1 消除谈话障碍/Smooth talk
We own a small foreign car, the hinges of which are exposed to the weather and sometimes squeak. One day I was oiling the hinges when our landlord walked by. “What are you trying to do?" he asked. "Take the foreign accent out of it?"
2 母亲最知情/Mother knows best
Conversation between a mother and her child:
"Can I have a chocolate-chip cookie?"
"How do you ask?"
"May I have a chocolate-chip cookie?"
"What do you say?"
"May I please have a chocolate-chip cookie?"
"No. It's too close to supper."
Although my mother, a native of Japan, has lived for 55 years in the United States, she has not adapted completely to the cultural change. This is especially obvious during her infrequent forays into a large city.
One day she boarded a bus in Los Angeles, deposited a $5 bill in the coin box and held out her hand for change. Because the coin box is not built to accept paper money, the bus driver growled: “Okay, lady. If you get that bill out, you can ride for free. Otherwise we're going to have to dismantle this coin box."
My mother hesitated a moment, then opened her purse, took out a pair of chopsticks, retrieved the bill and smiled as she took her seat.
4 两全齐美/Help for two
Early one morning, my next-door neighbor set to work with a power hedge-trimmer. He was half through the job when a neighbor appeared, still in his pajamas. He was carrying his own power clipper and offered his help, which was gratefully accepted. When the job was done, my neighbor thanked his benefactor, commenting that it had been "a real neighborly act".
"Don't mention it, "replied the other man. "I figured, by helping you, it would only take half as long and I could get back to sleep!"
5 免费!/No charge!
Driving through the hill country of Texas, just north of San Antonio, we watched the sky turn a brilliant orange at sunset. At my wife's pleading, we stopped and walked up a hill, which turned out to be the top of a cliff. Before us lay the picturesque postcard setting we had been looking for during all our vacation. Below was a large green valley circled by hills. Exhilarated by the tangerine sky, long shadows, and a slight breeze carrying the scent of green grass, my wife suddenly shouted: “Thank you, Mother Nature, for so much beauty!”
Then, a distant voice was heard from across the valley: "No charge!”
6 复制件/A copy
I phoned my husband, Mike, at the car dealer's where he is a service manager. I wanted a copy of his house key and thought he could have one made on their key-duplicating machine. Mike was away from his desk, so I left a message with his secretary.
When my husband came home that evening, he had one question: "Why did you ask my secretary to make a copy of my key?" From his pocket he produced a photocopy of the house key, front and back.
(英文中a copy of his house key有两个意思，一个是:“他家门钥匙的复制件”，另一个意思是: “他家门钥匙的复印件”。)