M: Li Hua, what are you looking at on the Internet?
L: 噢，我想在网上买个做豆腐的机器。我和一个朋友想做了豆腐周末拿到农民集市上去卖。 你说有人会买吗?
M: Of course people would buy your tofu! You'd make a killing!
L: Make a killing? 做豆腐和杀人有什么关系?
M: No, I said you'd "make a killing". "To make a killing" means to earn a lot of money quickly through some kind of lucrative business.
L: 唷， to make a killing就是通过做生意赚了许多钱！ Michael, 这么说，你认为我们这个生意能做得成，是吗？我不知道美国人是不是爱吃豆腐呐。
M: Of course! A lot of people who don't eat meat, or who want to eat healthy foods eat tofu. Also, there are a lot of Chinese in this part of town. I'm sure you'll make a killing.
L: 对，好多美国人现在健康意识很强，不吃肉，爱吃豆制品。Michael, 你说得没错，这一带中国人也很多，肯定有人会买新鲜豆腐的。Michael, 你能不能再给我举一个例子呀？
M: Well, for instance, my uncle Roger made a killing in real estate. A few years ago, he bought a lot of land and then rich people started building houses in the area, and he made a lot of money.
M: You can also say to make a killing in the stock market, in the insurance business or even in the tofu business!
L: 噢，to make a killing in the stock market就是通过买卖股票赚了好多钱，in the insurance business就是保险业。可是，我想靠卖豆腐大概不会make a killing --赚不了太多钱。
M: Don't worry about losing money, Li Hua. At the very least, you will break even.
L: 你说我至少会什么？break even?
M: "To break even" means to neither lose nor gain money. If you do some business and are able to cover the costs of the business, but don't make a profit, you are breaking even.
L: 噢，那就是既不赚钱，也不亏本。做豆腐的机器不是太贵，所以，你说得对，要做到收支相抵， 也就是break even, 应该不会有问题。
M: Even if you don't earn a lot of money, if you break even you lose nothing, plus you get to enjoy lots of fresh tofu.
M: What? I don't care that much about tofu. Stop being silly and use this phrase in a sentence.
L: 嗯...有了。我和我的朋友Regina上星期第一次去大西洋赌城玩。开始我们各自出了50 美元，可是不到一小时全输光了。后来我们两人各出10美元，合在一起，结果终于把100美元又赚了回来。所以，In the end, we broke even.
M: (Sarcastically) Wow. $50. Good thing you were able to break even, or you'd have to sleep in a cardboard box on the sidewalk.
L: Michael, 别小看人哪！输了50美元，我就得睡在马路上的纸箱里呀？哎，不过，说实话，50美元是不少钱，我本来就不该去赌钱。
今天李华学到两个常用语，一个是：to make a killing, 意思是做生意在短期内赚了很多钱。另一个是：to break even, 意思是做生意没有亏本，也没有赚钱。