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Top notch

刊登日期: 2017.06.24
作者: Grace Tse  

Following a year’s hard work, students will receive their end-of-year reports very soon. On the reports, teachers will write their students’ achievements, strengths and the areas which they need to improve. What results would you expect this year? Excellent, average or poor? 

In the English language, the word “excellent” can by replaced by the idiom “top notch”. 

John is very excited to receive a top notch academic report

A notch is a small V-shaped or circular cut in a hard surface. While scholars are not certain whether the origin of this idiom was related to a V-shaped cut, they can confirm that it was widely used in newspapers in the USA as early as 1845. Two examples appeared in the “Huron Reflector” newspaper. One of them was in an advertisement and another one was in a letter to the editor

“… the top notch of Fashions and Patterns …” 

“Now, Messrs. Editors, perhaps I have lived too long in the woods, to know exactly what makes good manners in the very top notch of society.” 

Nowadays this idiom is used informally as an adjective, sometimes with a hyphen, and also as a noun by adding “-er”. 

Mum took me to watch a top-notch (一流) ballet performance. 

Alice is the topnotcher (獲得最佳成績) of this year’s Grade 3 Piano Exam. 

Whatever school report you will receive, do have a lovely summer holiday and work hard again next year. 


Glossary

Achievement 成績
Strengths 長處
Excellent 優秀
Average 普通
Academic report 成績表
Notch 槽口
Advertisement 廣告
Editor 編輯

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