The English We Speak
The English We Speak
Every week, we look at a different everyday English phrase or piece of slang in this fun three-minute programme. From BBC World Service
To make a song and dance (about something)
Feb 19 • 2 min
If things don’t go your way, how can singing and dancing help?
Feb 12 • 3 min
Here’s a phrase to describe the success of a small team.
A shock to the system
Feb 5 • 2 min
A sudden and unpleasant change can come as a shock. Learn a phrase to describe this.
From pillar to post
Jan 29 • 2 min
Moving from place to place can be chaotic. Learn a phrase to describe the situation
Jan 22 • 2 min
Here’s a phrase that describes making informal conversation about not much.
A bright spark
Jan 15 • 2 min
Here’s a clever expression that can describe someone doing something stupid.
To be all downhill
Jan 8 • 2 min
Rob’s done all his work! Find out here if it’s all downhill until the weekend for him.
Jan 1 • 2 min
Learn a New Year-related expression
To have all your Christmases come at once
Dec 28, 2018 • 2 min
An expression for when you have good fortune
It’s the thought that counts
Dec 18, 2018 • 2 min
Learn a polite thing to say when you receive a bad present.
Dec 11, 2018 • 3 min
Learn this very modern expression.
It leaves a bad taste in your mouth
Dec 4, 2018 • 2 min
How can a tasty meal leave a bad taste?
Nov 27, 2018 • 2 min
Is it a meal or a type of weather?
Throw in the towel
Nov 20, 2018 • 2 min
Learn a phrase about giving up.
A walk in the park
Nov 13, 2018 • 2 min
Is walking in the park easy? It can be if you learn this phrase!
Nov 6, 2018 • 2 min
Learn a new name for old tech
Oct 30, 2018 • 2 min
Are you ready for Halloween?
Something to chew on
Oct 23, 2018 • 2 min
Feifei gives Neil something to chew on
Oct 16, 2018 • 2 min
Not all waffling is good!
Oct 9, 2018 • 3 min
Describe something that isn’t straight.
Play a blinder
Oct 2, 2018 • 3 min
Doing something amazing.
Sep 25, 2018 • 3 min
Has someone annoyed you? Use this word.
Sep 18, 2018 • 3 min
Brag if you must - just don’t humblebrag! Find out what that means with Rob and Feifei.
Out of your depth
Sep 11, 2018 • 3 min
A phrase for when you’re struggling to do something.
Sep 4, 2018 • 3 min
A word for a bad mood.
Aug 28, 2018 • 2 min
Learn a spicy expression.
Take the biscuit
Aug 21, 2018 • 2 min
A sweet phrase for irritating behaviour.
Step on it
Aug 14, 2018 • 2 min
Do you need someone to go faster? Use this informal phrase.
Aug 7, 2018 • 2 min
When does the word ‘ping’ not make a sound? Find out in this programme.
Jul 31, 2018 • 2 min
When the time comes to make an important decision, what do you say?
Have a pop
Jul 24, 2018 • 2 min
Learn a phrase about having a go at something
A necessary evil
Jul 17, 2018 • 2 min
Can you accept something you don’t like?
If the cap fits
Jul 10, 2018 • 2 min
Learn an expression about accepting criticism
Jul 3, 2018 • 2 min
Learn a phrase about accepting blame
To have a good nose (for something)
Jun 26, 2018 • 2 min
Rob and Feifei sniff out a new phrase to learn
Friends in High Places
Jun 19, 2018 • 2 min
Learn a phrase about important people
Jun 12, 2018 • 2 min
Learn an expression for a no-win situation.
Let the dust settle
Jun 5, 2018 • 2 min
Learn a phrase about allowing a situation to become calm again
Nothing to shout about
May 29, 2018 • 2 min
Learn a phrase about not saying much
Let sleeping dogs lie
May 22, 2018 • 3 min
Learn about a trouble-free phrase
Bleed someone dry
May 15, 2018 • 2 min
An expression for a financial injury
May 8, 2018 • 2 min
A phrase for trivial things
That’ll teach you
May 1, 2018 • 2 min
Learn from what you’ve done
An old hand
Apr 24, 2018 • 2 min
Someone who’s skilled and experienced
Out of the loop
Apr 17, 2018 • 2 min
Learn a phrase about missing out.
Rub it in
Apr 10, 2018 • 2 min
Learn an expression about enjoying someone’s misfortunes.
Apr 3, 2018 • 2 min
Are you a smartphone zombie?
