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The English We Speak

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Every week, we look at a different everyday English phrase or piece of slang in this fun three-minute programme. From BBC World Service

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To make a song and dance (about something)

02:59 | Feb 19th

If things don't go your way, how can singing and dancing help?

Giant killer

03:04 | Feb 12th

Here's a phrase to describe the success of a small team.

A shock to the system

02:34 | Feb 5th

A sudden and unpleasant change can come as a shock. Learn a phrase to describe this.

From pillar to post

02:41 | Jan 29th

Moving from place to place can be chaotic. Learn a phrase to describe the situation

Small talk

02:41 | Jan 22nd

Here's a phrase that describes making informal conversation about not much.

A bright spark

02:49 | Jan 15th

Here's a clever expression that can describe someone doing something stupid.

To be all downhill

02:35 | Jan 8th

Rob's done all his work! Find out here if it's all downhill until the weekend for him.


02:40 | Jan 1st

Learn a New Year-related expression

To have all your Christmases come at once

02:50 | Dec 28th, 2018

An expression for when you have good fortune

It's the thought that counts

02:54 | Dec 18th, 2018

Learn a polite thing to say when you receive a bad present.

Digital detox

03:01 | Dec 11th, 2018

Learn this very modern expression.


02:19 | Nov 27th, 2018

Is it a meal or a type of weather?

Throw in the towel

02:38 | Nov 20th, 2018

Learn a phrase about giving up.

A walk in the park

02:40 | Nov 13th, 2018

Is walking in the park easy? It can be if you learn this phrase!


02:32 | Nov 6th, 2018

Learn a new name for old tech

No fear

02:12 | Oct 30th, 2018

Are you ready for Halloween?

Something to chew on

02:33 | Oct 23rd, 2018

Feifei gives Neil something to chew on

Waffle on

02:55 | Oct 16th, 2018

Not all waffling is good!


03:07 | Oct 9th, 2018

Describe something that isn't straight.


03:31 | Sep 25th, 2018

Has someone annoyed you? Use this word.


03:59 | Sep 18th, 2018

Brag if you must - just don’t humblebrag! Find out what that means with Rob and Feifei.

Out of your depth

03:20 | Sep 11th, 2018

A phrase for when you're struggling to do something.


03:01 | Sep 4th, 2018

A word for a bad mood.

Curry favour

02:33 | Aug 28th, 2018

Learn a spicy expression.

Take the biscuit

02:48 | Aug 21st, 2018

A sweet phrase for irritating behaviour.

Step on it

02:32 | Aug 14th, 2018

Do you need someone to go faster? Use this informal phrase.


02:39 | Aug 7th, 2018

When does the word 'ping' not make a sound? Find out in this programme.

Bonus Podcast: My Indian Life Preview

03:35 | Aug 1st, 2018

Introducing Kalki Presents: My Indian Life - the new podcast from our colleagues at the BBC World Service. It is presented by the Bollywood actor, Kalki Koechlin and this special preview tells you all about it. It’s raw, it’s painful, it’s joyful. It...Show More

Crunch time

02:52 | Jul 31st, 2018

When the time comes to make an important decision, what do you say?

Have a pop

02:30 | Jul 24th, 2018

Learn a phrase about having a go at something

A necessary evil

02:34 | Jul 17th, 2018

Can you accept something you don't like?

If the cap fits

02:27 | Jul 10th, 2018

Learn an expression about accepting criticism

My bad

02:40 | Jul 3rd, 2018

Learn a phrase about accepting blame

To have a good nose (for something)

02:54 | Jun 26th, 2018

Rob and Feifei sniff out a new phrase to learn

Friends in High Places

02:42 | Jun 19th, 2018

Learn a phrase about important people


02:48 | Jun 12th, 2018

Learn an expression for a no-win situation.

