Cover art for podcast Speak English Now through mini-stories with teacher Georgiana

Speak English Now through mini-stories with teacher Georgiana

278 EpisodesProduced by Georgiana, founder of SpeakEnglishPodcast.comWebsite

Hi, I am Georgiana, founder of And I've been helping you speak English since 2011. My mission is to help you speak English fluently.I help people develop their fluency in English using effective and proven techniques, such as mini-story and point-of-view techniques. I am als… read more


255 Phrasal Verb - To Butter Up

Georgiana: Today, we will discuss the meaning of the phrase "butter up"...

Student: "How interesting, Georgiana! You know I am on a diet, but this morning I had some toast with butter, and let me tell you, it was delicious..."

Georgiana: Sorry to interrupt, but the expression "butter up" has nothing to do with food. :)

Let me explain it to you.

Hey everyone, welcome back to another episode of the podcast. I'm Georgiana, your English teacher, and my mission is to help you speak English fluently. 

And if you want to help me, share the podcast. That would mean a lot. Thanks.

Before you start listening to the episode, make sure to get the transcript on my website: It's free!

Great! Let's start!

Let's take a closer look at the expression "butter up" and how it is commonly used.

When someone tries hard to please others to gain their favor or personal benefits in the workplace, it's known as 'buttering up.'" 

This behavior can be observed in various professional settings such as offices, schools, and even politics, where individuals go to great lengths to please their superiors or influential colleagues.

A classic example of 'buttering up' is an employee who frequently praises their boss, hoping to gain favor or secure a promotion.

Another example is a student who compliments their teacher, aiming to receive better grades or special privileges.

So, how is "buttering up" viewed in Western society? Opinions can differ. On one hand, some people consider it a negative behavior, often associated with insincerity or manipulation.

On the other hand, in certain situations like the business world, some people see it as a useful social skill. They believe that being good at giving compliments and networking can help you progress in your career or create new opportunities. Whether "buttering up" is accepted or not depends on the particular workplace culture and what individuals think.

Here are some other expressions that are similar to "buttering up":

#1 Sucking up to someone: Excessively praising or pleasing someone, especially someone in authority, to gain favor.

#2 Kissing up or Kissing someone's boots: Acting overly flattering toward someone in authority.

#3 Playing up to someone: Behaving in a way intended to please or show respect to someone.

#4 Apple-polishing: Currying favor through flattery or servile behavior.

#5 Flattering: Complimenting someone excessively to win their favor or approval.

#6 Brown-nosing: Similar to "sucking up," it involves ingratiating oneself to gain favor, often through excessive praise or flattery.

 #7 Playing the game: Engaging in strategic behavior or actions to gain advantages or achieve success, often involving flattery or pleasing others.

#8 Bending over backward: Going to great lengths or making excessive efforts to please or accommodate someone.

Now, what are your thoughts? Do you believe "buttering up" can be useful? Are you comfortable engaging in such behavior or receiving it from others? I'm not a big fan of it, but I won't deny that receiving a compliment can feel good from time to time. :)

Get the transcript on my website:

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