Mar 27, 2018 • 2 min
Are you someone who only eats food that has been wasted or thrown away? Learn a word that describes what you are
Barking up the wrong tree
Mar 20, 2018 • 2 min
Have you ever made the wrong assumption? Here’s a dog-related phrase to describe your actions
Cloud cuckoo land
Mar 13, 2018 • 2 min
Can you make the impossible possible? This phrase implies you can’t but what’s it got to do with a cuckoo?
A taste of your own medicine
Mar 6, 2018 • 2 min
Feb 27, 2018 • 2 min
Relaxed about the future? Here’s a phrase that might describe your character
Feb 20, 2018 • 2 min
Young, clever and successful: find out a phrase that describes someone like this
The best of both worlds
Feb 13, 2018 • 2 min
Can you enjoy the advantages of two different situations at the same time? You can if you use this phrase
Feb 6, 2018 • 2 min
Are you taking it easy or just being lazy? Here’s a phrase to describe your condition
To cut a long story short
Jan 30, 2018 • 3 min
Have you got a story to tell? Here’s a phrase about just telling the important bits
Jan 29, 2018 • 2 min
Beards have been ‘a thing’ for a while. Is it now time to shave them off?
Just the ticket
Jan 23, 2018 • 3 min
Rob and Feifei help teach a phrase to describe something you really want or need
Do a runner
Jan 9, 2018 • 2 min
Is it time to go? Here’s a phrase about avoiding a tricky situation
All that jazz
Dec 26, 2017 • 2 min
We love slang, idioms, phrases and all that jazz! Learn a new phrase with us
Not gonna lie
Dec 18, 2017 • 2 min
A phrase to use when you’re being brutally honest
Up your game
Dec 12, 2017 • 2 min
Don’t know which one to use? You need to up your emoji game
To shout it from the rooftops
Dec 5, 2017 • 2 min
Have you heard the good news? This programme has something to shout about!
To blow the cobwebs away
Nov 28, 2017 • 2 min
No spiders involved. It’s time to get lively and learn a new English phrase
Nov 21, 2017 • 2 min
Want to go to a party? This phrase might help you get an invitation
To put someone on the map
Nov 14, 2017 • 2 min
Need directions to learn a new English phrase? Here’s one about a map and being famous
Down in the dumps
Nov 7, 2017 • 2 min
Feeling unhappy? Here’s a phrase to describe your mood but don’t take it too literally!
Oct 31, 2017 • 2 min
Rob keeps saying ‘excuse me’ but what does he really mean? You and Feifei are about to find out the many uses of this phrase
A sting in the tail
Oct 24, 2017 • 2 min
Rob’s become a bee keeper but there’s something more unpleasant to this hobby than being stung. Find out how a sting in the tail doesn’t just come from bees!
So done with
Oct 17, 2017 • 1 min
Are you doing something very boring? We have just the phrase for you!
Oct 10, 2017 • 2 min
You might know the slang expression ‘LOL’, but do you know about ‘lolz’?
Have a go
Oct 3, 2017 • 1 min
Poor Neil gets a lot of criticism in the programme. Of course, it’s all to help you learn English!
Sep 26, 2017 • 1 min
You know what ‘about’ means, right? But maybe not this extra meaning! Take another look with us
Sep 19, 2017 • 2 min
Learn an informal expression for when you have to improvise
Sep 12, 2017 • 2 min
Not sure what to expect? Learn a phrase about hoping your choice will turn out ok
It beats me
Sep 5, 2017 • 2 min
Why does Feifei keep hitting Rob? There could be some confusion about the meaning of today’s authentic English phrase. Find out what Rob really means when he says ‘it beats me’
Aug 29, 2017 • 1 min
Tricks and dishonesty: Learn this phrase before it fools you!
Left, right, and centre
Aug 22, 2017 • 2 min
If you do something left, right, and centre does that mean you do it everywhere? Rob’s being doing just that but what’s he been doing it with?
Aug 15, 2017 • 2 min
Why has Rob got a donkey in the studio?! It’s probably got something with today’s authentic English phrase which is about not doing something for a long time
Give us a bell
Aug 8, 2017 • 2 min
What’s that ringing sound? Is it someone giving you a bell? Find out what it all means
Aug 1, 2017 • 2 min
Echo echo echo echo…
Jul 25, 2017 • 2 min
Do you melt too easily?
The heat is on
Jul 18, 2017 • 1 min
Learn an expression which you can use to say you’re under pressure
Jul 11, 2017 • 2 min
When can a wet weekend be dry? Find out with another authentic English expression
Jul 4, 2017 • 2 min
Some things in life are hard work. Discover a phrase that describes these situations
A busman’s holiday
Jun 27, 2017 • 2 min
Going on holiday to do your job? What’s it got to do with driving a bus?
Jun 20, 2017 • 2 min
Old-fashioned and set in your ways? Could you be one of these people?
