Out of the woods

Lesson #
August 16, 2021

To be “out of the woods” means to reach the end of a painful ordeal.


Transcript

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Out of the woods

Today’s English expression is “to be out of the woods.” We say this when we have reached the end of a painful ordeal. We most often use this when talking about risks to our health or economic well-being. It’s a funny little phrase. The woods are like the forest. So, picture yourself wandering through the forest, hoping to escape to safety, and finally reaching a clearing where you can get help. That can help you remember this a somewhat informal English expression.

Right at the beginning of this lesson, I said that it seemed like we were out of the woods in May when America’s Centers for Disease Control said vaccinated people didn’t have to wear masks indoors. Where I live, Chicago is the third-biggest city in the country; we were down to just a handful of daily cases. It seemed like were had reached the end of this painful experience. It seemed like we were out of the woods.

But now with new data on the Delta variant, it’s clear that we are not out of the woods yet. And that’s another popular way to use this expression: “We are not out of the woods yet.” That’s a reminder that the risk, danger, or painful experience is not yet finished.

Do you remember the lesson about the TV show “Better Call Saul” ? I was concerned this week when the star of the show, Bob Odenkirk, collapsed while filming the sixth and final season of the show. He was rushed to the hospital and was unconscious when he got there. His family said he suffered a heart-related emergency; they didn’t elaborate. But now he’s awake and appears to be out of the woods. That means the danger appears to have passed. He’s stable and getting better. Sure, he’s still in the hospital, but the danger has passed and he’s going to get better. He’s out of the woods.

You can use this phrase to describe an economy, an industry, or a business that’s in danger. In the early wave of the pandemic, the American economy entered a recession. Depending on the measure you look at, it was the fastest recession to start and the fastest to end. All the latest data suggests that our economy is out of the woods and the biggest danger has passed. There are still reasons to be cautious, and still, some people who need to regain their footing and get back to work, but overall, we’re out of the woods. The biggest danger has passed.

That’s not true everywhere or for every business. I saw a quote from the boss of Femsa, which owns the Oxxo convenience stores in Mexico. He said that sales at his stores are rebounding, but they’re not out of the woods yet. He’s worried that people will not be out shopping at his stores if the Delta variant hits Mexico hard. So, in his opinion, his stores are not out of the woods, the big risk is still present.

For five hours—five whole hours—Snapchat was unavailable to its users. That’s a big deal. After five hours of work, the company fixed most of the issues. But they weren’t out of the woods yet because many of their fans still had trouble accessing the app. Snapchat had to listen to feedback and publish instructions on how to manually delete and re-install the app. So, here’s what happened. They fixed the big issue, but they weren’t out of the woods yet because many of their users still couldn’t access the app and were upset.

Quote of the Week

Five hours without Snapchat, can you imagine? Well, today’s quote is from Edmund Burke, an Irish philosopher. He said, “I consider how little man is, yet, in his own mind, how great. He is lord and master of all things, yet scarce can command anything.” There’s a little bit of antiquated English in there, but it means that people have an over-inflated sense of their own powers. Basically, we all think we’re kind of a big deal. “How little man is, yet, in his own mind, how great.” Indeed, the world these days seems to be full of humbling experiences. So that’s today’s quote from Edmund Burke, “I consider how little man is, yet, in his own mind, how great. He is lord and master of all things, yet scarce can command anything.”

See you next time!

All right, stay safe everybody. Stay strong. This is terrible, but science is on our side. We can’t fight the coronavirus here at Plain English, but we can, hopefully, give you something to look forward to and some way to take a step forward in your personal and professional development from the safety of your home or wherever you are.

So that brings us to the end of Lesson 390 here on Monday, August 16, 2021. Remember, the full lesson is available online at PlainEnglish.com/390. We’ll be back on Thursday. I was going to talk about the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, but we’ll save that for next week. I don’t want to do two downers in a row. So, I’ve got a fun one for you tomorrow, I’m going to talk about the oldest food brands in the United States. You won’t believe how old some of these brands are. It’ll be a fun, lighthearted lesson on Thursday, so don’t miss it. 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!

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