One day many years ago when I was working at Harvard University, my colleague who just entered the office exclaimed, “It’s raining cats and dogs out there….” as she shook the water off her umbrella, closed it and sat at her desk.
As I empathized with her and said, “It’s so hard to stay dry outside today…. I am just dreading when I have to go out,” she looked over at me with a huge smile. I asked her what she was so happy about. She said, “Do you know when I came to Puerto Rico from the US some twenty years ago, someone said that phrase to me, “raining cats and dogs”? Do you wanna know what I did? I got up and looked out the window because I thought… wow everything happens in the US, even dogs and cats fall from the sky! I was sorely disappointed when I did not see any cats or dogs and couldn’t even see the next building because it was raining so hard! I felt like an idiot. What did this phrase “rain cats and dogs mean”? I got up the courage to ask my colleague who said that to me, who told me it meant that it was raining really, really hard, like pounding rain. Now, today, I looked at you, used that idiom with an American and you totally understood me, and I felt like now I can speak American English…. to an American… and you understand me!”
|Jennifer Kumar, blog author, visiting her old colleagues at Harvard.|
The story I told above is very common. It could happen any day, anytime, anywhere with anyone! Maybe you are walking into a Starbucks or into a gas station in the US during a rainstorm, and a similar conversation could ensue. That’s because of all small talk topics, Americans love to talk about (read, complain about) the weather.
While there are many ways to talk about the rain in the US depending on how hard or light it is falling, learn a few ways we talk about rain in the US from Andrea.
Coming from the ‘cats and dog’ monsoon rain of Kerala, this particular video of rain in Arizona doesn’t seem to be ‘cats and dogs’ style rain, but it IS for this area!
To learn more about idioms used during professional conversations, see the PDF below.