No great shakes
Jun 13, 2017 • 2 min
Not impressed by something? Here’s an expression that describes what you think
Not a sausage
Jun 6, 2017 • 2 min
Nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing at all… Not even one little sausage!
May 30, 2017 • 1 min
Not everything in this life is fun. Learn a phrase to describe boring jobs!
May 23, 2017 • 2 min
Love pizza? Feifei and Neil bring you a phrase to show how much you enjoy something
All over the shop
May 16, 2017 • 3 min
Looked everywhere? Learn a phrase about shops that isn’t about shops!
It comes with the territory
May 9, 2017 • 2 min
Some things have to be expected. Learn a phrase to describe this situation
It won’t wash
May 2, 2017 • 2 min
Heard something unconvincing? Maybe it’s time to get out the washing powder!
Apr 25, 2017 • 2 min
Can you do lots of different things? This could be the phrase to describe you
The coast is clear
Apr 18, 2017 • 2 min
Doing something you shouldn’t? Here’s a phrase about not being caught
Pull a fast one
Apr 11, 2017 • 2 min
Make the English you speak sound more natural
Suck it and see
Apr 4, 2017 • 1 min
Learn a phrase about having new experiences
To cut your teeth
Mar 28, 2017 • 2 min
Starting out in a new profession? Here’s an expression about gaining experience
Mar 21, 2017 • 2 min
Getting less for your money? Could you be the victim of ‘shrinkflation’?
Mar 14, 2017 • 2 min
Is someone making unreasonable requests? Here’s where they live
A different kettle of fish
Mar 7, 2017 • 2 min
Fishing for a phrase? This could be the one for you
At the drop of a hat
Feb 28, 2017 • 2 min
What would Rob do at the drop of a hat? Find out more about this expression
Feb 21, 2017 • 2 min
What does being confident but rude have to do with your neck? Learn an expression that should not be taken literally
Reinvent the wheel
Feb 14, 2017 • 2 min
Wasting time doing something that’s been done before? There’s a phrase to explain this
Feb 7, 2017 • 2 min
Do you have a false friend? In The English We Speak we get to hear how one of Feifei’s best friends isn’t a friend at all and discover that there’s a great word to describe them
To be fair
Jan 31, 2017 • 2 min
Give both sides of the argument with this phrase
On the box
Jan 24, 2017 • 2 min
Watching a ‘box’ can’t be very enjoyable, can it?
Jan 17, 2017 • 2 min
Learn a phrase you can use that features our feathered friend
Jan 10, 2017 • 1 min
Use this phrase involving bottles when you’re too afraid to do something
Got your number
Jan 3, 2017 • 2 min
Understanding someone’s true intentions
Dec 20, 2016 • 2 min
Learn a word that describes tempting online links
Dec 13, 2016 • 2 min
Dan and Feifei are in the studio and Dan has been working on a new music track. Will it be good? Let’s find out
Dec 6, 2016 • 2 min
How do you kiss someone without kissing them? Neil and Feifei explain a word which describes a popular way of greeting and saying goodbye to friends
Nov 29, 2016 • 2 min
A word for when a man explains to a woman something in a way which suggests she’s stupid.
Rolling in it
Nov 22, 2016 • 2 min
Neil is rolling on the floor to teach a phrase connected to wealth. Feifei explains
Nov 15, 2016 • 2 min
Feifei and Sian discuss a word to use when something unexpectedly appears in your photo.
Nov 8, 2016 • 2 min
Do you look up every symptom on the internet and then imagine you have a serious illness? Here’s an expression to describe what you’re doing
To wash your dirty linen in public
Nov 1, 2016 • 2 min
Are you discussing your private life in public? Here’s an expression to describe what you’re doing
Cat got your tongue?
