Now, the VOA Special English program, WORDS AND THEIR
Every week at this time, we tell about popular American
words and expressions. Some of these are
very old. Some are new. Together, they form the living speech of the
Today we tell about the expression
"down to earth." Down to earth means
being open and honest. It is easy to
deal with someone who is down to earth.
person who is down to earth is a pleasure to find. He or she accepts other people as
equals. A down to earth person is the
opposite of someone who acts important or proud.
earth people could be important members of society. But they do not consider themselves to be
better than others who are less important.
They do not let their importance "go to their heads." Someone who lets something go to his head
feels he is better than others. He has a
person who is filled with his own importance and pride is said to have "his
nose in the air." Often the person who
has a big head and his nose in the air has no reason to feel better than
others. He surely is the opposite of
someone who is down to earth.
Americans use another expression that is similar in
some ways to down to earth. The
expression is "both feet on the ground."
Some one with both feet on the ground is a person with a good
understanding of reality. She has what
is called "common sense." She may have
dreams. But she does not allow them to
block her understanding of what is real.
opposite kind of person is one who has his "head in the clouds." Someone with his head in the clouds is a
person whose mind is not on what is happening in real life. Such a person may be called a "daydreamer."
a person with his head in the clouds can be brought back to reality. Sharp words from a teacher, for example, can
usually get a daydreaming student to put both feet on the ground.
person who is down to earth usually has both feet on the ground. But the opposite is not always true. Someone with both feet on the ground may not
be as open and easy to deal with as someone who is down to earth.
When we have both our feet firmly on the ground, and
when we are down to earth we do not have our noses in the air. We act honestly and openly to others. Our lives are like the ground below us –
solid and strong.
This Special English program was
written by David Jarmul. I'm Warren
Scheer. Listen again next week at this
time for another WORDS AND THEIR STORIES program on the Voice of America.