April 29, 2008

#01-104: Jiminy Speak - Part II: Encouragement and Scolding

black-and-white graphic of a large winged insect sitting in a chair near someone's bed
"The Talking Cricket" in the book on which Disney's film was based

Note: As Pinocchio's conscience, it was Jiminy's job to encourage him to do well, and scold him when he did wrong. Let's learn some more "hip" expressions!

Get Ready: What are some expressions you use to encourage your friends to "do the right thing," or to warn them when they seem to be doing wrong?

In Lesson #01-103, I shared some expressions used by Jiminy Cricket, the main character's "conscience" in the Disney film Pinocchio. Here are a few more.

As Pinocchio's guide, Jiminy Cricket must encourage him when he does something good. Here are some encouraging words:

  1. Attaboy: A fast-talking way of saying "That's the boy," meaning, "You have shown yourself to be the boy I knew you were" or something similar. It can also be used of girls ("Attagirl"), but never for men, women, dogs, etc.

  2. Now you're talkin'!: Literally means, "Now you're saying what I want to hear," but can be used even for actions or other non-verbal achievements. You are running a race, and as you pull ahead of the others, one of your friends shouts, "Yeah! Keep going! Now you're talkin'!"

  3. That's the stuff: There may be a word or two missing: "That's the right stuff," or "That's the stuff I want to see." It means you're doing your best.

Let's put these three together, and add a couple more. You have just won a gold medal at the Olympics, and you can hear all of your friends shouting as the judges hand you your medal: "Attaboy! Way to go! Now you're talking! We knew you could do it! That's the stuff! WOOHOO!"

OK, enough excitement. Here are two milder expressions of approval, which can be applied to anything, not just people:

  1. Say, that's pretty swell: "Swell" is an old-fashioned word meaning "good" or maybe "great." To say something is "pretty swell" is on the level of "not bad." "My new apartment is pretty swell."

  2. What they can't do these days: This is mild wonderment at the progress of technology. Your friend shows you the Internet connection on his iPhone, and you say, "Hmmm, what they can't do these days."

Here are some of Jiminy's scolds:

  1. Enough's enough: When something has reached the limit, we might say, "That's enough." To make it even stronger, "Enough is enough." So if your friend is teasing you and you don't like it, say (strongly): "Cut it out! Enough's enough!"

  2. You better come clean: To "come clean" is to tell the (whole) truth. Pinocchio is telling lies (this is when his nose grows) and Jiminy tells him to "come clean": tell the truth.

  3. Break it up: This is a boxing idiom; sometimes two fighters cling to each other, and the referee has to separate them, telling them to "break it up." We might use this when two people are arguing: "OK, you two, break it up. Talk nice to each other."

Well, that's it. I hope you learned something from Jiminy Cricket!


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talking_Cricket

Practice: Use one of the above expressions in each of the following sentences. Two of the expressions suit one of the sentences (that is, one sentence has two answers).

  1. Stop telling me these stupid jokes! __________!
  2. What? You've changed your mind and are going to take me to Paris after all? __________!
  3. I heard you like to read books. __________.
  4. What? You can edit movies right in your phone? __________!
  5. I don't care who took whose cookie, just talk nice to each other. __________!
  6. You got the new job? __________!
  7. I need to know exactly what you did. __________!

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for April 29, 2008

This lesson received 209 visits on my old site between March, 2012, and July, 2021.

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice:
    1 f Enough's enough!
    2 b Now you're talkin'!
    3 d Say, that's pretty swell.
    4 e What they can't do these days!
    5 h Break it up!
    6 a Attaboy! OR c That's the stuff!
    7 g You better come clean!