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Now the VOA Special English program WORDS AND THEIR STORIES.

Making choices is necessary, but not always easy. Many of our expressions tell about this difficulty. One of these expressions is Hubson's choice. It often is used to discribe a difficult choice. That is not what it really means. Its real meaning is to have no choice at all. The Hubson in the expression was Thomas Hubson. Mr. Hubson owned a stable of horses in Cambridge, England. Mr. Hubson often rented horses to the students at Cambridge University. But he did not really trust them to take good care of the horses. So he had a rule that prevented the students from riding his best horses. The could take the horse that was nearest the stable law, or they could not take any horse at all. Thus, a Hubson's choice was really no choice.

Another expression for having no real choice is between a rock and a hard place. It is often used to describe a difficult situation with few choices. None of them good. For example, your boss may ask you to work late, but you have planned to go to a movie with your girlfriend. If you refuse to work, your boss gets angry. But if you do not go to the movies with your girlfriend, she gets angry. So what do you do? You are caught between a rock and a hard place.

Another expression, between the devil and deep blue sea, also give you a choice between two equaly dangerous things. Its meaning things clear, you can choose the devil and his burning fires of Hell, or you can choose to drown in the sea. Some word experts say this expression comes from the Days of Wooden Ships. The devil is a word for a sea between two pieces of wood along the waterland of a ship. If the sea all crack between the two pieces of wood begins to leak, then a sailor must fix it. The sailor ordered to make the repares was in a dangerous situation. He was hanging over the side of the ship, working between the devil and deep blue sea.

There is still another expression that describes a situation with only bad choices. Being on a Horns? of a adilemma. The dictionary says a dilemma is a situation in which you must make a decision about two equaly balanced choices. When you are dilemma as Horns?, the choice becomes impossible. When you are on a Horns? of a dilemma, no matter which Horn? you choose, something bad will happen.

This VOA Special English program Words and Their Stories was written by Marilyn Christina, Morrris Jose with the ? her. I'm S. G.
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