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Do You Understand This Dialogue?

Do You Understand This Dialogue?

Date: Feb 15 2011

Topic: Idioms and Slang

Author: englishteacher24/7


Two older men greeted each other, one says to the other, "how's it going young man?  The other man said, "heavy on the young!"

Do you understand what the second man meant by "heavy on the young?"


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United States

A new lesson is coming on Conversational English. Stay tuned.

10:57 PM Dec 13 2017 |


United States

Neginb, thanks for your feedback and sincere accolades. You don’t have to wish to be in my classes in the USA because my “classes” are on Englishbaby.

Concerning your request about taking the IELTS exam, don’t worry, it’s easy.

English tests are for the purpose of determining if you can understand everyday English and communicate on this level. Therefore the goal is to answer the questions presented and not to memorize a set of answers.

You would benefit from someone who knows English to proofread your writing and coach you concerning any errors. If you don’t have anyone to do this, if you send me a short story of about 100 words on any general topic I’ll do it for you.

Here is a link that will help you http://www.dcielts.com/ielts-tips/8-ways-to-pass-ielts/

Judging from your written English you already are very good at writing English.

Also, a grammar checker is a very helpful tool to help eliminate errors.

Here’s a link to a free grammar checker https://www.grammarly.com/ 

The main thing is to relax and brush up (review) on your Basic English and stay away from deep grammar, basic grammar is all you need.

I wish you well in your endeavors.

06:26 PM Oct 15 2017 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

Thanks for these great lessons. I love the way you reply the students. You are a really good teacher. I wish I could be in USA to participate in your English classes.

To be honest, Now adays I am preparing myself to take an IELTS exam. I don’t have a lot of information about it but I have started to study some books. I will be thankful if you share your experinces and the most important points about it as a message to me.

11:09 AM Oct 13 2017 |


United States

Lesson No. 90 Homonyms Explanation:

Easypeasy, you offered a superb in-depth explanation of “Homonyms” describing that there are two kinds coupled with a good example. Thanks a bunch!

Some people may benefit by hearing the same thing another way, so for their sakes I’ll do so. 

“Homographs” are words that are spelled (spelt) and pronounced the same but has a totally different meaning such as the word Easypeasy used (bat).

“Homophone” words are pronounced the same but are spelled differently and have a totally different meaning which was the case in this lesson.

Lesson Explanation:

You may want to re-read Lesson No. 90 posted on September 16, 2017

Jan purchased some fabric at what she considered to be at a fantastic price which made it a “good buy.” Upon leaving the store she ran into the manager and complimented him by saying, “Good buy” because she was happy about her purchase.

In response to Jan’s comment the manager simply says “Goodby” as a good parting gesture.

The difference between “Good buy” and “Goodby” is only one letter (u) and both words are pronounced exactly the same. However, the meaning of “Good buy” is a statement of a good purchase and the meaning of “Goodby” is a farewell remark which can also be spelled “Good bye” with an “e”.

When two different words sound the same, context will determine their meanings.

If you have any questions concerning this lesson, please feel free to ask.

06:04 PM Sep 21 2017 |




What Jan meant by saying “good buy” was that she made a good purchasing because the product was exactly what she needed and she could buy it for a good price.

A homonym is when words seem to be the same, but mean different things. There are two kinds of homonyms: the homograph and the homophone.

The homograph is when the similiarity is visual. An example for a homograph is the word “bat”: it is only one word but when we read it we can think of a winged animal associated with vampires or a piece of sporting equipment used in baseball.

In our case we have a homophone. “Good buy” and “Goodbye” look different and mean something different, but when you hear it, it could be understood either as “good buy” or “goodbye”. The manager didn’t know that Jan made a “good buy” so he understood it as a “goodbye”. 

03:15 AM Sep 18 2017 |


United States

Lesson No. 90 – Homonyms:

Jan went to a fabric store to buy some fabric to make a dress. She saw some fabric on the sale table that caught her eye. The fabric was just what she was looking for at a fantastic price, so she bought it.

After paying the cashier she proceeded to leave the store but ran into the store manager and she says to him, “Good buy” and the manager says to her, “Goodbye.”


Can you explain the meaning of Jan and the store manager’s short conversation? 

10:29 PM Sep 16 2017 |


United States

Amira and Julito you both have expressed genuine concerns about balancing between not accommodating an unexpected visit from a non-family member and not offending the visitor. Here’s my take on it:

First, it makes it easier that the visitor is not a family member. It’s not so easy to say adios amigo to a family member unless it’s one of bay bay’s kids.

The key is to talk with them at the door and give a reasonable reason why you can’t invite them into your home. Here are a few examples:

1. “What a surprise to see you, what brings you to this part of town? Sorry I can’t invite you in, my wife is not dressed to receive company.”

