Shy away from

Lesson #
September 26, 2019

If you "shy away from" something, you avoid dealing with it.


Transcript

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Shy away from

Today’s expression is a phrasal verb, “to shy away” from something. When you shy away from something, you avoid having to deal with something difficult, uncomfortable or unpleasant. You might say about someone, “She doesn’t shy away from talking about uncomfortable subjects.” Or, “he doesn’t shy away from tackling the hardest problems.”

When you have a big issue or big problem, you want someone who’s not going to shy away from the hard task.

The way I presented it earlier was, the writers of Downton Abbey didn’t shy away from portraying the upper class family as human. I say that because it’s uncomfortable and difficult. Today in the twenty-first century, we tend to look back at the lives of Earls and Dukes and Duchesses and think that they led a charmed life, eating the finest food, wearing the finest clothes, with a houseful of servants attending to their every need, not working in any meaningful way, inheriting everything. That’s the way they are often portrayed today, and that would be the easy thing to do for the writers of Downton Abbey. The hard and potentially uncomfortable thing is to fully develop those characters. Just because they lived that life doesn’t mean they weren’t ever unhappy in their marriages; doesn’t mean they didn’t ever lose children to disease; doesn’t mean they weren’t frustrated with their role in society and life; doesn’t mean there wasn’t scandal; doesn’t mean there weren’t “black sheep” in the family. The writers didn’t shy away from fully developing the characters.

I’ll tell you one of the hard things for me, as I transition this program from being just a free podcast, to one with a business component—a hard thing for me is asking people to buy. My tendency is to shy away from asking for the sale. What I naturally feel comfortable doing is just mentioning that I have the membership. But that’s not really enough. If I really want people to sign up for Plain English Plus+, then I need to ask people to sign up. I can’t shy away from asking for the sale. If I just sit back and hope people sign up because they heard about it, I’ll definitely get some members. But to be successful, you have to ask people to sign up. It doesn’t come naturally to me, so I tend to shy away from it. But I know I have to fight that instinct. A lot of you are in sales—I know from all your notes, so you know what I’m talking about.

Some people shy away from commitment. Not Fernanda and Wallison, our two listeners who got married on Saturday. Certainly not—other people. Other people might shy away from making a commitment. I have another example from Plain English—I can’t say the exact thing right now, but there’s something I need to buy. It’s a fair amount of money, but I really need it for the future of this program and our web site and our membership. And I’ve been shying away from buying it, shying away from the commitment, just because it’s so expensive and I wanted to make sure the membership would be successful before committing. But I know I need to do it, because without it, I’d be in trouble. So I can’t shy away from making that investment any longer: I have to stand up and do it.

JR’s song of the week

Time for the song of the week. We did an episode a while back, episode 41, about the DJ Avicii, who took his own life, citing the pressures of being on tour. A group of artists announced a tribute concert in Avicii’s hometown of Stockholm. David Guetta, Adam Lambert, and Kygo will all perform, as will many of the original singers on his best songs. So JR selected a song by Avicii today, “You be love” by Avicii. That song is all about complements—things that go together. Sailor and shore; gravity and fall; poet and song; blacksmith and blade. So check that out, “You be love” by Avicii and check out Episode 41 if you have not yet heard it.

Related: Episode 41: DJ Avicii found dead at 28; EDM star retired from tour after hits ‘Wake Me Up’ and ‘Levels’


That’s all for today. Here’s my recommendation. Go see the movie Downton Abbey. If you like it, then start the series from the beginning—there are six seasons—and then watch the movie again when you’re done with the series.

Now, here’s where I fight my instinct. I’m not going to shy away from asking for the sale. I want you to join Plain English Plus+! It’s the membership program that will help you take your English to a new level. The video lessons especially—that’s what Martin from Ecuador said is most helpful. The video lessons help you connect your ideas and speak in a more sophisticated way. So if you’re ready to take the next step in English, then I encourage you—no, I’m asking you—to visit PlainEnglish.com/Plus today.

Thanks for listening and for being part of the best audience in the world. JR and I will be back on Monday with another new episode just for you.

¿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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