Archive for February 3, 2011

grammatical expression: the thing is…

Today’s grammatical expression is “the thing is…”, and it’s very commonly used in daily conversations. We use it when we want to give an excuse for something. For example:

I’m sorry that you saw me in my underwear in the living room when you came home. The thing is, I was really drunk.

Many people get angry at Rafael because he’s often late. The thing is, in his home country being late is normal.

I’m sorry, but I’ve forgotten your name. I hope you’re not upset with me. The thing is, I forget most people’s names.

I really want to come to your party, but the thing is, my boss wants me to work overtime that night. I’m sorry.

A: Can you come help me set up my computer?

B: I’d really like to help you. The thing is, I’m really busy right now.

So we use “the thing is” as an introductory phrase before we say the excuse. The excuse can be a reason for some bad behavior which people don’t like, as in the first three examples. It can also be an excuse for why we can’t do something that is being requested of us, as in the last two examples.

We can also use this expression when we want to explain something. For example:

Even though the new apartment is bigger, I don’t want to move there. The thing is, my current place is really convenient and close to where I work.

I really want to stay in room 415 at the hotel. The thing is, that’s the room where I stayed with my wife on our honeymoon.

My sister really doesn’t like cats. The thing is, a cat jumped on her when she was very young.

So, in these examples, “the thing is” is used to explain the reason why someone wants something or has a certain feeling about something.

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