Out of your way

To “go out of your way” is to make a special effort to do something.

Lesson #
November 1, 2021
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Transcript

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Go out of your way

Today’s English expression is to “go out of your way.” To go out of your way is to make a special effort to do something. When I say a “special effort,” I mean, an intentional effort that might be a little more than what is typically expected given the situation.

You can go out of your way to do something for another person. I was in India during a time called “demonetization.” I won’t explain it now, but there was a shortage of cash. It was very difficult to get paper rupees. This is complicated in a country that, at the time, was very dependent on cash. That was a problem for Indians; it was a real problem for me since I had no cash whatsoever and couldn’t get any.

But my coworkers there went out of their way to make me feel comfortable during that time. They made a special effort to make me welcome when, honestly, I was pretty nervous about having no access to the local currency. They went out of their way; they made a special effort. What did they do? If we went out, they made sure we could go to places that accepted credit cards. They drove me to my hotel, so I didn’t have to take a taxi. And one person even gave me some cash so I would feel comfortable going out and exploring.

That’s a special effort. They went out of their way to make me feel comfortable during that very unusual time. I did eventually get some money from an ATM during my second week, by the way.

How did you hear it used earlier today? Canada and the U.S. went out of their way to say that the situations of Meng Wanzhou and the two Michaels from Canada were unrelated . Ms. Meng’s case was resolved, and her plane departed Canada; minutes later the two Canadian prisoners from China flew home. The two cases seemed pretty related to me.

But a spokesperson for the U.S. president went out of her way to emphasize that these were separate cases. She made a special effort to say make this point. This means she gave this a lot of attention. She made sure nobody was confused about what she was saying. She made a special effort to make sure her message was clear.

Have you ever gotten great customer service? Sometimes, an employee of a company will go out of their way to help you or make things right.

Oh, here’s a great example. JR loved a book recently. He reached out to the author on Twitter and said how much he liked that book. Well, the author recently came out with a new book. He was not at home when he got JR’s message, but he promised JR that he would autograph a copy of the new book and send it to JR when he got back home. And he lived in London! When he got home, he remembered. He signed a hardcover copy of the new book and mailed it overseas from London to Chicago, just for JR. He really went out of his way to make one of his biggest fans happy.

“Go out of your way” isn’t always a good thing though. For example, “He went out of his way not to talk to me at the party.” In that case, the person made a special effort to avoid you at the party. That’s not a good thing…unless you didn’t want to talk to him either!

Quote of the Week

I saw this quote and I said, I need to share this with my Plain English listeners. It’s by a writer named Moya Sarner. I saw it in a magazine article. She said, “[Perfectionism] makes for a thin life, lived for what it isn’t rather than what it is. If you’re forever trying to make your life what you want it to be, you’re not really living the life you have.”

I really liked that quote. It was part of a long article about perfectionism, which I linked to in the transcript. The quote means that if you’re a perfectionist, always trying to be perfect, then you’re living life for what it isn’t rather than for what it is. Good words to keep in mind for all of us.

See you next time!

And that’s all for today’s lesson, number 412. Remember, the full lesson is online at PlainEnglish.com/412.

Hey, do you ever feel like you can understand expressions when you read them and hear them, but you don’t ever know when to use them? That happens to me all the time in Spanish. I just started a new book in Spanish, and as I’m reading, I’m thinking, “I know exactly what this means, but I never hear myself using language like this.”

If that sounds like you, then you might be interested in a feature we have on the website for Plain English Plus+ members. For every lesson, we do a how-to video showing you step-by-step how to use the hardest parts of the English language. And at the end of the video, I give you a situation tailor-made for this little snippet of language. But I don’t give you the answer, at least not right away. You, as the member, get to practice in that specific situation.

The great thing is, I serve up a situation on a silver platter. And you get to practice recognizing when to use this little bit of English and how to use it. And then, like always, there’s a practice area where you can come up with your own examples, and I give personal feedback. I go out of my way to give personalized feedback on every example.

If this sounds like what you need, then come check out Plain English Plus+ by visiting PlainEnglish.com/Plus.

¿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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