Oct 25, 2016 • 2 min
There’s a cat about and Feifei’s not talking. Learn an expression that questions her quietness
It takes two to tango
Oct 18, 2016 • 2 min
Neil’s doing a partner dance on his own in the studio to help you learn English. Learn an expression which means two people need to accept the blame for a bad situation
Oct 11, 2016 • 2 min
Feifei kicks Neil in the face after he hits her knee with a hammer. It’s all to teach you a useful English expression
To have an axe to grind
Oct 4, 2016 • 2 min
An expression with three related but slightly different meanings connected to strong opinions
Close, but no cigar
Sep 27, 2016 • 2 min
Why is Neil trying to smoke a cigar in the studio? Learn an English expression about almost succeeding
Get somebody’s goat
Sep 20, 2016 • 2 min
Neil’s goat Fred is a bit smelly but useful for teaching an English expression. Feifei’s not happy
Bust a gut
Sep 13, 2016 • 2 min
Neil’s wearing a vest in the studio to teach an expression about effort. Feifei’s concerned he’ll injure himself
Sep 6, 2016 • 2 min
Feifei has written a letter to her family. Find out why Sian finds this old-school
Aug 30, 2016 • 2 min
Sian has received lots of emails! Learn another way to say ‘lots’
Aug 23, 2016 • 2 min
Sian is irritable today because she skipped breakfast! Learn an adjective to describe people who feel angry when they get hungry
To pull something out of the hat
Aug 16, 2016 • 2 min
What can you pull out of a hat? Learn an expression that describes doing something that saves the day
Off the hook
Aug 4, 2016 • 1 min
Are you obliged to do something you can’t or don’t want to? We teach you what to say
Jul 26, 2016 • 2 min
Is someone telling an outrageous lie? Here’s an expression we can use
To make a mountain out of a molehill
Jul 19, 2016 • 2 min
Someone making a big fuss about something small? Here’s a phrase to describe what they’re doing
The last straw/final straw
Jul 12, 2016 • 2 min
When friendship is under test, something tiny and as light as a straw could cause a huge problem
The university of life
Jul 5, 2016 • 2 min
Want to learn about life? Here’s a place most of us have studied at
White collar worker / blue-collar worker
Jun 28, 2016 • 2 min
What does the colour of your clothes say about your job?
Jun 21, 2016 • 2 min
No need to be in the theatre to find a drama queen. We teach you where to find them…
It’s on the cards
Jun 14, 2016 • 2 min
An expression for when something is likely to happen. What’s on the cards for you?
Until you’re blue in the face
Jun 7, 2016 • 2 min
Is nobody listening to you? Learn a colourful phrase to explain the situation
Clean up your act
May 31, 2016 • 2 min
Someone behaving badly? Here’s a phrase that tells them what to do
You’re pulling my leg!
May 24, 2016 • 2 min
Want to trick someone? Here is a phrase that involves pulling a part of your body!
One good turn deserves another
May 17, 2016 • 2 min
A helpful phrase for doing something good
To fall at the first hurdle
May 10, 2016 • 2 min
Got an idea that’s never going to work? Here is a phrase to describe the situation
Pain in the neck
May 3, 2016 • 1 min
Learn the phrase Helen needs to describe the headache her mobile phone company is causing her
Burn a hole in your pocket
Apr 26, 2016 • 2 min
When you are in the habit of spending all your money as soon as it comes in, you can use this phrase to express yourself
To turn something upside down
Apr 19, 2016 • 2 min
How to describe doing a thorough search for something in a very messy way
Apr 12, 2016 • 2 min
How do you ask someone to change the way they do things in the future? Learn this phrase connected to motion
A recipe for disaster
Apr 5, 2016 • 2 min
When things go wrong and the outcome isn’t good, what kind of recipe are you following? Learn a phrase that has nothing to do with cooking
Mar 29, 2016 • 2 min
When you need to learn something very quickly, it’s worth considering a super fast learning programme, but it’s not for everyone
You’ve sold it to me
Mar 22, 2016 • 2 min
When you are in total agreement with ideas or suggestions from others, try a new phrase to express yourself
Full of the joys of spring
Mar 15, 2016 • 2 min
What time of the year describes a good mood? Learn this lively and cheerful phrase
Six of one, half a dozen of the other
Mar 1, 2016 • 2 min
Is this expression related to numbers? If half a dozen is six, what does this expression mean? Listen to the programme
Test the water
Feb 23, 2016 • 2 min
How can you make sure a new project is going to be a successful? Here’s a piece of good advice
To lie through your teeth
Feb 16, 2016 • 2 min
Not telling the truth is not a good thing to do. Learn a phrase to describe your actions
To make a monkey out of me
Feb 9, 2016 • 2 min
Rob’s been asked to dress up like a monkey but it seems like someone is literally making a monkey out of him!
There’s method to my madness
Jan 26, 2016 • 2 min
Although other people may think you are behaving rather strangely, you know what you are doing. There’s a reason and a phrase to describe your behaviour
In good nick
Jan 19, 2016 • 2 min
Learn a phrase to describe something in top condition
Cheap and cheerful
Jan 12, 2016 • 2 min
Most people like a present that is cheap and cheerful. But no one likes something that is cheap and nasty
A bitter pill to swallow
Jan 5, 2016 • 2 min
When a situation is hard to accept, what do you say? This phrase could be for you
Dec 31, 2015 • 2 min
When we see people going crazy about something, here is an alternative expression
Dec 22, 2015 • 1 min
Neil is dying for a game of squash but Li is not game. Find out why…
That’ll put hairs on your chest!
