Tag Archives: expression

#EngTrivia: Spilling the Beans vs. Spilling the Tea

What’s the difference of spilling the beans and spilling the tea?

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

If you spend enough time on the internet, you’ll find that people use the phrase ‘to spill the tea’ a lot, especially when there is a scandal or a controversy. How does it differ from ‘to spill the beans?’

Quick answer: both can mean the same thing, which is exposing or leaking private information that is not supposed to be made public. However, I tend to use ‘spill the beans’ for something that has an amount of truth in it, while I use ‘spill the tea’ for gossips.

‘Spill the beans’ is believed to have come from an ancient Greek voting system, wherein those in favour of something would put white beans into the jar. Those who opposed would put black ones. It’s not clear what type of beans were used.

If someone knocked over the jar and the beans were spilled, the results were out and were known to public before the voting ended. Thus came the phrase ‘spill the beans’.

We have a much clearer record of ‘spill the tea’. It first appeared in a 1994 non-fiction novel, John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. In it, he interviewed Lady Chablis.

The lady said she avoided being in a close acquaintance with certain men because once the found out the T about her, they tended to become more violent. ‘T’ here stands for truth.

In her autobiography which was published in 1997, Lady Chablis once again used the letter ‘T’ to refer to the truth. Later on, this ‘T’ was officially spelled ‘tea.’

Unlike ‘spill the beans’ that carries some truth in it, the phrase ‘spill the tea’ can mean the truth or gossips. It can also mean our truth/gossips and the truth/gossips about us. So be careful when ‘spilling the hot tea,’ lest we get burnt.

Photo by Dmitriy Ganin on Pexels.com


Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Tuesday, 1 June 2021.

#EngTrivia: Expressions in English and Their Indonesian Counterparts
#EngTrivia: Expressions in English and Their Indonesian Counterparts (2)
#EngTrivia: Idioms and Expressions with the Same or Similar Meanings in English and Indonesian
#IOTW: Idioms That Mention Rome
#IOTW: Idioms to Express Sadness

#EngTrivia: It’s/That’s a given

In this occassion, I’d like to share about an expression used to state the obvious.

Let’s say you are talking to a fellow Game of Thrones fans.

  • You: “Ramsay Bolton is so evil. No wonder everyone hates him.”
  • Friend: “Yeah, that’s a given. He’s a psychopath.”

Yep, the expression is, “It’s/that’s a given.”

It’s/that’s a given‘ is often used to describe something that’s obviously true and not expected to change soon. The expression is synonymous with;

  • ‘everyone knows,’
  • ‘it goes without saying’ and
  • ‘there’s no denying.’


Compiled by @alicesaraswati for @EnglishTips4U on Monday, June 27, 2016


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#EngClass: Expressing possibility

Ada beberapa kata yang umumnya digunakan untuk menyatakan kemungkinan, yaitu maybe, perhaps, may, might, probably, dan possibly.

‘Maybe’ vs. ‘perhaps

Kedua kata ini dapat saling menggantikan satu sama lain. Namun ‘maybe’ mempunyai konteks lebih informal. Maybe/perhaps digunakan ketika kamu tidak yakin akan suatu hal, bisa ya bisa tidak.

  •  Contoh:
    • A: “How old is she?” | B: “I’m not sure. Around twenty five, maybe.”
    • “There were perhaps 250 people at the theatre.”

Maybe/perhaps dapat digunakan pada kalimat past/present/future.

‘May’ vs. ‘might’\

Kedua kata tersebut digunakan ketika ada kemungkinan suatu hal akan terjadi atau benar adanya. May/might hanya digunakan pada kalimat present/future.

May/might dapat saling menggantikan satu sama lain. Namun, ‘might’ digunakan bila kemungkinan kecil suatu hal terjadi. ‘Might‘ lebih banyak digunakan dalam percakapan dibandingkan ‘may‘.

  • Contoh:
    • “I may go into town tomorrow. And Christ might come with me.”
    • “It might/may rain this afternoon.”

Untuk kalimat lampau (past), kita menggunakan ‘might have’.

  •  Contoh:
    • “I might have dropped my wallet in the street.”

‘May’ juga digunakan ketika kita meminta izin melakukan sesuatu (formal).

  •  Contoh:
    • May I use your telephone?”


Probably digunakan untuk mengungkapkan prediksi akan sesuatu yang mungkin/tidak mungkin terjadi, dan bisa berdasarkan suatu fakta.

  • Contoh:
    • Brazil will probably win the World Cup.


Possibly berarti suatu hal mungkin terjadi. Artinya kurang lebih sama seperti ‘maybe’ dan ‘perhaps’. Hanya saja ‘possibly’ bermakna lebih formal dibandingkan ‘maybe’ dan ‘perhaps‘. ‘Possibly’ juga banyak digunakan terutama untuk menyatakan kemungkinan setuju atau tidak setuju.

  • Contoh:
    • A: “Do you think he will apply for the job?”
    • B: “Hmm… Possibly, possibly not.”


Compiled and written by @Patipatigulipat at @EnglishTips4U on Friday, December 23, 2011.

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