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Meaning of THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE and I CAN’T COMPLAIN – A Short English Lesson

Meaning of THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE and I CAN’T COMPLAIN – A Short English Lesson


We have a saying in English, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. And we use this when we are talking about a person who complains a lot and then usually gets their way. We would say, “Well, the
squeaky wheel gets the grease.” It originally comes from talking about wheels on vehicles and when they go squeak, squeak, squeak. We usually put some grease or oil on them. Grease and oil are two types of lubricants that will stop a wheel from squeaking. But we use this sentence mostly to describe a person who complains a lot. Maybe there’s someone at your work who complains a lot and then they always get their way. The boss is always letting
them get what they want because they complain so much. You would say, “Well,
you know what they say. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Maybe you have a brother
or sister in your family who complains a lot and
they always get their way. You could say, “Well,
you know what they say. “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” Talking about complaining, here is another way to
use the word complain to answer the question how is it going. If someone says to you, “How’s it going?” You can answer by saying, “Well, you know, I can’t complain. “Life’s going pretty good.” It means that you’re not super happy. You’re not super sad. You don’t really have anything
that you’re annoyed about, but there’s nothing that
you’re really excited about. You could just say, “I can’t complain.” So sometimes at work,
someone will say to me, “Hey, Bob, how’s it going?” And I will answer by saying, “Oh, you know, I can’t complain. “I slept good. “I have a good lunch to eat later today, “and in general, life is going okay, “so I can’t complain.” So there’s two phrases for you. The squeaky wheel gets the grease means that the person who complains always gets their way. And when you say I can’t complain, it’s just another way to answer
the question how’s it going. Anyways, Bob the Canadian here and you’re learning English with me and I hope you’re having a great day.

24 comments on “Meaning of THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE GREASE and I CAN’T COMPLAIN – A Short English Lesson

  1. I know several co-workers at my job which always are complain. (the squeaky wheels gets the Grease) In Portuguese, we would say: "quem não chora não mama" which means: "if the baby doesn't cry, he does not gets the breast milk" or something like that.

  2. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.
    Such people achieve their own with ease.
    As a rule, their efforts aren't in vain.
    That's why those people can't complain.

  3. Hi Bob, at the end you said “there’s two phrases for you.” Should we use “there’re “instead of there’s since “two phrases “ is plural?Thanks.

  4. Thanks, teacher Bob! You said some time ago, that one of your kids was a motormouth. Is there a squeazing wheel in your familly as well?

  5. We should be thankful for what we have rather than complaining about what we don't have. Look at the positive side!

  6. In Spanish we say “Who doesn’t cry isn’t breastfed” (Quien no llora no mama). The second one is identical in Spanish. We also have a joke … When you ask someone living in a dictatorship – “How are you?” – “We can’t complaint… “. -“So is everything OK? “. – “No, we CAN’T complain.”…

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