Okay, this is a good one. I’m willing to bet a lot of you haven’t heard this expression before, but it’s a good one to have with you. The expression is, “to the untrained eye.” The untrained eye—and it means almost exactly what it sounds like. Earlier today, I said, half-jokingly, that to the untrained eye, breakdancing looks like a lot of jumping and flying around. That means, if you don’t know what you’re looking at, if you don’t understand what you’re seeing, then breakdancing looks like a lot of jumping and flying around. Did you hear the joke made before? I said, “to the untrained eye (mine, for example).” My joke was that I’m one of those people who doesn’t really know what’s going on in breakdancing.
I saw an article online called, “Why Scandinavians are so good at English.” The article says: “To the untrained eye, English and the Scandinavian languages may not seem to have that much in common, yet the truth is quite different.” Let’s put this a different way. A casual observer may think that English and the Scandinavian languages don’t have much in common. The average person might think they don’t have much in common. But, the article says, the Scandinavian languages are part of the Germanic family of languages, just like English, so many features of English are actually similar to Swedish and Danish. To the untrained eye, they don’t have much in common; but experts know that they actually do have a lot in common.
Here’s a good example. You’ve probably all heard of phishing scams right? That’s when a criminal sends you an e-mail that looks like it came from your bank or something, and it tells you to just click here to change your password. They want to trick you into giving away your password. To the untrained eye, the email and the web site look just like your bank’s web site, but they are actually fakes. But I think a lot of us, now unfortunately, are pretty well-trained in identifying e-mail scams.
Speaking of fakes, a lot of fake handbags, shoes, clothes, and accessories from luxury brands look the same to the untrained eye—or from far away—but if you know what you’re looking for, it’s usually possible to spot a fake.
You can imagine a few other examples. To the untrained eye, this looks like a real diamond, but it’s actually a fake. To the untrained eye, this year’s cars are not much different from those released just a few years ago. However, they have a lot of additional safety features that are not visible from the outside. To the untrained eye, there’s not a lot of difference between different types of recreational marijuana on sale in the legal shops in Canada. But you have to be careful, because the potency can vary significantly, and you wouldn’t want to get something too strong.
Have you ever seen the shows on American TV about people who buy and sell old junk? There’s one called American Pickers, another one called Storage Wars. They basically go through discarded old things and they can identify things that have value, things that can be restored and then sold in antique markets, things like that. To the untrained eye, all that stuff just looks like junk—garbage accumulating in someone’s garage. But to people who know antiques, who know how to restore things, who know the markets they can be sold in, that so-called junk can be a gold mine.