Who Wants Some Candy?

04 May, 2019

Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.

On this program, we explore common expressions in American English. And today we talk about something many people like to eat – candy!

I want candy! I want candy!

Candy comes in many flavors and textures. Some taste like fruit. Some taste like flowers. Some are chewy, like taffy and gum.

Hard candies are, well, hard! So, they last a long time.

The hard candy picutred here can take a long time to eat.
The hard candy picutred here can take a long time to eat.

But, in spoken English, there are some types of candy that you cannot eat. For example, you can't eat eye candy.

Eye candy is a person – man or woman – who is very good-looking. So, looking at this person is a treat for the eye, just like candy is a treat for the taste buds.

Arm candy is also non-edible candy. It is another term for a good-looking person. In this case, the good-looking person is someone's date or romantic interest. The two might even link arms to show they are together. That is why we call it "arm candies."

So, all arm candies are also eye candies, because they must be good-looking. But not all eye candies are arm candies, because they can be alone.

And beware of someone calling you "arm candy." It suggests you are only being pursued because of your good looks.

There. I said it. I did not candy coat the truth.

What does candy-coating something mean? Well, some pills are covered with a coat of thin, sweet candy. The coating makes swallowing the pill easier, and it may hide a bad taste. So, candy coating a difficult truth or situation means you don't directly discuss its bad parts.

For example, let's say you work in a chocolate factory. You hear your boss accuse a co-worker of stealing some candy. You do not want to make the situation worse. So you tell your colleagues, "I think Louisa will be leaving the chocolate business very soon," instead of, "Oh Louisa? She is being fired right now."

Okay, after all this talk about candy you may crave something sugary. If you do, you can say you have a sweet tooth. People with a sweet tooth love to eat sweets -- not just candy, but also cakes, pies, cookies, ice cream... you name it! If it has sugar, they like to eat it!

Or maybe that is not you. After all, some people dislike things that are very sweet, especially adults. But even if you do not like candy or are no longer a child ... you can still be called a kid in a candy store.

This expression means a person is very excited and happy to do something or to simply be somewhere. Imagine a child going from one candy display to the next, not knowing which candy to choose!

This expression also suggests the person is acting in a somewhat childish and silly way. And he or she does not care!

Talking about children brings us to our last expression: as easy as taking candy from a baby.

Think about a small, helpless baby holding a piece of candy. Taking it would be very easy -- mean, but easy. So, use this expression when you are talking about something that may be simple to do, but probably not right.

On the other hand, if something is simple and your intentions are sweet, you can say easy as pie or easy as cake.

Now, we talked about those last two expressions in an earlier Words and Their Stories. I used them again because repetition is important when learning a language.

And I'm not going to candy-coat it: You need to practice too.

That brings us to the end of this Words and Their Stories. Until next time ... I'm Anna Matteo.

The candy man, the candy man can
The candy man can 'cause he mixes it with love
And makes the world taste good.

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor. Earlier in the story, you heard the pop group Bow Wow Wow singing "I Want Candy." The song at the end is Sammy Davis Jr. singing "The Candy Man," which was first heard in the famous 1971 movie "Willie Wonka & the Chocolate Factory."

Do you have candy expressions in your language? Let us know in the Comments Section!


Words in This Story

flavor n. a particular type of taste

texture n. the way that a food or drink feels in your mouth

taste budn. one of many small spots on your tongue that give you the ability to taste things

non-edible adj. not fit to be eaten

romantic adj. of, relating to, or involving love between two people

pill n. a small, rounded object that you swallow and that contains medicine, vitamins, etc.

crave v. to want greatly

intention n. the thing that you plan to do or achieve : an aim or purpose