[The most recent one is at the bottom.]
EXPRESSIONS I REALLY DO WISH I WAS TAUGHT AT SCHOOL
I am a professional translator… how many of those of you who read my blogs actually interact regularly with someone who does what I do? What I really mean by this is, when I’m not doing translation work for clients, I do what I can to establish and reinforce my own credibility as an authority on language, and not just in terms of theory, but in terms of language in reality / actual practice. In my case, when I write these blogs, I don’t really expect to be credited as a fully-fledged professional translator to be taken seriously merely for, for example, being able to explain the pluperfect subjunctive in French, which I had the privilege of being able to learn, even if it were strictly in layman’s terms and I made a point of adopting a humble approach with it.
No, you see: yes, I have some quite clear memories about my school years, and these of course include moments where I truly shone as far as my academic studies were concerned. Back then I certainly acknowledged how my teachers were always impressed by my progress in my foreign languages studies, although I was also frequently commended for what I delivered in the subject of English as well (such as story writing).
Well, I no longer take English lessons at school ever since I pursued higher education and entered the world of work. Many years later… I’m not doing too badly, and, like most people, generally I express myself confidently enough and don’t really think I have a problem of lack of vocabulary by any means, but I am aware that being reminded of that is definitely not the answer to every problem I experience in my life. Try to understand this: what follows is a list of expressions in English I know today but didn’t back then, which I regret; this is because I believe they could have helped me to be… well, smarter and more confident and aware of reality a whole lot earlier in my life had I learned them back then. These include both individual terms and regularly used phrases. For example, the first one indicates humility, does it not?
Even if I do say so myself
Don’t take my word for it
The gloves are off
Straw man argument
In nothing else but name / in name only
The die is cast (and, by association, fait accompli)
Dutch courage (with apologies to brave Dutch people)
“I don’t blame you”
“I wouldn’t put it past him / her / them”
Provocation, and other permutations of the word
The expression “shit just got real” – hardly the most vulgar use of a swear word
The difference between “shameful” and “shameless”
The actual meaning of the word “empathy”, and how it differs from that of “sympathy”
Useful idiot (and one who is a “useful idiot” is not necessarily someone who has allowed themselves to be used by someone else – and I should have properly understood the expression “to use someone” a lot earlier than I actually did, as well)
And the word “suggest” is not always used in the sense of someone essentially saying “how about this?”, such as I used to be inclined to view it. The facts of a given situation can suggest things, too – which is pretty much the point I have tried to make. This is what is capable of encouraging people to believe things which are not true, nay non-existent, and depending on the particulars of any given case it may prove detrimental. I mean, isn’t this the basis of gaslighting? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQVPmLKOzGI