Podcast: Keep a straight face – Inglês Online

Podcast: Keep a straight face

By Ana Luiza | Podcast Inglês Online

Jul 25
Podcast keep a straight face

How are you? No podcast Inglês Online de hoje eu falo sobre os idioms “put on a brave face” e “keep a straight face”. Já conhece? Ouça mesmo assim. Listening nunca é demais, especialmente se você mora no Brasil!


Hi, everyone, this is Ana of Inglês Online, yeah, that’s me with another… I guess another episode of our podcast. How are you guys doing? Here where I live, it is so hot right now, like it’s Brazilian heat honestly, it’s… I think today we’ve reached 35º or 36º, it is really, really hot, and I’ve been eating a lot of ice cream and just kind of waiting for some rain, to be honest… to bring down the temperature a bit, like… What’s the temperature like in Brazil right now? Is it… is it still winter, it is a bit lower, right? Well… lucky you! Here it’s just insufferably hot.

Ok, so, you guys, I was thinking today about a few expressions with the word face. So, one of them is put on a brave face, ok… It’s very, very common, I mean, if you are someone who watches, y’know, American movies or sitcoms more likely than not you’ve come across it… someone has said it. So, what does that mean? Put on a brave face. Let’s say you are going through something and then there’s an outcome that you really dislike, y’know, someone says something that you don’t like or all of a sudden someone gives you some news, y’know, that makes you sad or you remember something or your car breaks… I don’t know, or you have to get on with something under not so ideal conditions and instead of showing that you are sad, instead of showing that you are anything… Like desperate or sad or down, you just put on a brave face and you get going, and you do whatever it is that you had to do, or that people are expecting you to do, and you go ahead and you do it, y’know. You put on a brave face and you don’t really show how are you feeling inside.

I’ve heard from some colleagues at work before that sometimes they can tell that I’m putting on a brave face because, when things don’t really go my way and I’m unhappy: “Oh… Ana you just put on a brave face and you go ahead”. I don’t know, I don’t know that I always do that, sometimes I think my emotions really show on my face – sometimes I cannot keep a straight face, I cannot keep a straight face. So a straight face is a face that doesn’t really let on the emotions that the person is feeling in that moment, so they keep a straight face. You can’t really tell. Picture someone when you give them some… I don’t know, bad news, y’know like they hear bad news and you think that you are sure that this person doesn’t like the news, but they don’t show it, y’know, there’s no emotion on their face, you know what I mean. Some people are like that, they are able to do that, it’s like they keep everything inside and so, when you see someone like that you can say, well… y’know, they kept a straight face all the way through.

The most common way though to use the expression keep a straight face is when you are trying not to laugh at people and that is hard, that is something I have an extremely difficult time with. People who know me well know that, it’s really, really difficult for me to suppress like a smile, at least, when someone is telling me a story that I find really funny. It’s really hard y’now, it’s really hard because sometimes you just… I don’t now, for whatever reason – like you are really not trying to be disrespectful to that person but for whatever reason what they are saying reminds you of something that you think it’s funny. And I’m the kind of person that gets distracted very easily and this is something I have been trying to improve – like, listening better and concentrating better on the person that is in front of me talking to me. But sometimes when you get distracted very easily, y’know, naturally – it’s kind of your personality or something, you kind of remember something, or something else that someone said that makes you smile and sometimes it comes across as disrespectful to the person who is talking to you.

So, that is the most common example, everyone, of where the expression keep a straight face could be used. Y’know, in some situations it is very hard to keep a straight face when someone is telling you something that you can see that they are not laughing about it, they don’t think it’s funny, but for some reason you think it’s funny and it’s hard for you to keep a straight face. You wanna know what a very common example is? Actors! Y’know, sometimes they cannot contain themselves and they cannot keep a straight face when they are shooting something and they break character, they start laughing… And that’s most of the I guess, y’know those blooper scenes that we see on Youtube when characters cannot, sorry… When actors actually –  actors, rather, they can’t keep a straight face and they just burst out laughing. I sometimes can keep a straight face and sometimes I just can’t.

Ok, so, those are the two little expressions that I have for today and… have I told you that it’s extremely hot here where I am? Ok, I guess I have, I’m going to just grab a cold drink right now because I am sweating. You guys, you cannot believe how hot it is. I guess I will speak to you soon next week and hopefully things will have cooled down here where I am. Talk to you guys soon – bye!

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Key expressions

  • put on a brave face
  • keep a straight face


to come across = se deparar ou encontrar alguém ou algo por acaso

go through something = passar por ou enfrentar alguma situação difícil ou complicada

outcome = desfecho de alguma situação, resultado final

insufferably hot = insuportavelmente quente

get on with = continuar, seguir em frente, prosseguir com algo

to come across as = parecer ser, dar ou passar a impressão

break character = sair do personagem, parar de interpretar o personagem

blooper scenes = erros de gravação, gafes cometidas pelos atores, muitas vezes são cenas engraçadas retiradas dos filmes

  • Eduardo says:

    Sow good podcast! Good expression!

  • Izabelle says:

    It’s funny listen to you saying that it’s hot out there when I feel cold here in Brazil.
    When you ask for rain, I prey for sun.
    Well… They say it’s a result for the way we “take care” of our environment.
    O don’t know! Maybe.
    The only thing I really know is that I can’t wait for summer!
    Oh, gotta say: I’m glad with these new episodes!
    Thank you for that!

    • Ana Luiza says:

      HI Izabelle :) The temperature has dropped a few degrees here in my neck of the woods… so, better now. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the summer!! (when it comes)

  • AILTON DE says:

    i love so much your podcasts, i’ve learned a lot of expressions with them, congratulations Ana and God bless you.

  • Vera says:

    Hi Ana, it is my pleasure hearing you again.

    Yeah, there is a heat wave in the UK right now. Here where I live in the northwest of Spain it’s really chilly (no heat weave up to now).
    Could you shed light on me if the expressions “keep a straight face” and ” stiff upper lip” have the same meaning?

    see you around

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Wow! Chilly in Spain, hot as heck in the UK.
      These two expressions’ meanings are related, I would say.
      I think keep a straight face is more often used in the situation I described in the podcast; whereas stiff upper lip very often refers to someone who demonstrates total control of their emotions when faced with upsetting news, for example.
      So although you can say these idioms are sort of “in the same family”… the thing is, they’re commonly used in sort of different situations.
      Hope that clears it up!

  • Norberto Moritz says:

    It’s nice to ear you again.

  • walkiria says:

    Oi, Ana. Que bom que os podcasts voltaram. Eu realmente os aprecio muito e os indico para os meus amigos, vizinhos e parentes, que também acabam se apaixonando por seu trabalho . Abraços!!!

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Oi darling!
      Obrigada por deixar mais um comentário (lembro de você – ou estou enganada??)
      Super feliz de estar de volta com esse novo estilo de pod :-)

  • Nelson Vasconcelos says:

    Embora não tenha o domínio, ouvir e ler estimula a busca pelo aprendizado da língua. Parabéns!

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Obrigada, Nelson, e super feliz de ver seu entusiasmo!!
      Caso você queira, no site temos também áudio para um nível de compreensão um pouco mais baixo – veja a seção Dicas Básicas… Abs!!

  • Juliana Matos says:

    I am so happy for hearing you on this podcast, Ana. I really miss you… Thanks for all your good word, as always you do. About these expressions you teached us, I can say they are easy to read its context but it is always good to read and hear the way they are used… Thanks…

    • Ana Luiza says:

      Hi Juliana :-) that’s right.. it’s always always good to hear them some more. You can never do too much listening!!

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