2. “What’s up? I haven’t seen you since Columbus sailed! You caught me just as I was leaving out.”

3. “Man, you should have called me before you came, I would have prepared for your visit. Sorry I can’t invite you in.”

Julito, you are right on course to not give in to lying. You know how creative people can be in being a spin doctor.

Thanks for your contributions.

01:07 PM Sep 12 2017 |




As to politely refuse an unexpected visit i wouldn`t know what to say . It could be that i might have a good excuse, then it is ok with me to decline , other than that,i am a bad lier , people will know that  they are not welcome and will leave with ill feeling towards me.Such is life.

01:52 PM Sep 11 2017 |

La Princesse de la vie


I’m not sure about this one! I would just tell them that I have something important to do somewhere, but of course I would also express my sorrow that I couldn’t host them.

11:52 AM Sep 11 2017 |


United States

A new question on how to politely refuse an unexpected visit has been posted.

08:00 PM Sep 10 2017 |


United States

You’re welcome, Amira. Your paraphrases are more than appreciated, all of which are very accurate in meaning.

Now, here is an additional question for everyone.


How could you politely refuse to accommodate an unexpected or unwelcomed visit from a non-family member?

07:41 PM Sep 09 2017 |

La Princesse de la vie


Mr. Alston, thanks a million for your reply :) 

I would like to paraphrase the rest of the informal exemples if that’s Ok.

“Hey Jill, look what the wind blew in!”

Hey Jill, look what the wind brought us “He’s joking that the wind brought him his friend at his door”

“Dude, don’t just stand there, come on it!”

Man, don’t stay out, come in.

“Man you look hungry, you’re just in time for dinner, come on in.”

Man you look hungry, you’re lucky it’s dinner time, come in.

12:30 PM Sep 08 2017 |


United States

Amira, thanks for your feedback. I respect the fact that you’ll always ask if you don’t understand something. This is a big part of why you have progressed in your English knowledge.

For those who may just be joining us, Amira’s wants a clarification of one of my informal greetings from Lesson No. 89 Explanation dated September 5, 2017. You may want to read the whole lesson for a better understanding.

The informal greeting was: 

“Well, well, well, if it ain’t the Midnight Rider, come on in to the crib, man.”

Let’s examine this informal greeting:

1. When Bill started by saying, “Well, well, well…” it sets the tone for a very informal greeting which it is apparent that they were close friends who apparently haven’t seen each other in awhile.

2. He (Bill) goes on to say, “If it ain’t the Midnight Rider…” which means he is labeling his unexpected guess a “Midnight Rider.” The name “Midnight Rider” is the name of a song from the American country rock group “The Allman Brothers Band” which is about a “man on the run” apparently from the law (police). Bill called his friend the “Midnight Rider” as a joke.

3. Finally, Bill says to his “Midnight Rider” friend, “come on in to the crib man.” The word “crib” is slang for your home; therefore, Bill was inviting his unexpected guest into his home. He ends it with “man” which in this case is slang for friend.


To say what Bill said another way (paraphrase) would be:

“Hello, hello, hello, my running away from something friend, come on into my home.”

Final thought:

I worded that informal greeting to encourage questions about the meaning of it. Amira was the only one to ask about it. I’d like to suggest to other readers to develop an inquisitive mind about English and don’t just ignore what you don’t understand.

Take the initiative to find out what you don’t know; otherwise you are likely to miss many opportunities to increase your knowledge of English.

Welcome, Oscar guy. Yes, you can add me.

08:24 PM Sep 07 2017 |

oscar guy

oscar guy


can i add u?

06:37 PM Sep 07 2017 |

La Princesse de la vie


Hello Mr. Alston,

Thank you a lot for the detailed explanation of the 89th post and the mention of types of question.

Concerning the examples mentioned, I would like to ask you for clarification about that one “Well, well, well, if it ain’t the Midnight Rider, come on in to the crib, man.”

I found the rest of the examples quite easy to grasp thanks to being a regular follower of your forums :)

03:48 PM Sep 06 2017 |


United States

Lesson No. 89- How to Ask a Polite Question Explanation (Lesson Posted on August 26, 2017):

Amira, I appreciate you submitting your question on how you would ask Mr. Smith for the reason of his unexpected visit. It was a very good response.

The main thing is to embed the question in several additional words to make it less direct.

How to ask and answer a question politely:

Sometimes you may be in the position of having to ask a question in a polite way. By the same token, you may be in a position to have to answer a question in a polite way.

Keep in your mind that not all questions can be answered politely and some questions shouldn’t be asked. Some questions are difficult to answer truthfully which requires the use of euphemisms.

There are different types of questions which mean you have to answer accordingly. A question many times is a request to receive something such as, “Can I use your ink pen?” For example:

1. General Requests Questions

“Can I use your ink pen please?” or “Can I please use your ink pen?”

