AE 368 – Expression: A Silver Bullet

Learn Australian English in this Expression episode of The Aussie English Podcast where I teach you how to use the expression A SILVER BULLET.

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AE 368 – Expression: A Silver Bullet

Black Text = Lesson vocab
Blue Text = Idioms
Green Text = Lesson expression
Red Text = Aussie Slang

G’day, guys! Welcome to this episode of The Aussie English Podcast. As usual, let’s get into it, guys. Let’s just not waste any time.

Today’s expression episode is all about the expression “a silver bullet”, “a silver bullet”.

Announcements:

So, before we dive into that, guys, let’s go through a few announcements.

Firstly, if you haven’t already, make sure you sign up to The Aussie English Classroom, guys. It’s one dollar to try it for a month. You’ll get all the bonus content for today’s episode in order to learn English faster. But a bit more about that at the end.

Also, if you feel like sending me a postcard, I’m still collecting postcards to fill the wall behind me, guys. So, the address is P.O. Box 597, Ocean Grove, 3226, Victoria, Australia. That’ll be in the transcript. So, you can look that up if you need also.

Also, I’m only doing Monday classes on Facebook Live at the moment. I’ve had to stop the Thursday classes just for this month as I need a bit more time to finish my PhD and do a few other things. So, if you want to show up and see the free parts of The Effortless Phrasal Verb Course, come over to Facebook on Monday at 7PM Melbourne time, so, that’s UTC +11 hours, and you can jump on and watch those episodes for free. And if you want to learn phrasal verbs even faster you can enrol in the course, The Effortless Phrasal Verb course.

Anyway, let’s dive into this episode. I should mention too, you guys will probably get a laugh, I was trying to record this, in fact, I did record this, on Facebook Live earlier today, but I forgot to put the microphone, the lapel mic, on my jumper. So, the sound was absolutely atrocious. It was horrible. There was a lot of reverb from the room, a lot of echo. It was really annoying. So, that’s why I’m redoing this episode.

Aussie Joke:

So, today, alright, the Aussie joke. We always start with an Aussie joke. What’s small, furry, and bright purple? What is small, furry, and bright purple? A koala holding its breath. A koala holding its breath. What’s small, furry, you know, it has a lot of hair on it, and bright purple, the colour purple, in the face? A koala holding its breath, because its face would, obviously, turn purple if it was holding its breath. So, that’s the joke.

As usual, let’s go through the different words in this expression.

Definitions:

So, “silver”. “Silver” is kind of a colour. It’s a shiny grey-white colour in appearance. OK? So, it’s a metal. It’s a metal that is grey-white in appearance, in colour. It’s a precious metal, meaning it’s worth a lot of money. Silver. You’ll know what silver is. It’s not as expensive as gold, but it’s more expensive than say bronze or copper. So, that’s silver.

“A bullet”. “A bullet” is a metal projectile that gets fired from a weapon like a gun. OK? So, you could have lead bullets, tungsten bullets, tungsten is a kind of metal, and you can have silver bullets in mythology at least. OK?

So, I’m sure you guys know what silver is and I’m sure you all know what a bullet is.

Expression Definition:

So, let’s define the expression. If something is a silver bullet. This’s a silver bullet. That’s a silver bullet. It is the allusion to something that is a miraculous fix, a miraculous solution to a very difficult problem, to a complicated and long-standing problem, guys. So, a silver bullet, to be a silver bullet, is a miraculous fix to a problem.

It’s very similar to the expression “wave a magic wand”, “to wave a magic wand”, which is like if you imagine Harry Potter, a magician or a witch, the stick that they use is called “a wand”, and if it’s “a magic wand”, obviously, they use it to cast spells. And we have the expression “to wave a magic wand” as a way of fixing something by magic. So, “a silver bullet” or “to wave a magic wand” are very similar expressions.