Dec 15, 2015 • 2 min
Learn a humorous expression that is used when someone is going to have a strong alcoholic drink
Down the pan
Dec 1, 2015 • 2 min
When things are not going as planned, we can say they’ve gone ‘down the pan’, but which pan is it?
Nov 17, 2015 • 2 min
Do you have a sweet tooth? Is it something that you are born with or do you develop it?
Nov 10, 2015 • 2 min
When a car bumper is almost touch another car bumper, you know the situation on the road is bad
Nov 3, 2015 • 2 min
How can you describe someone good looking but not interesting?
Oct 27, 2015 • 2 min
Oh no, you’ve forgotten the word for something! Don’t worry, this expression might help
Across the pond
Oct 20, 2015 • 2 min
Are London and New York separated by a pond? Learn this expression people say on both sides of the Atlantic
Oct 13, 2015 • 2 min
Are you good at working with other people? This expression might describe you
It’s a steal!
Oct 6, 2015 • 2 min
Have you paid very little money for something normally expensive? Learn an expression for when you find a bargain
Bull and bear market
Sep 29, 2015 • 2 min
Learn what you say when share prices rise and when they fall. We help you to understand financial terms
Social media words
Sep 22, 2015 • 2 min
‘Trolls’ and ‘haters’ are the people who want to annoy you. The names are part of the new vocabulary of social media
Don’t give up the day job
Sep 15, 2015 • 2 min
If you don’t think someone is very good at doing something what should you say? Here’s a phrase to help you
A barrel of laughs
Sep 8, 2015 • 2 min
What object is full of laughs? This is a phrase that describes someone who is fun
To know something like the back of your hand
Sep 1, 2015 • 2 min
Do you know a place very well? Are you able to find your way in a place without looking at any maps? Here is a way of saying it with help from your hand
Give me credit
Aug 18, 2015 • 2 min
Learn a phrase that’s full of praise. You won’t need a credit card to use this one
To keep the wolf from the door
Aug 11, 2015 • 2 min
Who’s that knocking at the door? Someone’s here to tell you you’re in financial trouble
Jul 14, 2015 • 2 min
Fed up with rules and regulations? You must learn this expression
To drink someone under the table
Jun 30, 2015 • 2 min
Drink to celebrate the good things in life, drink to forget the bad. Here’s an expression for people who like an alcoholic drink
Jun 16, 2015 • 2 min
Is there someone tormenting you online? Here’s an expression for when people hide behind a computer to attack others
A close shave
May 19, 2015 • 2 min
What’s a razor got to do with Rob’s bike ride to work? Here’s an expression for when you’ve had a narrow escape.
My mind’s gone blank
May 12, 2015 • 2 min
Why did Rob ask Feifei to meet him in the studio? Here’s an expression for when you’ve forgotten something.
To sleep on it
May 5, 2015 • 2 min
Find out how ‘sleeping on it’ doesn’t just mean lying on a bed!
All over the place
Apr 28, 2015 • 2 min
Neil can’t find his script. His pen’s gone missing. He’s feeling a bit confused. What’s wrong with him? Find out in the programme.
To go around the houses
Apr 21, 2015 • 2 min
Feifei wants to borrow Rob’s car but she takes a long time getting to the point. Find out why Rob tells her not to go around the houses. And why doesn’t Rob want her to drive his car?
Done and dusted
Apr 14, 2015 • 2 min
When someone says the phrase ‘done and dusted’, do they mean doing some proper cleaning?
Apr 7, 2015 • 2 min
It’s hard to swallow but maybe it’s time for a chill pill!
Put a sock in it!
Mar 31, 2015 • 3 min
Why has Helen put a sock in the toaster and how is that going to keep her quiet?
A wild card
Mar 31, 2015 • 2 min
Who’s the wild card in the office? Rob and Feifei use a phrase to describe an unpredictable colleague.
To take a shot / stab in the dark
Mar 17, 2015 • 2 min
Feifei thinks someone’s been killed but then discovers taking a stab in the dark doesn’t involve using knives!
To keep a lid on it
Mar 10, 2015 • 2 min
Li and Neil go for a coffee, but why do they have to keep a lid on it?
To be on the ball
Mar 3, 2015 • 1 min
Learn a phrase to describe the ability to react quickly to things.
Feb 24, 2015 • 3 min
Feifei and Harry use an expression for things that amaze and astound.
Out for the count
Feb 17, 2015 • 2 min
Neil and Li talk about how a boxing expression can be used in everyday life.
Feb 10, 2015 • 3 min
Feifei and Harry use an expression for people and ideas that change the way we do things.
Feb 3, 2015 • 2 min
Harry and Feifei look at an expression for when things surprise and impress you.
