Butter up 阿谀奉承

The script of this programme 本节目台词

(Feifei and Finn bump into each other at the supermarket)

Finn: Hello Feifei. I didn't know you shopped at this supermarket, too.

Feifei: Hi Finn. Usually I don't. But it's close to the office and I have to rush home to welcome an important guest.

Finn: Mmmm, who is it? Someone I know?

Feifei: No, it's my landlady. 我的房东今晚要过来,我租房子的合同下个月就要到期了,所以我想趁她来的时候讨好讨好她,希望再签合同的时候别涨价。

Image caption Many idioms are inspired by food

Finn: I see what you mean. So you'd better butter her up then!

Feifei: Butter? Oh, yes. But I'm a really bad cook. If I baked a cake, it would probably be horrible…

Finn: I don't mean butter for a cake. In English when you say you'll 'butter someone up', you mean you'll be especially nice to them in the hope they'll do something good for you in return.

Feifei: Oh, I see. 其实短语 butter someone up 的意思是讨好、巴结一个人,以便日后能从这个人那儿得到点儿好处。

Finn: Yes, you're right - it can have a negative connotation. Let's hear some examples of how to use 'to butter someone up' or 'to butter up someone', which are today's expressions in Authentic Real English.

  • Johnny: I was very impressed with your presentation, Mrs Beany. You are really intelligent and perceptive and…Mrs Beany, the boss: Don't waste your time buttering me up, Johnny. I'm not raising your salary anytime soon.
  • The director was always ready to butter up Angelina Jolie. He knew she was looking for her next role and he wanted her in his movie.

Feifei: Oh, look. It's 6pm already. I'm very late. I might not be on time to meet my landlady and she will be angry with me. She's a very busy woman.

Finn: Mmmm… then you're in a jam!

Feifei: Jam?!

Finn: Yes.In English you say someone 'is in a jam' when you mean they're in a difficult situation – but that's a different kind of jam!

Feifei: 在美式英语里,我们用短语 in a jam 来表达某人遇到困难,陷入窘境。这里的 jam 和我们吃的那种 jam 可是两回事儿啊。

Finn: That's right. It's an expression for another day. Bye!

Feifei: Bye!