become – blame – control – fasten – flatter – grab

#1 become

In this scene from the TV series Big Bang Theory, Sheldon causes some problems by apologizing to Raj.


Raj: Sheldon, tell them what you did.

Sheldon: What did I do?

Leonard: You left with his date. Friends don’t do that to each other.

Sheldon: Oh. Alright, noted. Sorry.

Raj: Sorry? That’s all you can say is sorry?

Leonard: Take it, Raj. It’s more than I’ve ever gotten.

Sheldon: And may I point out she wouldn’t have asked me to go with her if you hadn’t been drunk and boring.

Dr Koothrappali: Drunk?

Sheldon: And boring, her words.

Dr Koothrappali: I knew it, he moves to America and becomes an alcoholic.


take it = In this case, it means something like accepting the excuse.

to be drunk = Someone who is drunk has drunk so much alcohol that they cannot speak clearly or behave sensibly.

(definitions taken from the Collins Dictionary)

#2 blame

Sheldon’s mom sent him the old Nintendo 64 to play with his friends, but Leonard had other plans that night.


Sheldon: Great news. My mom sent me my old Nintendo 64.

Leonard: Terrific.

Sheldon: You know what this means, don’t you? Break out the Red Bull, it’s time to rock Mario old school.

Leonard: I kind of have other plans tonight.

Sheldon: But it’s Friday. Friday’s always vintage game night. Look, mom included the memory card, we can pick up where I left off in 1999 when I had pernicious anemia.

Leonard: Well, the thing is, someone’s coming over.

Sheldon: Well then, no problem, I have three controllers, the more the merrier.

Leonard: Sheldon, it’s a date, I have a date coming over.

Sheldon: Oh, well you can’t blame me for not jumping to that conclusion.

Leonard: Why, what’s so unusual about me having a date?

Sheldon: Well, statistically speaking…

Leonard: Alright, alright.


to break out something = In this case it means to take out or prepare for use.

Red Bull = Red Bull is a brand of energy drinks. Sheldon suggests they will need a lot of energy because he plans to play video games for hours.

to rock something = You can say you rock it, when you are particular good at it.

old school = old-fashioned; Sheldon often favors traditional ideas and conservative practices. So for him, the word “old school” has a positive connotation.

vintage = produced in the past, and typical of the period in which it was made

pernicious anemia = a relatively rare autoimmune disorder caused by a lack of vitamin B12

the more the merrier = the more the better

jumping to a conclusion = to guess the facts about a situation without having enough information

(Some definitions are taken from the Cambridge and Collins Dictionary.)

#3 control

Penny got a shelf from Ikea, and the boys are helping her with it. As always, they are overdoing it completely.


Howard: These instructions are a pictographic representation of the least imaginative way to assemble these components. This right here is why Sweden has no space program.

Penny: Well, uh, it looked pretty good in the store.

Leonard: It is an inefficient design, for example Penny has a flat screen TV, which means all the space behind it is wasted.

Sheldon: We could put her stereo back there.

Leonard: And control it how?

Sheldon: Run an infra-red repeaterphotocell here, emitter here, easy-peasy.

Howard (after Raj whispers in his ear): Good point, how you gonna cool it?

Penny: Hey guys, I got this.

Sheldon: Hang on Penny. How about fans, here and here?

Leonard: Also inefficient, and might be loud.

Howard: How about liquid coolant? Maybe a little aquarium pump here, run some quarter inch PVC…

Penny: Guys, this is actually really simple.

Howard: Hold on, honey, men at work.


pictograph = a diagram or graph using pictured objects to convey ideas, information, etc.

representation = the way that something is shown or described

imaginative = new, original, and clever

to assemble = to fit the different parts of something together

repeater = an electrical device that amplifies incoming electrical signals, thus compensating for transmission losses

photocell = an electrical device that produces a current or a voltage when light shines on it

emitter = something that emits (= sends out) light, a noise, or a substance

easy-peasy = very easy

gonna = going to

hang on = wait for a short time

fan = A fan moves the air and makes yourself feel cooler.

liquid coolant = a liquid used to keep a machine or engine cool while it is operating

honey = a name you call someone you love or like very much

(definitions taken from the Cambridge and Collins Dictionary)

#4 fasten

Sheldon uses a driving simulator but is not very good at it. Fortunately, he uses the simulator rather than an actual car.