Expression Origin:

But the origin of the expression “a silver bullet”, it’s supposedly a bullet that is used in a weapon to kill werewolves. So, “a werewolf” is the man that turns into a wolf during a full moon. And so, according to some authors who were writing werewolf stories back in the day, in the 16th and 17th centuries, silver bullets were the only thing that could kill a werewolf. So, that is why it’s obviously an allusion to a miraculous fix to a problem. The problem being the werewolf and the silver bullet being the solution.

So, as usual guys, let’s go through three different examples of how you could use this expression.

Examples:

1.

So, let’s do the first one talking about climate change. We often have politicians or “pollies”, as we call them in Australia. Pollies are often on TV having a yarn, having a chat, having a talk about climate change, and talking about how difficult it’s going to be to overcome or that it’s too hard to overcome. You know? They might say well we don’t want to cut back on how much coal we’re using, because it’s going to cost the economy too much, and climate change isn’t going to get fixed overnight. It’s going to take a long time to fix. So, the pollies could say there’s no silver bullet to climate change. There’s no easy solution. There’s no silver bullet.

2.

Example number two. Imagine you want to lose weight. So, you want to find some magic pill to try and lose weight. You know, you’re overweight, you’re obese, you’re fat, but you don’t want to be anymore. So, you’ve decided I want a quick fix, I want a quick solution, an easy miraculous fix to the problem that is being obese. And someone might tell you look there’s no silver bullet. There’s no quick fix. You just have to go to the gym. You have to do the time, do the reps, do the exercise, get sweaty, and that’s how you lose weight. There’s no silver bullet.

3.

Example number three. Alright. Here’s where we’re going to go for a bunch of different Aussie slang. So, you with your mates, and you’re walking through an enchanted forest. So, imagine you’re in a story like Red Riding Hood or something. You know, it’s a magical forest. It’s enchanted. You’re walking through with your mates. Maybe you sinking a few beers, you’re having a yarn, and you hear a sound in the bushes. So, you dive into the bushes. You want to go and have a look. What the hell’s the sound? You want to have a gander. You want to have a squiz. Those are Aussie slang terms for “to have a look”, a gander and a squiz. I want to have a gander. I’m going to have a squiz, and see what that sound was. And it turns out it’s a werewolf! And the werewolf jumps out from behind the bush. He’s having a go at you. He’s coming at you. He’s going ape shit. And “ape shit” is a sort of strong way of saying going crazy, becoming angry. And you tell your mate, quick grab me the gun. Load her up! Put a silver bullet in it mate! Bang! And you shoot the wolf dead. The silver bullet has literally acted as a silver bullet to your problem. So, it’s fixed the problem.

So, hopefully, you guys get what “a silver bullet” is, a miraculous fix, a miraculous solution to a long-standing and complicated problem.

So, as usual guys, let’s go through a quick listen and repeat exercise. In this one, I want you to focus on the connected speech and the contraction of the words that I’m using in these phrases. OK? So, just listen and repeat after me and try to pronounce these words exactly as I do. Let’s go.

Listen & Repeat:

It’s a silver bullet.
It’s a silver bullet.
This’s a silver bullet.
This’s a silver bullet.
That’s a silver bullet.
That’s a silver bullet.
Those’re silver bullets.
Those’re silver bullets.
These’re silver bullets.
These’re silver bullets.

Good job, guys. Good job. Before we finish up, guys, let’s go through an Aussie fact.

Aussie Fact:

So, today’s Aussie fact is the fact that there are more than 80 percent of Australians who live within 100 kilometres of the coast making Australia one of the world’s most urbanised coastal-dwelling populations. Meaning that we have a population that lives incredibly close to the beach. So, this is one of those things. Despite Australia being a massive continent, a really big country, characterised by huge deserts in the middle of the continent, the majority of people live within a stone’s throw, figuratively, they live within only 100 kilometres, 100 k’s, 100 clicks, of the beach. So, they live incredibly close to the beach. And that’s why you always see Australians at the beach on TV.