In this case, simply adding the word “please” makes the question polite.

2. Euphemistic Questions/Answers

Some questions require the use of a euphemism which is substituting a softer indirect word instead of a direct, harsh word.

For example, “I’m sorry that your mother passed away” instead of “I’m sorry that your mother died.

3. Direct Questions/Answers

Some questions you’ll have to be creative in answering, for example:

A wife asked her husband, “Do I look fat?”

Husband replies, “Fat? Are you kidding? You look good to me!” or if she’s undeniably fat, he could say, “Just more to love!”

If he wanted to be funny, he could say, “It would be easier to hug a Volkswagen Beetle.”

4. Loaded Questions

Some questions are called “Loaded Questions” which mean that there is no good answer. For example:

“Have you stopped beating your wife?”

If he answers, yes, then he’s admitting that he previously beat his wife.

If he answers, no. then he’s admitting that he is still beating his wife.

This type of question you don’t answer, you just say I’ll pass on this question.

5. Compelled Questions

This lesson contains what I call a “Compelled Question” because Mr. Smith came to his daughter Jill and her husband Bill’s house unexpectedly which required Bill to politely ask Mr. Smith what was the reason of his visit,

Amira’s answer was very good because she asked the question in a positive welcoming sense and avoided any feeling of causing Mr. Smith to justify his unexpected visit. 

Julito’s answer was also very good if their relationship was a close-knit casual one.

Below are some additional responses from me:

Mr. Smith, what a pleasant surprise, come on in!

Oh my goodness, Mr. Smith, please come in.

Glad to see you Mr. Smith, come on in.

Informal Greetings

Now, if the relationship is not formal such as an old friend or co-worker, then you can have fun with your greeting like Julito did. For example:

“Hey Jill, look what the wind blew in!”

“Dude, don’t just stand there, come on it!”

“Well, well, well, if it ain’t the Midnight Rider, come on in to the crib, man.”

“Man you look hungry, you’re just in time for dinner, come on in.”


As you can see, you can either ask a question concerning the reason of the unexpected visit, or you can turn it into a statement and bypass asking the reason in a question form.

If you have any questions about the lesson or any phrase meaning, please feel free to ask.

02:47 AM Sep 05 2017 |


United States

“Heavy on the young” explanation:

In the U.S., if you order food from a restaurant like a hamburger, fish sandwich etc. and you want to request extra condiment such as ketchup or tartar sauce; you would say “heavy ketchup” or “heavy tartar sauce;” and the cook would put extra sauce on your sandwich.

In the dialogue, one old man said to the other old man, “How’s it going young man?”  He asked him in a friendly fun-type of way how was he doing today, even though he wasn’t a young man but asked him as a joke.

The other older man responded, “Heavy on the young,” which he meant jokingly, keep telling me I’m young, young, young (heavy=extra)!  In other words, he wanted the greeter to put emphasis on the “young” part of his greeting.

This is in the category of fun language between people you are comfortable with. It is not common language but I want to expose you to it so you won’t always think in a literal sense.

This example is the same as a husband asking his wife to do a favor for him and she responds, “yes sir” and he responds with the phrase “Heavy on the Sir” and she responds again in a loud voice “YES SIR!” to add emphasis to the affirmation of “yes sir.”

It’s just an example of having fun with the language. 

Jane and Nasim you both were on the right track, the explanation give you the exact details.

Nasim, your question about why I used “two older men” instead of just “two old men” is a very good question. Here is my reason:

If I said “two old men” it would limit the phrase to apply to old men (50 years and above.)

By using the phrase “two older men” it could apply to any two men who are not teenagers because it would include anyone in their 30’s, 40’s 50’s and any age. In other words, in this context “older” mean any two men who are not perceived to be young.

If the phrase “Heavy on the young” was used among young men, it wouldn’t have any joke meaning because one young person telling another young person to put emphasis on being young doesn’t make sense. I hope this helps. Good question, you’re very observant.

I shoe-horned this explanation in to answer this question. 

01:42 PM Aug 30 2017 |

1 person likes this



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

I think the second old man became happy to hear the word “young” :D and he wanted to hear that again 

I dont know if it is true or not.I also have a question about why you use the “two older men” instead of “two old men”.Is there any difference between them ?

08:23 AM Aug 29 2017 |




I understand,that it was like a joke. The first man met his oldest friend, like friend since youth and ask him this question. And the other man answer to him some this phrase, because he fall in this “joke conversation”.

07:19 AM Aug 29 2017 |

La Princesse de la vie


Hello, Mr. Smith! To what do we owe this pleasure?

I want to join Mr. Alston and say that I’m glad too to see you here Julito :)

04:56 AM Aug 29 2017 |

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