actual – also – apart – bald – brave – brief

#1 actual

In this scene from the TV series Big Bang Theory, Sheldon meets his new boss, Dr. Eric Gablehouser, who fires him instantly.


Leonard (to Sheldon): Here comes our new boss, be polite.

Gablehouser: Hi fellas, Eric Gablehouser.

Howard: Howard Wolowitz.

Gablehouser: Howard, nice to meet you. And you are?

Sheldon: An actual real scientist. (To Leonard) How was that?

Scene: The stairwell of the apartment building. Sheldon is carrying a box of his things.

Sheldon: I can’t believe he fired me.

Leonard: Well, you did call him a glorified high-school science teacher whose last successful experiment was lighting his own farts.

Sheldon: In my defense, I prefaced that by saying “with all due respect.”


fella (informal) = a man

glorify = to praise and honor a person

fart = If someone farts, air is forced out of their body through their anus.

to preface = If you preface your words with something else, you say this other thing first.

with all due respect = used to express polite disagreement in a formal situation

(definitions taken from the Cambridge and Collins Dictionary)

#2 also

Sheldon is about to invent fish nightlights, i.e., fish that light by night.


Sheldon: I read an article about Japanese scientists, who inserted DNA from luminous jellyfish into other animals, and I thought hey, fish nightlights.

Leonard: Fish nightlights.

Sheldon: It’s a billion dollar idea. Shhhhh!

Leonard: Mum’s the word. Sheldon, are you sure you don’t want to just apologize to Gablehauser and get your job back?

Sheldon: Oh, no, no, no. No, I’ve too much to do.

Leonard: Like luminous fish.

Sheldon: Shhhhh!

Leonard: I’m sorry… I didn’t….

Sheldon: That’s just the beginning. I also have an idea for a bulk mail-order feminine hygiene company. Oh, glow in the dark tampons! Leonard, we’re going to be rich.


i.e. = that means

to insert = to put something inside something else

DNA = short for deoxyribonucleic acid; an acid in the chromosomes in the center of the cells of living things. DNA determines the structure and functions of every cell and is responsible for characteristics being passed on from parents to their children.

luminous = producing or reflecting bright light, especially in the dark

jellyfish = a sea creature with a soft, oval, almost transparent body

nightlight = a light that is not too bright that can be left on through the night, especially for a child

mum’s the word = said when you agree with someone to keep something a secret

bulk = large in size or mass

feminine hygiene = used to refer to menstruation and female aspects of the body in general

to glow = to produce a continuous light

(definitions taken from the Cambridge and Collins Dictionary)

#3 apart

Howard is absent, and the three remaining friends are having problems because of that, or rather, Sheldon has.


Penny: Alright fellas, I gotta go. Good luck.

Leonard: Maybe we should have asked if we could go dancing with her and her girlfriend.

Sheldon: Okay, assuming we could dance, which we can’t, there are three of us and two of them.

Leonard: So?

Sheldon: It’s the Chinese restaurant all over again. I assure you that cutting a dumpling in thirds is child’s play compared with three men, each attempting to dance with 67% of a woman.

Leonard: Aaah, for God’s sake, Sheldon, you are driving me crazy.

Sheldon: Your anger’s not with me, sir, but with basic mathematics.

Leonard: No, I’m pretty sure my anger’s with you.

Raj: What’s happening to us? We’re falling apart.

Leonard: Who are you calling?

Sheldon: The only man who can restore any semblance of balance to our universe.

Howard:  Hi this is Howard Wolowitz.

Christie: And this is Christie Van Der Bell.

Howard: We can’t get to the phone right now because we’re having sex.

Christie: You’re not going to put that on your message are you?

Howard: No, I’m just kidding, I’ll re-record it.


fella (informal) = a man

gotta = have got to

to assume = to accept something to be true without question or proof

to assure = to tell someone confidently that something is true

dumpling = a small ball of dough (=flour and water mixed together), often cooked in hot liquid, and eaten with meat and vegetables

child’s play = something that is easy to do

for God’s sake = Some people use expressions such as “for God’s sake” or “for goodness sake” in order to express annoyance or impatience.

to restore = To restore a situation means to cause it to exist again.

semblance = a situation or condition that is similar to what is wanted or expected

to re-record = to record sounds again

(definitions taken from the Cambridge and Collins Dictionary)

#4 bald

Learn some unconventional dating vocabulary by listening to Leslie asking Leonard some really weird questions on their first date.


Leslie: So, how many children do you think we should have? (Leonard splutters and coughs) I’m sorry, that was a little abrupt.

