Catch Word #162 – A train wreck

We all make mistakes, but some mistakes are bigger than others. In this episode, Andrew and Harp talk about serious mistakes and failures. Join them as they explain and discuss three expressions that are used to describe errors and mistakes.


Expressions included in the Learning Materialstrainwreck

  • Different shades of something
  • A train wreck
  • Compound nouns
  • Quick
  • Sloppy
  • Cringeworthy
  • To sing your heart out
  • Not to have the heart to do something
  • To eat it
  • A tweet
  • To be in hot water
  • Fail/a fail

Sample transcript:

Harp: All right, well let’s get started with today’s episode. Today we’re doing a Catch Word episode, and that’s where we look at some expressions that are related. We explain them and we give you examples of how to use them.

Andrew: And today’s episode is a very fitting topic for our conversation about broken cellphones because today we are discussing expressions that are used when something goes wrong.

Harp: Yes. These are expressions all related to when you make a mistake or when someone else makes a mistake.

Andrew: Yes. These three expressions are all related and they all are used to talk about failure, but they’re a little bit different. Each one has a different shade of meaning, so we will describe those meanings as they come up. But for now, let’s start with the first expression, which is a train wreck.

Harp: A train wreck.

Andrew: Yes. A train wreck. Harp: Yes. A train wreck. And this word might sound a bit weird to you but it’s two words. It’s a compound noun. It’s train wreck.

Andrew: Mmhmm. So two words, train and wreck, put together and it makes train wreck. And now what a train wreck is literally is a train crash. Wreck is another word for crash. So when we talk about something as being a train wreck, we mean it’s a total failure. It’s a total disaster.

Harp: Yeah, so a train wreck is when something is a complete failure. Let’s say for example if someone is working on a report for school and it’s just horrible; it’s not written well and it’s just not right. It’s a train wreck.

Andrew: And the reason why we call this type of mistake a train wreck is because if you think about two trains on a track, if they’re going in opposite directions and they’re coming towards each other, they’re going to crash. It’s gonna be a mistake. The trains cannot slow down quick enough to avoid the crash, and so they smash into each other. And this is why we call a mistake a train wreck.

Harp: Yes. So it can be a thing. As I said, a report can be a train wreck. But it can also be used to describe someone. So when someone is a train wreck, they’re just making a lot of mistakes, they’re really a failure in life.

Andrew: That’s right. So, this expression has two different meanings that are pretty closely related. Like you said, a thing that is a train wreck is just a big failure, like a project. But if a person is a train wreck, it means their life is out of control.

Harp: Exactly. I think we should give some examples with a train wreck for a thing and a train wreck for a

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