Play It By Ear – Popular English Expression



In this episode I teach a few more English expressions, such as To Play By Ear, plus a couple of new words to expand your vocabulary. Enjoy :)


Hola muchachos! You are listening to English Made Simple, episode #61, numero sesenta y uno.
Hello from sunny Melbourne, thank goodness today was sunny, it’s still chilly though.
My name is Milena from, in Spanish it is
Ha! Chilly. Chilly is another word for Cold or Freezing, chilly weather or nippy weather. It was a little bit nippy this morning, meaning it was chilly.

When I went to Chile last year, my friends would often joke and say:

Hey Milena, Is it chilly in Chile? They thought it was a funny joke. Hmmm don’t think so!
Wow we just started this episode and already you are learning new words! How cool is that? I bet you didn’t know about the words chilly and nippy. These two words are good to know to show off your vocabulary. Not many English learners know about these words, but they often spoken by native speakers.

Alrighty, by now you will have received an email from me about my YouTube channel. I know that there are people out there that prefer to listen to podcasts via YouTube. So there are now more options for you guys to listen to the podcast is still available on iTunes, if you have an iphone, if you have any other phone you can listen to it on the Stitcher app, Soundcloud, Deezer, Player FM, Podcast Addict, you can listen to it on my website, it’s almost everywhere. Enjoy it guys!

Righto, so welcome amigos to today’s Short and Sweet episode. We are going to play it by ear in this today’s episode. I want to introduce you to a couple of new English expressions, well, maybe 1 or 2 or 3 or 4, I don’t know I didn’t count them haha – The first one being Play It by ear. I’ve just used it now.

Frankly, I do use this expression quite often, I use it when I have too many options and I can’t decide about something. For example, if I am out with friends and let’s say we want to go out to a restaurant, and we can’t decide where to go. I would say something like, well let’s meet at the station first and then play it by ear.

Basically, we will make a decision once we meet, we don’t have to plan ahead. We will improvise, that’s another explanation I guess or Spanish improvisár – improvise, improvisár – wow I don’t need to translate this one. It’s quite straight-forward.

I’ve decided to improvise today. Let’s play it by ear.

The expression came from the world of Music. When a musician plays it by ear, it means that he or she is not reading the notes, not looking at the music sheet, he or she play is from memory and uses his or hers ears to hear if the music sounds right or not. To play it by ear.

Excellent, easy peasy lemon squeezy. I recommend you practise this expression, it will come in handy. Come in handy is another expression, meaning useful or practical. It will be useful for you to know this expression. It will come in handy.

What I really wanted to find is an expression that uses the words such as meaning or to mean since we started talking about this word in the last episode. But I just couldn’t think of any, and I don’t use any expressions with the word meaning.

But I do use something that contains the word MEANS. And the word ‘means’ means a way, method, process and similar. In the last episode, I used the expression “The end justifies the means”.

So this word Means…

Well there is another saying, or I wouldn’t call it a saying it’s almost like a linking phrase. This phrase is By All Means. I don’t know if you have heard of this one….We use it when we want to give permission, instead of saying Yes Certainly or Of Course, Claro Que Si! We can say By All Means.

It is a response to a request or a question.
For example: Can I borrow your book? And the other person replies: Yes by all means! Or just say: By all means, be my guest.
I just added that bit about…Be my guest. It means, you are welcome to take the book.
Following me so far amigos? Cool.

I can hear someone thinking oh but Milena: is this the same as saying BY ANY MEANS.
No, it’s not the same.

“By any means necessary” is another expression meaning – you will try any way, use any type of method to achieve your goal. It means, you will try every single thing until one thing works.
For example, John would succeed in his career by any means necessary. He will try everything he can in his power to be successful.

Cool bananas!

And lastly, what does the expression Meant To be or Meant For mean. Well, it’s to do with destiny.
For example, I am going to use Grand Hotel as the example, the telenovela from Spain Espana, Julio likes Alicia. Julio is in looove.

Julio and Alicia are meant to be together. They are destined to be together, meaning they will end up being together at the end of the show.

OR simply say:

It’s meant to be. They are meant to fall in love and they are meant to be together. Someone up there in the universe has decided that Julio and Alicia are destined to be together. They are meant to be.

I think we had enough of cheesy examples from Spanish telenovela.

Amigos y amigas, thank you for listening to this week’s short and sweet episode. Hope you have a good rest of the week! Until next time! Hasta la proxima!

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