Common mistakes… (5)


 “She’s smart.”

What does this sentence actually mean?  Is it referring to a person’s intelligence





…or his/her body shape and size?


In the past, my Japanese students often used the word ‘smart’ to describe a slim or slender person.


This confused me because ‘smart’ doesn’t have that meaning in English.

If you check the Cambridge dictionary, smart has a few different definitions.

It can be used as an adjective to mean:

  • stylish (mainly UK) – He’s looking very smart for his interview.


  • intelligent (mainly US) – She’s very smart for her age.


  • [before noun] done quickly with a lot of force or effort – He’s going to have to move at a smart pace to make it to work on time.


  • working by computer – More people will be living in smart homes in the future.


  • without respect (mainly US) – Don’t get smart with me, young lady!


It can also be used as a verb to mean:

  • to hurt with a sharp pain – His eyes were smarting from cutting the onion.


  • to feel upset and angry because of failure or criticism – The young employee was still smarting from getting scolded by her boss.

null“you’re such a slow worker!”





So, just remember, when talking about someone’s figure, use ‘slim’ or ‘slender’ instead of ‘smart’ and people will understand exactly what you mean.


If this post has been helpful, you might consider studying with S. and L. English Lessons.  Get in contact today to organise a trial lesson and let’s continue the conversation.

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