Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.
February 14 is Valentine’s Day – a day to celebrate love, romance and relationships.
But today we will talk about some of the most overused romantic sayings in the English language. Throughout the years, people have used them WAY too much. So, they have come to mean almost nothing. They have become clichés.
We will start with one that breaks the laws of physics: 'Love makes the world go ‘round.'
Love makes the world go 'round...
Love, of course, does not make the Earth go around. Just ask a scientist. The expression ‘love makes the world go ‘round’ has nothing to do with the planet spinning. It means love is so important that without it, life would be sad and not worth living. Please, don’t get me wrong. It is a lovely thought but to be honest, very overused.
Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
Another cliché is the expression ‘love means never having to say you’re sorry.’ Of all the romantic sayings, this is probably the one that people make fun of the most.
How could you not? Apologizing to someone you love is important! As children, it is one of the first rules we learn: If I do something wrong or hurt someone else, I should say ‘I’m sorry.’
This expression comes from the 1970 movie Love Story. A young man is rich, while his love interest is poor. The rich man’s father wants to keep the two apart. So, you know the story is not going to end well. To make matters worse, the young woman is dying, but they get married anyway. So, when he does something hurtful and apologizes, she says this now-famous and often parodied sentence.
Oliver: Jenny, I’m sorry.
Jenny: Don’t. Love means never having to say you’re sorry.
Writing on the website Psychology Today, psychologist Barbara Rose explains the expression and defends it. She writes that if you really love someone without conditions, or as we say unconditionally, you will forgive them of everything. So, there’s no need to apologize.
Well, that may sound good on paper. But I still want an apology if someone I love does something bad to me. A mother loves her child unconditionally. But she still deserves an apology if that child lies to her or says something mean.
Anyone who has experienced unrequited, or unreturned, love knows that it can hurt like nothing else. To love someone who does not love you back can be difficult -- even painful.
Love hurts, Love scars
Love wounds and marks …
Saying “love hurts” to a friend in great pain from a broken heart does nothing. It is an empty statement that has been said a million times before. You would be better off not saying anything than saying this cliché.
And that’s our Valentine’s program on Words and Their Stories.
Until next time … I’m Anna Matteo.
To take a lot of pain, take a lot of pain
Love is like a cloud, it holds a lot of rain
Love hurts, Ooh love hurts
What is the most over-used love expression, or cliché in your language? Let us know in the Comments Section. We are really looking forward to hearing these!
Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. George Grow was the editor. The first song is this program is Deon Jackson singing “Love Makes the World Go ‘Round” and the last one is Nazareth singing “Love Hurts.”
Words in This Story
romance – n. a love story : a love affair
cliché – n. a phrase or expression that has been used so often that it is no longer original or interesting : something that is so commonly used in books, stories, etc., that it is no longer effective
parody – n. a piece of writing, music, saying, etc., that imitates the style of someone or something else in an amusing way
unrequited – adj. not shared or returned by someone else