In Ireland, some advice you might hear from a friend when you have a cold is to drink a ‘hot whiskey’, which is an alcoholic drink containing a shot of whiskey mixed with hot water. Of course, alcohol is not really a cure for the common cold. This remedy is certainly not based on scientific evidence and it’s not the sort of advice you would get from a doctor, so you need to take that with a grain of salt. This idiom means that you shouldn’t always trust what you’ve heard from others. When you’re sick, you should always consult a medical professional for advice instead!
Watch the video below for further explanation of this common idiom.
Take that with a grain of salt? You mean, put a little salt on it?
No! If somebody says, “Take that with a grain of salt,” they mean, “You should be skeptical about that,” or “Don’t believe that 100%,” or “Don’t trust that 100%.”
So, let’s see how we can use this phrase naturally:
- A: I read in Gossip Magazine that Barack Obama is going to leave his wife for Beyoncé.
- B: Gossip Magazine? I’d take that with a grain of salt if I were you!
- Facebook is full of false quotes. If you see a quote attached to a photo, take it with a grain of salt.
- Every second word out of Dave’s mouth is a lie! You have to take everything he says with a grain of salt.
So, there we are. Do you have a similar phrase in your language? If so, let us know in the comments section below.
Read the questions below and practice using today’s idiom.
- What was the last time you read a rumor about a celebrity that you weren’t sure was true? What did you say about the rumor?
- Did a friend or a family member ever give you advice that you didn’t take seriously?
If you like this series, why not consider our in-depth course Essential English Idioms?