1

Ellis' hand placement wasn't the only thing that alerted fans on Friday. He also made a joke about mistaking Grande for a menu item at Taco Bell. While greeting Grande at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan, Ellis said, "I’ve got to apologize because I have to brush up my -- my 28-year-old daughter tells me, ‘Dad, you are old at 60.'"

According to dictionaries, brush up means "practise it or improve your knowledge of it". But I am not sure how this definition could fit in this context? Is it relevant to the aforementioned "a joke about mistaking Grande for a menu item at Taco Bell"?

The full source.

3

Yes it is. You have the correct definition of brush up. However, that statement is incomplete. Notice that brush up has no object. There's just a lingering "my". Also, the "--" indicates that his thought or speech was interrupted.

According to the article

While greeting Grande at the Greater Grace Temple in Detroit, Michigan, Ellis said, "I’ve got to apologize because I have to brush up my -- my 28-year-old daughter tells me, ‘Dad, you are old at 60.'"

“What did you do? What happened?” Grande asked with a laugh.

"When I saw Ariana Grande on the program, I thought that was a new something at Taco Bell,” Ellis explained to the crowd. “Girl, let me give you all your respect.”

Returning to the incomplete sentence, there are many possible ways to reconstruct it, but given the context, my interpretation is that the complete sentence is something like

I’ve got to apologize because I have to brush up my [knowledge of {celebrity names | pop artists | younger artists | etc. }].

Ariana Grande is a young artist who appeals to a younger audience. So Ellis is joking that he's so old and out of touch with current music that he didn't know who Grande was and that mistook her for a Taco Bell menu item. For context, grande happens to mean big in Spanish and Taco Bell serves (so-called) Mexican food. An item on their menu could conceivably be called grande.

For what it's worth, I would have said "brush up on my...", but that's likely a personal preference.

  • As a side, Why did Ellis say: "Girl, let me give you all your respect."? Instead of "... ... all my respect"? – dan Sep 2 '18 at 3:28
  • 3
    @dan That's hard to answer. I think he means "let me give you all the respect you deserve". Answering "why" is a different problem. My simple answer is that it's non-standard speech. I wouldn't use it and I don't know how valid it is in his dialect, assuming he uses AAVE. – Em. Sep 2 '18 at 3:42
  • 1
    @Em. - I think you're on the right track; grammatically, I think "all your respect" is similar to "all your props" – a more modern way of expressing the same thing. – J.R. Sep 2 '18 at 4:14
  • 1
    @dan Yes, that's standard, but it does not mean the same thing as "all your respect" as I interpreted it. – Em. Sep 2 '18 at 4:19
  • 1
    your respect = "the respect you are owed". Both em and J.R. have given good paraphrases. Let me not treat you with less respect than you command/deserve, less respect than is "yours". That is, he should recognize the objective fact that she commands respect, and act accordingly. It is not quite the same as him giving her his respect. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Sep 2 '18 at 11:15

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.