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Words and Their Stories: Easy as Falling Off a Log

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Now, the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

Every people has its own way of saying things, its own special expressions. Some of these expressions are easy to understand. The words create a picture in your mind.

“As easy as falling off a log” is one such expression. It describes a job that does not take much effort.

If you ever tried to walk on a fallen tree log, you understand what the expression means. It is easier to fall off the log than to stay on it.

The expression is often used today. For example, you might hear a student say to her friend that her spelling test was “as easy as falling off a log.”

There are several other expressions that mean the same thing. And their meaning is as easy to understand as “falling off a log.” One is, “easy as pie”. Nothing is easier than eating a piece of sweet, juicy pie. Unless it is a “piece of cake."

“Piece of cake” is another expression that means something is extremely easy to do. A friend might tell you that his new job was a ”piece of cake.”

Another expression is “as easy as shooting fish in a barrel.”

It is hard to imagine why anyone would want to shoot fish in a barrel. But, clearly, fish in a barrel would be much easier to shoot than fish in a stream. In fact, it would be as easy as “falling off a log.”

Sometimes, things that come to us easily, also leave us just as easily. In fact, there is an expression – “easy come, easy go” – that recognizes this. You may win a lot of money in a lottery, then spend it all in a few days. Easy come, easy go.

When life itself is easy, when you have no cares or problems, you are on “Easy Street.” Everyone wants to live on that imaginary street.

Another “easy” expression is to “go easy on a person”. It means to treat a person kindly or gently, especially in a situation where you might be expected to be angry with him. A wife might urge her husband to “go easy on” their son, because the boy did not mean to wreck the car.

If it is necessary to borrow some money to fix the car, you should look for a friend who is an “easy touch”. An “easy touch” or a “soft touch” is someone who is kind and helpful. He would easily agree to lend you the money.

And one last expression, one that means do not worry or work too hard. Try to keep away from difficult situations. “Take it easy” until we meet again.


You have been listening to the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES. I’m Bob Doughty.