put-a-label-on-someoneHave you ever been called a geek, a nerd, weird, a freak, too tall, too short…? Then guess what? Someone was putting a label on you!

This week’s expression is Put a label on someone.

Expression Breakdown:

There are several different ways that we can use the world label.

A label is a tag or piece of paper that you put on something to identify its contents or give more information about something, and the verb would mean to identify something with a label (hence the phrase, ‘Label jars, not people’).

When we label people, we are judging them unfairly based on appearance, rather than getting to know who they really are. Good global citizens never put labels on people. And at RealLife English, we’re all global citizens, and never judge someone without getting to know them, right? 😉

We could also label a relationship. Maybe someone you’re seeing wants some more definition about your relationship: Are you boyfriend/girlfriend, are you friends with benefits, is it just complicated? You might even hear people say, “I don’t like labels.” Meaning that they are happy just going with the flow of things without needing to define them.

Below I will share with you some examples to help add context to this new expression, and a short, terrific video explaining this expression, so you can go out there and kick ass with your English. Aww yeah!

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Start Using this Expression:

  • I’ve labelled these jars–this one has garbanzo beans, this one lentils, and this one has black beans.
  • Gay, straight, bi… I don’t care what he is, I don’t like labeling people.
  • You shouldn’t put a label on him until you’ve gotten to know him.
  • I can’t believe you’d put a label on him based on his religion! That’s so intolerant of you.
  • “Are you guys an official couple?” “No, we don’t want to put a label on it, yet.”

What’s your best example? Have you put a label on someone or been labelled? Let us know below!

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  • Marcio says:

    Good video and great explanation. Most people love putting label on people and of course, it’s not good. :0

  • David D says:

    I liked the realistic and useful examples used for this idiom. Good job Ethan! I look forward to the next one!

  • Nestor Herrera says:

    It is inevitably true that Most of people put a label on others, but What`s the reason for this? Probably.”These others” have gained that Label due to their bad actions or attitudes. You said it “mean people” Jackass or asshole are “labelled on that way. because they have a poor common sense Many SouthAmerican leaders are labelled as well.” Dumbass” for example.

  • Morgan says:

    Labeling people causes division, discrimination, racism and discontentment, not unity.