Leonard: A little.

Leslie: I mean there are so many things to talk about before we discuss reproduction.

Leonard: I sure hope so.

Leslie: Besides shortness, what genetic weaknesses run in your family?

Sheldon (entering): I’m sorry to interrupt, battery’s dying. Continue.

Leonard: Uh, genetic weaknesses, right, um, there’s the lactose intolerance.

Sheldon: Don’t forget the male pattern baldness. When his uncles sit around the dinner table they look like a half carton of eggs. (Exits. He trails an extension cord after him. Eventually goes tight a couple of times, then falls loose.)

Leonard: Okay, now my uncles are bald, but my Aunt Edna is one of the hairiest women you will ever meet. So… Sweet lady. It always tickles when she hugs me.


to splutter = to produce short, unclear noises from your mouth, especially because you cannot breathe properly

abrupt = sudden and unexpected

reproduction = the process of having babies

to run in somebody’s family = If a characteristic runs in someone’s family, it often occurs in members of that family, in different generations.

lactose intolerance = the inability to digest lactose (= a substance in milk)

male pattern baldness = a type of hair loss in men, in which hair is lost from the top and front of the head

extension cord = an extra length of cable that can be added to an electric lead (= elektrische Leitung)

to tickle = If a part of the body tickles, or if something tickles it, it feels slightly uncomfortable and you want to rub it.

(definitions taken from the Cambridge and Collins Dictionary)

#5 brave

Penny is meeting her ex-boyfriend again, and Leonard has ink on his forehead. Sheldon is congratulating Leonard for his “badge of honor.”


Penny: I just think he’s really changed. We’re having dinner tomorrow night, and I get to wear my new beret. Bye, guys.

Leonard: Bye.

Sheldon: Well done, Leonard. The true hero doesn’t seek adulation; he fights for right and justice simply because it’s his nature.

Leonard: Penny’s hooking up with her jerk of an ex-boyfriend and I have indelible ink on my forehead!

Sheldon: That’s your badge of honor, your warrior’s wound, if you will. I was wrong; minstrels will write songs about you.

Leonard: Great.

Sheldon (sings): There once was a brave lad named Leonard, with a fi-fi-fiddle-de-dee. He faced a fearsome giant, while Raj just wanted to pee.


beret = a round, flat hat made of soft material

adulation = very great and uncritical admiration or praise for someone

to hook up with somebody = In this case, it means that two people meet and they potentially will have sex.

jerk = a stupid person, usually a man

indelible = Indelible ink cannot be removed or washed out.

badge of honor = a mark or expression of pride

minstrel = a travelling musician and singer common between the 11th and 15 centuries

lad = a boy or young man

fiddle-de-dee = an exclamation of impatience, disbelief, or disagreement

(definitions taken from the Cambridge, Collins, and Merriam Webster Dictionary)

#6 brief

In this conversation, Sheldon advises Leonard not to hope for a relationship with Penny. He would only be disappointed then.


Sheldon: So, what exactly are you trying to accomplish here?

Leonard: Excuse me?

Sheldon: That woman in there’s not going to have sex with you.

Leonard: Well, I’m not trying to have sex with her.

Sheldon: Oh, good. Then you won’t be disappointed.

Leonard: What makes you think she wouldn’t have sex with me, I’m a male and she’s a female?

Sheldon: Yes, but not of the same species.

Leonard: I’m not going to engage in hypotheticals here, I’m just trying to be a good neighbor.

Sheldon: Oh, of course.

Leonard: That’s not to say that if a carnal relationship were to develop that I wouldn’t participate. However briefly.

Sheldon: Do you think this possibility will be helped or hindered when she discovers your Luke Skywalker no-more-tears shampoo?

Leonard: It’s Darth Vader shampoo. (There is a knock at the door.) Luke Skywalker’s the conditioner.


to accomplish = to finish something successfully or to achieve something

species = a set of animals or plants in which the members have similar characteristics to each other

hypothetical = imagined or suggested but not necessarily real or true

carnal = Carnal feelings and desires are sexual and physical, without any spiritual element.

to hinder = to limit the ability of someone to do something, or to limit the development of something

conditioner = a thick liquid that you put on and wash off your hair after you have washed it, to improve the quality and appearance of your hair

Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker = fictional characters in the Star Wars movies

(definitions taken from the Cambridge and Collins Dictionary)

PS: In case you came here via Google (or any other search engine): This post is part of my online course on typical mistakes people with German as their native language make in English. You can get to the course here: Englisch lernen: Hoffentlich machst du diese Fehler nicht!

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