Let the dust settle

02:20 | Jun 5th, 2018

Learn a phrase about allowing a situation to become calm again

Nothing to shout about

02:23 | May 29th, 2018

Learn a phrase about not saying much

Let sleeping dogs lie

03:00 | May 22nd, 2018

Learn about a trouble-free phrase

Bleed someone dry

02:45 | May 15th, 2018

An expression for a financial injury

Small change

02:26 | May 8th, 2018

A phrase for trivial things

An old hand

02:34 | Apr 24th, 2018

Someone who's skilled and experienced

Out of the loop

02:42 | Apr 17th, 2018

Learn a phrase about missing out.

Rub it in

02:18 | Apr 10th, 2018

Learn an expression about enjoying someone's misfortunes.


02:16 | Apr 3rd, 2018

Are you a smartphone zombie?


02:54 | Mar 27th, 2018

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

02:48 | Mar 20th, 2018

Have you ever made the wrong assumption? Here's a dog-related phrase to describe your actions

Cloud cuckoo land

02:32 | Mar 13th, 2018

Can you make the impossible possible? This phrase implies you can't but what's it got to do with a cuckoo?


02:59 | Feb 27th, 2018

Relaxed about the future? Here's a phrase that might describe your character


02:16 | Feb 20th, 2018

Young, clever and successful: find out a phrase that describes someone like this

The best of both worlds

02:43 | Feb 13th, 2018

Can you enjoy the advantages of two different situations at the same time? You can if you use this phrase

Bone idle

02:52 | Feb 6th, 2018

Are you taking it easy or just being lazy? Here's a phrase to describe your condition

To cut a long story short

03:03 | Jan 30th, 2018

Have you got a story to tell? Here's a phrase about just telling the important bits

A thing

02:21 | Jan 29th, 2018

Beards have been 'a thing' for a while. Is it now time to shave them off?

Just the ticket

03:00 | Jan 23rd, 2018

Rob and Feifei help teach a phrase to describe something you really want or need

Do a runner

02:17 | Jan 9th, 2018

Is it time to go? Here's a phrase about avoiding a tricky situation

Do a runner

02:17 | Jan 9th, 2018

Is it time to go? Here's a phrase about avoiding a tricky situation

All that jazz

02:28 | Dec 26th, 2017

We love slang, idioms, phrases and all that jazz! Learn a new phrase with us

Not gonna lie

02:45 | Dec 18th, 2017

A phrase to use when you're being brutally honest

Up your game

02:38 | Dec 12th, 2017

Don't know which one to use? You need to up your emoji game

To shout it from the rooftops

02:15 | Dec 5th, 2017

Have you heard the good news? This programme has something to shout about!

To blow the cobwebs away

02:23 | Nov 28th, 2017

No spiders involved. It's time to get lively and learn a new English phrase

A knees-up

02:21 | Nov 21st, 2017

Want to go to a party? This phrase might help you get an invitation

To put someone on the map

02:36 | Nov 14th, 2017

Need directions to learn a new English phrase? Here's one about a map and being famous

Down in the dumps

02:11 | Nov 7th, 2017

Feeling unhappy? Here's a phrase to describe your mood but don't take it too literally!

Excuse me!

02:40 | Oct 31st, 2017

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

02:48 | Oct 24th, 2017

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

01:51 | Oct 17th, 2017

Are you doing something very boring? We have just the phrase for you!


02:23 | Oct 10th, 2017

You might know the slang expression ‘LOL’, but do you know about ‘lolz’?

Have a go

01:59 | Oct 3rd, 2017

Poor Neil gets a lot of criticism in the programme. Of course, it’s all to help you learn English!


01:55 | Sep 26th, 2017

You know what ‘about’ means, right? But maybe not this extra meaning! Take another look with us

Wing it

02:10 | Sep 19th, 2017

Learn an informal expression for when you have to improvise

Pot luck

02:33 | Sep 12th, 2017

Not sure what to expect? Learn a phrase about hoping your choice will turn out ok

It beats me

02:10 | Sep 5th, 2017

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'


01:46 | Aug 29th, 2017

Tricks and dishonesty: Learn this phrase before it fools you!

