Expression: To Take it With a Grain of Salt

166 - Expression: To Take it With a Grain of Salt


Words that are bolded in red are suggested vocabulary words for this episode.


Hi everybody. My name is Shana and this is the American English Podcast. My goal here is to teach you the English spoken in the United States. Through common expressions, pronunciation tips, and interesting cultural snippets or stories, I hope to keep this fun, useful and interesting. Let’s do it!


Hi everyone. Welcome back. Hope you’re having a nice day. In today’s episode, I’ll tell you a joke, we’ll go over the expression "to take it with a grain of salt," and we’ll do a pronunciation exercise.

In part two of today’s lesson, we’ll do another English story using ten irregular past tense verbs. The story will be about McDonald’s, I’m guessing you know what McDonald’s is! Be sure to stay tuned for that.

Before we begin today’s lesson, let’s do a recap.

Last week, I posted an episode all about culture shock in the US, and you guys shared so many fun things about your experiences in the United States related to culture shock, both on Instagram and in Spotify comments. Some of you sent me personal messages. Thank you for contributing. 

Culture shock is experienced differently by different people and it was so fun to read through your commentary.

I’m going to read through some of the messages I received. Bear with me, I have quite a few that I’d like to comment on and to just share with you, because they were so good. And we’ll get to the bulk of the episode after this.

So I’ve corrected these messages, just little grammar mistakes here and there to make sure that you hear the correct English version of these responses.

We’ll start out with Joana Salvado from Portugal and she wrote: "Hi Shana, I’m from Portugal. Love your podcast and it’s been helping me a lot. I’ve been to New York and I saw some ads on TV for prescription medicines. We don’t have that here in Portugal. It’s forbidden."

Joana, you are 100% right, it is allowed in the United States. When I was a kid, I remember these ads were intense. More intense than today. So apart from strong visuals and music, the ads ended with the spokesperson reading a list of 20 or more negative side effects, so fast you could barely understand it.

Today is a little bit different; it’s still permitted on TV, of course, but these medicine commercials are regulated a little bit more heavily by the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration. And supposedly nowadays, the person who is creating the ad needs to speak, understandably for consumers, so they can’t use fancy or technical language. They also have to say the drug name and major side effects clearly and coherently at a normal pace, this drug can cause a heart attack, lung cancer, stroke. You get the idea.

Do you guys have ads for medicine on TV? Honestly, it’s so normal here, I’ve never really thought about it.

Then we have Daniele or Daniele, I’m not quite sure, from Bologna, Italy, and he said, "I lived in the US for two years, and I found it weird that you’re able to buy a screwdriver in a pharmacy." For example, at CVS, Walgreens.


That’s the end of the free version of this transcript. Sign up to Season 4 for the full transcript, quiz and more.