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To go straight to the point or to come to the point to


speak directly about the matter being discussed and stop talking about unimportant and less important matters

He was silent for a minute or two. Then he went straight to the point. "Have you come to a decision, Linnet?" (A. Chr.) Having settled his guest in a chair, the actor went straight to the point. "I'm not going to beat about the bush, " he said. (A. Chr.)


I wish Fleur didn't always go straight to the point. (J. G.)

As I was in a hurry I asked him to come to the point at once. (A. W.)

not to beat about the bush to concentrate on the main subject; not to ramble around without ever getting to the point

to beat about the bush to talk about everything except the most important point; to talk round a subject; approach a subject in a roundabout and evasive way

Not to beat about the bush, I have reason to

believe that that sweet and innocent lady is

being slowly poisoned. (A. Chr.)

Having settled his guest in a chair the actor

went straight to the point. "I'm not going to

beat about the bush, " he said. (A. Chr.)

"I didn't see any point in beating about the bush, "

said Skeffington. (C. S.)

He spoke bluntly, aware that it was no use to

beat about the bush. (A. Chr.)

to come (get) down to brass tacks to stop discussing general principles, plans, etc. and turn attention to practical details

I haven't got all the afternoon to waste. It's time we got down to brass tacks. (C. S.) He looks as if he had plenty of determination but when you come down to brass tacks he has no backbone. (S. M.)

to say (have) one's say to state one's views; to express one's opinion

You have said your say; I am going to say mine. (Ch. D.)

Winifred, a woman of strong character, let him have his say, at the end of which he lapsed into sulky silence. (J. G.)

4 B. B. 97


Plain speaking also implies the use of firm language. In

this case the following phrases are common:

not to mince matters (words) to speak plainly or

bluntly

I didn't mince matters, but told him plainly

I thought him a scoundrel. (D. E. S.)

You can recall for yourself, Harthouse, what

I said to him. I didn't mince the matter with

him. (Ch. D.)

Oh, I am not going to mince words for you.

I know you thoroughly. (O. W.)

He spoke with fire and conviction, mincing no

words in his attack upon the slaves and their

morality and tactics... (V. L.)

Not to pull one's punchesis used with the same meaning.

Mrs. Tyson had turned very white. "You don't pull your punches, do you?" she murmured. "But it may be different with Hugo. Yes!" she exclaimed turning on me with glittering eyes. (L. A.) I didn't pull my punches. (W. B.)

to tell a person straight that... to say forcibly and firmly to him that... Also: to give it him straight.

I told him straight that I didn't want him around

the place any longer. (W. B.)

Well, she's never coming here again, I tell you

that straight. (S. M.)

I'll give it to you straight, Savina. We're stuck

for another year. (M. W.)

to speak one's mind to say plainly what one thinks

"At any rate, " she burst out, "I've spoken my

mind!" (A. Chr.)

You don't mind my speaking my mind this way,

dear? (J. L.)

On an occasion of this kind it becomes more

than a moral duty to speak one's mind. (O. W.)


To draw a person outis colloquial for to encourage him to talk.

After dinner mamma undertook "to draw him out" and showed him photographs. (S. L.) She knew how to draw people out and whenever a topic seemed to be exhausted she had a remark ready to revive it... (S. M.)

To talk about or discuss one's business or profession in non-professional hours is: to talk shop.

Don't let's talk shop out of hours, Ellis. It can wait. Tomorrow is also a day. (C. S.) Please can I see you again? I don't always talk shop. (A. C.)

to talk through one's hat to talk irrelevantly or without knowledge; to talk nonsense

You're talking through your hat. You're crazy. What's got into you anyhow? (Th. D.) "I wasn't talking through my hat!" protested Bing. "I mean it, Lieutenant." (S. H ) Many of our politicians are paid £ 400 a year for talking through their hats. (A. W.)

Now you're talking!implies that what you said before was irrelevant but now you're talking sensibly and cogently.

Higglns. How much?

The Flower Girl (coming back to him triumphant). Now you're talking! I thought you'd come off it when you saw a chance of getting back a bit of what you chucked at me last night. (B. Sh.)

Queen Ann is dead!is an ironical answer to a person imparting old news.

Talk about Queen Ann being dead! Talk about news with whiskers on! (B. R.)

4* 99


To break the newsis to impart bad news only. If it's good news one simply tells it to someone.

Couldn't you have broken the news more gently? you've nearly killed him. (J. F.) The minister is to break the news to you. He'll be here presently. (B. Sh.)

To butt in (cut in)is colloquial for to interrupt a conversation; to interfere in a conversation.

How would he have liked it if I'd kept butting in when he was talking? (N. C.) Ihope I'm not butting in, but you must let me say how much I admire your business-like capacity. (A. Chr.)

