Learning fun expressions thoroughly

The expression 'what they are on about' is often used to suggest that what the other person is saying is completely wrong.

By Author  |  Published: 28th Aug 2017  12:05 amUpdated: 27th Aug 2017  4:21 pm

Today we’ll learn couple of fun expressions. One that is useful when telling people to move, and another to express annoyance over someone’s persistent talking or adhering to a particular topic.



1. “I could lean, turn and even scooch a bit to face panelists without worrying about toppling a wobbly high canvas chair.”

2. “I’m sitting so cramped here on this side! Can’t you guys scooch over a little and make some room?”

3. “Can you scooch a little please? You’re blocking half the corridor.” 

Meanings and usage

When you scooch, you move a small distance, usually to make room for someone or something. This is a great word to use when you are asking someone to move a little and make room for you, or something you are carrying, and so on. If you are in the kitchen cooking along with a friend, for instance, and you need space for some work you are doing, you can ask your friend to scooch, or to scooch over a little and make room for you.

Nilesh Jahagirdar

Scooch; is always intransitive. (We’ll discuss transitive and intransitive verbs one of these days.)  Which means that you can ask someone to scooch, but you cannot ask them to scooch something. It’s fine to say: ‘Please scooch a little.’ But you cannot say: “Can you scooch your bag a little?”

You can use ‘scooch’ to refer to moving or passing through a narrow space, like a corridor, door, or tunnel, and also for moving a short distance, particularly when seated. If you are sitting on a bench, and someone asks you to scooch, you will just slide a little, without actually getting up.


1. You know the drill. Go about asking people to scooch all the time. Any time you need to ask someone to move, you should ask them to scooch.

2. What are some other ways to say ‘scooch?’ Move? Shift? Make a thorough list of words and expressions that have similar meaning as ‘scooch.’ If you can, do this exercise for all the languages that you know, not just English.

On about something


1. “What are you on about? I did send you the invitation; it’s not my problem if you don’t check your email regularly.”

2. “He’s always on about some health fad. It’s something new every time, and he’ll never shut up about whatever’s got him excited.”

3. These political leaders are always on about some major national controversy, while the real work — better hospitals, better education — is forgotten by everybody.

4. “I don’t understand what you are on about. I clearly remember that you took those books from me, and never gave them back!”

Meanings and usage

This expression is essentially a shortened and more slang version of ‘what are you going on about.’

When you ask someone ‘what are you on about,’ you are asking them what they mean, or what they are trying to say. However, there is a little more to it. If you wanted a clarification, you would simply say ‘can you explain?’

By using this expression, you add a little more into the mix: You are showing annoyance and impatience, you are saying you are trying to understand, but you are annoyed because the other person is not being clear, and is taking too long to make their point.

If you ask someone what they are on about, you are asking that person, often in a slightly annoyed way, what they mean, what they are trying to say.

In common use, the expression is often used to suggest that what the other person is saying is completely wrong. When you say you cannot understand someone, the reason often is that they are wrong, and not making any sense.

Our first example above uses the expression in this sense.


1. Can you think of some scenes from movies where it felt like a character was completely wrong about something? Did you feel like asking them: “What are you on about?” Describe a couple of such scenes briefly.

2. Any time you disagree with someone, for the rest of this week, preface your disagreement by saying ‘what are you on about?’ You can do this while watching a movie, or while in conversation with a friend.

3. Teach this expression to someone this week. Tell them what the expression is, how to use it, what it means, and so on.