23 Aug

show one the ropes

Who taught: Lujo

learn the ropes

learn the ropes (source: http://www.sailbaltimore.org/learn-the-ropes/)

Every summer, I co-advise two Practicum projects which last 9 weeks. It is fun, working with bright students and other faculty members to solve very interesting and unique real-world problems. This summer, I worked with Jeff and Lujo. It was Lujo’s first time to be involved in advising these types of projects. Over the time, we have discussed and learned a lot from each other. It was great working with him. Yesterday was the last day of those projects and the team we advised won the third prize. I was happy as much as the students in the team were. Unfortunately, Lujo was not able to be there to witness the final presentation and the award announcement due to some conflicts. I am sure he would be very happy to see it.

So, I emailed him as soon as the announcement was made to let him know that the team won the third prize. In his response, he used the following sentence, “Thanks for showing me the ropes.” 

From the context, I was able to understand what he meant but that was my first time to see this expression.

Well, if I were to ask you about what you think, you would also be able to get it, I guess. As usual, I decided to dig more into about the expression. Like many other expressions, this one is of nautical origin. In the old sailing days, there were so many ropes and any new recruit needed to learn how to tie knots and which rope to control to perform a specific action, etc.

With that said, there are three major expressions to remember.

1. learn the ropes

2. know the ropes

3. show one the ropes

Here is an easy way to remember these, at least for me.

I, as an experienced employee who knows the ropes in the organization, need to show a new employee the ropes so that he/she can learn the ropes and eventually knows the ropes himself/herself.

How is it? Easy, isn’t it? I feel like each one of the ropes in the picture here is a new English expression to learn. It never ends. So, good luck with learning the ropes and hope I can show you the ropes.

P.S. : I realize that I did write another post about “learn the ropes” but did not get to know “show one the ropes” at that time.