March 17, 2005

Eke out a living

In my GEPT writing class, either for intermediate or high-intermediate level, I always write down on the whiteboard the finer points on part I which has to do with how to convert the sentences in Chinese into English.

In tonight's class, one of the sentences was "勉強糊口" which had to be converted into English. This really tasked most of the students' brain. So, I gave two possible answers to it:

* to live from hand to mouth
He lives from hand to mouth by being a teacher.

* to merely make (both) ends meet in one's life
He merely makes ends meet in his life by being a teacher.

Here I have another one to share with you:

*To eke [ik] out a living
He ekes out a living by being a teacher.
He ekes out an income by working two jobs.

finer point 細節
task one's brain 傷腦筋


  1. That is great Albert, I think that the word you mean is "taxed" the student's brains. Meaning to put undue pressure on. This is a site that I love to use to help me with writing AMERICAN better, (we don't really speak ENGLISH, they do that in the UK., someone from there told me this)! I hope this link helps you in your studies. and the word eke is pronounced eeee (long e, says it's own name), hard "ck" as in che"ck" (check). At least this is the way I was taught in American elementary school. Later.

  2. Hello Pamela,

    It really supprised me that my BLOG would help you, an american, with writing American better. I would like to ask you to explain it in detail. No offense.

    I went visiting your BLOG, understanding you are suffering from some pain. I wish you good health and hapiness.

    By the way, as I looked up the American Heritage Dictionary for "tax" or "task", I found that they share the same meaning in a way:

    task: to overburden with labor; tax.

    Please keep visiting and advising on my study.

    Best regards,

    Albert Chang