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2008/9/21 Let’s Get Down to Brass Tacks

楼主:nancy 日期: 回贴:0 浏览:

Let’s Get Down to Brass Tacks

                                      Sep 21,2008

一、背景学习资料

Our expression today is “getting down to brass tacks.” It means to get serious about something, to get to the bottom of the situation. For example, a man may say,” I want to work for you, But how much will you pay me?” He is getting down to brass tacks. Or a woman may ask,” You say you love me. Will you marry me?” She, too, is getting down to brass tacks.

我们表述的是“getting down to brass tacks”这个短语。它的意思是对于一些事情的严重性,严肃性的问题要弄清真相。例如,一位男士可能会说“我要为你工作,但你要支付我多少工资?”他正在搞清这个实质问题。或一位女士可能会说“你说你很爱我,那你会和我结婚吗?”,她也是正在搞清这个实质问题。

How did this expression get started? There are several ideas.

刚开始要如何解释这个表示呢?这儿有几种理解。

At one time most women made their own clothes, buying the cloth in small stores. The material was kept in large rolls. And the storekeeper cut off as much as a woman wanted. Brass tacks along his work table helped him measure the exact amount.

曾经大部分的女士都在一个小商店买布自己制作衣服。这些布被缠成一大卷,并且店主会根据一个顾客的需求来裁剪她们想要多少。其实沿着店主的工作台就能帮他量出精确的尺寸。

Sometimes a busy storekeeper might try to guess how much material to cut off. But this would not be correct. He could get an exact measure only by laying the material down along the brass tacks.

有时一个忙碌的店主可能仅仅大概推测剪下多少布料,但这并不是很准确。但应该使用一个实质性的东西来准确测量一下。

One word expert, however, has another theory. He believes the expression came from seamen who cleaned the bottoms of boats. Strong heavy devices called bolts held the ship’s bottom toghter. These bolts were made of copper. The seaman had to clean the ship down to the copper bolts. American speech soon changed the words copper bolts into brass tacks.

一个专家说还有另一种说法,他相信这种表述来自于清理船底的海员。非常坚固沉重的装置用来与船底衔接。这些螺钉是由铜制作的,这不得不由船员们去清理船底下的紫铜螺钉。美国人说马上将这些紫铜钉改为黄铜钉。

Another idea is that the expression began when furniture was made by hand. Brass tacks were used around the bottom part of the chair. The brass tacks, showed that the chair was built to be strong. When something went wrong with the chair, someone quickly examined the bottom to discover the trouble. In other words, someone got down to the brass tacks.

另一概念的表述是当家具还是手工制作时,黄铜钉被用于椅子的底部,这些钉子是为了使椅子做的更坚固,当椅子出现故障时,有人会快速检查底部从而发现问题。也就是说有人会从实质上弄清楚问题出在哪里。

No one is sure where the expression first was used, but everyone is sure what it means today.

没有人确定什么时候开始这样表述的,但每个人都确信是从今天开始的。

It is used by people who dislike empty words. They seek quick, direct answers. They want to get to the bottom of a situation. There are others, however, who have no such desire. They feel there is some risk in trying to get down to brass tacks.

人们不喜欢用一些虚词,他们寻找那些有实质,有直接答案的来使用。他们想把一些事情完全搞清楚,还有其它的一些事情,然而,谁也无法如愿。他们感觉试图把实质问题搞清楚有些冒险。

This happened in the case of a critic who made the mistake of reading a play written by a close friend. The critic disliked the play a lot. He felt his friend should not be writing plays. But he said nothing. This silence troubled the writer. He demanded that his friend the critic say something about the play. The writer finally heard the critic’s opinion. And this getting down to brass tacks ended a long friendship.

当一个作家的好朋友(评论家)在阅读他的剧本时发现了一个问题时,这个评论家并不是太喜欢这个作家的剧本。他感觉他的朋友并不适合写剧本,这种沉默干扰了这位作家,他请求他的朋友这位评论家说一些关于这个剧本的问题。这个作家最终听取评论家的观点,但这最终刨根问底的结果导致了他们长期友好关系的结束。

二、词汇与表达

1. Get down to brass tacks: 讨论实质问题,认真考虑实质问题

2. Get to the bottom of: 弄清真相

3. At one time: 同时,曾经

4. Brass tacks: 基本事实,实质问题

5. Work table: 工作台

6. Bolt: 螺钉,上门闩,逃跑

7. Copper: 铜,警察

8. Copper bolt: 紫铜烙铁

9. Brass: 黄铜

10. Tack: 大头钉

11. Go wrong: v.走错路, 误入岐途, (机器等)发生故障

12. Empty words: 虚词

13. In the case of: ...的情况

三、邀请你参与讨论的

1. One word expert, however, has another theory. He believes the expression came from seamen who cleaned the bottoms of boats. Strong heavy devices called bolts held the ship’s bottom toghter. These bolts were made of copper. The seaman had to clean the ship down to the copper bolts. American speech soon changed the words copper bolts into brass tacks.

一个专家说还有另一种说法,他相信这种表述来自于清理船底的海员。非常坚固沉重的装置用来与船底衔接。这些螺钉是由铀制作的,这不得不由船员们去清理船底下的紫铜螺钉。美国人说马上将这些紫铜钉改为黄铜钉。

 

 

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