English is a wonderful language. It can be as precise as a surgeon’s scalpel or as broad as a two-handed claymore. It can describe anything or leave everything to your imagination. In fact, English is so kickass we can say things without ever actually even saying them! For example, when your wife/girlfriend says, “Are you going to wear that?” you know she’s really saying, “There is no way in Hell you’re leaving this house dressed like that.” It’s a beautiful bit of linguistic gymnastics that people use all the time. Here are a few more examples. (With translations.)
“Sorry I’m late.”
Translation — I hate these morning meeting, I hate this job and I hate you. The only reason I even dragged my sorry ass out of bed is I’ve got a car payment and a massive student loan hanging over my head.
“I know I’m only going to be gone for a couple of days, but I’m really going to miss you.”
Translation — Any chance of having sex before I leave?
“No offence …”
Translation — I’m going to offend you.
“… no offence.”
Translation — I’m covering my ass just in case I’ve already offended you.
Translation — I want to talk about me.
“I don’t judge.”
Translation — What you just told me is totally weird, and it caught me completely off guard. So, rather than saying something unfortunate and sounding like an insensitive jerk, I’m going to shut up now and hope you change the subject.
“Do you need any help?”
Translation — Please, please, please, please, for the love of God, please – say no.
“Do these jeans make me look fat?”
Translation — I’ve spent all day dealing with perky salesgirls, women’s sizes are works of fiction, nobody has any decent colours and my bra is cutting me in half. The least you could do is take 5 seconds and tell me I’m sexy.
“It’s really not that bad.”
Translation – Wow! Are you ever screwed!
“That’s okay: I’m a good listener.”
Translation — This is the longest sob story in history. Now I know how Mandela felt.
“My children are my whole life.”
Translation — Five minutes! All I want is five minutes. I haven’t even gone to the toilet in peace in 2 years. Five minutes! Is that too much to ask?
“I’ll remember that.”
Translation — I’m too busy/lazy to write this down, and I’m going to kick myself in a couple of days.
“We’ve put together a pretty solid financial plan that will get us out of debt in a couple of years.”
Translation — The grandparents haven’t died yet.
“Have you lost weight?”
Translation — Call me scum, but I’m so glad you’re fatter than I am.
“I’m a people person.”
Translation — I don’t have any marketable skills.
And finally one of the most common ones:
“We need to get together/do lunch/go for drinks, soon/more often/sometime in the vague future.”
Translation — You and I are connected by circumstances and you seem like a nice person, so let’s play pretend for a few minutes — until we can go back to our real lives.
2 thoughts on “What Did You Say?”
Oh what classics, our language in a nutshell.
You definitely know people. Hmm. I’m now wondering how you’ll interpret that comment.