Points and spots



And now, Words and their stories, from VOA Learn English.

Today we are talking about dots and spots.

Now “dot” and “dot” can be used as a verb or noun. And both have multiple meanings and can be used in multiple ways.

Here is the most common definition of a point: a small, perfectly round circle. A spot is a small part of something that is different from the main part.

Recently, we learned on this show the idiom “a leopard never changes its spots”.

Now the spots on a leopard are not perfect circles. These are small areas on the animal that are a different color. If we said the leopard had dots, that would mean the animal was covered with little perfect circles. He would seem to wear spotted Clothes. Polka-dot clothing is marked with small circles. But peas don’t exist.

However, both words are used with “on the” – “on the point” and “on the spot”. But they mean totally different things.

If you are “on point” you will arrive somewhere exactly on time.

“On the spot” means right away. For example, if you are hired for an on-site job, you are hired immediately.

Spot can also mean a certain place. For example, many people remember the exact place of their first kiss. It’s… if it was a good one.

“X marks place” means an exact place where you want something or where something is to be found. You can see it on a treasure map. The X on the map marks the location where the treasure is buried. It is therefore important to know this definition.

Sometimes the stain is in our body. For example, if something like food or drink “hits the mark”, it’s really necessary and comes at the right time. Other things can hit the spot. A warm room when you’re cold or a night out with friends when you’ve been miserable might do the trick. You needed both.

However, more often than not we use “hit the spot” for food and drink. For example, if you have been walking in the desert, you might really need water. In this case, a large glass of water would really hit the mark. And again, we’re not saying hit the point.

But we to do say “connect the dots”. It means understanding something by putting together small pieces of information. You understand something by connecting the dots. This phrase comes from an activity for kids called, unsurprisingly, Connect the Dots. You draw lines connecting numbered dots and an image begins to appear.

Finally, a dotted line is made up of very small dots. And when you sign on the dotted line, you are officially agreeing to buy something or do something by signing a document. So read a document carefully before signing on the dotted line.

Now let’s listen to some of these expressions used. Since we have already talked about treasure maps, let’s stay with this situation.

Two friends are in the woods looking for buried treasure.

How long have we been walking in these woods?

I do not know. Keep walking.

How far does the map say to go further?

We started here near this hill. This map says that the treasure is buried on the other side. So we have to keep walking.

How do you know??

Look at the map! X marks the spot… right there!

I think we passed this place an hour ago.

No, we didn’t. We have to keep walking north.

I’m so thirsty!

Then drink some water and stop to complain.

Ahhh! This water really touched the place.

Don’t drink all of your water! We still have hours of walking to do.

Hours! We told Jimmy that we would be at the secret meeting point at 10 p.m. sharp.

I didn’t agree on a specific time. So Jimmy is just going to have to wait.

What if he leaves?

You know, I don’t care if Jimmy leaves. We do all the work here… walking through the woods… looking for buried treasure. Do you know what I’m thinking?


I think if we find the treasure… we should just keep walking. Keep it to ourselves!

I do not know. If Jimmy goes back to chief without us and without the treasure… I think he will be able to connect these dots quite quickly. And then we died!

Good point. Man! Why did we sign on the dotted line and agree to do it ?? There must be an easier way to make a male.

Yes. Maybe we could open a bookstore or something.

And that’s all the time we have for these Words and their stories. Until next time… I’m Anna Matteo.

Anna Matteo wrote this story for VOA Learning English. She recorded the sound effects around her house. Susan Shand was the editor.


Words in this story

peas – not. a stitch in a pattern of evenly distributed stitches in the textile design

treasure hunt – not. an act of searching for a treasure

thirsty – adj. need water

complain – v. express grief, pain or discontent

chief – not. the person at a job who tells workers what to do

male – not. a sum of money especially to be won



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