Greetings my Czech (and Slovak) friends,
I've recently received a number of requests from people who want to make their English
less formal. So, in this week's article, I will introduce you to a few descriptive
phrases that can be used to "add colour" to your English.
Firstly, let me introduce the expression "I'm afraid that....". This expression has
nothing to do with fear! It is instead expressing a mild regret that some condition
has not been met. For example: "I'm afraid that I have never been to the Czech
Republic" does not mean that I am afraid of to doing so, it is simply a slightly
apologetic way of saying that I have not been there yet. In a similar manner, "I'm
afraid that I cannot drive a car" means only, in a slightly apologetic of regretful
way, that I cannot drive. Etc. The expression can also be used in the future tense:
"I'm afraid that I will have to cancel the order", "I'm afraid that you won't be able
to do that", etc.
Now for something a little more interesting. In English, there are many little
expressions that can be used to "bring alive" your sentences. Some of these
little expressions fall into the following predictable pattern: "as (quality) as
(object)". These are comparisons like "John is as tall as Peter". For example, the
sentence "He is deaf." is not very interesting. I can use a well know little
expression to make the sentence more interesting without changing the meaning:
"He is as deaf as a post!". In a similar manner, "He was drunk." becomes "He was
as drunk as a lord!". "He is blind." becomes "He is as blind as a bat!". Here are
"...as quick as lightning"
"...as light as a feather"
"...as slippery as an eel"
"...as thick as two short planks"
"...as thick as thieves"
"...as hard as nails"
= not heavy
= hard to capture
= an idiot
= fraternal / brotherly (an insult)
Obviously, these are just the well known ones. You can make your own expressions
along these lines, provided that the object you use matches the quality you are
trying to express.
If you have a suggestion for an article, then feel free to contact me at this email address: