Since getting married nearly two years ago, I had something happen to me for the first time last week. Maybe this has happened to you before too, I'm sure it's happened to many people, and if it has happened to you, then you'll be able to know exactly how I felt. So, on Thursday night, I had officially finished work, but I stuck around at my office just to take care of a few little things before I went home. Throughout the evening, I was texting back and forth with my wife.
We're not one of those couples who constantly text throughout the day. I know some couples are like that, but both of our jobs require us to be away from our phones during some parts of the day, and that means that we're both really slow to reply to texts in general. So, we're not really a texting back and forth all day kind of couple, but on that night, we were actually texting each other back and forth. You know, just little messages like, "Did you finish work yet?" "Are you hungry? What do you want to eat for dinner?"
You know, those kinds of little texts. So, we were texting back and forth and when I was getting pretty close to calling it a day and going home, my wife sent me another text saying that she was going to take our dog, Pinky, out for a walk, and that if the timing was right, maybe I could meet up with them while they were on the walk, and we could all go home together. So, that sounded like a good idea to me, so I shut down my computer and I got ready to leave work.
I washed up the Tupperware containers that I used to pack my lunch and the thermos that I used to transport my daily supply of coffee to the office with me. So, I washed up all of those things, I packed up my bag, and I got ready to go home. Just as I was putting on my jacket, I felt the vibration of my phone in my pocket, alerting me that I had another text. So, I pulled out my phone and I took a look and my wife had sent me just a one sentence message that said, "Something shocking just happened."
My name is Andrew, and this is bonus episode number 44 of the Culips English Podcast. Thanks for clicking play and joining me for this English study session. Today, I'm going to tell you the story of the shocking event that my wife witnessed. And then a little later on at the end of the episode, I'm going to teach you about an important English expression that you'll hear me use today.
I'll go into the details about what it means, and I'll give you some example sentences that will help you to understand how English speakers use the expression so that you can add it to your vocabulary and level up your English speaking and listening skills, at least another little bit.
That's what it's all about, right? Building your understanding of how this weird and wonderful language works, step by step, and along the way, putting in the work, spending time with English so that we can reach that goal. So, I'm proud of you for doing that right now because this is exactly what you need to do to get closer to reaching your goals, and I'm honored that I can ride along and be beside you on this journey.
Speaking of journeys, I think you'll probably agree that the English-learning journey is a long and bumpy ride. And sometimes you might feel like you're lost on that journey. Sometimes you might not know if you should go left or if you should go right up or down. Of course, metaphorically speaking, but you might feel like if you only had a map, well, you'd be easily able to arrive at your destination. But without that map, you're worried that you might be just spinning around in circles.
Well, I've got good news for you because I'm going to share a map with you. At least a map for this part of the trip, for this part of the journey, and you're maybe wondering, "Andrew, what are you talking about?" Well, the map for this part of the journey is our transcript for this episode. It's 100% free, and you can get it for no cost at all. It comes in a PDF file that's perfect for printing out. Or you can view the online interactive version.
The interactive version works great on digital devices and it's totally clickable, which means you can click on any word and hear the audio played from that point again. It's a really cool study tool, so definitely check it out if you haven't done so before. So, to get the transcript, your map for this episode, just visit our website, Culips.com. Let's get back to my story. So, my wife had just texted me that something shocking had happened.
Now imagine if one of your loved ones, maybe your spouse or a sibling, a close friend, or maybe even your child. Someone like that sent you just a one-line text message saying that something shocking had happened. What would your reaction be? I don't know about you, but my mind tends to naturally go to a dark place in that kind of situation. I immediately start thinking about a bunch of worst-case scenarios.
So, I knew my wife was taking our dog Pinky for a walk, so it must have been something that happened outside. So, did she see a car crash? Did another dog attack Pinky? Did some random person come up and attack my wife or the dog? And so on and so on. I had these kind of negative, worst-case scenario thoughts. In English, we have two words that we usually use to talk about unexpected situations that occur out of the blue, suddenly, and without warning.
Those two words are, what are they? Quiz time. What are they? They are surprising and shocking, right? Surprising and shocking. And as an English teacher, I get a lot of questions about these two words. Many people ask me, what is the difference between them? Because they're pretty similar. Actually, do you know?
Do you know what the difference is? If you asked an English native speaker, or maybe they wouldn't even know how to answer that question because from time to time, English speakers actually do use them interchangeably, but there is a nuance and a difference between them. So, let me explain. So, the word "surprising" is more of a neutral term and it generally implies a positive or maybe even a neutral reaction to an unexpected event or unexpected information.
So, for example, if you were to get a gift from a friend, then you might say that was a surprise. Wow, I got a gift. Amazing. I wasn't expecting it. That's a surprise. But on the other hand, "shocking" has a stronger and a more negative connotation. It suggests that the unexpected event or unexpected information is very negative. It's unsettling. It's disturbing or maybe even traumatic. So, for example, imagine that you heard that a close friend of yours suddenly passed away.
That's really, really bad, right? And you would describe that as shocking news. Now when my wife sent me that text message on Thursday, she wrote me in the Korean language. My wife is Korean and often she's too lazy to text me in English, so she'll just write to me in Korean and I'm the same way. I'm too lazy to text in Korean, so I'll just send her text messages in English.
I guess it's not the best habit, it's not great for us when we're trying to practice outputting in each other's languages, but I guess it does help with our reading comprehension, so it works. And maybe if any of you out there who have a partner who speaks a different language than you do, you might do the same thing. I'm sure it's pretty common amongst cross-cultural couples. Anyways, so I thought when I got this text message that maybe something was lost in translation.
Maybe my wife meant that something surprising had happened, and I just interpreted the message in the wrong way. So, I took another look at my phone, and I was wrong. My wife clearly used the Korean word chunggyeok, which is the equivalent of shocking in English. So, I think you can see how my mind then did go to the worst-case scenario, right? Obviously, the first thing I did was to text my wife back right away and try and get some more information to see what happened.
So, as I was waiting for our reply, I left my office, and I started going home right away. A few minutes later, I checked my phone and there was no reply, of course. When you are worried in that situation, the reply never comes, right? So, there was no reply and I started to get a little antsy. And antsy means impatient and nervous.
That kind of feeling you get when you're waiting for someone to reply to a text, but you don't get the answer and you're worried about the reasons why you're not getting an answer because maybe you're concerned that something bad has happened, right? That kind of feeling in that situation we could say is antsy. So, I was antsy. I decided to just call my wife directly. And of course, she didn't answer the phone. Great. So now I was legitimately starting to feel a little bit of panic.
What in the world was going on? So, I picked up my pace and I started to hurry home. And after a minute or two, thankfully I did finally get a text message from my wife. In fact, only a moment had passed when I hadn't heard from her, but it really felt like a long time. Sometimes in those moments of stress our perception of time feels different. So, the text that she sent me when she was replying said, "I'm going to send you a video. Make sure you watch the video with the sound on."
So, I was really confused like, what, you're sending me a video? I have to watch it with the sound on? So, I downloaded the video on my phone, I grabbed my headphones out of my bag, and I loaded up the video. And when it started playing, I could see our dog Pinky walking down the street. So, this is a video that my wife captured while she was walking our dog. And then you could see another dog in the video frame.
And that dog was about the same size as Pinky, just another smallish, medium-sized dog, OK? And Pinky must have not liked this dog too much because his tail was straight up in the air. Now, usually Pinky's a super friendly dog and he wags his tail at every dog or cat, cats too, that he comes across. But this dog, for some reason, must have rubbed Pinky the wrong way and he was standing his ground at full attention.
Now what happened next was the shocking thing that my wife had messaged me about. And you know what? Instead of me telling you, let me just play the video so you can hear the audio and hear this shocking thing for yourself. OK, so that was the shocking thing.
Now maybe you're wondering why is your dog barking so shocking? Well, I kind of agree with you that it's not so shocking and in fact for my wife and I, it was more surprising than anything.
But in a good way, it was a surprise in a good way. Because you see, my wife and I, we adopted Pinky around two and a half years ago, before we even got married, in fact, we got Pinky. He's 16 years old now, and so he was already an old dog when we first got him. We don't know too much about Pinky's life story, but shortly after we got him, we realized that he is completely deaf, and he can't hear anything. We also noticed that he never makes any sounds ever.
Well, sometimes when he's sleeping, he'll make these little audible breathing sounds that are very quiet, but nothing ever like a bark. So, we figured that the two were probably connected, that maybe he didn't bark because he's deaf and he probably can't hear the sound of his own bark. At least that's what we thought. But then on Thursday night, he did suddenly bark at that other dog in the neighborhood, and we learned that he can, in fact, bark. He speaks!
After all this time he finally made a sound. So, when I saw the video, of course, at first, I was relieved. Nothing bad had happened. And then I was thrilled because it was like Pinky had shown us a whole other side of his personality.
And it made me feel reassured that we've been taking good care of Pinky because I was concerned that if there was something that he didn't like us doing, maybe something like the way we brushed him or washed him, something like that, there was no way that he would be able to voice his displeasure because he couldn't bark, he couldn't speak. But now we realize that the whole time he's known how to bark, he just hasn't felt the need to ever do it, to ever bark.
So, my wife said that she watched that video about 20 more times that night, and to be honest, I watched it many times too. And it was really lucky that my wife captured it on film. Like, talk about having your camera out and filming at the right time, right? So, all in all, I got a bit stressed the other night because of my wife's text for really no good reason at all. And in the end, we all walked home together. My wife and I being more surprised than shocked.
As always, we had a busy week here at Culips last week. On Friday, we uploaded a brand-new Real Talk episode about how to apply for a part-time job. I think this episode will be great for those of you who might want to do this in the future in an English-speaking country. This episode features Kassy and myself, and I think it teaches a lot of really valuable and practical vocabulary and expressions for any of you job hunters out there.
So, if you haven't given it a listen yet, then I encourage you to do so. I also met up with two of my co-hosts last week, Suzanne and Anna, and we recorded some new Simplified Speech and Chatterbox episodes. No spoilers, I'm not going to tell you exactly what the episodes were about. I guess I can give you a hint. One is about dancing, and the other is about a work-life balance issue.
So, there's a lot of cool Culips content for you to look forward to in the near future, so please keep your eyes on your podcast feed and they'll be coming out soon.
And now it's time for this week's vocabulary lesson.
At the end of each bonus episode, I like to take just a few moments to teach you about an interesting and useful English expression. Today, let's learn about the idiom: to rub someone the wrong way. To rub someone the wrong way. Actually, I used this expression a little bit earlier when I was talking about my dog Pinky and how he barked at another dog when my wife was taking him for a walk. Why don't we go back, rewind, and listen to that part of the episode just a couple more times so you can hear how I used that expression in context. Here we go.
But this dog, for some reason, must have rubbed Pinky the wrong way.
OK, so now we've heard how I used it in context in this episode, but let's now talk about what to rub someone the wrong way means. So, when we say that someone or something rubs us the wrong way, we mean that it's annoying or it irritates us or bothers us in some way. This idiomatic expression is used to describe a feeling of discomfort or frustration that comes from interacting with someone or something that just doesn't feel quite right to us.
So, when that other neighborhood dog rubbed Pinky the wrong way, it means that that dog annoyed Pinky. Here's another example. Let's imagine you have a friend who's always cutting you off and interrupting you when you're talking. Maybe you're speaking and you're mid-sentence and then suddenly they cut you off or finish your thought for you. And how does that feel? Well, it feels frustrating and annoying, right?
