In parts of South America, you can barely move for beautiful people chipping their nail polish on endangered hardwoods, and, in Africa, cuddling up to wild animals. Tracy Ward, the actress and now Marchioness of Worcester, started trying to save the tropical rain forest after a stint on a detective TV series. As she tellingly explained, "I had never really had the time or the knowledge, and suddenly when I had no work I realised there was a problem."

I don't really understand what the sentence "you can barely move for beautiful people...." means.

  • For here means "because of the". It is idiomatic English. The sense is that there are so many beautiful people crowding such places that the writer can "hardly move". Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 22:44
  • Thank you very much but what does this part mean? "beautiful people chipping their nail polish on endangered hardwoods, and, in Africa, cuddling up to wild animals". Commented Jul 6, 2017 at 23:24
  • If you don't know what beautiful people, nail polish and hardwood floors mean, or what happens to nail polish when the wearer chips it, or what endangered and cuddling mean, you may be trying to read material that exceeds your current understanding of English. It would be better for you to start with simple texts at this stage of your learning. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 0:10
  • It is a text in our course book. A text by Margaret Driscoll. It is a very long text that i understand but this one it is a bit ambiguous. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 8:11
  • I know the meaning of cuddle. I know hardwood floor nail polish and chip but i can't get the general idea.my problem is not about words. I can't understand why the writer is talking about these. Commented Jul 7, 2017 at 10:08

2 Answers 2


There are several steps here:

  1. As P.E. says, "for" means "because of the."
  2. "You can barely move [because of the]..." means "there are really a lot of..." The metaphor is that those people form a very thick crowd, but that isn't literally true.
  3. In context, the "beautiful people chipping their nails on endangered hardwoods" are creating the appearance of saving the rain forest but are not actually helping, probably because, like Tracy Ward, they don't have the knowledge.

So, all together, the sense is: in parts of South America and Africa, there are many people trying to look like environmentalists while doing no good.


Just breaking it down...

"you can barely move for...."

This is a common expression, sometimes literal but also used as an exaggeration, to describe or imply a crowded or cluttered situation. It could be cluttered by other people, or objects.

For example:

You can barely move in this warehouse for all the boxes.

The term:

"beautiful people"

This is often used to describe a certain type of person - fashionable, glamorous, or privileged people. When used this way it is usually pejorative. Always consider context, however. I would not instantly assume it was pejorative - some might describe others as "beautiful people" out of genuine admiration. But in your quote the writer refers to these people "chipping their nail polish" which does sound like they are mocking people who would wear nail polish to visit a rainforest.

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