Friday, March 7, 2014

To pay through the nose

If you pay through the nose for something, you are paying too much for it or paying more than it may be worth.

1. Here in Brazil, if you want your kids to have a decent education, you need to send them to a private school. Nothing spectacular… Just a decent education. The middle class has to pay through the nose to send their kids to a private school.

2. If you want the Sony PlayStation 4 in Brazil, you’ll have to pay through the nose. You will have to pay at least four times more than it costs in the United States.

3. If you want to live close to the beach in Rio de Janeiro, you will surely pay through the nose anywhere in the Copacabana or Ipanema neighborhoods. And with that, the apartments are tiny, box-like dwellings.

4. Skydiving is an expensive sport/ hobby… It costs an arm and a leg, unless you buy a coupon on a deal-of-the-day site. If you would like a video of the experience, you're going to have to pay through the nose.

5. Traveling anywhere in Brazil during the Carnival period is incredibly expensive. Hotels, flight tickets, excursions, etc. will easily cost about double the price. If you don't want to pay through the nose, you might want to consider traveling before or after Carnival.

6. I have never quite understood why popcorn and snacks are so expensive at the Cinema. It seems we have to pay through the nose simply because they can charge any price they want. It's daylight robbery!

7. There is a disparity in the quality of service that one gets in a Third World country. We pay through the nose and get inferior services. My cable TV contract is more expensive than in first world countries, yet all television series come out here in Brazil weeks after they come out in the US. Can you blame me if I download TV series?

8. What other services in your country do you have to pay through the nose for? Health insurance? Internet?...

9. You have to pay through the nose to buy AAA and AA Duracell batteries... yet we cannot live without them!

10. What conveniences do you have that you have to pay through the nose for? Do you absolutely need those things? I don't really need air-conditioning, but it sure makes life in the tropics a little more comfortable.


  1. Should the expressions "it costs an arm and a leg", and "it is a rip off", be used in the same context of "pay through the nose"?

    1. When you pay through the nose for something, generally we are talking about having no choice in the price of a service or whatever you are buying/ paying for. You have no choice but to pay the price if you want to have something. It also extends to things we obligatorily have to pay for, such as taxes and fees. You pay for something reluctantly. We can't avoid the cost. We often use this expression to complain about the cost of something.

      If something costs an arm and a leg, it's like saying that it costs your eye/ eyes from your face (Spanish/ Portuguese). Same context. Something is super expensive whether you are happy with it or not. It doesn't mean that it is unfair. If you had the money to buy a yacht, you wouldn't ordinarily complain about it - you either have the money... or you don't.

      A rip-off is when you feel/ know that someone is deliberately taking advantage of you in charging too much, whether you need the service/ product or not. Someone may be cheating you regarding the price. This expression is usually related to dishonesty.... When, for example, you pay a lot more than someone else would pay for the same thing.

      At the end of the day, all three expressions are very similar and can be used in the same/ similar context, depending on what you are taking about and how you feel about it. So... You can pay an arm and a leg for something, but it doesn't mean that you have been ripped off. Likewise... You could pay R$10 for coconut water on the beach... Which would be a rip off (you might not know the real price if you are a tourist)... But... it doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

      Paying through the nose for something is often for things that are daily... part of our lifestyle... especially related to the cost of living... but not limited to only this situation. For each expression, one needs to see many examples to get the correct idea of how to use it in context... One way yo can do that is go to Twitter (whether you have an account or not)... And type in the phrase or vocabulary you want to take a look at in the search bar... You will see in real time how people are using the expression right now... If you wanted to look at the expression "Cost an arm and a leg", type in, "arm and a leg"... It will then give you the variations: pay/ cost etc...

      Hope that helps!

    2. Just thanks for this excellent explanation.! I Really appreciate it! .