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Do You Understand This Dialogue?

Do You Understand This Dialogue?

Date: Feb 15 2011

Topic: Idioms and Slang

Author: englishteacher24/7


Two older men greeted each other, one says to the other, "how's it going young man?  The other man said, "heavy on the young!"

Do you understand what the second man meant by "heavy on the young?"


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United States

A new question on how to politely refuse an unexpected visit has been posted.

03:00 AM Sep 11 2017 |


United States

You’re welcome, Amira. Your paraphrases are more than appreciated, all of which are very accurate in meaning.

Now, here is an additional question for everyone.


How could you politely refuse to accommodate an unexpected or unwelcomed visit from a non-family member?

02:41 AM Sep 10 2017 |

La Princesse de la vie


Mr. Alston, thanks a million for your reply :) 

I would like to paraphrase the rest of the informal exemples if that’s Ok.

“Hey Jill, look what the wind blew in!”

Hey Jill, look what the wind brought us “He’s joking that the wind brought him his friend at his door”

“Dude, don’t just stand there, come on it!”

Man, don’t stay out, come in.

“Man you look hungry, you’re just in time for dinner, come on in.”

Man you look hungry, you’re lucky it’s dinner time, come in.

07:30 PM Sep 08 2017 |


United States

Amira, thanks for your feedback. I respect the fact that you’ll always ask if you don’t understand something. This is a big part of why you have progressed in your English knowledge.

For those who may just be joining us, Amira’s wants a clarification of one of my informal greetings from Lesson No. 89 Explanation dated September 5, 2017. You may want to read the whole lesson for a better understanding.

The informal greeting was: 

“Well, well, well, if it ain’t the Midnight Rider, come on in to the crib, man.”

Let’s examine this informal greeting:

1. When Bill started by saying, “Well, well, well…” it sets the tone for a very informal greeting which it is apparent that they were close friends who apparently haven’t seen each other in awhile.

2. He (Bill) goes on to say, “If it ain’t the Midnight Rider…” which means he is labeling his unexpected guess a “Midnight Rider.” The name “Midnight Rider” is the name of a song from the American country rock group “The Allman Brothers Band” which is about a “man on the run” apparently from the law (police). Bill called his friend the “Midnight Rider” as a joke.

3. Finally, Bill says to his “Midnight Rider” friend, “come on in to the crib man.” The word “crib” is slang for your home; therefore, Bill was inviting his unexpected guest into his home. He ends it with “man” which in this case is slang for friend.


To say what Bill said another way (paraphrase) would be:

“Hello, hello, hello, my running away from something friend, come on into my home.”

Final thought:

I worded that informal greeting to encourage questions about the meaning of it. Amira was the only one to ask about it. I’d like to suggest to other readers to develop an inquisitive mind about English and don’t just ignore what you don’t understand.

Take the initiative to find out what you don’t know; otherwise you are likely to miss many opportunities to increase your knowledge of English.

Welcome, Oscar guy. Yes, you can add me.

03:24 AM Sep 08 2017 |

oscar guy

oscar guy


can i add u?

01:37 AM Sep 08 2017 |

La Princesse de la vie


Hello Mr. Alston,

Thank you a lot for the detailed explanation of the 89th post and the mention of types of question.

Concerning the examples mentioned, I would like to ask you for clarification about that one “Well, well, well, if it ain’t the Midnight Rider, come on in to the crib, man.”

I found the rest of the examples quite easy to grasp thanks to being a regular follower of your forums :)

10:48 PM Sep 06 2017 |


United States

Lesson No. 89- How to Ask a Polite Question Explanation (Lesson Posted on August 26, 2017):

Amira, I appreciate you submitting your question on how you would ask Mr. Smith for the reason of his unexpected visit. It was a very good response.

The main thing is to embed the question in several additional words to make it less direct.

How to ask and answer a question politely:

Sometimes you may be in the position of having to ask a question in a polite way. By the same token, you may be in a position to have to answer a question in a polite way.

Keep in your mind that not all questions can be answered politely and some questions shouldn’t be asked. Some questions are difficult to answer truthfully which requires the use of euphemisms.

There are different types of questions which mean you have to answer accordingly. A question many times is a request to receive something such as, “Can I use your ink pen?” For example:

1. General Requests Questions

“Can I use your ink pen please?” or “Can I please use your ink pen?”

In this case, simply adding the word “please” makes the question polite.

2. Euphemistic Questions/Answers

Some questions require the use of a euphemism which is substituting a softer indirect word instead of a direct, harsh word.

For example, “I’m sorry that your mother passed away” instead of “I’m sorry that your mother died.

