Don’t be so literal!

12.07.03 English Tips

English speakers often use language creatively to convey their meaning more clearly. They use words to i)create images that are easily understood by the listener or ii) just to make their conversations more interesting. Unfortunately, for second language learners, this can be confusing.

Look at theses example:

a)   Terence is such a snail! He never gets his work finished on time.
b)    His room was a disaster zone.
c)     I was drowning in paperwork.

Obviously, the man is not a snail, his room wasn’t really a disaster area, and I was not really drowning. However, the use of these phrases helps the listener to clearly understand the meaning and feeling of each sentence.

What should you do as a language learner? Be open-minded. If you think you understand the meaning of the words, but not the whole sentence, look for a more creative meaning…and try being more creative with your own English. It’s fun!

これは主に、① 聞き手が簡単にイメージを想像できるようにする ② 会話をより面白くする ためです。


a)  テレンスはとんでもないカタツムリ(=のろま)だね! 絶対時間通りに仕事を終わらせたためしがない!
b)  彼の部屋は、災害地帯(=ちらかった)でした。
c)  私は、書類整理に溺れて(=圧倒されて)いました。


言語を学習している者として、何をすべきでしょうか?心を開いてみてください。 もしあなたがその単語の意味を理解しているのなら、文章全て理解できなくても、より創造的な意味を探してみてください…そして、あなた自身の英語もより創造的にしてみてください。楽しいですよ!