Revenge of the Bottle Caps

Speak English with Me

Surabhi Pillai

Hi, there! Unless you have visited a dentist, you, I am sure, have not noticed how mean you have been to your teeth. You agree, don’t you? You like take them for granted, as if they are immortal (live forever) and will never see the tray of the dentist. You barely (just about) brush them once a day, open things with your teeth, almost never rinse, put pins and other obnoxious (unpleasant) things inside your teeth.

Until, one fine day, your tooth or teeth (you do know that one is a tooth and more than one are teeth and not teeths) decide to teach you a lesson… You have a mild tooth ache and your friendly neighborhood dentist tells you, in his or her pearly white teeth, “Buddy (friend), we have to extract (remove) it.”

Guess what, it happened to me. And despite the fact that the dentist, Rydhem, and the oral surgeon, Tushar, were fantastic and very gentle, there was nothing in the world that could have prepared me for the fear that I experienced when I saw those horrible pliers coming towards me and the impact of the antibiotics… God that was something else! You have to now just say the word anti… and I run for my toothbrush.

It was gut-wrenching, (extremely unpleasant) inhuman, intolerable, agonizing (painful) and mind altering (changing)… now I know how the bottle caps and several other things treated poorly by  human teeth take their revenge. You would know what I am talking about when (of course ‘when’ and not ‘if’ if you have been mean to your teeth) you see your friendly neighborhood dentist bending over you with his frightening pliers.

So, people maintain the oral hygiene (cleanliness) by brushing your teeth twice a day, rinsing (washing) your teeth after you eat or drink anything other than water and never abusing your teeth by putting weird objects in your mouth. Or else, dentist, impacted, incision, incisor, infection, inflammation, injection, oral surgery, orthodontist and antibiotics will become your everyday vocabulary and will haunt (trouble [pronounced as ‘HONT’ same as ‘WANT’]) you even when are sleeping.

Since I am hung up on teeth today, let le discuss some teeth idioms with you.

  1. Lie through your teeth- not tell the truth and know that what you are saying is completely false

Example: The man lied through his teeth even when the stolen goods were discovered from his room.

  1. (As rare as) hen’s teeth- very unusual or difficult to find

Example: Getting a smile from him is as rare as hen’s teeth.

  1. By the skin of your teeth- only just succeed in doing something

Example: Do you realize that you were saved by the skin of your teeth, can you not drive carefully?

  1. Have teething problems / troubles- have problems at the beginning stages of something

Examples: Look every new project has teething problems, but you must not give up.

  1. A kick in the teeth- (informal) to be treated badly and unfairly by someone, especially at a time when you need his or her support

Example: I always thought that he was a good friend, but his refusal to help me is a kick in the teeth.

Why on earth should you learn idioms? Do they make a difference to the language that you are using? Well, the answer is yes. Idioms and proverbs beautify your language and make it more interesting. Also. Idioms are an important part of every language. Therefore, as a language learner, knowing idioms is useful in at least two ways:

1) The more idioms you know, the more native-like your language will sound;

2) By learning idioms, you learn a lot about the culture of the community speaking the language you are learning.

Bye for now.

Key in a mail to me on: surabhi.pillai@gmail.com

Keep smiling…

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