Nagging, nitpicking and scolding

Some English learners have questions about trying to use the word 잔소리 in English. There is no direct translation so most dictionaries give you the three words: nag, nitpick and scold. But we have to use these in different situations.



“Nag” is when someone (usually a spouse, parent or friend) complains often about something that you don’t think is worth complaining about. “My wife nags me for drinking too much” implies she is doing the wrong thing and the drinking isn’t a problem. “My mom nags me for not taking out the garbage.” “My friends nag me for not hanging out with them.” The complaint has to be repeated, annoying and trivial to you. Unfortunately this is more often used with females, the stereotype being a “nagging wife.”



“Nitpick” is to complain about small details, little things that aren’t important. “My friend always nitpicks about pizza toppings.” “My coworker nitpicks so much about the format of the report that we can’t even get it started.” Nitpick is less confrontational than nagging, and doesn’t imply any relationship between the complainer and the person listening.

Nagging is about a person’s faults, nitpicking is usually not directed at a person.



Scolding is different from the other ones. Scolding is complaining to someone about their actions or behaviors- but in this case the person being scolded definitely did something wrong.

Nagging and nitpicking are thought of as annoying and useless complaints, scolding is justified.

Relaxed Pronunciation 2

Here are some more examples of relaxed pronunciation in spoken English (I pulled these examples off of wikipedia if you want to check there for more info.

It would
It would be wonderful if you could come to my party.

Ittid [ˈɪɾəd](never written)
Ittid be wonderful if you could come to my party.”


A lot of
A lot of people will be there.”

A lotta
“A lotta people will be there.”

“A lotta people will be there.”

Kind of
“It’s kind of a big deal.”

“It’s kinda a big deal.”

Out of
“Anyway, you should get out of the house more.”

“Anyway, you should get outta the house more.”

“Anyway, you should get outta the house more.”

Sort of
“People think you’re some sort of hermit.”

“People think you’re some sorta hermit.”

Going to
“There’s going to be cake.”

“There’s gonna be cake.”

Got to
“It’s red velvet, you’ve got to try it.”

“It’s red velvet, you gotta try it.”

“There’s gonna be cake. It’s red velvet, you gotta try it.”

Have to/ Want to
“You don’t have to come if you don’t want to.

Hafta/ Wanna
“You don’t hafta come if you don’t wanna.”

Funny vs. Funny


“I like your sister, she’s really funny.


“Your sister seems a little funny.

On the surface these two sentences may seem to have similar meanings. You will notice a difference in tone (the word stress in the sentence) however. “Funny” can mean “comical or humorous, able to make someone laugh” or it can mean “strange, weird, off-putting.”

This second definition is less common, it is used when you are not 100% sure if there is a problem with a person, thing or situation – but you get a feeling something is wrong.

“I’ve got a funny feeling about this.”

“I’ve got a funny feeling about this.” Is a common phrase to hear someone say in a horror movie as they enter a scary situation.

“My science teacher seems funny. Not funny ‘ha,ha’ , funny ‘weird’.”

“My science teacher seems funny. Not funny ‘ha,ha’ , funny ‘weird’.” Is the way you might describe someone that seems strange or unusual. The “Not funny ‘ha,ha’ , funny ‘weird’” part is sometimes added for clarification.

“My shoulder has felt funny since the baseball game last week,”

“My shoulder has felt funny since the baseball game last week,” would be a way to say that there is a little pain, or an unusual feeling in the shoulder.

It’s important to note that most things that are comical or humorous are also “funny” and enjoyable because they are strange or unexpected. So the definitions are actually related.

The best way to tell the difference is just by context and tone.

Idiom: Out of the Blue



“A stranger just came up to me out of the blue and gave me twenty dollars. It was really strange.”

“My girlfriend just broke up with me out of the blue.” (
여자친구가 난데없이 저를 졌어요. )

Sometimes something happens “out of the blue” or someone says something “out of the blue”, this means that it was completely unexpected.