Well, in this case, you could say that your friend rubs you the wrong way because their behavior just is annoying to you. So, in summary, then, the expression to rub someone the wrong way is a great way to describe that feeling of irritation, or annoyance, or discomfort, that can be caused by a variety of things by people or the actions that people do or even just an annoying, frustrating situation.
So, everyone, I really highly recommend adding this expression to your vocabulary because it's really useful for when you want to express your frustration with something in a lighthearted way. I've prepared some example sentences for us to listen to so we can learn how English speakers use this expression, to rub someone the wrong way, naturally. So, let's listen to the example sentences now. Here we go with number one.
Example sentence number one.
I know he's just trying to be funny, but his jokes always rub me the wrong way.
Let's break this example down. In this example, the speaker was talking about a friend or acquaintance that he knows, who is always telling jokes, but the jokes rub the speaker the wrong way. OK so, have you ever been in that kind of situation where somebody is telling jokes, but maybe the jokes are rude, or sexist, or racist, or something and they're not really that funny? They just actually make you feel annoyed.
Well, this is exactly the situation that's happening in this example sentence, and the speaker says that instead of being funny, the jokes were actually kind of rude and annoying, and the jokes rubbed him the wrong way. OK, that's an important distinction. He's not talking about the person who told the jokes, and he wasn't saying that that person was annoying, but rather the jokes rubbed him the wrong way, and the jokes were annoying to listen to and made him feel uncomfortable.
Example sentence number two.
My roommate never cleaned up after herself in the kitchen and that really rubbed me the wrong way. So, I had to move out.
Let's break this example sentence down. In this example, the speaker is talking about an experience from his past when he had a roommate. And that roommate was a terrible roommate. She never cleaned up after herself in the kitchen. So maybe she would cook up a storm, make a huge meal, and dirty up all of the dishes and the pots and pans in the kitchen, but then she wouldn't clean up that mess.
Put yourself in that situation. How would you feel? You probably go crazy. At least I know that I couldn't stand that. That would really, really annoy and frustrate me. It would rub me the wrong way, and it also rubbed the speaker of that example sentence the wrong way. So much so that he had to move out and find a new place to live. So, I guess it was actually a very, very serious problem indeed.
Example sentence number three.
I know he's a popular singer, and I can't exactly say why, but there's something about him I just don't like. I think the sound of his voice just rubs me the wrong way.
Let's break this final example sentence down. In this example, the speaker is talking about a pop singer, and I don't know who it is exactly. We won't name names, but the sound of that singer's voice just rubs him the wrong way. In other words, he finds the sound of that singer's voice just to be annoying or irritating and he doesn't like it very much. It rubs him the wrong way.
We did it! That brings us to the end of another bonus episode for this week. So, thank you so much for listening and studying English with me today. If you're looking for more English lessons to study with this week, then don't worry. We've got you covered. We have hundreds of more lessons that are available on our website, Culips.com, and of course for all Culips members, they come with helpful study guides and full transcripts for all of them.
So, I'm going to go. I actually have to take Pinky for a walk, believe it or not. I hope you have a wonderful week. Take care and I will talk to you again soon, goodbye.
I thought this episode was gonna be something fun or funny story because of the episode name, but it was actually so touching that it almost brought tears to my eyes. Good for your family! I’m glad that Pinky can bark and your wife did record just at the right timing. Thank you for sharing this episode. Hope you and your team have a lovely weekend!
Thanks, Robin! Glad you enjoyed this episode.
Nice one, the expression is useful indeed;) especially when you work in an open space. By the way, I looked up the expression on dictionary and they use it with up.. to rub up someone.. is it makes sense?
That’s a great question. I believe in the UK it’s acceptable to say “to rub someone up the wrong way.” In North America, however, that sounds pretty weird. I would only ever say “to rub someone the wrong way” personally.