Li is finding the instructions for building a wardrobe confusing so Rob is lending a hand. Will he find them crystal clear?
The script for this programme
Li: Welcome to The English We Speak, I'm Li and with me is Rob. Hi Rob.
Rob: Hello Li.
Li: So Rob, thanks for offering to help me build my new wardrobe. It's come in a hundred pieces and I don't know where to begin.
Rob: No problem Li, I'm happy to lend a hand. I'm great at building furniture!
Li: Good because the instructions seem to be so confusing. This bit here… doesn't fit… here.
Rob: Let's have a look. Give it to me. Let's have a look at these instructions. Yes, simple, it's crystal clear!
Li: Crystal clear? The instructions are crystal clear? Rob, my wardrobe may look fancy but there are no crystals in it.
Rob: I know that. I just mean the instructions are obvious – they are simple and clear to understand. If we say something is crystal clear we simply mean it is absolutely clear. Is that clear?
Li: It is. You mean it's easy to understand. I suppose, literally it means as clear as a crystal?
Rob: Exactly. Let's hear some examples of this idiom in action:
- The man's directions were crystal clear and we arrived at the station early.
- Mum made it crystal clear that we wouldn't be going to the party.
Li: So in those examples, crystal clear was used to mean extremely clear or easy to understand. But Rob, what I can't understand is why you find these instructions crystal clear and I can't?
Rob: That's easy – you had them upside down.
Li: Silly me!
Rob: But if you just put that piece of wood in there… and put a screw in there… and hook the doors onto there… your wardrobe will be complete. Is that clear?
Li: Crystal clear!
Rob: Good. But as I'm here now, I'll finish it for you. (Noises of Rob building wardrobe) There you go… what do you think?
Li: (Tapping the wood) Yes, it seems quite solid… oh no…
Li: Oh dear. Now I know what is really crystal clear.
Rob: Oh yes, what's that?
Li: I will never ask for you to help me build a wardrobe again. Is that clear?