This is from the episode 'How We’re Learning To Talk To Animals' of the podcast Stuffyoushouldknow :

Apparently orcas can understand what bottlenose dolphins are saying to one another. Again, bottlenose dolphin is not trying to communicate with the orca. The orca is just eavesdropping. And if it hears like, "Oh, there's some really great salmon over here." Steered clear, the orca will be like, "I'm going straight to it cuz I love Chinook salmon."

I know it's informal English in casual conversation but if "Steered clear," is a participle phrase here, isn't '(Being) Steering clear' grammatically correct?

  • 3
    Don't use this podcast as an English reference. The author's own command of the language is low-colloquial. Fine to talk with their friends at home, useless as a learning guide. Even as a native, the use of 'steered clear' here makes no sense at all. Far from being steered clear, the example orca seems more 'directed towards'. As a rough guide, avoid any speaker who uses the word 'like' in this manner - "And if it hears like," Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 7:40
  • 2
    I’m voting to close this question because the source material is of dubious quality. Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 7:42
  • 1
    'Like' is a filler. It means absolutely nothing. It's just a current fashion/fad for people to use, like, extra words in a sentence. These fad words come & go. When I was young the fad word, or in this case phrase, was 'you know'. So we would, you know, put it in a sentence for the same non-reason, you know. [I've used commas to indicate that these take a slight pause, as if for emphasis - though they actually emphasise nothing, they're just verbal filler.] Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 9:30
  • 2
    @DoneWithThis I think it's pretty ridiculous to refuse to help English learners to understand colloquial English. Colloquial English is probably 90% of what any learner will ever hear in the real world, and the trickiest for novices to understand because of the prominence of idioms. The world speaks colloquially, and learners need help to comprehend it.
    – fred2
    Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 2:42
  • 1
    @fred2 - you seem to have a strange definition of both 'ridicule' & 'refusing to help'. I just spent two entire comments teaching the OP how to recognise & avoid low quality language like this. You, on the other hand, spent all your efforts on damning my efforts, without helping at all. Commented Sep 24, 2023 at 6:31

1 Answer 1


Steered clear, the orca will be like, "I'm going straight to it cuz I love Chinook salmon."

Being steering clear is ungrammatical.

Steering clear is grammatical but unlikely in this situation.

Orcas are much larger than dolphins and are less likely to be steering clear of the bottlenose dolphins than the other way.

steer clear of someone/something is an idiom:

to avoid someone or something that seems unpleasant, dangerous, or likely to cause problems

Cambridge Dictionary

  • Thank you very much.
    – qna
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 4:05
  • 2
    No doubt [which is a euphemism for “it seems highly likely that”] steer clear of originates from seafaring, where, for example, a pilot would know that to avoid destroying a ship he should steer clear of, say, a submerged ridge. Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 12:37
  • @PaulTanenbaum Thank you very much.
    – qna
    Commented Sep 22, 2023 at 13:07

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .