I grew up on a small farm in Midwestern Brazil. We didn’t have a car, so the only way to get totown was by bike or horse cart.
Every Sunday, the whole family would get into the cart to go to church. It turns out that the family dog had a religious streak and always tried to tag along. Since it was a mile-long trip, with all kinds of unfriendly dogs along the way, we always locked the poor dog up, to keep him fromcoming.
One evening, we were running a little late. The whole family was rushing around doing some last-minute chores, when suddenly Dad remembered the dog.
He called out, “Where’s the dog?”
Without thinking, I replied, “Shut up!”
Now, Dad was a verystrict man. Nobody ever, I mean, never, ever, ever talked back to him, or dared disrespect him in any way. So, you can imagine the deafening silence that immediately fellover the entire farm, like a mantle. The chickens stopped cackling, the roosters stopped crowing, the cows stopped mooing.
All my siblings thought I had lost it. “How can he tell Dad to shut up like that?” they all wondered. “Wow, he’s really in for it now!”
Fortunately, Dad immediately understood what I was saying, and simply answered, “Okay, let’s go!”
Which all goes to show how even Americans have trouble with phrasal verbs!
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