Excuse me, miss, for buttin' in that way. (V. L.) "Think of the credit for you, " Andrew cut in quickly. (A. C.)

to answer (a person) back to give a rude answer; to be impolite; to reply impudently

Mary, Mary, don't answer your father back! It's dreadful to hear you speak up to him like that ... (A. C.)

Common phrases for introducing some topic (remark) into a conversation or discussion are by the way... incidentally ... talking of ... that reminds me ...They may be similarly used and usually refer to something the speaker has just thought of.

By the way, you know there are still two more people to come. Your friends the Nixeys. (V. P.) "Incidentally, " said Coot, "haven't you got on the track of these pictures from the Papoulis collection yet?" (V. L.)

"Talking of servants, " said Mr. Smith, when he had applauded the cook. "I suppose that detective fellow told you what Peter had been?" (V. L.) Ah! That reminds me I want some money. (B. Sh.)


to broach the idea (subject, matter, etc.) to begin to talk about it; to open a subject of discussion

I had been turning over an idea in my head, and I felt that the moment had now come to broach it. (A. Chr.)

Iknew that if I did not quickly broach the subject on my mind, this terrible emotion would conquer me. (A. C.)

to keep the ball rolling to prevent the conversation (or the excitement, amusement) from flagging

Whenever our conversation began to flag, it was Mr. Aungiers who kept the ball rolling by telling some amusing episode from his life. (K. H.) Dinner that evening was strangely quiet. Faynes did his best to keep the ball rolling, with the help of his host, but Hetty was very thoughtful, Dassy sad, and Ned preoccupied. (V. L.)

Phrases dealing with discussion include the following: to talk (things) over to discuss something in a friendly manner

He's leaving England in a day or two, and there are several things we have to talk over. (J. P.) Come now, Nurse Lloyd, don't misunderstand me. Suppose we talk this over together in the front room. (A. C.)

He was going to talk over one or two points with Dr. Maverick this evening. (A. Chr.) Bring along your young man and let me have a look at him and we'll talk this over. (A. Chr.)

to thrash (thresh) something out to discuss it thoroughly; to clear up (a problem, etc.) by discussion

"Let us thresh the matter out, " said Chaffery,

crossing his legs. "Let us thresh the matter out."

(H. W.)

At four o'clock, when it was all over, Andrew

threshed the matter out with Gill and Hope

in Gill's room. (A. C.)

You must stop to supper and you and I must

thresh these things out. (H. W.)


A huddleis colloquial for a confidential discussion, and to go into a huddleis to discuss privately.

Then the foreman said something about tackle, and the two teams went into a huddle to discuss it. (C. N.)

And I don't want a lot of so-called experts goin' into a huddle and pulling me round in circles, (A. C.)

to get together to meet in friendly discussion; to confer

Look here, old man, we've got to get together again. Soon. I can't get over it. (A. C.) Then we'll get together and go through all this material and try to make some sense of it. (M. W.) Let's get together on this thing. (M. W.)

To put heads togetheris similarly used with the meaning to consult together; to meet in friendly discussion; to deliberate.

You didn't put your heads together as to what you would say to us? (J. G.) If we put our heads together, we may find a solution. (D. E. S.)

She added: "We've been putting our heads together." "Have you?" (C. S.)

to weigh (discuss) the pros and cons to balance the points in favour with those against

We must always weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether to invest our money or to let it stay in the bank. (W. B.) He's weighing up the pros and cons. He's going to do the best for himself. (C. S.)

An irrelevant topic in the discussion or conversation is said to be beside the point.

There was a silence. Linnet controlled herself with an effort and said in a cold voice: "All


this is quite beside the point!" "No, it is not beside the point." (A. Chr.)

"Don't let's argue about that, Leo, " I said quietly. "It's beside the point, anyhow." "No, it isn't, " he cried. (J. P.)

Here is proverbial comment on advisability of consultation and discussion:

Two heads are better than one.(Two persons in consultation may find the right answer to a problem.)

To turn to Hilary was second nature with him and surely, in such a task two heads were better than one! (J. G.)


 



TIME AND OPPORTUNITY


Time flies, how time flies, time does flyare colloquial

comments on the rapid flow of time. They often imply:

time passes quickly so don't waste it.

Some colloquial phrases that express the idea of quickness

are:

in no time (in less than no time) very soon; very

quickly

"You'll be sick of that in no time." I don't think so." (J. G.)

There's a sergeant I was doing business with he promised he would have me out of jail in no time. (S. H.)

She was back in no time with a tray ... (A. C.) ... and then, in less than no time, off you drowse to sleep ... (S. L.)




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