Now, Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English.

On this program, we explore common expressions in American English.

On another Words and Their Stories, we went to the high seas to learn about expressions with sharks. Today, we go back into the ocean to explore expressions involving other sea creatures.

Okay, first of all, the ocean is a big place. And a single drop of water in the ocean is nearly nothing. So, when we say something is like a drop in the ocean, we mean it is a very small amount compared to what is needed.
首先,海洋非常庞大。海洋中的一滴水微乎其微。所以当我们谈到什么东西就像是 a drop in the ocean(沧海一粟),我们的意思是跟所需的数量相比,这只是很小的一个数量。

Let's say a high school needs $80,000 to build a new computer laboratory for its students. The school organizes a bake sale – an event held for the purpose of raising money. But on the day of the bake sale, it rains. No one comes because of the weather. By the end of the day, the high school raises only $100. If $80,000 is the goal, $100 is a drop in the ocean.

Here in the U.S., you may also hear the expression drop in the bucket. But a drop in the ocean is much more dramatic.
在美国,你可能还会听到 drop in the bucket(沧海一粟)这种表达。但是 a drop in the ocean 更令人印象深刻。

Another marine animal is the octopus.

These eight-tentacle creatures are full of surprises! Sadly, in spoken English, they do not have a good reputation. In fact, the word "octopus" has at least two not-so-good meanings.
这种拥有八个触角的生物充满了惊奇。遗憾的是,在英语口语中,它们名声不好。实际上,octopus 这个单词至少有两种不好的含义。

An octopus can be a powerful and influential organization with its tentacles reaching far and wide, usually with harmful effects. For example, a multinational corporation that only wants to make money has its tentacles in everything from food production to energy resources.
Octopus 可以指非常强大而有影响力的组织,其涉猎甚广,通常都具有不利影响。例如,一家只想赚钱的跨国组织从食品生产到能源行业均有涉猎。

Also, when a man cannot keep his hands off a woman, we say he is an octopus or has octopus hands. To use this expression, it is important that the woman does not want the attention of the "octopus."

Now, we move on to another unusual sea creature – the eel.

Eels are long and look like snakes. Like octopuses, some people like to eat them. But they are difficult to catch because they are slippery.

And that brings us to another expression.

If someone is slippery as an eel, they are tricky and difficult to catch. We often use this expression as a warning to others. For example, "Watch out for her. She's as slippery as an eel."
如果说某人 slippery as an eel,就是说他们非常狡猾难以捉摸。我们通常将这种表达用作对他人的一种警告。例如,“注意她,她很狡猾。”

Like many terms that compare two things, you can use the first "as" or leave it out. So, it's fine to say "She is slippery as an eel."
像很多比较两种事务的术语一样,第一个 as 可以省略。所以也可以说 She is slippery as an eel。

We would like to end our program today on a happy note. So, here are two positive expressions that come from ocean animals.

This next one sounds very strange. It involves oysters.

Some people consider oysters a delicacy – a rare food that you only eat once in a while. Oysters are great for another for another reason. They make pearls! So, oysters are rare indeed.
And that brings us to our next expression.

When we say "The world is your oyster!" we mean that you are able to make the most out of life. You take every chance given to you and put it to good use.
当我们说 The world is your oyster 时,我们的意思是你能够充分享受人生,你接受每次给你的机会,并很好的利用它。

Language experts say this is one of the many expressions created by the English writer William Shakespeare. He used it in his play The Merry Wives of Windsor.

However, some people use this expression a little differently. It can also mean that you have every chance or opportunity you could possibly want. You have money, skills, ability and freedom to do exactly what you want.

For example, if you have a friend who grew up with extreme wealth, attended the best schools and have parents who are both highly connected in their professional fields, you could say, "The world is her oyster!"
例如,如果你有位朋友生在富贵之家,就读顶级名校,父母和他们的专业领域高度关联,你就可以说:“The world is her oyster(世界尽在她的掌握之中)!”

Where oysters are small and strange looking, whales are huge and majestic. Whales are some of the largest mammals on Earth.

And unlike to octopuses and eels, whales have a very good reputation.

In fact, if something is a whale of a ... thing, it is a very good thing. If you performed very well at work, your boss could say you did a whale of a job.
实际上,a whale of a... 是用来形容很好的事物。如果你工作表现很好,你的老板就能说,你工作做得很棒(a whale of a job)。

"A whale of" something can also mean it's very big. For example, if you have a really big project to do, you could say you have a whale of a project.
A whale of 还能形容非常巨大的东西。例如,如果你有一个大项目在做,你可以说,you have a whale of a project。

Americans also use the expression "to have a whale of a time." This simply means to have a really good time.
美国人还使用to have a whale of a time这种表达,意思是玩得特别开心。

You might hear or read this expression, but we have other ways to say it. For example, if someone asks me how a party was, I could say, "It was a blast!" or "I had an awesome time!"
你可能听过或看到过这种表达,但是我们还有另一种说法。例如,如果有人问我聚会咋样啊,我可以说,“非常震撼(It was a blast)!”或是“我玩得非常愉快(I had an awesome time)!”

And I've had a whale of a time bringing you this Words and Their Stories. After all, when you do something you love as a career, the world is your oyster!

I'm Anna Matteo.