Left, right, and centre

02:11 | Aug 22nd, 2017

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?

Donkey's years

02:29 | Aug 15th, 2017

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

02:36 | Aug 8th, 2017

What's that ringing sound? Is it someone giving you a bell? Find out what it all means


02:08 | Jul 25th, 2017

Do you melt too easily?

The heat is on

01:58 | Jul 18th, 2017

Learn an expression which you can use to say you're under pressure

Wet weekend

02:16 | Jul 11th, 2017

When can a wet weekend be dry? Find out with another authentic English expression

No picnic

02:02 | Jul 4th, 2017

Some things in life are hard work. Discover a phrase that describes these situations

A busman's holiday

02:18 | Jun 27th, 2017

Going on holiday to do your job? What's it got to do with driving a bus?


02:10 | Jun 20th, 2017

Old-fashioned and set in your ways? Could you be one of these people?

No great shakes

02:27 | Jun 13th, 2017

Not impressed by something? Here's an expression that describes what you think

Not a sausage

02:05 | Jun 6th, 2017

Nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing at all… Not even one little sausage!


01:46 | May 30th, 2017

Not everything in this life is fun. Learn a phrase to describe boring jobs!

Not half

02:07 | May 23rd, 2017

Love pizza? Feifei and Neil bring you a phrase to show how much you enjoy something

All over the shop

03:04 | May 16th, 2017

Looked everywhere? Learn a phrase about shops that isn’t about shops!

It comes with the territory

02:04 | May 9th, 2017

Some things have to be expected. Learn a phrase to describe this situation

It won't wash

02:27 | May 2nd, 2017

Heard something unconvincing? Maybe it's time to get out the washing powder!


02:24 | Apr 25th, 2017

Can you do lots of different things? This could be the phrase to describe you

The coast is clear

02:28 | Apr 18th, 2017

Doing something you shouldn't? Here's a phrase about not being caught

Pull a fast one

02:16 | Apr 11th, 2017

Make the English you speak sound more natural

Suck it and see

01:50 | Apr 4th, 2017

Learn a phrase about having new experiences

To cut your teeth

02:04 | Mar 28th, 2017

Starting out in a new profession? Here's an expression about gaining experience


02:28 | Mar 21st, 2017

Getting less for your money? Could you be the victim of 'shrinkflation'?

La-la land

02:11 | Mar 14th, 2017

Is someone making unreasonable requests? Here's where they live

A different kettle of fish

02:17 | Mar 7th, 2017

Fishing for a phrase? This could be the one for you

At the drop of a hat

02:09 | Feb 28th, 2017

What would Rob do at the drop of a hat? Find out more about this expression

Brass neck

02:56 | Feb 21st, 2017

What does being confident but rude have to do with your neck? Learn an expression that should not be taken literally

Reinvent the wheel

02:23 | Feb 14th, 2017

Wasting time doing something that's been done before? There's a phrase to explain this


02:23 | Feb 7th, 2017

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

02:18 | Jan 31st, 2017

Give both sides of the argument with this phrase

On the box

02:00 | Jan 24th, 2017

Watching a ‘box’ can’t be very enjoyable, can it?


02:26 | Jan 17th, 2017

Learn a phrase you can use that features our feathered friend


01:53 | Jan 10th, 2017

Use this phrase involving bottles when you’re too afraid to do something

Got your number

02:08 | Jan 3rd, 2017

Understanding someone's true intentions


02:36 | Dec 20th, 2016

Learn a word that describes tempting online links


02:11 | Dec 13th, 2016

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

Air kiss

02:15 | Dec 6th, 2016

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


02:10 | Nov 29th, 2016

A word for when a man explains to a woman something in a way which suggests she's stupid.

Rolling in it

02:12 | Nov 22nd, 2016

Neil is rolling on the floor to teach a phrase connected to wealth. Feifei explains


02:36 | Nov 15th, 2016

Feifei and Sian discuss a word to use when something unexpectedly appears in your photo.