Anyway, guys, I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. Remember to sign up for The Aussie English classroom, guys. You get to try it for a month for one dollar, for one buck, and you get all the bonus content for this episode and for other episodes that is specifically designed to help you learn English faster. And most importantly, it’s designed with a whole heap of pronunciation and speaking exercises to help you speak like a native Australian English speaker. So, give it a go, guys, and I’ll chat to you later. Enjoy your week.


Additional Exercises:

Exercise 1: Vocab & Writing Practice:

Let’s try something different in this lesson. I want you to:

1. Find the sentence that includes the word or phrase in the text and write it out.
2. Write your own sentence using that word or phrase.

SW = Somewhere
ST = Something
SO = Someone

A breath – the air taken into and expelled from the lungs
A coast – the part of the land that meets the ocean
A fix – a solution to a problem
A magic pill (to/for ST) – a pill that you can take to solve a problem (e.g. weightloss)
A magician – a person with magical powers
A mic (all forms of English) – a microphone
A projectile – a missile designed to be fired from a gun (e.g. a bullet)
A rep (all forms of English) – a repetition
A witch – a woman with magical powers, usually evil
An allusion (to ST) – a subtle reference (to ST)
An echo – a sound or sounds caused by the reflection of sound waves from a surface back to the listener
An economy – the state of a country in terms of production and consumption of goods and services and the supply of money
At the moment – currently; presently; now
Atrocious – horrifyingly wicked; extremely bad or unpleasant
Back in the day – in the past; some time ago
Bright – giving out or reflecting much light; shining
Bronze – a yellowish-brown alloy of copper with up to 1/3 tin.
Characterised (by ST) – be a typical feature (of ST)
Climate change – the artificial modification of the Earth’s climate because of human pollution
Coal – a combustible black or dark brown rock consisting of carbonised plants, mined from underground
Coast-dwelling – living on or near the coastline
Copper – a red-brown metal, symbol – Cu
Enchanted – (ST or SO that has been) put under a spell
Furry – covered in hair
Gold – a yellow precious metal, symbol – Au
In order to – with the aim or purpose of doing ST
Lead – a soft, heavy, ductile bluish-grey metal, symbol Pb
Little Red Riding Hood – The fairy-tale involving the young girl in a red cloak visiting her grandmother and the wolf.
Long-standing – having existed or continued for a long time
Magical – relating to, using, or resembling magic
Miraculous – of the nature of a miracle; remarkable and bringing very welcome consequences
Mythology – relating to, based on, or appearing in myths or mythology
Reverb (all forms of English) – reverberations
Shiny – (of a smooth surface) reflecting light, typically because very clean or polished
Supposedly – according to what is generally assumed or believed
Sweaty – exuding, soaked in, or inducing sweat
To cast (a spell) – to cause (a magic spell) to take effect
To cut back on ST – to (start to) reduce ST
To fill ST – to make ST full
To fix ST overnight – to solve an issue quickly (e.g. over the period of a night)
To jump on ST – to get on ST (by jumping)
To load ST up – to completely load ST (e.g. a bullet into a gun)
To look ST up – to find information about ST
To overcome ST – to succeed in dealing with (a problem or difficulty)
To redo ST – to do ST again
To show up – to arrive; appear
To wave a magic wand – to provide the perfect solution to a given problem as if by magic
Tungsten – a very hard bright-gray metal, symbol W
Urbanised – make or become urban in character (i.e. build houses SW)
What the hell’s… – said to express anger, contempt, or disbelief


Exercise 2: Listening Comprehension:

• Listen to the episode again now and answer these questions in your own words.

