“That new guy is so eager to please. I wish he'd tone it down a little.”

English Lesson: That new guy is so eager to please. I wish he'd tone it down a little.

There's a new employee at your job. He's really energetic and tries to be helpful to everyone. It's nice, but it's also a little annoying. You complain about him to one of your close work friends.

That new guy is so eager to please. I wish he'd tone it down a little.

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I wish (something) would (happen)

This phrase is used when you want something to happen, but you don't think it's very likely.

People often mix up "I wish..." and "I hope..." The difference is in how realistic your wish is. For something that's not very likely, or is impossible, use "I wish..."

I wish I could fly.

Or you can talk about changing the past:

I wish I'd studied something a little more practical.

For something that hasn't happened yet, but might still happen, use "I hope..." For example, if the weather forecast calls for rain, you can say this before the rain starts:

I hope it doesn't rain.

This is OK because it's still possible that the rain won't start. After the rain starts, you can't say that but you can say:

I hope it stops raining soon.

* For more about the difference between "I hope" and "I wish", read this article: How should I use "I hope" and "I wish"?

the new (guy/girl)

A new employee or new member of a team is often called "the new guy" or "the new girl".

This phrase sounds slightly negative, but not too bad.

(someone) is eager to please

Sometimes a person really wants other people to like him or her. When people seem this way, you can call them "eager to please". "Eager to please" people do things like:

  • smile constantly
  • do whatever someone asks them to do
  • agree with other people's opinions

Calling someone "eager to please" is positive in a way, but slightly insulting at the same time. It makes the person seem a little weak. A more positive description for someone who acts this way is "friendly" or "helpful".

tone it down

"Toning it down" means doing less of something, or making something less extreme.

You can "tone down" a lot of different things. Here are some examples:

  • If your children are playing really loudly, you can ask them to "tone it down", meaning to play more quietly.
  • If someone is playing a sport really aggressively even though it's not a serious game, you can comment that this person should "tone it down", meaning to play less aggressively.
  • If your boyfriend usually likes to talk a lot about politics, you can ask him to "tone it down" when you bring him to have dinner with your parents.