This idiom originates with the sky. The idea is that when weather is normal the sky is blue, but when bad weather happens the sky usually changes color, or clouds form. Then from that dark sky you can get rain, thunder or lightning. Imagine though that the sky was completely clear and blue and then in an instant it started raining. Or that from a clear blue sky there was a bolt of lightning. It would be very unexpected for bad weather to happen “out of the blue” sky.
We wouldn’t use this expression for something that was expected. This sentence wouldn’t work “I knew the guy liked me and he was always flirting with me, and today he asked me out out of the blue.” A situation like that isn’t unexpected.
Also, we wouldn’t use it for something extremely tragic “My grandfather died out of the blue.” Would be too light. Idioms are not formal enough for extremely serious situations. “My goldfish died out of the blue” might be fine, if you weren’t too attached to the pet.

Under the Weather, Sick/ Ill


“I’m feeling under the weather
“Jane is sick today, she can’t come to class.”
“My grandfather is ill.”
All of these sentences have similar meanings, but let’s take a look at the differences.
First off “Under the weather” is an idiom that means “sick”. It is believed to come from sailors who had to stay below decks on ships when sick (under the deck and under the weather outside).

Although it has the same meaning as “sick” since you are speaking indirectly through an idiom it is a little less strong. It is also more common to use with softeners like “a little under the weather” when you feel only partially sick.
Sick” and “Ill” are synonyms, two words that mean the same thing, but we tend to use them a bit differently.
We more often use “sick” for short term things like a cold, flu or food poisoning that last several days.

Ill” is more often used for long term diseases or hereditary illnesses like cancer.


“I missed work last week because I was sick.” Is common, however “I missed work last week because I was ill is still grammatically correct and not unnatural -just less common.
“My grandfather is sick, he has cancer.” Likewise is not wrong, just a less common use of the word sick.
Under the weather” though can only be used for short term, temporary things and would never be used for a fatal disease.

Facial Hair Vocabulary

There are quite a few different names for facial hair, and it’s sometimes difficult for English learners to keep them all straight (to keep something straight = to remember something properly).


First off having hair only on the space between the upper lip and the nose is called a mustache.


If you have hair on the cheeks and chin it is called a beard.

Mustache + Beard = Beard

If you have a mustache and beard, we usually just call it a beard. This is because people usually have both, so saying “mustache” and beard is a bit redundant. To emphasize that the hair covers the whole face (cheek, chin, upper lip) we sometimes call this a “full beard”.


If someone has a beard just on their chin, but not on their cheeks, we call that a goatee. Perhaps because goats also have long hair on their chins?

Side burns are hair that covers the cheek in front of the ears, they usually aren’t very big and often just look like natural extensions of the hair. The superhero “Wolverine” is famous for having thick sideburns.

Clean shaven

If a man has no beard at all we say he is “clean-shaven.”

If someone has a bit of short hair on their face that you can see, but it isn’t long enough to be called a beard, we call it “stubble”.

~ing/~ed adjectives(Boring/ Bored, Tired/Tiring)


“I was so bored during the movie”

“The movie I saw was so boring


“I am tired after a long week.”

“My week at work was so tiring

In English we have some adjectives that can have the suffix (word ending) “–ing” or “–ed”. English learners often get them mixed up.

The “–ed” ending describes how a person feels. “I was bored” = “I felt boredom.” “I am tired” = “I feel tiredness”.

The “-ing” ending describes the source of those feelings. “The movie was boring” = “The movie gave me boredom.” “My week was tiring” = “My week gave me tiredness”.

This is the same for all of these kind of adjectives: frightened/ frightening, embarrassed/ embarrassing, infuriated/ infuriating … etc.

If you make a mistake with these two forms it can sound kind of silly.

“I am boring” = “I give other people the feeling of boredom, I am the cause of boredom.”

“The movie was excited” = “the movie is alive, and experienced the feeling of excitement.”

And be careful when you talk about other people:

“My friend is boring.” = “My friend makes other people feel boredom”


“My friend is bored.” = “My friend feels boredom.”


Both of those sentences have proper grammar, but very different meanings.