1. Fill in the blank: Let’s just not waste ____ time.

______________________________________________

2. What’s today’s expression?

______________________________________________

3. Where am I putting the postcards that I receive?

______________________________________________

4. Which day am I doing Facebook Live lessons now?

______________________________________________

5. What time Melbourne time?

______________________________________________

6. At what hour UTC?

______________________________________________

7. Why did I re-record this episode?

______________________________________________

8. What’s today’s Aussie joke (question)?

______________________________________________

9. What’s today’s Aussie joke answer?

______________________________________________

10. Define: silver

______________________________________________

11. Is silver more expensive than gold?

______________________________________________

12. Is silver more expensive than copper or bronze?

______________________________________________

13. Define: a bullet

______________________________________________

14. What two metals do I mention apart from silver?

______________________________________________

15. Define: a silver bullet

______________________________________________

16. What expression is “a silver bullet” similar to?

______________________________________________

17. What’s the origin of the expression “a silver bullet”

______________________________________________

18. What’s a werewolf?

______________________________________________

19. Briefly describe example 1.

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

20. What’s the slang term for “politician”?

______________________________________________

21. Briefly describe example 2.

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

22. Briefly describe example 3.

______________________________________________

______________________________________________

23. What kind of forest is it?

______________________________________________

24. What is to have “a gander” / “a squiz”?

______________________________________________

25. What does “to go ape shit” mean?

______________________________________________

26. What do I want you to focus on in this listen and repeat exercise?

______________________________________________

27. What’s today’s Aussie fact?

______________________________________________

28. Fill in the blank: The majority of people live within a _____’s throw of the beach.

______________________________________________

29. What other ways to I say 100kms?

______________________________________________
All answers below in the Answers section.


Exercise 3: Phrasal Verb Substitution:

• In this exercise, we’re going to practice using the phrasal verb “To cut back on ST”, which means:

o To reduce
o To decrease
o To lessen
o To diminish

• Substitute in the phrasal verb “To cut back on ST” into the following sentences.

• Pay attention to match the verb tense used in each sentence too. Let’s go:

1. We need to reduce costs.

______________________________________________

2. She’s decreasing cigarettes.

______________________________________________

3. Did they diminish expenses?

______________________________________________

4. Are you reducing anything?

______________________________________________

5. Should we lessen spending?

______________________________________________

6. They diminish their consumption.

______________________________________________

7. The country lessened fuel emissions.

______________________________________________

8. He had decreased eating fish.

______________________________________________

9. I’ll have reduced alcohol by then.

______________________________________________

10. The company would diminish costs.

______________________________________________

11. He reduced his work hours.

______________________________________________

12. I’m trying to lessen the junk food I eat.

______________________________________________
All answers below in the Answers section.


Exercise 4: Slang:

This week’s slang mission is to look up and use the following slang terms.

A buck – a dollar

E.g. I’ve got a couple of bucks in my pocket.

Create your own example sentence:

______________________________________________

A click – a kilometre

E.g. The beach is 2 clicks to the north.

Create your own example sentence:

______________________________________________

A k – a kilometre

E.g. I think he lives a few k’s away.

Create your own example sentence:

______________________________________________

A pollie – a politician

E.g. I hate pollies.

Create your own example sentence:

______________________________________________

A yarn – a chat; talk: conversation

E.g. Let’s have a yarn on the veranda.

Create your own example sentence:

______________________________________________

Her – used by “real” Aussie blokes to refer to objects instead of “it”

E.g. Your new car’s a beauty! Can I drive her?

Create your own example sentence:

______________________________________________

To go ape shit (at SO) – to go crazy; become angry

E.g. Dad was furious and went ape shit at me!

Create your own example sentence:

______________________________________________

To have a gander (at ST) – to have a look (at ST)

E.g. Have a gander at this!

Create your own example sentence:

______________________________________________

To have a go (at SO) – to attack (SO)

E.g. Your dog’s having a go at my dog!

Create your own example sentence:

______________________________________________

To have a squiz (at ST) – to have a look (at ST)

E.g. We’re having a squiz at my mate’s new surfboard.

Create your own example sentence:

______________________________________________

To sink (a few beers) – to drink (a few beers)

E.g. Let’s go to the pub and sink a few (beers).

