To go bad

When food or drink "goes bad," it is no longer fresh enough to eat.

Today's story: Apeel spray
Explore more: Lesson #197
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Go bad

What does it mean “to go bad”? I used it right at the top of the episode. If you miss your window, the avocado goes bad. If you don’t use it right in those two or three days in which it’s perfectly ripe, it spoils. You can’t eat it any longer. You say that it “goes bad.”

This is one of those words that’s just so common in English that I never stop to think that it probably sounds strange to your ears. It’s not hard at all, but it sounds strange now that I think about it. You use go bad any time something is no longer fresh enough to eat or drink.

Milk never goes bad in my refrigerator. That’s because it’s my favorite thing to drink! Milk stays fresh for about two weeks, right? Maybe toward the end of the second week it’s questionable. But milk never stays in my fridge for two weeks; I drink it in plenty of time. I always drink milk before it goes bad.

Bananas are another story. I buy bananas almost every week. In the winter, they stay fresh for the whole week. But in the summer, they start to go bad after about five days—just because of the humidity we have here in Chicago. In fact, I sometimes go on vacation in Florida. If I buy bananas there, they’re starting to go bad after just two or three days.

If you buy chicken breast at the store, you want to cook that within a few days. If you don’t cook chicken within three or four days, it starts to go bad—even if you cook it afterward. But if you cook a chicken breast, it can stay fresh in the refrigerator for a week or so. I’ve definitely stretched that out beyond a full week. Much longer than a week—it’s doubtful.

I’ve also been known to forget my lunch when I go to work. I just leave it sitting on my countertop at home. If part of my lunch was a cup of yogurt or cottage cheese—guess what? By the time I get home at seven, eight o’clock at night, it has gone bad.

I’m sure you get this by now. Interestingly, though, you never say a food “is bad.” You can’t say: “That avocado is bad.” That doesn’t work. Don’t say that. You would have to say, “That avocado has gone bad.” A lot of food that has been grown can’t be sold in stores because it has gone bad.

JR’s song of the week

Today’s song was nominated by Jeff in Chicago—it is still JR’s song of the week, he has approval rights over all the songs—anyway, today’s song is “Rainy Day” by Gail Swanson. I really—I mean, Jeff, our listener from Chicago really likes this song for the line, “Gather your dreams and sail away; don’t save them for a rainy day.” To save something for a rainy day is a common English expression for, saving something for when you might want to use it. Save something for when the time feels right; save it for a rainy day. The message of the line is, don’t save your dreams for a rainy day. Don’t save them for when you think the moment is perfect. “Rainy Day” by Gail Swanson. It’s on Spotify, Pandora, Deezer, all those places. Check it out.


That brings us to the end of today’s program. Thanks, as always, for being with us. We are creeping toward 200 episodes, so that makes JR and me nostalgic about the long journey we have been on together. Two hundred episodes is a lot! And one thing people always say is, “keep doing what you’re doing!” Keep going, they say. Guys. Don’t worry. We’re in no danger of stopping. In fact, we just about doubled the amount of work we do for you every week, with Plain English Plus+, so do not worry. One day we’re going to look back at 200 episodes and think, “Remember when we were just beginning and we only had 200 episodes?”

Speaking of Plain English Plus+, I heard from a listener who said, “Jeff, I really want to join Plain English Plus+, but I’m worried I’ll sign up and I won’t have time to use it.” I bet that’s a common concern. Here’s what I would say. We create a lot of great stuff for our Plus+ members, but it’s all very digestible. You can consume it in little bits at a time. You don’t need to dedicate your whole weekend to it—JR and I do, but you don’t! The video lessons are eight or ten minutes each. We purposely only put five flash cards per episode—ten per week—so you can practice those whenever you have a minute or two to spare. It’s all on a very easy mobile app called Quizlet. Waiting for a friend, as you’re cooking, on your commute. It’s a lot, but it’s all packaged in easily digestible little bits. That’s how I think we should learn. A little at a time, but frequently.

So, you know how to learn more. Just go to PlainEnglish.com/plus and watch the video, read the text, and click the button that says “Join Now” – it’s a lot of great stuff, but I think anyone has the time, just a few extra minutes in your day and you can enjoy all Plain English Plus+ has to offer.

JR and I will be back on Monday for another exciting episode. See you then!

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Story: Apeel spray