“Frugal? Cheap is more like it!”

English Lesson: Frugal? Cheap is more like it!

Your sister is telling a story about your father at a family party. In the story, she politely says that your father was "frugal" when you were children (meaning that he always saved his money). You want to tease your father a little more, so you say this.

Frugal? Cheap is more like it!

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(someone) is frugal

A "frugal" person tries not to waste money. They do things like:

  • eating at home instead of going out to a restaurant
  • buying used clothes instead of new ones
  • driving an old car

Being "frugal" is a good quality.

(someone) is cheap

A "cheap" person is someone who doesn't want to spend money. "Cheap" people do things like:

  • not turning on the heater when it's cold
  • not buying gifts for people
  • not going on vacations, even though they have enough money

Being "cheap" is bad, so calling someone "cheap" is an insult.

(something) is more like it

Use this phrase in the following situation:

  1. Someone uses a word to describe something. (For example, "Our father is pretty frugal.")
  2. You disagree with that description. 
  3. You want to replace that word with something else.

For example:

A: His art is... interesting.

B: Ha! Ridiculous is more like it!

People usually use this expression to replace a positive word with a negative one. But you can also use it in the opposite way:

He said it was "nice", but "amazing" is more like it, if you ask me.