Create your own example sentence:

______________________________________________


Exercise 5: Pronunciation:

• In this exercise, we’re going to practice the vowel sound /ɛ/

Head /hɛd/
Led/lead /lɛd/
Met /mɛt/
Kept /kɛpt/
Leapt /lɛpt/
Neck /nɛk/
Let /lɛt/
Pet /pɛt/
Wet /wɛt/
Set /sɛt/
Vet /vɛt/
Bet /bɛt/
Fret /frɛt/
Debt /dɛt/
Net /nɛt/
Peg /pɛg/
Jet /ʤɛt/
Peck /pɛk/
Red/read /rɛd/


Exercise 6: Connected Speech:

• In this exercise, we’re going to practice connected speech and focus on the pronunciation of the /ɑ/ sound in Aussie English.

• We’re also going to practice how native Aussie English speakers contract “I am going to + verb” down to “Imena + verb”:

o I am going to + verb /aɪ æm ˈgəʊɪŋ tuː/
o I’m going to + verb /aɪm ˈgəʊɪŋ tuː/
o I’m gonna + verb /aɪm ˈgəŋə/
o Imena + verb /ˈaɪmənə/

Note: I’ve just made up the spelling of “imena” for this exercise.
I’ll be written as “I’m going to…” formally, and “I’m gonna…” informally.

• In the following exercise, I want you to read the following words and their accompanying phrases.

• Make sure to pronounce the last syllable as an /ɑ/ sound, as well as focusing on the contraction Imena. Let’s go:

Silver – I’m going to buy some silver.
Water – I’m going to drink some water.
Actor – I’m going to be an actor.
Tractor – I’m going to drive a tractor.
Sugar – I’m going to eat some sugar.
Jaguar – I’m going to pat the jaguar.
Treasure – I’m going to bury the treasure.
Pressure – I’m going to feel a lot of pressure.
Favour – I’m going to do him a favour.
Colour – I’m going to look at the colour.
Area – I’m going to visit the area.
Zebra – I’m going to ride the zebra.
Centre – I’m going to stand in the centre.
Theatre – I’m going to go to the theatre.


Exercise 7: Grammar exercise:

• In this exercise, we’re going to practice converting The Future Tensegoing to” into the modal verbmight”.

The Future Tensegoing to”, in this example, is used to indicate an intention that you will do in the future.

o I’m going to look up the answer later.

• The modal verb “might”, in this example, is used to indicate the possibility of something occurring.

o I might look up the answer later.

• Substitute in “might” for “going to” in the following sentences.

• Let’s go:

1. I’m going to buy some silver later.

______________________________________________

2. You’re going to drink some water later.

______________________________________________

3. He’s going to be an actor later.

______________________________________________

4. She’s going to drive a tractor later.

______________________________________________

5. We’re going to eat some sugar later.

______________________________________________

6. They’re going to pat the jaguar later.

______________________________________________

7. I’m going to bury the treasure later.

______________________________________________

8. You’re going to feel a lot of pressure later.

______________________________________________

9. He’s going to do him a favour later.

______________________________________________

10. We’re going to look at the colour later.

______________________________________________

11. They’re going to visit the area later.

______________________________________________

12. She’s going to ride the zebra later.

______________________________________________

13. I’m going to stand in the centre later.

______________________________________________

14. You’re going to go to the theatre later.

______________________________________________
All answers below in the Answers section.


Answers Section:

Exercise 2: Listening comprehension exercise:

