In the sweet spot

Lesson #
September 23, 2019

If it's "in the sweet spot," it's right where you want it to be.


Transcript

Simple TranscriptEspañol中文FrançaisPortuguês日本語ItalianoDeutschTürkçePolski

In the sweet spot

Today’s expression is “in the sweet spot.” I was reading the transcript of the first half of the episode, looking for a good expression to talk about. And I didn’t see anything I liked. And then I started adding the details about the subscriber numbers at AMC’s A-List program and the words, “in the sweet spot” just somehow came out of my fingers and onto the screen and as soon as I saw them, I thought, yes, this is the expression we’re going to talk about this week.

“In the sweet spot.” That means, “right where you want it.” It comes from baseball or cricket or tennis or even golf—any sport where you hit a ball with a bat or a racket. I’m tempted to illustrate this with a baseball example, but let’s do it with tennis. You’re returning a serve. You reach back, ready to hit the ball, and you swing the racket forward. Now pause. You could hit the ball in any part of the racket. Down low by the handle. Way over at the other end. Toward the top, toward the bottom. Or, you could hit it right in the sweet spot. Right in the middle. Right where it gives you the most power. Right where you want it: right in the sweet spot. [elementor-template id=”7441″]

So that expression has been adapted to mean, in general, right where you want something. AMC’s subscription is about $20 per month and their members see, on average, 2.6 movies per month. I said that seems like it’s right in the sweet spot: right where they want it. If members were going less often, then $20 a month wouldn’t be a good deal for the customer. That wouldn’t be good, because customers would probably cancel pretty soon. But if they were going to 10 or 15 movies a month for just $20, then the price would probably be too low. But to me, I think if I were AMC, I’d be pretty happy with those average attendance numbers. 2.6 visits per month seems like it’s right in the sweet spot, right where they want it.

It’s a common phrase in business. You want to find the sweet spot in the market. If you’re selling something, you don’t want to charge too little or too much; you want to find the sweet spot. That goes for selling subscriptions or selling a house, either way. Some people say the sweet spot for selling a bottle of wine is $20. If you sell for less, people will think it’s no good. But if you sell for more, then nobody will buy it because it’s too expensive. The sweet spot is right around $20.

Here’s an example that’s not from business. In a lot of places in the US, you need a permit from the government to go fishing or hunting. They do this to regulate the amount of fish they want in a lake, for example. If the stocks of fish are too low—like there are not enough fish in the lake—the agency will issue fewer permits the next year, so fewer fish are caught and the population can rebuild. At the same time, they want to serve the residents and attract tourists who want to fish in the lake. So the trick is to determine how many fishing permits to issue in a given year. The agencies have to find the sweet spot between issuing too many permits and too few. Too many, and the population of bass, for example, won’t survive. Too few, and the area won’t get a lot of tourists. They have to find the sweet spot.

I cook a lot of vegetables at home. I like to do asparagus in the oven. I don’t really time it; I kind of just guess based on how it looks. If I don’t leave it in long enough, then it doesn’t taste very good. I like to have the heat on high so it gets a little crispy on the outside, but it’s also no good if it’s overcooked. I try to find the sweet spot where it gets a little crispy but isn’t overcooked.

Now that I think about it, you use “the sweet spot” when you’re looking for just the right position on a sliding scale. Prices are the most obvious, but other things that involve judgment and quantities, too, are all good for this expression.

Quote of the week

Quick quote for you today. Roger Ebert was one of the most famous movie critics in America. He had a long-running column in a newspaper in Chicago, but he was much more famous than that. He was all over TV, magazines, and the internet. Anyway, here’s a quote about movies from Roger Ebert: “Every great film should seem new every time you see it.” I like that, and that’s a good way to close this episode. [elementor-template id=”7560″]


By the way, if you’re looking for a good movie, “The Goldfinch” was released on September 13 and I really want to see that one. I’m probably exactly the average moviegoer: I go five times a year. I watch far more movies and series at home. But I will see this one in theaters. “The Goldfinch” is an amazing book—one of my favorite books of all time. I’m a little afraid to see the movie, to be honest. The book is always better, but I have to see this one.

All right, that’s all today. Thanks for being with us as always. Remember to check out the video lesson for this episode at PlainEnglish.com/192 if you’d like a video lesson on how to use the words “rather than.” Just log into your Plain English Plus account and click the video tab on today’s episode web page.

What? You’re not a member of Plain English Plus+ yet? You’re missing out! Twice a week, I teach our growing roster of members how to use these little words and phrases in English that help you express yourself and connect ideas. Today’s is about “rather than,” and as of today we have 13 of these lessons for you in previous episodes. If you are not yet enjoying all the benefits of a Plus+ membership, then remember to visit PlainEnglish.com/Plus today.

JR and I are back on Thursday for another exciting episode of Plain English. See you then!

¿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 .

How can I access the translations?

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

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 .

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!

Audio

Slow AudioFast Audio

The fast version of this expression is available for subscribers of Plain English Plus+.

Sign Up Today!