Saturday, July 25, 2009

Touching all the bases




Baseball is traditionally known as America's national pastime. It is part of the American spirit. Even the President gets involved and is asked to throw the first ball in the first game of the new season.

Through the years, baseball has had a broad impact on popular culture in the United States. No wonder so many expressions have actually derived from baseball terms.

It's played by two teams of 9 players each, where one of the teams throws a small round ball called a baseball, and the other team tries to hit it with a bat. Teams get points by running and touching markers on the ground called "bases". You can't score a point if you haven't touched all the four bases.

This is where the expression "touch all the bases" comes from . You can't complete a business deal before you touch all the bases. The two sides have to sit down and discuss all the aspects of the deal before they reach an agreement.

When planning on an important move, a person or a business would want to ensure safety and make sure that everything goes well. This is where you would probably say that you need to cover all your bases. That is, you have to figure out all the details and be prepared for anything that might come up along the way.

Sometimes, a friend of yours is in a serious situation requiring some action but he's doing nothing about it. What you would probably do is urge your friend to focus and take action. Then you might as well tell them, "You know what, you're completely off base if you think this problem will take care of itself. You need to step up to the plate and do something."

On the flip side, isn't it funny how easier it is to spot other people's mistakes than our own? It might be because of our ego or our impaired judgement when we're under the pressure of circumstances. But when you're the one facing a tough situation, it's like a whole new ball game. It's completely different when you have to find a solution for yourself or make an important decision, isn't it?

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Now you can make your own sentences with the expressions in bold and use them in our online conversation. Make single sentences or put your ideas together and write a short story as the one above. Post them here to share with other English students.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The 800-pound Gorilla

Watch the video with the expression 'the 800-pound gorilla' and think of your own examples with it. You can also run a Google search with the phrase to get some ideas and see how it is used.

Daily English and Culture


(*you can double click any word in a post to see its meaning)