Sorry to 'Rain on Your Parade'


Now, Words and Their Stories from VOA Learning English.


This program explores common expressions in American English.


We talk about them a little more in depth. We give you examples on when and how to use them. We also give you a little backstory on how the expressions began.


Now, today we talk about something found everywhere in the world: rain.


If you have ever planned an outdoor party or picnic, you know that nothing puts a damper on outdoor fun like rain! In other words, rain can limit your fun – or even make you cancel your party.


So, that is the theme of today's show – ruining a good time, or to use a weather expression, raining on someone's parade.

所以,这就是今天的主题——毁掉大好时光,或者用天气来形容就是:raining on someone's parade 泼冷水/扫兴/败兴(雨落在某人游行的队伍上)。

To understand this expression, we first need to talk about a parade.


A lot of planning goes into a parade. It often involves richly decorated vehicles and marching bands with valuable instruments. Some parade floats -- as the decorated vehicles are called -- have speakers and expensive electronics. Sometimes famous people travel in parades, waving from the open tops of fancy convertible cars. Streets are closed and people line the sidewalks to watch.


Whether in a big city or small town, rain on parade day affects everything! That is why the expression "to rain on someone's parade" means we lessen someone's excitement or fun.

无论是在大城市还是在小城镇,游行当天下雨会影响一切!这就是为什么“to rain on someone's parade”这个短语的意思是我们减少某人的兴奋或乐趣。

Or worse. Maybe we even ruin their plans.


They are really looking forward to something and we pop their balloon – another expression meaning to ruin someone's good time. Imagine if you will, a child playing with a balloon and you came along and popped it. The good time playing with the balloon is over.

假设他们真的很期待某事,而我们戳破了他们的幻想/煞风景(pop their balloon=burst their bubble),是另一个表示毁掉某人的好时光的表达。想象一下,一个孩子在玩一个气球,你走过去将气球吹爆了。玩气球的美好时光结束了。

Now, usually we do not like to pop someone's balloon or rain on someone's parade. We do not want to be called a wet blanket. This is someone who ruins a very good time and brings everybody down. Imagine, again, curling up on a cold day with a wet blanket. Yuck.

现在,通常我们不喜欢煞风景(pop someone's balloon)或者给别人泼冷水(rain on someone's parade)。我们不想成为扫兴的家伙(wet blanket)。扫兴的人(wet blanket)是指毁掉了一段美好时光、让所有人都失望的那个人。再想象一下,在寒冷的日子里,你裹着一条湿毯子蜷缩着。想想就够了。

Besides "wet blanket," we have other names to call these people who can ruin a good time. We can call them buzz kill, killjoy, party pooper, stick-in-the-mud, a drag or simply a downer. Those names are all interchangeable. However, if you need one to use in a more formal situation, do not pick "buzzkill" or "party pooper."

除了wet blanket(令人扫兴的人),我们还有其它的说话来称呼这些扫兴的人。我们可以叫他们buzz kill, killjoy, party pooper(煞风景的家伙 ), stick-in-the-mud(老顽固), a drag或者只是简单的称之为a downer(令人沮丧的人)。这些称呼都是可以互换使用的。不过假如是在更正式的场合,就不要用buzzkill或party pooper了。

While all of those names can describe a person, we can also use "drag," "downer" and sometimes "buzzkill" to refer to the event.


So, we could say, "The party was a real drag. No one was having fun" or "The event I went to over the weekend was a downer." I can even say, "The parents coming home to the party was a real buzzkill."


Knowing when to use these expressions is important. So, let's go back to our parade expression. We often use "rain on someone's parade" when we give bad but not very serious news.

知道如何使用这些表达非常重要。让我们回到这个与游行有关的表达。我们经常在宣布坏消息不过并不是很严重的坏消息时用到“rain on someone’s parade”这个说法。

Now, let's hear these two classmates use it in a conversation.


A: Hey, do you want to come over tonight and study for our exam?


B: No. I'm going out with some friends tonight. Besides, didn't you hear? Our exam has been rescheduled for next week.


A: Where did you hear that?


B: From Theo. He told me yesterday.


A: And you believed him?


B: Well, yeah. And I invited some friends to town. We're going out to dinner and then a movie. I already made reservations and bought the tickets.


A: Well, I hate to rain on your parade, but, as usual, Theo doesn't know what he's talking about. I just talked to our teacher and our exam is definitely tomorrow.


B: Urgh! Wait until I see Theo!


If you do not want to use this parade expression, you can also simply say, "I hate to break it to you, but ..." and then you break, or tell, the bad news.

如果你不想用这个与游行有关的表达方式,你也可以简单地说:“I hate to break it to you, but…”(我不想戳破你的美梦,可是),然后你就这样把坏消息告诉了对方。

On that note, I hate to rain on your parade but that is the end of this Words and Their Stories.


Until next time ... I'm Anna Matteo.


Don't bring around a cloud


To rain on my parade Don't tell me not to fly


I've simply got to


If someone takes a spill


It's me and not you


Who told you you're allowed


To rain on my parade ...