Making it big

“Heard you went for a housewarming party yesterday. Whose was it?”

“Sheela’s dad. He has bought a huge house in a fancy gated community.”

“How did that happen? Isn’t he an ordinary schoolteacher? I mean…”

“Ever since winning the lottery over six months ago, he’s moved up in the world.”

“Moved up in the world? Does it mean he’s become an important person?”

“When you say that someone has moved up in the world, what you are suggesting is that his social status has gone up. It could be because the person is making more money than before. Our neighbours have really moved up in the world.”

“I know. They have bought four expensive cars in the past year. How about his example? Once I get a job, I will move up in the world.”

“Sounds good. The British tend to say ‘go/come up in the world’. With the talent Sheela has, it won’t surprise me if she comes up in the world very quickly.”

“How is Sheela? Is she happy to be back with her old company?”

Complaints galore

“She is. But her new boss doesn’t let her experiment like the old one did. Doesn’t give her the same amount of freedom. That’s her main gripe.”

“Main gripe? Does it mean the main reason she’s angry with her new boss?”

“No, it doesn’t. The word ‘gripe’ is frequently used in informal contexts to mean ‘complaint’. The children’s only gripe was they didn’t spend enough time with the puppy.”

“My mother’s gripe is I don’t help around the house all that much.”

“It’s also possible to use the word as a verb. When you ‘gripe’ or ‘gripe about’ something, you complain about something constantly — the person listening to you finds it rather irritating. Das always gripes about the traffic.”

“My classmates and I gripe about the amount of homework we have to do every day.”

“Our watchman griped that he wasn’t being paid enough.”

“My neighbour was griping about the fact that he missed last week’s lunar eclipse. Wasn’t it fantastic?”

“I missed it too, I’m afraid. I was tired that day and I went out like a light.

“So, you were busy fixing the fuse?”

“Fixing the fuse? No, no, no. ‘Go out like a light’ is used in informal contexts to mean to fall asleep quickly. For a change, the baby was out like a light, by nine.”

“I go out like a light whenever I have to study for a physics test.”

“The expression can also be used to mean ‘to lose consciousness’. The hero goes out like a light when the villain punches him.”

“My friend went out like a light when he banged his head against the wall. I had better go. I have to prepare for tomorrow’s test.”

“Why are you spending so much time studying for the test? I’ve never seen you…”

“It’s going to be given more weightage than the two we had earlier.”

“Why is the teacher giving this test more weight than the other…”

“Ask the teacher. All I know is that this test is going to have more weightage.”

“Do you that know that ‘weightage’ is a word we Indians have coined? Not all dictionaries list it. Native speakers usually say, ‘weight’. The test will be given more weight….”

“Right now, I’m worried about the test. I don’t really care what native speakers say.”


Sleeping is no mean art: for its sake, one must stay awake all day.
Friedrich Nietzsche

The author teaches at the English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad. [email protected]

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