familiar – famous – gracious – handy – hardly

#1 familiar

Penny is showering at Leonard’s apartment. Howard, of course, has to take the chance and introduce himself.


Howard: Hang on, there really is a lady here?

Leonard: Uh-huh.

Howard: And you want us out because you’re anticipating coitus?

Leonard: I’m not anticipating coitus.

Howard: So she’s available for coitus?

Leonard: Can we please stop saying coitus?

Sheldon: Technically, that would be coitus interruptus.

Penny: Hey, is there a trick to getting it to switch from tub to shower. Oh. Hi, sorry. Hello!

Howard: Enchante Madamoiselle. Howard Wolowitz, Cal-Tech department of Applied Physics. You may be familiar with some of my work, it’s currently orbiting Jupiter’s largest moon taking high-resolution digital photographs.

Penny: Penny. I work at the Cheesecake Factory.


hang on = wait for a short time

to anticipate something = to imagine or expect that something will happen

coitus = sexual intercourse

coitus interruptus = a method of preventing pregnancy

tub =a long container that is filled with water so that you can sit or lie in it to wash your whole body

Enchante Madamoiselle = French for nice to meet you

to orbit = to follow a curved path around a planet or star

high-resolution = used to describe something that shows an image extremely clearly

#2 famous

Howard meets Summer Glau on a train and wants to ask her out. But she could be more impressed with him …


Howard: Okay, here’s another one. If you married the famous rock guitarist Johnny Winter, you’d be Summer Winter.

Summer: Uh-huh.

Howard: Okay, I’m going to just go for broke here and say I like you.

Summer: Yeah?

Howard: So here’s my question, do you realistically see any conversational path that would take us from where we are right now to a place where I could ask you out and you’d say yes?

Summer: No.

Howard: Fair enough. I’ll leave you in peace.

Summer: Thank you.

Howard: But before I go, would you mind if I just take one picture of us together for my Facebook page?

Summer: Sure.

Howard: Okay. Great. Now, can I take one where it looks like we’re making out?


to go for broke = to risk everything in the hope of having great success

to ask someone out = to invite someone to go with you somewhere socially, especially because you have romantic feelings for the person

fair enough = to show that you understand why someone has said something

to make out = If two people are making out, they kiss each other or are engaged in sexual activity.

#3 gracious

Sheldon doesn’t know what to buy Penny for Christmas. Fortunately, he comes up with a solution.


Sheldon: Mmm, great news, Leonard, I’ve solved my Penny gift dilemma.

Leonard: Yippee.

Sheldon: You see, the danger was that I might under- or over-reciprocate, but I have devised a foolproof plan. I will open her gift to me first and then excuse myself, feigning digestive distress.

Then I’ll look up the price of her gift online, choose the basket closest to that value, give it to her, and then I’ll return the others for a full refund.

Leonard: Brilliant.

Sheldon: It is, isn’t it? Is it okay if I hide them in your room? The smell makes me nauseated.

Leonard: Do whatever you want.

Sheldon: Thank you, that’s very gracious. Gentlemen.

Howard: Why couldn’t you have just done what Leonard did and get Penny a new boyfriend?


dilemma = a situation in which a difficult choice has to be made between two different things you could do

to reciprocate = to do something for someone because the person has done something similar for you

to devise = to invent something, usually by using your intelligence or imagination

foolproof plan = so simple and easy to understand that it is unable to go wrong

to feign = to pretend to have a feeling or condition

distress = a situation in which you are suffering from something (like digestive distress relating to the digestion of food)

refund = an amount of money that is given back to you

to nauseate = to cause someone to feel as if they are going to vomit

gracious = behaving in a pleasant, polite, calm way

#4 handy

The boys are enabling public access so everyone around the world can control their living room. Penny could be more impressed, though.


Leonard: Hang on, hang on, do you not realize what we just did?

Penny: Yeah, you turned your stereo down with your laptop.

Sheldon: No, we turned our stereo down by sending a signal around the world via the internet.

Penny: Oh. You know you can just get one of those universal remotes at Radio Shack, they’re really cheap.

Leonard: No, no, no, you don’t get it, um, Howard, enable public access.

Howard: Public access enabled. (They all stare around for a moment in silence.)

Penny: Boy, that’s terrific, but I’ll see you.

Leonard: No, hang on, hang on. (The lamp goes off and on again.) See!

Penny: No.

Sheldon: Someone in Sezchuan province, China, is using his computer to turn our lights on and off.

Penny: Huh, well that’s handy. Um, here’s a question, why?

All together: Because we can.


remote = short for remote control; a piece of equipment that you hold in your hand and use to control a television, DVD player, etc. from a distance

Radio Shack = an American electronics retailer

public access = accessible to everyone

hang on = wait for a short time

handy = useful or convenient

#5 hardly

Penny is getting new furniture, and as the delivery man just left, Leonard suggests that he and Sheldon bring it up themselves. Yet, this might be a problem.


Leonard: Okay, her apartment’s on the fourth floor but the elevator’s broken so you’re going to have to (delivery man leaves) oh, you’re just going to be done, okay, cool, thanks. I guess we’ll just bring it up ourselves.

Sheldon: I hardly think so.

Leonard: Why not?

Sheldon: Well, we don’t have a dolly, or lifting belts, or any measurable upper body strength.

Leonard: We don’t need strength, we’re physicists. We are the intellectual descendants of Archimedes. Give me a fulcrum and a lever and I can move the Earth, it’s just a matter… (starts to move package) I don’t have this… I don’t have this I don’t have this.

Sheldon: Archimedes would be so proud.


elevator = a device that moves up and down, carrying people or goods from one floor of a building to another

dolly = a board on wheels, used for moving heavy objects such as furniture or machines

physicist = a person who studies physics or whose job is connected with physics

descendant = a person related to someone from an earlier generation

Archimedes = a famous mathematician and inventor in ancient Greece

fulcrum = the point at which a bar, or a seesaw (= Schaukel) balances

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!

*definitions taken from the Cambridge and Collins Dictionary