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[report整理] Words and Their Stories 2016-05-22

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Now the VOA learning english programme, Words and their stories.

There are so many expressions in American English that sounds pleasant but are not. "Face the music"  is the good example. When someone says they have to face the music, it doesn't mean they are going to a music performance or concert. Facing the music means to accept the unpleasant result. Americans often use the word "face" in this way. For example, I can't face another night of camping. It's cold and raining. Or in life it is important to face your fears. Face used in this way is very common,but now back to the facing music. Imagine a friend asks you to take care of her beautiful red sports car. She gaves you the keys and says," thanks so much for watching my car while I am away, but please do not drive it. It's an extremely fast car and you are not on an insurance. "But you do not listen, you want to show off to some friends and pretend the car is yours. So you drive it around town one night. As bad luck would have it, you lose control of the car and drive it in a stop sign. The damage is severe. When your friend returns, you must  tell her what you have done and face the music.

The music here is the consequence and result of your actions. It could be losing her friendship or paying for repairs to a sports car or both. Whatever the music is, you must face it.

Most Americans know the expression of face the music, it is more than 150 years old. As with many expressions, its history is not clear. In 1851, the writer James Fanimer Copper reportedly explained face the music as a theater term. In a theatre, the orchestra often sit in the front of the stage. So actors come on stage facing the musicians. Many actors are very nervous, a condition called "stage fright". They may want to ran away. Face the music came to mean accepting "stage fright", not surrendering to it. Word experts also say face the music may have come from the military. A soldier who did sth terrible could b e forced out of the horse cavalry . The army drumers would play a slow sad beat. The soldier would be carried away, seated backward on a horse and facing the music of the drums, humiliating.

There are other American expressions means the same thing as face the music. To take medcine means to accept the results from sth bad you have done. And if someone says you made your bad now lie in it, they mean you created a bad situation, and now you will experience the results. Or as we say in spoken American English, you must deal with it.

Pay the piper also means the same as face the music. But that expression has its own very interesting begining. We will talk about that on another "Words and their stories".

I am Anna Martell.
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