02:52 | Nov 8th, 2016

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

02:22 | Nov 1st, 2016

Are you discussing your private life in public? Here's an expression to describe what you're doing

Cat got your tongue?

02:20 | Oct 25th, 2016

There's a cat about and Feifei's not talking. Learn an expression that questions her quietness

It takes two to tango

02:26 | Oct 18th, 2016

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

Knee-jerk reaction

02:08 | Oct 11th, 2016

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

02:39 | Oct 4th, 2016

An expression with three related but slightly different meanings connected to strong opinions

Close, but no cigar

02:03 | Sep 27th, 2016

Why is Neil trying to smoke a cigar in the studio? Learn an English expression about almost succeeding

Get somebody's goat

02:06 | Sep 20th, 2016

Neil's goat Fred is a bit smelly but useful for teaching an English expression. Feifei's not happy

Bust a gut

02:10 | Sep 13th, 2016

Neil's wearing a vest in the studio to teach an expression about effort. Feifei's concerned he'll injure himself


02:19 | Sep 6th, 2016

Feifei has written a letter to her family. Find out why Sian finds this old-school


02:13 | Aug 30th, 2016

Sian has received lots of emails! Learn another way to say 'lots'


02:14 | Aug 23rd, 2016

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

02:34 | Aug 16th, 2016

What can you pull out of a hat? Learn an expression that describes doing something that saves the day

Off the hook

01:52 | Aug 4th, 2016

Are you obliged to do something you can't or don't want to? We teach you what to say


02:26 | Jul 26th, 2016

Is someone telling an outrageous lie? Here's an expression we can use

To make a mountain out of a molehill

02:25 | Jul 19th, 2016

Someone making a big fuss about something small? Here's a phrase to describe what they're doing

The last straw/final straw

02:23 | Jul 12th, 2016

When friendship is under test, something tiny and as light as a straw could cause a huge problem

The university of life

02:31 | Jul 5th, 2016

Want to learn about life? Here's a place most of us have studied at

White collar worker / blue-collar worker

02:39 | Jun 28th, 2016

What does the colour of your clothes say about your job?

Drama queen

02:29 | Jun 21st, 2016

No need to be in the theatre to find a drama queen. We teach you where to find them…

It's on the cards

02:07 | Jun 14th, 2016

An expression for when something is likely to happen. What's on the cards for you?

Until you're blue in the face

02:44 | Jun 7th, 2016

Is nobody listening to you? Learn a colourful phrase to explain the situation

Clean up your act

02:47 | May 31st, 2016

Someone behaving badly? Here's a phrase that tells them what to do

You're pulling my leg!

02:39 | May 24th, 2016

Want to trick someone? Here is a phrase that involves pulling a part of your body!

One good turn deserves another

02:43 | May 17th, 2016

A helpful phrase for doing something good

To fall at the first hurdle

02:45 | May 10th, 2016

Got an idea that's never going to work? Here is a phrase to describe the situation

Pain in the neck

01:57 | May 3rd, 2016

Learn the phrase Helen needs to describe the headache her mobile phone company is causing her

Burn a hole in your pocket

02:29 | Apr 26th, 2016

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

02:01 | Apr 19th, 2016

How to describe doing a thorough search for something in a very messy way

Going forward

02:19 | Apr 12th, 2016

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

02:53 | Apr 5th, 2016

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

Crash course

02:13 | Mar 29th, 2016

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

02:14 | Mar 22nd, 2016

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

02:36 | Mar 15th, 2016

What time of the year describes a good mood? Learn this lively and cheerful phrase

Six of one, half a dozen of the other

02:17 | Mar 1st, 2016

Is this expression related to numbers? If half a dozen is six, what does this expression mean? Listen to the programme

Test the water

02:12 | Feb 23rd, 2016

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

02:33 | Feb 16th, 2016

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

02:53 | Feb 9th, 2016

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

02:32 | Jan 26th, 2016

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

02:04 | Jan 19th, 2016

Learn a phrase to describe something in top condition

Cheap and cheerful

02:05 | Jan 12th, 2016

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

02:58 | Jan 5th, 2016

When a situation is hard to accept, what do you say? This phrase could be for you


02:00 | Dec 31st, 2015

When we see people going crazy about something, here is an alternative expression

I'm game

01:59 | Dec 22nd, 2015

Neil is dying for a game of squash but Li is not game. Find out why...

