Sunday, September 30, 2012

"All About Eyes" from VOA





Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

Today’s program is all about eyes. When it comes to relationships, people’s eyes can be a window into their hearts. This means that their eyes can tell a lot about how they feel. We will tell a story about a man and woman who are teachers at the same school. The woman is interested in the man. She uses many methods to catch his eye, or get him to notice her. Once he sets eyes on her, or sees her, she might try to get him interested in her by acting playful. In other words, she might try to make eyes at him or give him the eye.

Let us suppose that this man gets hit between the eyes. In other words, the woman has a strong affect on him. He wants to spend time with her to get to know her better. He asks her out on a date.

She is so happy that she may walk around for days with stars in her eyes. She is extremely happy because this man is the apple of her eye, a very special person. She might tell him that he is the only person she wants, or “I only have eyes for you.”

On their date, the couple might eat a meal together at a restaurant. If the man is really hungry, his eyes might be bigger than his stomach. He might order more food than he can eat. When his food arrives at the table, his eyes might pop out. He might be very surprised by the amount of food provided. He might not even believe his own eyes. If fact, all eyes would be watching him if he ate all the food. This might even cause raised eyebrows. People might look at the man with disapproval.

During their dinner, the couple might discuss many things. They might discover that they see eye to eye, or agree on many issues. They share the same beliefs and opinions. For example, they might agree that every crime or injury should be punished. That is, they firmly believe in the idea of an eye for an eye. They might also agree that it is wrong to pull the wool over a person’s eyes. This means to try to trick a person by making him believe something that is false. But the man and woman do not believe in the evil eye, that a person can harm you by looking at you.

The next day, at their school, the woman asks the man to keep an eye on, or watch the young students in her class while she is out of the classroom. This might be hard to do when the teacher is writing on a board at the front of the classroom. To do so, a teacher would need to have eyes in the back of his head. In other words, he would know what the children are doing even when he is not watching them.

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WORDS AND THEIR STORIES, in VOA Special English, was written by Jill Moss. I’m Faith Lapidus.

Monday, September 10, 2012

"Horse Expressions" from Voice of America



Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

Today, we tell about "horse" expressions. In the past, many people depended on horses for transportation, farming and other kinds of work. A lot of people still like to ride horses. And, horse racing is also popular. So it is not surprising that Americans still use expressions about the animals.

Long ago, people who were rich or important rode horses that were very tall. Today, if a girl acts like she is better than everyone else, you might say she should get off her high horse.

Yesterday my children wanted me to take them to the playground. But I had to finish my work, so I told them to hold your horses. Wait until I finish what I am doing. My two boys like to compete against each other and play in a violent way. I always tell them to stop horsing around or someone could get hurt.

We live in a small town. It does not have any exciting activities to offer visitors. My children call it a one-horse town.

Last night, I got a telephone call while I was watching my favorite television show. I decided not to answer it because wild horses could not drag me away from the television. There was nothing that could stop me from doing what I wanted to do.

Sometimes you get information straight from the horse's mouth. It comes directly from the person who knows most about the subject and is the best source. Let us say your teacher tells you there is going to be a test tomorrow. You could say you got the information straight from the horse's mouth. However, you would not want to call your teacher a horse!

You may have heard this expression: You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink. That means you can give someone advice but you cannot force him to do something he does not want to do.

Sometimes a person fights a battle that has been decided or keeps arguing a question that has been settled. We say this is like beating a dead horse.

In politics, a dark-horse candidate is someone who is not well known to the public. Sometimes, a dark horse unexpectedly wins an election.

Another piece of advice is, do not change horses in midstream. You would not want to get off one horse and on to another in the middle of a river. Or make major changes in an activity that has already begun. In the past, this expression was used as an argument to re-elect a president, especially during a time when the country was at war.

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This VOA Special English program was written by Shelley Gollust. I'm Faith Lapidus. You can find more WORDS AND THEIR STORIES at our website, voaspecialenglish.com