Jan 27, 2015 • 2 min
Harry and Feifei talk about a common colloquial expression for when things are intense.
Stab in the back
Jan 20, 2015 • 2 min
Harry and Feifei talk about an expression that is not as violent as it sounds.
Jan 13, 2015 • 2 min
Neil and Feifei talk about a word made popular by the economic downturn
At the movies
Jan 6, 2015 • 2 min
Sci-fi, romcom, whodunnit – What kind of movies do you like?
Dec 30, 2014 • 2 min
Neil tells Helen to kill time but she smashes up a clock. Find out why and learn a useful expression.
Like turkeys voting for Christmas
Dec 23, 2014 • 2 min
Do you celebrate Christmas? Do you like eating turkey? Do you think turkeys like Christmas? Learn this humorous idiom
Face the music
Dec 16, 2014 • 2 min
There’s something Neil’s forgotten to do and now he has to face the music. Listen to the programme to find out why.
Dec 9, 2014 • 3 min
‘Snail mail’, ‘post’ and ‘hard copy’ – learn expressions connected with computers
Dec 2, 2014 • 2 min
Li’s cat video has gone viral. Will she be happy about it? Learn an expression from the internet age
Give the cold shoulder
Nov 25, 2014 • 2 min
Is Feifei’s designer shawl a solution to her problems with Lisa? Listen to the programme to find out
Nov 18, 2014 • 2 min
Rob is deleting some emails. He won’t take the bait sent in by criminals!
Take to the cleaners
Nov 11, 2014 • 3 min
Rob’s very expensive shirt is ruined! Who will pay for it? Listen to the programme to find out
Eat humble pie
Nov 4, 2014 • 3 min
Is Rob hungry enough to win a pie-eating competition? Listen to the programme
Water off a duck’s back
Oct 28, 2014 • 3 min
Feifei has a thing or two to learn from the ducks in the park. So do you. Listen to the programme.
Take for a ride
Oct 21, 2014 • 3 min
Li wants to invest in a car moved by air. Is she going to lose her money?
Oct 14, 2014 • 3 min
Is Feifei giving up her job to take care of babies? Learn an amusing idiom: ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’.
Oct 7, 2014 • 3 min
Do you know Joe Bloggs? He might be just beside you.
Sep 29, 2014 • 2 min
Is this butter for a cake, for toast or… to put on a person? Finn and Feifei explain
Hair of the dog
Sep 22, 2014 • 3 min
Rob had too much to drink. Is this the cure for his hangover?
Sep 15, 2014 • 4 min
Finn is spending a lot of money. But can he afford it?
Sep 8, 2014 • 2 min
Finn is angry, so Li offers him some tasty cheese. Will it calm him down?
Sep 1, 2014 • 3 min
A style of walking that is hard to do on your own.
Proof is in the pudding
Aug 22, 2014 • 3 min
What does Rob mean when he says ‘the proof is in the pudding’?
Aug 18, 2014 • 2 min
What’s the link between dinosaurs and mobile phones?
Look like the back end of a bus
Aug 11, 2014 • 2 min
If someone says you look like ‘the back end of a bus’, is it a good thing?
Aug 4, 2014 • 3 min
Wow! Ouch! Yippee! The useful little sounds which mean a lot.
Blah blah blah
Jul 28, 2014 • 3 min
Having a repetitive and boring conversation? This expression is for you.
Have a lot on my plate
Jul 21, 2014 • 3 min
When is a meal not so tasty? This expression will give you the answer
Bells and whistles
Jul 14, 2014 • 3 min
Will bells and whistles add to the value of your gadget? Listen to the programme
Everything but the kitchen sink
Jul 7, 2014 • 3 min
Neil and Li are going on a camping trip. But are they packing too much?
Beat the drum
Jun 30, 2014 • 2 min
Neil and Li want to help protect baby turtles. But do they need a drum?
Until the cows come home
Jun 23, 2014 • 3 min
Neil and Li are keen to go home. How long will they have to wait for the bus?
Smell a rat
Jun 16, 2014 • 3 min
Li is told she won the lottery. But is it true? Neil has bad news for her.
Funny ha-ha or funny peculiar
Jun 9, 2014 • 2 min
When does ‘funny’ have nothing to do with laughter?
Jun 2, 2014 • 3 min
Blue-sky thinking? Pushing the envelope? Learn what these business terms mean
Take it with a pinch of salt
May 26, 2014 • 2 min
Helen takes Neil out for tea but why does she put salt in his cup? Find out more
May 19, 2014 • 3 min
Rob wants a pay rise. But why do his ‘cold feet’ stop him asking for one?
Not enough room to swing a cat
May 12, 2014 • 2 min
It’s hard to find the right place to live. Here’s an expression about space.