Leonard: Okay, now, what you want to do first is turn on the ignition and shift into drive.

Sheldon: I haven’t fastened my seat belt yet.

Leonard: Okay, fasten your seat belt.

Sheldon: Click. Now, are there air bags?

Leonard: You don’t need air bags.

Sheldon: What if a simulated van rear-ends me?

Penny: I’ll hit you in the face with a pillow.

Leonard: Okay, now shift into drive, pull out slowly into traffic.

(General panic)

Penny: Oh.

Leonard: Oh.

Howard: Oh.

Leonard: Watch out.

Howard: Oh God!

Leonard: Watch, watch out, watch out for pedestrians!

Penny: Oh God, wait, slow, hit the brakes, hit the brakes!

(Sounds of car crashing. Penny hits Sheldon in the face with a pillow.)

Sheldon: Thank you.


ignition = the electrical system in an engine that causes the fuel to burn or explode in order to start the engine

to shift = to move the gears of a vehicle

to fasten = to become firmly fixed together or closed

to rear-end = to hit the back of one car with another in an accident

to pull out = If a vehicle pulls out, it starts moving onto a road or onto a different part of the road

watch out = used to warn someone of danger

pedestrian = a person who is walking, especially in an area where vehicles go

to hit the brakes = to step on the brakes hard and fast

(definitions taken from the Cambridge and Collins Dictionary)

#5 flatter

Leslie is tired of waking up on strange futons and wants to slow things down in the future. Leonard seems to be the perfect fit for that.


Leonard: Are you suggesting another bout of stress release?

Leslie: No, I’m all done with casual sex. From now on I’m fully committed to the traditional relationship paradigm.

Leonard: Really, what changed?

Leslie: It’s hard to say, I guess there’s just a time in every woman’s life when she gets tired of waking up on a strange futon with a bunch of people she doesn’t know.

Leonard: Yeah, I can see how that would… a bunch of people?

Leslie: Anyway, I just figure it’s time to slow things down and who better to slow things down with than you?

Leonard: Oh, I’m flattered. So, how do you suggest we proceed?

Leslie: Your place, we’ll order Chinese, you’ll rent a movie, artsy but accessible, then light petting, no coitus.

Leonard: Sounds fun.

Leslie: I’ll leave the details up to you, I think it’s better if you assume the male role.

Leonard: Thank you, that’s very thoughtful.


bout = a short involvement in an activity

paradigm = a clear and typical example of something

futon = a type of mattress

bunch = a group of people

to be flattered = to feel very pleased and proud because someone has said good things about you

to proceed = to continue as planned

artsy but accessible = Leslie is saying that she wants to watch a movie that is not dull but also not too demanding.

petting = when two people kiss and touch each other in a sexual way, but without having sexual intercourse

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

(definitions taken from the Cambridge and Collins Dictionary)

#6 grab

Leonard and Sheldon try to retrieve Penny’s TV from her ex-boyfriend, but they have trouble accessing the building.


Sheldon: Leonard, the TV is in the building, we’ve been denied access to the building, ergo we are done.

Leonard: Excuse me, if I were to give up at the first little hitch I never would have been able to identify the fingerprints of string theory in the aftermath of the big bang.

Sheldon: My apologies. What’s your plan?

(Leonard starts rattling the doors violently.)

Sheldon: It’s just a privilege to watch your mind at work.

Leonard: Come on, we have a combined IQ of 360, we should be able to figure out how to get into a stupid building.

(Two girl scouts arrive carrying bags of cookies. One runs her hand down the intercom, pushing all the buttons. The door is buzzed open.)

Sheldon: What do you think their combined IQ is?

Leonard: Just grab the door.

Scene: Outside Penny’s ex-boyfriend’s apartment.

Leonard: This is it. (Knocks.) I’ll do the talking.

Sheldon: Good thinking, I’ll just be the muscle.


to deny = to not allow someone to have or do something

ergo = therefore

hitch = a temporary difficulty that causes a short delay

string theory = a theory in physics

aftermath = a period that follows an unpleasant event or accident; it also refers to the effects that it causes

the Big Bang = the large explosion that many scientists believe created the universe

privilege = an advantage that only one person or group of people has

(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!