11 November 2023
And now, Words and Their Stories, from VOA Learning English.
Today we talk about being in a good place. And we begin with an old American pop singer.
When Karen Carpenter sings about being "on top of the world," she describes feeling happy, thankful, and being in a great place.
If you are on top of the world, you are in a great position. You are happy with life.
When things are really going your way, you can also say you are sitting pretty. Sitting pretty, means you are in a very favorable situation. You love your job. You have a nice home. And your finances are in good order.
This expression can also mean you are in a good, safe, and secure position. You don't need to worry about the future.
It can also mean you are in an advantageous position. For example, when a friend of mine bought property, she found herself in a price war with another buyer. However, she was sitting pretty for several reasons: She offered a big down payment and a flexible move-in date.
This example shows how sitting pretty can have a little difference in meaning than other similar expressions. It can suggest that you are in a good situation, especially when others are not.
As we said, we have other expressions that mean about the same thing as being on top the world and sitting pretty. If you are in a great situation and have a favorable position, you can also say you have it made. You are ahead of the game. You are going places.
If you feel great about your life and just feel great in general, you might say you are on cloud nine. The origin of this cloud expression comes from the field of agriculture. The Farmer's Almanac explains that scientists wanted to make recording cloud observations easier. So, they rated clouds zero to nine. Zero represented the lowest clouds and nine the highest clouds.
Word experts say this is where the expression to be on cloud nine probably comes from. If you're on cloud nine you'll be very high up which may also describe your feelings.
And that's all the time we have for this Words and Their Stories.
When it comes to your English studies, we hope all of you are on cloud nine.
Until next time ... I'm Anna Matteo.
Anna Matteo wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
advantageous – adj. helpful; favorable
down payment – n. a part of the full price paid at the time of purchase or delivery with the balance to be paid later
flexible – adj. readily changed or changing