Today's English expression is "think twice." This is an expression we use when we're having doubts. Today I'm going to give you three ways to use this very common English expression, "think twice."
The first is the simplest: you use it when you're having or you had doubts about something, and especially when you decide not to do something, or decide to change your behavior. We talked a few weeks about inflation. A lot of consumers are finding their budgets cramped , especially with gas. Now, some drivers are thinking twice before taking unnecessary trips.
What does that mean? Some drivers are thinking twice before taking unnecessary trips. That means that some drivers are now having doubts about taking an unnecessary trip, so they modify their behavior. Maybe that means they take fewer trips, maybe it means when they go out, they combine errands into one trip to the store. Maybe it means they carpool to work. Or maybe it just means they consider it carefully, where before they wouldn't worry about driving. With gas prices high, many drivers are thinking twice about taking unnecessary trips.
In today's lesson, we talked about cart abandonment. Online shoppers often put items in their cart, they get to the checkout page, but they don't buy, for some reason. The word in the industry to describe this is "friction." Every time a consumer has to do something themselves—well that's an opportunity to stop and abandon the cart. Because every time a consumer has to do something, it could cause that consumer to think twice, to have some doubts.
If a consumer has to enter a password to complete a purchase, that could cause the shopper to think twice, to have some doubts about whether they really need it. The same is true with entering a credit card. The simple fact of entering a credit card number makes you think twice. It makes you think about the process of paying for the product or service. And that's why retailers like buy now, pay later options : it seems like less money and consumers don't have to enter a credit card number.
The next way to use think twice is to give advice. This is very common. Often, we want to give advice without exactly telling another person what to do. "Think twice" is a great way to advise someone not to do something, without being too pushy.
Now imagine you have a friend and he's thinking about signing up for a sports gambling app or web site . You might think that's a bad idea, but you don't want to tell your friend what to do or what not to do. But you still want to give that friend some advice.
So you might say, "I would think twice before getting involved in sports betting. It can quickly get out of control." By saying, "I would think twice before…" or "You should think twice before…" you're saying that the person should consider it carefully, and you're also expressing your own doubts about whether it's a good idea.
I go to a grocery store that has great fruits, vegetables, dairy, and other packaged goods. They also have good prices; it's called Harvest Time. But I don't buy meat there; I don't think their meat is very good. If someone asks me for advice on where to buy groceries, I might say, "I recommend Harvest Time, but I'd think twice before buying meat there." That's a softer, more polite way to give advice. Sure, buy the meat there if you really want to, but my advice is to buy meat somewhere else.
There are two more ways to use "think twice," both in the negative. First, if you do recommend something, you can say, "I wouldn’t think twice before…" Do you need a good podcast producer? Maybe someone to handle your email marketing? I wouldn’t think twice before hiring JR to do it. That means, you shouldn't have any doubts about having JR edit your audio and videos because he does a great job for Plain English.
Finally, you can say, "I didn't think twice", in the past, if you want to say you didn't give something much consideration, especially if you regret it. I remember years ago I got stuck in a major snowstorm, driving between Detroit and Chicago. I didn't think twice before going out for a long drive that day. I just didn't give it much consideration. I didn't look at the weather forecast. I didn't think twice. But I did regret it because that trip wasn't very safe.
JR’s song of the week
Today's song of the week is "Allentown" by Billy Joel. Allentown is a city in Pennsylvania; I went to college there. And the song came out in 1982 and tells the story about blue-collar workers in steel plants that were shutting down in the area. A big part of our country was wealthy and prosperous from manufacturing in the middle of the Twentieth century, but a lot of manufacturing went overseas, cities in the "Rust Belt" of the Midwest declined. And a lot of people who used to have careers in manufacturing felt disappointed or left behind. And "Allentown" is a song about that difficult transition.
Now if you're ever asked a trivia question about what city Billy Joel was singing about in the song "Allentown," the answer is "Bethlehem, Pennsylvania." But Allentown, just about 15 minutes away, sounded better in the melody, so he called it "Allentown" instead.
See you next time!
Well that's all for today, Thursday, May 26, 2022. When you hear this, I will be on vacation in Florida! And it will be a well-deserved vacation. This spring, Chicago had more rainy days than any other spring in over 60 years. It was one day after another, rain, gray, cold, all spring long. I didn't think twice before booking my ticket to Florida after I was invited by my family!
Don't worry; I might be on vacation, but Plain English continues every week, every Monday and Thursday no matter what. Remember that the full lesson is online at PlainEnglish.com/471. And we'll be back on Monday with the follow up to today's lesson about the hazards of buy now, pay later for Gen Z shoppers. See you then.