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Keep on the 'Sunny Side'


A sunflower with missing seeds depicting a smile is seen in a field near the small Bavarian village of Groebenzell, southern Germany, on a sunny September 4, 2019.
Keep on the 'Sunny Side'
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And now, Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English!

Eggs. People all around the world eat eggs. You can cook them in many different ways!

These are eggs frying in a pan.
These are eggs frying in a pan.

My favorite way to eat eggs is sunny side up. You heat up a pan, add some oil or butter and crack an egg into it. One side of the egg cooks until the white part becomes solid. The yellow part of the egg -- the yolk -- stays yellow. It looks like a happy sun on a plate. That is why we call it “sunny side up.”

The adjective “sunny” is also used to describe people.

A very happy person can be described as sunny. We often pair “sunny” with two other words: disposition and personality. Generally speaking, these are the ways that people behave.

Let’s listen to some examples using these common word pairs.

My co-worker Pete is known for his sunny personality. Anyone who meets him likes him. He has a really sunny disposition and is always smiling. Pete always seems in a good mood.

Pete: Hi, Anna! Isn't it a beautiful day?
Anna: Sure is, Pete!
Pete: You have a great afternoon! See you later!!
Anna: See you, Pete. What a happy guy.
A ray of sun shines through clouds over Lake Geneva next to the Lavaux vineyard terraces near Chexbres, western Switzerland.
A ray of sun shines through clouds over Lake Geneva next to the Lavaux vineyard terraces near Chexbres, western Switzerland.

We can also call a very happy person a “ray of sunshine.” In nature, a ray of sunshine is the light from the sun. It cuts through clouds and darkness to brighten the day.

People who are rays of sunshine do the same. They lift your spirits, or make you feel happy. They bring joy into the lives of others.

But sometimes we use this expression in a sarcastic way. In other words, I might call someone “a ray of sunshine” if they are acting unhappy or even angry.

Let’s say my friend is in a bad mood. There is nothing especially wrong, but nothing seems to make her happy. I could say to her: “Well, aren’t you a ray of sunshine today.”

Now, just so you know … this comment probably would make her even LESS happy! Sarcasm can easily make people angry. So, if people are mad or sad for a good reason, it may not a good idea to say something sarcastic like this.

Of course, no one is happy all the time. But some people are able to think about the good things in life more than the bad. In other words, they choose to look on the sunny side of life.

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way
If we'll keep on the sunny side of life

On other programs, we have talked about this kind of person. People who see the good in nearly every situation are optimistic. They are hopeful. They see the glass as half full, not half empty.

The next time you run into a bump in the road -- which is another way to say a little problem -- try your best to see the sunny side.

Keep on the sunny side, always on the sunny side
Keep on the sunny side of life
It will help us every day, it will brighten all the way
If we'll keep on the sunny side of life

And that’s all the time we have. Join us again next week for another Words and Their Stories!

Until next time … I’m Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor. The song at the end is June Carter Cash singing “Keep on the Sunny Side.”

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Words in This Story

disposition ­– n. the usual attitude or mood of a person or animal : a tendency to act or think in a particular way

mood – n. an emotional state of mind or feeling

ray – n. one of the lines of light that appear to be given off by a bright object

joy – n. a feeling of great happiness

sarcasm – adj. involving words that mean the opposite of what you really want to say especially in order to insult someone, to show irritation, or to be funny :

optimistic – adj. having or showing hope for the future : expecting good things to happen

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