some are new. Collectively, they kind the dwelling and all the time altering language of the American folks.

To say that language is “dwelling” is a determine of speech. Languages are all the time altering. So, we are saying they’re dwelling. It doesn’t imply that language wants air to breathe and meals to eat.

However you and I do!

And consuming includes a number of actions: biting, chewing and swallowing.

Now, typically after we are hungry, we could eat too quick or an excessive amount of. We could, the truth is, chunk off greater than we will chew.

We take an enormous chunk after which have a tough time breaking down or swallowing the meals. This could result in a extremely disagreeable feeling. Now we have eaten greater than our physique can take at one time. The consequence will not be good. We could really feel sick.

Effectively, the identical factor can occur in different conditions in addition to consuming. With many issues, you may figuratively chunk off greater than you may chew.

The expression “biting off greater than you may chew” means to tackle an excessive amount of. You comply with do greater than you truly can.

I believe it’s secure to say that now we have all been there.

For instance, you actually need to do one thing otherwise you need to show one thing to your self or others. So, you settle for duty for a undertaking.

What’s the downside there, you would possibly ask?

Effectively, the undertaking is likely to be a lot too troublesome or advanced for one particular person. However, you assume you are able to do it by yourself.

You, my pal, have simply bitten off greater than you may chew.

Now we have different phrases and expressions that imply about the identical factor. You might say that you’ve got taken on greater than you bargained for. You may have taken on an excessive amount of. You may have overextended your self.

One other nice expression which means the identical is that this one: You may have unfold your self too skinny. That is visually fairly attention-grabbing. In case you can think about your self being pulled in several instructions till you grow to be thinner and thinner and thinner…!

Some language specialists say the expression “chunk off greater than you may chew” got here into use within the 19th century. At the moment, some folks chewed tobacco leaves. Some folks, when supplied tobacco, would take an enormous chunk – a chunk a lot greater than they may chew!

That will or might not be the origin. However in any occasion, when somebody bites off greater than they’ll chew, they promise themselves or others to do work that they can not full.

When utilizing this expression, the explanation you can not full the undertaking will not be necessary. Possibly you had been already concerned in too many different issues. Possibly you did not have the talents to complete the duty. Or perhaps you underestimated the time required to finish the job. Regardless of the cause, it didn’t get it performed!

Okay, now let’s hear two pals use this expression.

Steve and Michael are roommates. Steve is cooking of their first-floor house, whereas operating downstairs to the laundry room and writing a analysis paper. Michael watches as his very stressed-out roommate runs backwards and forwards from one job to a different. Lastly, he asks Steve a query.

Steve, what’s going on? You’ve got been going continuous all morning! And why are you operating backwards and forwards to the laundry room each 20 minutes? You don’t have that many garments!

I volunteered to do the laundry for older folks within the constructing. You recognize, they’ll’t make it all the way down to the bottom flooring because the elevator broke.

And the cooking?

Oh that. I promised to make treats for Sara’s party this weekend.

That’s so good of you. Nevertheless it shouldn’t make you careworn. You like baking cookies.

I do! However with the vacations across the nook, I’m additionally tremendous busy at work. Plus, my analysis paper for that on-line poetry class have to be performed in three days. I’m swamped!

You may have bitten off greater than you may chew … once more! When will you be taught? There are solely so many hours in a day. You simply can’t do all of it.

I do know. I simply have a extremely exhausting time saying “no.”

Right here, follow with me. I’m going to ask you to do me a favor and you have to reply, “no.” Okay?

I’ll strive.

Hey, Steve when you have a while tomorrow I need assistance portray my bed room. What do you say?

Nn… nn…o…

Steve? Simply say no!

And that’s on a regular basis now we have for this Phrases and Their Tales. However be part of us once more subsequent week after we examine the story behind one other phrase or expression.

Till subsequent time … I’m Anna Matteo!

Ibrahim Onafeko wrote this story. Anna Matteo and George Develop had been the editors. The music on the finish is Suzi Quatro singing “I Bit Off Extra Than I Might Chew.”


Phrases in This Story

determine of speech n a phrase or expression that makes use of phrases in a figurative method moderately than in a plain or literal method

figuratively adv. with a which means that’s totally different from the essential or literal which means and that expresses an concept by utilizing language that normally describes one thing else

to discount for phrasal verb to anticipate or plan on (one thing)

visible adj. regarding seeing or to the eyes visually adv.

stressed-outadj. being anxious, drained and irritable due to an excessive amount of work or stress

laundry n. garments, towels, sheets, and many others., that have to be washed or which were washed

elevatorn. a machine used for carrying folks and issues to totally different ranges in a constructing

This is a bank of elevators. (When there is more than two elevators in an area, we call it a "bank.")

It is a financial institution of elevators. (When there’s greater than two elevators in an space, we name it a “financial institution.”)

swamped v. to trigger (somebody or one thing) to must cope with a really great amount of issues or folks on the identical time — normally used as (be) swamped

follow v. to do one thing repeatedly with a view to grow to be higher at it

favor n. a form or useful act that you simply do for somebody

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