Know Your English


What is the meaning of ‘dime a dozen’?

This is an expression that is mostly used in informal contexts in American English. When you say that something is ‘dime a dozen’, you mean it is very common; it is abundant, and therefore of very little value. In the US, a ‘dime’ is a ten-cent coin. If you can buy a dozen items for ten cents, then the things that you are buying are very cheap indeed. The expression became popular in the 1930s.

Ex:- I can easily find someone to replace Vikram. Workers like him are dime a dozen.

In our country, crooked politicians are dime a dozen.

What is the meaning of ‘talisman’?

First, let us deal with the pronunciation of this word. The first vowel sounds like the ‘a’ in ‘can’, ‘fan’ and ‘ban’, and the following ‘lis’ rhymes with ‘fizz’, ‘biz’ and ‘Ms.’. The final ‘a’ is like the ‘a’ in ‘china’. The word is pronounced ‘TA-liz-men’ with the stress on the first syllable. A talisman is your lucky charm; it is an object that you wear or keep because you believe that it has magical powers. It is something that will bring you good luck; keep you safe by warding off evil spirits. The object can be anything - ring, watch, stone, etc.

Ex:- When I fell ill, my grandmother kept a talisman under the pillow.

I use this pen whenever I have an exam. It is my talisman.

What is the difference between ‘count on someone’ and ‘count in someone’?

The normal expression is ‘count someone in’ and not ‘count in someone’. When you count someone in, you include the person in a particular activity. The opposite is ‘count someone out’. When you ‘count on’ or ‘count upon’ someone, you are depending or relying on them for something. You expect them to be there for you.

Ex:- Ganesh is counting on his father to lend him the money.

Please don’t let me down, Shekar. I’m counting on you.

If you’re going trekking, you can count Bala out. He won’t come.

Harish was looking for volunteers to help him clean the park. I told him to count me in.

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