Catch Word #123 – Never look a gift horse in the mouth

You can’t always get what you want, but you should appreciate what is given to you. This episode is about accepting what people give you and not being critical, even if it is not exactly what you wanted. We have some very old expressions in English to remind people to be grateful, like never look a gift horse in the mouth. But nowadays, with gift receipts, do you think this proverbs still holds true?


Expressions included in the learning materialshorse

  • Never look a gift horse in the mouth
  • The other day
  • Him or ‘im
  • To be fed up
  • A bonus
  • A gift receipt
  • A delicate balance
  • When in doubt
  • Beggars can’t be choosers
  • To be picky
  • That’s the thing
  • To be set on something
  • It’s better than nothing

Sample transcript:

Maura: OK. Now, today we’re going to do a Catch Word episode, and that is where we look at different expressions, we give you explanations of how to use them, and we also give you examples.

Harp: Exactly. So let’s get started. So today, we’re looking at expressions that talk about appreciating what is offered to you.

Maura: Right. So, some people don’t always appreciate when something is given to them. And so we might use these expressions to remind people that you should just be happy that someone gave you something or offered you something for free.

Harp: Yeah, exactly. You should be thankful and happy when someone offers you something and when someone gives you something.

Maura: Right. The first expression we’re going to look at today is long.

Harp: Yes. The expression is never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Maura: Yes. I’m gonna say that one more time and then maybe you should say it again too, ’cause it’s so long. To never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Harp: Yeah. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Maura: This might be one of the more complicated expressions we’ve talked about, because it’s long and strange.

Harp: Exactly. So, let me say it one more time slowly for you. Never look a gift horse in the mouth.

Maura: So, this expression means that a person should always appreciate what is given to them. It’s usually not very polite to be critical of something that is given to you, like a gift. So whatever the gift is, even if the person doesn’t like it, it should be appreciated.

Harp: Definitely. I agree with that. You know, this expression is actually a proverb, which means that it expresses some general truth. Because, really, if you receive a gift, you should appreciate it. You shouldn’t be critical, you should just say thank you.

Maura: Right. I’m sure we’ve all gotten a gift at some time and we didn’t really like it. But you should still say thank you and show the person that you appreciate it. This expression might be used when a person does not do that. Right? When a person gets a gift and they start looking at it closely and thinking maybe it doesn’t suit them or they don’t really like it, one person might say to not look a gift horse in the mouth, to just appreciate the gift no matter what.

Podcast/Learning Materials: Culips English Podcast