3. Direct Questions/Answers

Some questions you’ll have to be creative in answering, for example:

A wife asked her husband, “Do I look fat?”

Husband replies, “Fat? Are you kidding? You look good to me!” or if she’s undeniably fat, he could say, “Just more to love!”

If he wanted to be funny, he could say, “It would be easier to hug a Volkswagen Beetle.”

4. Loaded Questions

Some questions are called “Loaded Questions” which mean that there is no good answer. For example:

“Have you stopped beating your wife?”

If he answers, yes, then he’s admitting that he previously beat his wife.

If he answers, no. then he’s admitting that he is still beating his wife.

This type of question you don’t answer, you just say I’ll pass on this question.

5. Compelled Questions

This lesson contains what I call a “Compelled Question” because Mr. Smith came to his daughter Jill and her husband Bill’s house unexpectedly which required Bill to politely ask Mr. Smith what was the reason of his visit,

Amira’s answer was very good because she asked the question in a positive welcoming sense and avoided any feeling of causing Mr. Smith to justify his unexpected visit. 

Julito’s answer was also very good if their relationship was a close-knit casual one.

Below are some additional responses from me:

Mr. Smith, what a pleasant surprise, come on in!

Oh my goodness, Mr. Smith, please come in.

Glad to see you Mr. Smith, come on in.

Informal Greetings

Now, if the relationship is not formal such as an old friend or co-worker, then you can have fun with your greeting like Julito did. For example:

“Hey Jill, look what the wind blew in!”

“Dude, don’t just stand there, come on it!”

“Well, well, well, if it ain’t the Midnight Rider, come on in to the crib, man.”

“Man you look hungry, you’re just in time for dinner, come on in.”


As you can see, you can either ask a question concerning the reason of the unexpected visit, or you can turn it into a statement and bypass asking the reason in a question form.

If you have any questions about the lesson or any phrase meaning, please feel free to ask.

09:47 AM Sep 05 2017 |


United States

“Heavy on the young” explanation:

In the U.S., if you order food from a restaurant like a hamburger, fish sandwich etc. and you want to request extra condiment such as ketchup or tartar sauce; you would say “heavy ketchup” or “heavy tartar sauce;” and the cook would put extra sauce on your sandwich.

In the dialogue, one old man said to the other old man, “How’s it going young man?”  He asked him in a friendly fun-type of way how was he doing today, even though he wasn’t a young man but asked him as a joke.

The other older man responded, “Heavy on the young,” which he meant jokingly, keep telling me I’m young, young, young (heavy=extra)!  In other words, he wanted the greeter to put emphasis on the “young” part of his greeting.

This is in the category of fun language between people you are comfortable with. It is not common language but I want to expose you to it so you won’t always think in a literal sense.

This example is the same as a husband asking his wife to do a favor for him and she responds, “yes sir” and he responds with the phrase “Heavy on the Sir” and she responds again in a loud voice “YES SIR!” to add emphasis to the affirmation of “yes sir.”

It’s just an example of having fun with the language. 

Jane and Nasim you both were on the right track, the explanation give you the exact details.

Nasim, your question about why I used “two older men” instead of just “two old men” is a very good question. Here is my reason:

If I said “two old men” it would limit the phrase to apply to old men (50 years and above.)

By using the phrase “two older men” it could apply to any two men who are not teenagers because it would include anyone in their 30’s, 40’s 50’s and any age. In other words, in this context “older” mean any two men who are not perceived to be young.

If the phrase “Heavy on the young” was used among young men, it wouldn’t have any joke meaning because one young person telling another young person to put emphasis on being young doesn’t make sense. I hope this helps. Good question, you’re very observant.

I shoe-horned this explanation in to answer this question. 

08:42 PM Aug 30 2017 |

1 person likes this



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

I think the second old man became happy to hear the word “young” :D and he wanted to hear that again 

I dont know if it is true or not.I also have a question about why you use the “two older men” instead of “two old men”.Is there any difference between them ?

03:23 PM Aug 29 2017 |




I understand,that it was like a joke. The first man met his oldest friend, like friend since youth and ask him this question. And the other man answer to him some this phrase, because he fall in this “joke conversation”.

02:19 PM Aug 29 2017 |

La Princesse de la vie


Hello, Mr. Smith! To what do we owe this pleasure?

I want to join Mr. Alston and say that I’m glad too to see you here Julito :)

11:56 AM Aug 29 2017 |


United States

Hello Julito, you’ve made my day to hear from you again. I was thinking about you and lo and behold there you are!

Your answer is right on point because the solution is to add additional conversation to soften the blow of a direct answer.