Off the back of a lorry
May 5, 2014 • 3 min
Buying something really good but super cheap? This expression will make you think twice.
Apr 28, 2014 • 2 min
Li and Finn are looking on an online dating website. Li thinks she’s found Mr Right. But Finn thinks he might be a wrong ‘un. Learn more about this phrase in the programme.
Pie in the sky
Apr 21, 2014 • 2 min
Finn and Li are in the woods. Can they see more than birds flying in the sky?
On the tip of my tongue
Apr 14, 2014 • 3 min
Can’t quite remember what to say? We have a phrase that might help you.
Under your belt
Apr 7, 2014 • 2 min
What does it mean if you say an actor has lots of awards under his belt?
To brush over
Mar 31, 2014 • 2 min
When you are decorating, there are some things you can’t brush over
Go the extra mile
Mar 24, 2014 • 3 min
How can Feifei save money for a new car? Will she go the extra mile?
Beat around the bush
Mar 17, 2014 • 3 min
Rob and Li go camping but they are not alone. Join them to learn a phrase
The boot’s on the other foot
Mar 10, 2014 • 2 min
How are boots connected to a changing situation?
Pull the plug
Mar 3, 2014 • 2 min
Rob is having serious problems with a project. Li wants to help him. But how? Listen to the programme to find out.
In the doghouse
Feb 24, 2014 • 2 min
Behave or you might end up in the kennel with your dog. Learn a new phrase.
Chew the fat
Feb 17, 2014 • 3 min
Rob and Feifei share a hearty meal and a new phrase. Join them to learn more.
Treading on eggshells
Feb 10, 2014 • 3 min
What are you treading on if you’re trying not to offend someone? We can explain.
Take a rain check
Feb 3, 2014 • 3 min
What does ‘taking a rain check’ mean? Do we need an umbrella?
Use your loaf
Jan 27, 2014 • 2 min
What’s the connection between bread and common sense? You might need this expression.
Jan 20, 2014 • 3 min
Playing cricket is not the only place where you could get stumped. Find out what it means when it happens to you.
Skeleton in the closet
Jan 13, 2014 • 3 min
Finn and Li go to his late uncle’s house. What is Li afraid of? We hope this expression won’t frighten you.
To have words
Jan 6, 2014 • 2 min
Why is Finn cross with Li? Here’s a good expression for when you’re out of patience.
Dec 30, 2013 • 3 min
If something is crystal clear, how clear is it? Rob and Feifei find out when they build a wardrobe.
Dec 23, 2013 • 3 min
The glass and steel buildings of modern Shanghai are ginormous. What does this mean?
Take the mickey
Dec 16, 2013 • 3 min
Who is laughing at Rob? Is it Li or is it Mickey Mouse? Here’s an expression with a twist
Fishing for compliments
Dec 9, 2013 • 3 min
What are you hoping to catch when you’re fishing for compliments?
Go round in circles
Dec 2, 2013 • 3 min
Which way are you going if you’re not making any progress? Discover a phrase to use when you keep coming back to the same problem.
Nov 25, 2013 • 2 min
Li starts to get worried when her colleagues talk about going for a ‘bottomless’ meal. What does it mean? Find out more by listening to this programme.
Full of beans
Nov 18, 2013 • 3 min
Are you feeling tired today? Or are you full of beans? Learn more about this phrase in this programme.
To go with a bang
Nov 11, 2013 • 3 min
You don’t need fireworks to say a party is going really well.
Nov 4, 2013 • 2 min
Do you always consult with your other half before you make important decisions?
Bits and bobs
Oct 28, 2013 • 3 min
Neil says he has a lot of ‘bits and bobs’ to sort out. What does he mean?
Oct 21, 2013 • 2 min
Feifei spots a celebrity in the lift who says he’s going to get some nosh. Rob has to explain exactly what he’s going to get.
Oct 14, 2013 • 3 min
Do you like playing cards? Are you ace at playing cards? Join us for an ‘ace’ programme.
Oct 7, 2013 • 3 min
Beef is meat that comes from a cow, right? Yes, but there is another meaning… Find out more here.
Out of the picture
Sep 30, 2013 • 3 min
Finn has got his camera. Who does Feifei want to see in the picture?
Cut to the chase
Sep 23, 2013 • 2 min
Who’s chasing Finn and Feifei? Here’s a good expression for when you’re running out of patience
Have a ball
Sep 16, 2013 • 3 min
Feifei has just returned to the office after a really relaxing holiday. So why does Finn ask her if she had a ball? Find out in the programme.
Don’t make a scene!
