What does it mean for things to ‘add up’?

To “add up” means a lot of small things become big when they are put together.
The taxes on imported liquor can add up quickly

Transcript

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Add up

Today’s expression is “add up.” We use this when a lot of small things become big, when they are put together.

When you buy certain things in a store—wine, for example, or liquor—there are many things that go into the price. You have, obviously, the price that the manufacturer charges. If the product were made in another country, you probably have to pay import duties. That’s an extra tax just for importing it from another country. You might have to pay a national tax on alcohol and, depending on where you are, you might even have to pay a local tax on alcohol. That’s a lot. All those taxes and fees can add up to 30 percent of the cost of the product.

Add up to: we use this when we’re talking about the total of a lot of smaller things that, when put together, are pretty big. The taxes and fees on a bottle of imported liquor can add up to about 30 percent of the cost of the bottle. One tax might be seven percent, another twelve and a half percent, another just one percent or less—but when put together, they add up to thirty percent.

A lot of you are good cooks; I know a lot of you are into fitness as well. Depending on your personal strategy, you might be counting your calories. You might put a limit on how many calories to consume—or you might be trying to eat enough calories to get stronger. It’s easy to count the big stuff: two eggs at breakfast, a piece of fish at lunch, a cup of pasta at dinner, whatever. But the small stuff can add up to a lot, too. If you count calories, do you count the sugar you add to your coffee? What about the olive oil you add to the pan when you cook your veggies? Sauces and spreads? All those can add up to 200, 300 calories if you’re not careful. Sure, every individual one isn’t that big. Half a tablespoon of olive oil is about 50 calories, the sugar in your coffee 15, maybe 25. But if you’re not careful, all these little bits of food can add up to a few hundred extra calories.

The same thing might happen with our personal budgets. Streaming services are a classic example. In the US, most of them are between ten and twenty dollars per month. That seems to be the sweet spot ; some are lower, some are higher, but most are between $10 and $20. Any one of these can fit comfortably into most people’s budgets. But if you subscribe to a lot of them, they can add up to $75 or even $100 per month. A family Spotify account, Disney Plus, Netflix, HBO Max, and a sports app or two can easily add up to $75 or $100 per month. As individual pieces, not a single one is very expensive. But they can add up to a lot if you’re not careful.

When you get a new job, what’s the one thing you want to know when they make you the offer? Come on, you can admit it: you want to know the salary or the hourly rate. Don’t lie! But employers can offer some non-monetary benefits that make the offer attractive, too, and those smaller things can also add up. The new job might let you work from home permanently, or it might give you flexible hours, or it might let you further your education by taking online classes, or give you the chance to travel, or there could be generous parental leave, or reimbursement for cell phone service—you get the idea. Not every job is going to offer all these things. And, listen, the salary or hourly rate is probably the most important thing. But it’s not the only thing: the smaller benefits can add up, too. That means that these smaller things, when put together, can equal something big.

Add up can be used for things that are not monetary, too. If you make a big or complex decision, you might have to consider many small factors that add up to something big. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you want to decide if you want to live close to the center of the city or farther away. You really want to live in the center of the city because you like being near the action. But there are some disadvantages. It can be hard to find parking. You won’t be able to have as much space. There might be noise that could bother your kids. It might not be as safe. All those disadvantages can add up. Each one of them is probably manageable, but when put together, they might make you want to live farther away from the center of town. Those small disadvantages can add up.

JR’s song of the week

JR’s song of the week is “Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers. It came out in 1981 and the lyrics reflect the optimism of what is probably a new relationship. The line to remember is, “Just the two of us. We can make it if we try, just the two of us, you and I.” Good song, JR. “Just the Two of Us” by Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers.

See you next time!

And that’s all for today. Congratulations on reaching the end of another Plain English lesson.

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¿Hablas español?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into Spanish. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

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你说中国话?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Parlez-vous français?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Você fala português?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

日本語は話せますか?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Parli italiano?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Sprechen Sie Deutsch?

The transcript of this lesson is available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Sen Türkçe konuşmayı biliyor musun?

The transcripts of Plain English lessons are available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation. Turkish translations are available starting at Lesson 278.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

Mówisz po polsku?

The transcript of Plain English lessons are available with interactive translations into your language. In each lesson transcript, we select about one hundred difficult words, phrases , and expressions for translation. Polish translations are available starting at Lesson 278.

How is this different than simply using a translation engine?

Translation engines are powerful tools for communicating in the modern world . However, they often miss the context and can either mislead you or leave you confused . Our human translators are here to make sure that you’re getting not only the correct definition, but also the full context .

How can I use the translations in my studies?

Most members use the translations as they are listening to the lesson and reading along . When you come across a word you don’t understand, you don’t have to press pause to discover the meaning . You can simply hover your mouse over the highlighted word . This lets you learn the definition of the word without having to press pause on the audio.

Do the translations work on mobile?

Yes! Instead of hovering over a highlighted word, just tap on it .

Can I see a sample?

Yes, please visit PlainEnglish.com/sample to see a sample episode with the Spanish translations.

How can I access the translations?

Translations are included in two memberships: Plain English Plus+ and Starter. Choose a plan and get started today!

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