Health experts say people should chew their food at least 30 times before swallowing. Foods that are harder to chew, such as steaks or nuts, require up to 40 chews but soft foods such as watermelons or bananas require about 15 chews. To chew, as most of you know, is to use your teeth to break food into smaller, softer pieces before swallowing it. Chewing 30 or 40 times before swallowing seems like a lot but health experts say chewing food and mixing it with saliva makes it easier to digest the food. Chewing also allows your body to take the most nutrients from your food.
The word “chew” is a simple one that most of you know but did you also know the word has a completely different meaning when used as an American slang word? My boss chewed me out many times when I was a young reporter. The expression “chew someone out” means to tell a person angrily that he or she has done something wrong. My editor chewed me out whenever I had my facts wrong in a news article. Many years ago, when I was the editor of a newspaper, I trusted one of the reporters who insisted the facts in his news article were correct.
After the article was published the person named in it denied the corruption allegations in the article and sued the newspaper. The reporter was unable to verify the allegations in the article. The newspaper had to apologize and pay the person several million dollars. The newspaper owners were so angry they scolded me or chewed me out for a long time. Another American expression that uses the word “chew” is “chew you up and spit you out”. This means to totally defeat someone or to treat that person very harshly. If you are very good at tennis and can easily defeat your friend, you can say you will chew him up and spit him out.
Chew是個簡單的字，你們都知道它的意思，但你又可知道這個字作為美式俚語用時，有着截然不同的意思？當我還是年輕的記者時，我的老闆就曾 chewed me out無數次。習語“chew someone out”意即嚴厲訓斥某人做錯事。每當我在哪則新聞報道上弄錯了甚麼事實，我的編輯就會狠狠地「?」我，責罵我一番（chewed me out）。許多年前，當我擔任某報編輯時，我信任其中一位記者堅持他在新聞報道中的資料屬實。
但在那篇文章見報後，該名被點名的人否認文章中的貪污指控，而要控告報館。那名記者未能證實文中的指控，最終報館需要道歉，向那人賠償數百萬元。報社老闆大發雷霆，很長一段時間都在訓斥我（chewed me out）。另一個用到“chew”的美式習語是“chew you up and spit you out”，它的意思是狠狠地打敗某人，或是嚴厲地對待某人。若你精於打網球，輕易就能在網球場上擊敗你朋友，你便可以說你將會 chew him up and spit him out。