In this case because it’s a parent/son-in-law relationship, I would be a little more formal in addressing the father-in-law and substitute Mr. Smith (or whatever the name) instead of “Hey man” unless the relationship is already on a very informal basis.

Nevertheless, your answer is superb as you always give right on point answers.

I’d like to ask everyone else to submit their answers as well.

Thanks for your response.

08:39 AM Aug 29 2017 |




Hey man, what a surprise !! why didn`t you give me a call before dropping by, i would have put a couple of beers in the freezer for us. 

08:32 PM Aug 28 2017 |


United States

Lesson No. 89 – How to Ask a Polite Question:

Sometimes asking a question about something can be offensive by the very nature of asking it. However, there are times when a question must be asked to provide a reason for a situation or circumstance.

Read the following scenario and see if you can ask the question in a polite way.


Bill and Jill are married and live 3 hours from Jill’s parents. One day Jill’s father (Mr. Smith) came to their home unexpectedly (without letting them know he was coming.)

Bill answered the door and was surprised to see Jill’s father (Mr. Smith).


How can Bill politely ask Jill’s father (Mr. Smith) the reason for his visit?

Hint: If you ask directly, “Why are you here?” that would border on being rude and offensive.

Write your own question that you would ask Jill’s father to answer this question. I’ll post my answers later. 

10:16 AM Aug 26 2017 |


United States

Here is some additional information on “Paradoxes.” By definition “a paradox is a statement that seems absurd or contradictory but yet can be true or at least makes sense.” Sometimes the meaning of a word can be understood better by giving examples rather than a direct definition.

Therefore, here are a few examples for your consideration:

1. ”Less is more.” Upon examination of this statement, it is reasonable to ask how something that is less can be more. The words “less” and “more” have opposite meanings of each other.

To understand the meaning, less is referring to something negative about the object and more refers to something positive about the object. For example: “Less arguing results in more peace.”

2. ”I know one thing: that I know nothing.” Socrates (via Plato): This statement tells the reader that there is one thing the author knows, but that is that he knows nothing. How can you know something and at the same time not know something? This is an example of a “paradox.”

3. The alarm clock went off at 5:00am/the alarm clock went on at 5:00am: As in Lesson 88, both of these phrases “went off” and “went on” means the alarm clock sounded the alarm at 5:00am and means the same thing despite the fact that ”on” and “off” are opposites. It is a paradox.

There are certain nuances and peculiarities in everyday English that can be learned by actively communicating in the language. In addition, visiting Englishbaby on a regular basis will also help you to learn these things.

06:24 AM Jul 01 2017 |


United States

Welcome Maryas; yes you are on the right track in your answer of the comment “heavy on the young.” A detail explanation can be found of the answer that I posted on October 4, 2016. Please scroll back there for a complete answer.

Don’t miss Lesson No. 88 explanation on “Paradoxes” posted on June 23, 2017.

07:21 AM Jun 28 2017 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of


I think it means “I’m old on the youth”

09:03 AM Jun 27 2017 |


United States

Hello Arminka, and welcome back. Which part do you want an explanation on? Thanks for your question, we learn by asking questions.

12:38 PM Jun 26 2017 |




I don’t  get it, can you explain,

08:30 AM Jun 26 2017 |


United States

Lesson No. 88 – Paradox Explanation:

If you haven’t read the lesson, you can read the original lesson posted on June 5, 2017.

The fire inspector asks Bill if the fire alarms were activated. Bill replied that the fire alarm went off. In other words, his answer is the fire alarm was activated (on). 

The word “off” in a context of something being in an operative or non-operative state, “off” is used as an adverb and means something is not operating (not activated).

However, Bill used the phrasal verb “went off” in his response and this changes the meaning to the opposite meaning to indicate the fire alarm was activated. The phrasal verbs “went off” or “go off” means something has been placed in an operative state (on).

Dave gave a direct answer and told the fire inspector the fire alarm “went on” which in this case indicated the fire alarm was activated.

As you can see, “went on” and “went off” means the same thing even though “on” and “off” are opposites of each other. Therefore, a “paradox” is something that in simple terms, contradicts itself.

Another similar figure of speech is called an “oxymoron” which also contains two opposite words that seem to contradict each other. You may want to do some additional research to understand the distinction between a “paradox” and an “oxymoron.”

Nevertheless, paradoxes are more common, therefore I suggest you to seek out additional examples of paradoxes on the internet. Certain aspects of English are likely to be learned from experience and discovery.

Let this be a motivation for you to be consistent in your acquiring of English. If you stop and go you will lose your momentum. Remember, we can do what we set our minds to do.

06:19 AM Jun 24 2017 |

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