Archive for February 6th, 2011

February 6, 2011

Everybody and his brother

This is a widely used expression that isn’t hard to understand – so it is probably intuitively in most people’s passive vocabulary.  It is, however, a good phrase to move from passive to active vocabulary as it is a widely used casual expression: “everybody and his brother”.

Everybody and their brother went shopping on the weekend, pic: telegraph.co.uk

The expression means really everybody, absolutely everybody, not just most people but truly, undoubtably everybody (at least everybody that matters).  In a negative sense it implies that there too many people were involved/present or people who did not belong.

A similar, albeit less frequently used expression is: everybody and his uncle.

So here are a couple of examples:

Positive:

“You have to come to this party, everybody and his brother will be there.  No way you can’t miss it!”

Negative:

“I am so tired of these planning meetings.  Everybody and their brother shows up and wants to have a say in the final decision.”

 

 

February 6, 2011

Cards on the table

Daniel Craig putting the cards on the table, pic: guardian.co.uk

I needed another excuse to post a picture of Daniel Craig in a tux and so “putting your cards on the table” seemed as good an idiom as it gets having Casino Royal in mind.

Besides 007 putting his straight flush on the table to beat Le Chiffre the idiom has a different, however related meaning.  Putting your cards on the table means to truthfully say what you know or think, to clearly state what you say, think, plan to do.

The origin, unsurprisingly, comes from card games where laying your cards open is an act of honesty and truthfulness – albeit not a very advisable one if you plan on winning.

An example:  “Let me put the cards on the table here, I know you want to get married soon but I am not ready yet.”