Today's English expression is "stack up" or "stack up against." We use this expression when we're making comparisons, especially among like items. When we ask how well something stacks up, we're asking how well it compares to something similar. Often, though not always, we use "stack up" when there's an original and a newcomer, or when there's a gold standard and an alternative. I'll show you what I mean.
Earlier, I updated my opinion on the Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods meatless products. Remember? In Lesson 184 , I told you about the burgers. Today, I told you about the sausages and the chicken nuggets . I wanted to compare the Beyond Meat sausage to a real pork bratwurst. And I compared the Impossible Chicken Nuggets to real chicken nuggets. I asked, "How do they stack up?" What I meant was, how do the Impossible Chicken Nuggets compare to real chicken nuggets? I'm making a comparison between like items. And in this case, there's the gold-standard real-meat version and there's the alternative, meatless product.
How did the meatless products stack up against the originals? I thought the chicken products stacked up well against the real meat originals. I didn't think the sausages stacked up quite as well against real pork sausages. Like the burgers, I thought they got the texture right, but they were missing that real-meat flavor.
You might have noticed that we say something "stacks up well" or "does not stack up well." Those are the two ways to use stack up. If something stacks up well, then it compares favorably. It's as good as, or almost as good as, the other thing. If something "does not stack up well against" another item, then, well, it's not as good as that other thing.
I was in Vienna a few weeks ago. They are famous for their wurtzelstands, sausage stands that serve classic and innovative kinds of sausages. They were amazing! I'm too embarrassed to say how many I had in my five days there. Chicago, too, is known for its Chicago-style hot dog. How do the Chicago dogs stack up against the sausages in Vienna? As much as I like the Chicago style, I'm afraid they just don't stack up well against the original in Vienna. Those were delicious.
While I was there, I also noticed how popular Coke Zero Sugar was in Europe. It's popular here, too, but if you want Coke Zero Sugar in the United States, you've got maybe a fifty-fifty chance that it's available in any given restaurant. In Austria, it was ninety-ten as almost all restaurants and all the wurtzelstands had Coke Zero Sugar.
How does Coke Zero Sugar stack up against the original Coca-Cola Classic? I think it stacks up very well. I was never a Diet Coke fan and I want to avoid the sugar and calories of Coke Diesel, as we affectionately call the full-calorie version. Coke Zero Sugar is a great alternative. Taste-wise, it stacks up very well against the original. It's not exactly the same, but it's very close. And texture-wise, it's exactly the same. So, Coke Zero Sugar stacks up very well.
In all these cases, notice that we're comparing like items. Coke Zero and Coca-Cola Classic. Sausages in Vienna, sausages in Chicago. Meatless chicken nuggets, real chicken nuggets.
It doesn't have to be for food, though. At work, you might have multiple suppliers of the same thing. Let's say, you alternate between vendors of office supplies. I'll pick two from the US, W.B. Mason, and Office Depot. You might ask, how does W.B. Mason stack up against Office Depot? How do they compare? You could answer by saying, "They stack up well" or "They don't stack up very well." And then you can explain why you think that: How good is the service? How low are the prices? How quickly do the orders arrive? And so on .
How does Plain English stack up against other English-learning online resources? That's for you to say, not me! I'm too modest to say what I really think. But as you all know, there are a lot of English-language resources out there. Some are better than others. I think there are a few that stack up really well against the competition. For example, in addition to Plain English, I think All Ears English and Luke's English Podcast both stack up well against the other options out there. Those are two great options you're looking to add to your English playlist.
JR’s song of the week
This is a long lesson already, so we'll be quick. JR's song of the week is "I Fought the Law" by The Clash. It's a cover of a classic song by the Bobby Fuller Band. The version by the Clash is a bit more modern and high-energy. The line I like from that song is, "I fought the law…and the law won." I've always liked that line. "I fought the law and the law won."
See you next time!
Are there any previous lessons that you want to be updated? If so, let me know in our Facebook group at PlainEnglish.com/Facebook and I'll do my best to research an update and give you the very latest.
That's all for today, Thursday, October 14, 2021. This was Lesson 407, so remember the full content is available at PlainEnglish.com/407. And we'll be back on Monday with another new topic. I can't wait to see you then.