Butter up 阿諛奉承

The script of this programme 本節目台詞

(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. 我的房東今晚要過來,我租房子的合同下個月就要到期了,所以我想趁她來的時候討好討好她,希望再簽合同的時候別漲價。

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. 其實短語 butter someone up 的意思是討好、巴結一個人,以便日後能從這個人那兒得到點兒好處。

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: 在美式英語裏,我們用短語 in a jam 來表達某人遇到困難,陷入窘境。這裏的 jam 和我們吃的那種 jam 可是兩回事兒啊。

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

Feifei: Bye!