That'll put hairs on your chest!

02:38 | Dec 15th, 2015

Learn a humorous expression that is used when someone is going to have a strong alcoholic drink

Down the pan

02:18 | Dec 1st, 2015

When things are not going as planned, we can say they've gone ‘down the pan’, but which pan is it?

Sweet tooth

02:27 | Nov 17th, 2015

Do you have a sweet tooth? Is it something that you are born with or do you develop it?


02:23 | Nov 10th, 2015

When a car bumper is almost touch another car bumper, you know the situation on the road is bad

Eye candy

02:24 | Nov 3rd, 2015

How can you describe someone good looking but not interesting?


02:11 | Oct 27th, 2015

Oh no, you've forgotten the word for something! Don't worry, this expression might help

Across the pond

02:30 | Oct 20th, 2015

Are London and New York separated by a pond? Learn this expression people say on both sides of the Atlantic

People person

02:23 | Oct 13th, 2015

Are you good at working with other people? This expression might describe you

It's a steal!

02:38 | Oct 6th, 2015

Have you paid very little money for something normally expensive? Learn an expression for when you find a bargain

Social media words

02:33 | Sep 22nd, 2015

'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

02:31 | Sep 15th, 2015

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

02:55 | Sep 8th, 2015

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

02:19 | Sep 1st, 2015

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

02:42 | Aug 18th, 2015

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

02:44 | Aug 11th, 2015

Who's that knocking at the door? Someone's here to tell you you're in financial trouble

Red tape

02:32 | Jul 14th, 2015

Fed up with rules and regulations? You must learn this expression

To drink someone under the table

02:24 | Jun 30th, 2015

Drink to celebrate the good things in life, drink to forget the bad. Here's an expression for people who like an alcoholic drink


02:31 | Jun 16th, 2015

Is there someone tormenting you online? Here's an expression for when people hide behind a computer to attack others

A close shave

02:11 | May 19th, 2015

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

02:07 | May 12th, 2015

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

02:39 | May 5th, 2015

Find out how 'sleeping on it' doesn't just mean lying on a bed!

All over the place

02:05 | Apr 28th, 2015

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

02:45 | Apr 21st, 2015

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

02:22 | Apr 14th, 2015

When someone says the phrase 'done and dusted', do they mean doing some proper cleaning?

Chill pill

02:43 | Apr 7th, 2015

It's hard to swallow but maybe it's time for a chill pill!

Put a sock in it!

03:14 | Mar 31st, 2015

Why has Helen put a sock in the toaster and how is that going to keep her quiet?

A wild card

02:12 | Mar 31st, 2015

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

02:49 | Mar 17th, 2015

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

02:42 | Mar 10th, 2015

Li and Neil go for a coffee, but why do they have to keep a lid on it?

To be on the ball

01:40 | Mar 3rd, 2015

Learn a phrase to describe the ability to react quickly to things.


03:16 | Feb 24th, 2015

Feifei and Harry use an expression for things that amaze and astound.

Out for the count

02:31 | Feb 17th, 2015

Neil and Li talk about how a boxing expression can be used in everyday life.

Game changer

03:00 | Feb 10th, 2015

Feifei and Harry use an expression for people and ideas that change the way we do things.

Wow factor

02:58 | Feb 3rd, 2015

Harry and Feifei look at an expression for when things surprise and impress you.

Full on

02:49 | Jan 27th, 2015

Harry and Feifei talk about a common colloquial expression for when things are intense.