Sep 9, 2013 • 3 min
Neil and Feifei are about to watch a play but there is a lot of drama outside the theatre. What is going on?
Sep 2, 2013 • 4 min
When is a bell not a bell, and a dog not a dog? Find out in our programme about phone slang.
Can of worms
Aug 26, 2013 • 3 min
In this series you can learn authentic English words and phrases. This week’s programme looks at the phrase ‘a can of worms’.
What’s his face?
Aug 19, 2013 • 2 min
What do you say in English if you can’t remember someone’s name? Listen to this programme to learn lots of different phrases you can use.
Straight from the horse’s mouth
Aug 12, 2013 • 3 min
Learn English with horses. In fact, learn it ‘straight from the horse’s mouth’ in this programme.
Aug 5, 2013 • 3 min
Join Li and Finn for a drink in the bar and learn a new way to ask someone what they want.
Jul 29, 2013 • 3 min
Using weather idioms: is Jen chasing rainbows, or is it a storm in a teacup?
Jul 23, 2013 • 3 min
Legends are stories about people who lived long ago, right? Well, there’s more to it than that.
It’s doing my head in!
Jul 15, 2013 • 3 min
Annoyed? Frustrated? Angry? Maybe it’s doing your head in!
The bee’s knees
Jul 8, 2013 • 3 min
Finn wants to share some special food with Li. But they receive some uninvited guests who also want to eat their delicious picnic snacks.
To put all your eggs in one basket
Jul 1, 2013 • 3 min
How many eggs should you put in one basket? And what has that got to do with taking risks?
Don’t make me laugh!
Jun 24, 2013 • 2 min
It’s laughable. How to say that you think something will never happen.
A leopard can’t change its spots
Jun 17, 2013 • 3 min
Can someone change their personality? A leopard can’t change its spots.
To see red
Jun 10, 2013 • 3 min
Seeing red: what is making Jen and Feifei so angry on their day trip?
Haven’t slept a wink
Jun 3, 2013 • 3 min
Zzzz… Neil had a crying child in his room and Feifei had a mosquito in hers. That’s why neither of them has slept a wink.
May 27, 2013 • 2 min
Are you obsessed by a hobby or sport? Feifei is but Jen’s not impressed!
I wasn’t born yesterday
May 20, 2013 • 3 min
Were you born yesterday? Probably not, but this is a useful expression if someone’s trying to fool you.
May 13, 2013 • 3 min
Do you have a six-pack or a one-pack? Maybe it’s time to do more exercise! Find out why in The English We Speak.
To cook the books
May 6, 2013 • 3 min
Neil is cooking an unusual meal in the BBC Learning English kitchen. Would you like to eat a book?
On the up
Apr 29, 2013 • 2 min
Things are ‘on the up’ for Jennifer and Jean at work. Find out why in The English We Speak.
Apr 22, 2013 • 3 min
Do you know what this text message abbreviation means? Find out with Jennifer and Rob in this week’s programme.
Apr 15, 2013 • 4 min
Feifei thinks that Catherine looks better, younger, prettier. Why does Catherine look so different today? Find out more with The English We Speak.
A white elephant
Apr 8, 2013 • 2 min
Does Finn have to look after his uncle’s white elephant? Find out more with The English We Speak.
Finger on the pulse
Apr 1, 2013 • 3 min
Finn has his finger on the pulse when Feifei says that she has no clue about some actors in a movie. What does it mean?
Cut the mustard
Mar 25, 2013 • 3 min
Can Feifei cut the mustard to win a cooking contest? Find out more with The English We Speak.
To miss the boat
Mar 18, 2013 • 3 min
Does Feifei really need a lifejacket to go to Finn’s uncle’s party? Find out more about this phrase in this programme.
To take (something) on board
Mar 11, 2013 • 3 min
Li and Rob are going on a holiday and are getting ready at the airport. But Rob is very surprised to find Li carrying so many things that she is not allowed to take on board. Find out more with The English We Speak.
The writing is on the wall
Mar 4, 2013 • 3 min
Vera gets angry with Dominic when Rob mentions the phrase ‘the writing is on the wall’. Is Dominic being naughty?
Every Tom Dick and Harry
Feb 25, 2013 • 3 min
Kaz invites Tom, Dick and Harry to the studio and introduces them to Yang Li. Who are they?
Act your age, not your shoe size
Feb 18, 2013 • 2 min
Abigail tells Rob to act his age not his shoe size. But what does this mean?
Go to town
Feb 8, 2013 • 2 min
Why does Abigail keep saying she’s ‘going to town’? And what has it got to do with red food? Find out here.
Over the moon
Feb 1, 2013 • 3 min
Someone in the office is over the moon about getting a new job. Find out what that really means in this week’s programme.
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