Cape StudiesEnglish LanguageSouth Africa

George Stamelatos, teacher at Cape Studies shares his favourite English language expressions

One of the more amusing things about studying English is the odd words and expressions that you come across. My favourite expressions are those that rhyme or have a musical sound to them. I am thinking of expressions such as willy-nilly and shilly-shally, and words like brouhaha and kerfuffle.

Why do we use them and what do they mean?
Well, I use them because they are fun to say and make your language more colourful and expressive.

Their meaning?
Willy-nilly, my favourite, has the idea of things being done haphazardly, without any planning at all. Two ridiculous words which sum up everything in the universe, from the Big Bang to the confusion at the Oscars when the wrong film was named as best film. You can plan as much as you like but the future is totally unpredictable. In fact, we live in a willy-nilly world.

This idea of universal unpredictability will probably lead to a kerfuffle on the part of a number of you. That is, you will make a fuss about and disagree with my point of view. Some will even go so far as to create an absolute brouhaha with their noisy disagreement.

If that’s how you feel about my view of the universe, don’t shilly-shally about what you should do. Be resolute, take a stand and put fingers to keyboard and tell me what you think.