In English we use many common expressions which don’t make any sense when you stop to think carefully about them. I offer you five expressions, and you can easily think of others yourself.
Some people see their photo and claim it doesn’t really look like them. Well it is said that “the camera never lies” – but in fact it always lies, for the simple reason that it takes a static two-dimensional picture of a dynamic three-dimensional person. It cannot fail to lie. Even a movie camera lies, when you stop to think about it.
Going abroad is often justified by saying “travel broadens the mind” – but this is only true if a person is already broad-minded. If he’s a narrow-minded bigot, travel to foreign parts will simply entrench his narrow views. Travel will only broaden the seat of his pants.
How many times have you heard “the last straw that broke the camel’s back”? This is obviously nonsense. If this straw did indeed have the strength to break the poor camel’s back, why did the first straw not also break its back? Clearly the back was broken not by a single straw, but by the weight of countless thousands of straws.
Perhaps you have said from time to time “don’t come crying to me” if things go wrong. Yet, this is incredibly bad advice, especially for children. If you get into trouble son, don’t come crying to me.
So, where else should he go? You are a person of some importance to him, and he is already confiding in you about some problem. So the best advice would be, “if things go wrong – come crying to me again and I will help you son”.
My mum always used to say that when you were searching for a lost item, it was “always in the last place you’d look”. Well, this is so obvious that it’s not worth saying. When you search for an item, you check one place after another until at last you find it. Obviously, the item is always going to be in the last place you look, and you would be foolish to continue looking in other places while already holding the item in hand.
No wonder so many foreigners I know have such trouble figuring out the English language !