Archive for November 18th, 2010

November 18, 2010

What goes around comes around

“What goes around comes around” is another very useful expression that isn’t easily understood by taking a literal approach.  It basically means that a person’s actions – both good and bad – will at some point in the future have consequences for that person.  It is implied that good actions will have good consequences and bad actions bad consequences.

What goes around comes around, pic: http://www.spanishdict.com

It can be used in a positive sense but more often it is used to describe a situation where a bad deed/behavior comes back to haunt a person.  As such it is similar in concept to the word karma.

Example 1, negative action:

Person 1: “When Steven  ran his own company he was super-demanding, always expecting people to work overtime and come in on the weekends.  Now he is an employee himself and has to work crazy long hours.”

Person 2: “Serves him right.  What goes around comes around.”

Example 2, positive action:

“Mary has been very engaged in her church group for many years, helping sick people, working with kids.  Now that she fell sick her group is really supporting her, bringing meals, running errands, helping with house work.”

“That’s great.  I am always saying: ‘what goes around comes around.'”

November 18, 2010

Of mountains and molehills

A mole is a small animal digging tunnels underground and in the process piling up a small amount of soil, the molehill.

Making a mountain (or here rather a hill) out of a molehill, pic: http://www.wellho.net

Somebody who makes a mountain out of a molehill is somebody who greatly exaggerates the severity of a  situation, making problems sound bigger than they are and/or dwell on a problem after it no longer is a problem.

It is a common and commonly understood expression which traces its roots back to ancient Greece where the the following phrase was used” make an elephant out of a fly”  which means the exact same thing.  That expression in a pretty literal translation (“aus einer Muecke einen Elefanten machen”) is still used in German to express the same concept.

Here is an example:

“My colleague Jenny is very mean, the hates me and is secretly plotting to get me fired.  The other day I saw her glancing at me and then walking into the boss’ office with an evil smile.”

“Really, I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill, she probably just accidentally looked in your direction on her way to the boss’ office.