  1. Fill in the blank: Let’s just not waste ____ time.
    1. Any
  2. What’s today’s expression?
    1. A silver bullet
  3. Where am I putting the postcards that I receive?
    1. On the wall behind me
  4. Which day am I doing Facebook Live lessons now?
    1. Mondays
  5. What time Melbourne time?
    1. 7PM
  6. At what hour UTC?
    1. UTC +11 hours
  7. Why did I re-record this episode?
    1. I forget to put my microphone on my jumper
  8. What’s today’s Aussie joke (question)?
    1. What is small, furry, and bright purple?
  9. What’s today’s Aussie joke answer?
    1. A koala holding its breath
  10. Define: silver
    1. A shiny grey-white colour
    2. A precious metal
  11. Is silver more expensive than gold?
    1. No
  12. Is silver more expensive than copper or bronze?
    1. Yes
  13. Define: a bullet
    1. A metal projectile shot from a gun
  14. What two metals do I mention apart from silver?
    1. Lead, tungsten
  15. Define: a silver bullet
    1. The allusion to something that is a miraculous fix to a long-standing and complicated problem.
  16. What expression is “a silver bullet” similar to?
    1. To wave a magic wand
  17. What’s the origin of the expression “a silver bullet”
    1. A bullet used in a weapon to kill werewolves
  18. What’s a werewolf?
    1. A man that turns into a wolf during a full moon
  19. Briefly describe example 1.
    1. Politicians realise that climate change isn’t going to be easily fixed. There’s no silver bullet to climate change
  20. What’s the slang term for “politician”?
    1. A pollie/polly
  21. Briefly describe example 2.
    1. You want to lose weight, and you look for a quick fix, quick solution to the problem that is being obese. Someone tells you there’s no silver bullet to losing weight.
  22. Briefly describe example 3.
    1. You’re with your mates walking through an enchanted forest, you hear a sound, and it’s a werewolf. You shoot the wolf with a silver bullet, which has acted as a silver bullet to your problem.
  23. What kind of forest is it?
    1. An enchanged forest
  24. What is to have “a gander” / “a squiz”?
    1. To have a look.
  25. What does “to go ape shit” mean?
    1. To go crazy/become angry.
  26. What do I want you to focus on in this listen and repeat exercise?
    1. Connected speech and pronunciation
  27. What’s today’s Aussie fact?
    1. 80% of Australians live within 100km of the coast.
  28. Fill in the blank: The majority of people live within a _____’s throw of the beach.
    1. Stone
  29. What other ways to I say 100kms?
    1. 100 k’s
    2. 100 clicks

Exercise 3: Substitution Exercise:

  1. We need to reduce
    1. We need to cut back on
  2. She’s decreasing
    1. She’s cutting back on
  3. Did they diminish expenses?
    1. Did they cut back on expenses?
  4. Are you reducing anything?
    1. Are you cutting back on anything?
  5. Should we lessen spending?
    1. Should we cut back on spending?
  6. They diminish their consumption.
    1. They cut back on their consumption.
  7. The country lessened fuel emissions.
    1. The country cut back on fuel emissions.
  8. He had decreased eating fish.
    1. He had cut back on eating fish.
  9. I’ll have reduced alcohol by then.
    1. I’ll have cut back on alcohol by then.
  10. The company would diminish
    1. The company would cut back on
  11. He reduced his work hours.
    1. He cut back on his work hours.
  12. I’m trying to lessen the junk food I eat.
    1. I’m trying to cut back on the junk food I eat.

Exercise 7: Grammar exercise:

  1. I’m going to buy some silver later.
    1. Eh… I might buy some silver later.
  2. You’re going to drink some water later.
    1. Eh… You might drink some water later.
  3. He’s going to be an actor later.
    1. Eh… He might be an actor later.
  4. She’s going to drive a tractor later.
    1. Eh… She might drive a tractor later.
  5. We’re going to eat some sugar later.
    1. Eh… we might eat some sugar later.
  6. They’re going to pat the jaguar later.
    1. Eh… They might pat the jaguar later.
  7. I’m going to bury the treasure later.
    1. Eh… I might bury the treasure later.
  8. You’re going to feel a lot of pressure later.
    1. Eh… You might feel a lot of pressure later.
  9. He’s going to do him a favour later.
    1. Eh… He might do him a favour later.
  10. We’re going to look at the colour later.
    1. Eh… We might look at the colour later.
  11. They’re going to visit the area later.
    1. Eh… They might visit the area later.
  12. She’s going to ride the zebra later.
    1. Eh… She might ride the zebra later.
  13. I’m going to stand in the centre later.
    1. Eh… I might stand in the centre later.
  14. You’re going to go to the theatre later.
    1. Eh… You might go to the theatre later.

[/mepr-active]


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