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      • Native Language:
      • Korean
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      • South Korea
      • Current Location:
      • South Korea

    • Join Date: Jun 2007
    • Posts: 1,271
    #1

    wear his britches out

    Would anyone please explain the following in bold in easy English?

    1. Fear motivation also works for a six-, seven-, or eight-year-old when it comes to acquiring bad habits such smoking. A threat on the part of the parents to "wear his britches out" if they catch him with a cigarette is very effective and will keep that cigarette out of his mouth.

    2. The only problem is, when you give the donkey a big enough bite of the carrot, he is no longer going to be hungry and, consequently, his motivation to pull is dramatically reduced. At this point, the only way you can get him to pull is to lighten the load, shorten the stick, and sweeten the carrot.

    I can translate the above expressions literally, but I'm not sure their figurative meaning.

    Thank you.


    • Join Date: Oct 2006
    • Posts: 19,434
    #2

    Re: wear his britches out

    Quote Originally Posted by unpakwon View Post
    Would anyone please explain the following in bold in easy English?

    1. Fear motivation also works for a six-, seven-, or eight-year-old when it comes to acquiring bad habits such smoking. A threat on the part of the parents to "wear his britches out" if they catch him with a cigarette is very effective and will keep that cigarette out of his mouth.

    2. The only problem is, when you give the donkey a big enough bite of the carrot, he is no longer going to be hungry and, consequently, his motivation to pull is dramatically reduced. At this point, the only way you can get him to pull is to lighten the load, shorten the stick, and sweeten the carrot.

    I can translate the above expressions literally, but I'm not sure their figurative meaning.

    Thank you.
    "Wear his britches out" = euphemism for beat him.

    "shorten the stick" = make it easier for the donkey to reach the carrot, which is hanging from a stick held over his head.

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