Sour on

To 'sour on' something is to change your attitude about it from good to bad

Today's story: Banking trouble
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Sour on

Today I’m going to show you how to use the English expression “sour on.” First, to clarify, “sour” is a taste. It can be a good taste, like lemon, or a bad taste, like milk that has gone bad. Actually, milk is a great example. I love milk, I drink it every day. I have it with dinner. I don’t care if people think that makes me like a ten-year-old boy, I drink it.

Milk, when it’s fresh, is good, wholesome, healthy, and delicious. But after some time, it’s not. It goes bad. It becomes sour. You don’t want to drink it. It tastes and smells bad. So it starts good, and then gets sour—it gets bad.

“Sour on” describes a person’s attitude, and how their attitude changes. When you sour on something, you had a good attitude toward that thing, but then your attitude turns. Then, you become unhappy with it. The idea used to taste like a cold glass of milk with Oreo cookies, but then your attitude changes and that idea gives you a sour taste in your mouth.

A lot of investors were excited to invest in cryptocurrencies, especially in the last few years as it has gotten easier. And then a big exchange, FTX, collapsed, and many investors soured on crypto. Their attitude changed. They liked it before; they don’t like it now. They have soured on crypto.

Evangelical voters were a big part of Donald Trump’s victory in 2016. Trump has announced he’s running again for president in 2024. However, a new poll shows that evangelical voters have soured on the former president. They had a good attitude toward him before—in 2016 and even in 2020—but now they have a bad attitude. They have soured on Trump.

You can sour on a relationship. A romantic relationship starts, both sides are really happy, but a few months in…maybe you start to sour on the relationship. It doesn’t make you as happy as it did before.

It’s common to say that you sour “on the idea of” something, if just thinking about it makes you unhappy or uncomfortable.

Are any of you fans of cruises? I have never been on a cruise. It’s not a high priority for me. A lot of people like cruises. But a lot of people soured on the idea of taking a cruise after the pandemic. Lots of people in a very confined space, far from a hospital: those are not ideal conditions for people who are worried about catching an infectious disease like COVID-19.

Some people are taking cruises again, but others have soured on the idea of taking a cruise. I have not soured on it because I never really liked the idea of a big cruise ship in the first place—but that’s just me.

A lot of consumers have soured on the idea of buying a Tesla . They like electric cars; they just don’t like Elon Musk’s politics. So they might once have liked the idea of buying a Tesla, but now they don’t like that idea at all.

Quote of the Week

Today’s quote is about banking. It’s from Walter Bagehot, an English journalist who lived in the 1800s. But his words about banking are true today, even if Bagehot couldn’t imagine a world of cryptocurrencies. He said, “Adventure is the life of commerce, but caution is the life of banking.”

“Adventure is the life of commerce,” businesses, especially new ones, like to take risks. But “caution is the life of banking.” In other words, Bagehot was warning not to let the risk-taking spirit of commerce into the world of banking.

“Adventure is the life of commerce, but caution is the life of banking,” true words even today from Walter Bagehot.

See you next time!

And that brings us to the end of today’s lesson. Remember, today’s topic about banking—yawn—is just setting the table for next Monday, when we’ll talk about the collapse of FTX, the cryptocurrency exchange run by Sam Bankman-Fried.

But you need to know these words and ideas if you want to understand what’s happening with FTX, so go back and listen, read the transcript. That’s how you know how we spell “solvency,” read the transcript at PlainEnglish.com/540, and then you’ll be ready for number 542 next week.

The transcript is free, all 540 lesson transcripts are free online at PlainEnglish.com. Just join as a free member and you’ll have access to all the transcripts on the web site.

But before we go back into the world of finance, we’ll go into the world of Winnie-the-Pooh, and I am not joking. That’s on Thursday. Just you wait. See you then.

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Story: Banking trouble