Stab in the back

02:40 | Jan 20th, 2015

Harry and Feifei talk about an expression that is not as violent as it sounds.

To downsize

02:23 | Jan 13th, 2015

Neil and Feifei talk about a word made popular by the economic downturn

At the movies

02:40 | Jan 6th, 2015

Sci-fi, romcom, whodunnit – What kind of movies do you like?

Killing time

02:33 | Dec 30th, 2014

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

02:38 | Dec 23rd, 2014

Do you celebrate Christmas? Do you like eating turkey? Do you think turkeys like Christmas? Learn this humorous idiom

Face the music

02:00 | Dec 16th, 2014

There's something Neil's forgotten to do and now he has to face the music. Listen to the programme to find out why.

Internet speak

03:17 | Dec 9th, 2014

'Snail mail', 'post' and 'hard copy' – learn expressions connected with computers


02:57 | Dec 2nd, 2014

Li's cat video has gone viral. Will she be happy about it? Learn an expression from the internet age

Give the cold shoulder

02:34 | Nov 25th, 2014

Is Feifei's designer shawl a solution to her problems with Lisa? Listen to the programme to find out


02:27 | Nov 18th, 2014

Rob is deleting some emails. He won't take the bait sent in by criminals!

Take to the cleaners

03:02 | Nov 11th, 2014

Rob's very expensive shirt is ruined! Who will pay for it? Listen to the programme to find out

Eat humble pie

03:07 | Nov 4th, 2014

Is Rob hungry enough to win a pie-eating competition? Listen to the programme

Water off a duck's back

03:03 | Oct 28th, 2014

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

03:16 | Oct 21st, 2014

Li wants to invest in a car moved by air. Is she going to lose her money?

Baby phrase

03:32 | Oct 14th, 2014

Is Feifei giving up her job to take care of babies? Learn an amusing idiom: 'Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater'.

Joe Bloggs

03:23 | Oct 7th, 2014

Do you know Joe Bloggs? He might be just beside you.

Butter up

02:58 | Sep 29th, 2014

Is this butter for a cake, for toast or... to put on a person? Finn and Feifei explain

Hair of the dog

03:48 | Sep 22nd, 2014

Rob had too much to drink. Is this the cure for his hangover?

Splash Out

04:15 | Sep 15th, 2014

Finn is spending a lot of money. But can he afford it?

Cheesed off

02:46 | Sep 8th, 2014

Finn is angry, so Li offers him some tasty cheese. Will it calm him down?


03:01 | Sep 1st, 2014

A style of walking that is hard to do on your own.

Proof is in the pudding

03:12 | Aug 22nd, 2014

What does Rob mean when he says 'the proof is in the pudding'?


02:43 | Aug 18th, 2014

What’s the link between dinosaurs and mobile phones?

Look like the back end of a bus

02:43 | Aug 11th, 2014

If someone says you look like 'the back end of a bus', is it a good thing?


03:59 | Aug 4th, 2014

Wow! Ouch! Yippee! The useful little sounds which mean a lot.

Blah blah blah

03:55 | Jul 28th, 2014

Having a repetitive and boring conversation? This expression is for you.

Have a lot on my plate

03:18 | Jul 21st, 2014

When is a meal not so tasty? This expression will give you the answer

Bells and whistles

03:20 | Jul 14th, 2014

Will bells and whistles add to the value of your gadget? Listen to the programme

Everything but the kitchen sink

03:28 | Jul 7th, 2014

Neil and Li are going on a camping trip. But are they packing too much?

Beat the drum

02:51 | Jun 30th, 2014

Neil and Li want to help protect baby turtles. But do they need a drum?

Until the cows come home

03:05 | Jun 23rd, 2014

Neil and Li are keen to go home. How long will they have to wait for the bus?

Smell a rat

03:47 | Jun 16th, 2014

Li is told she won the lottery. But is it true? Neil has bad news for her.

Funny ha-ha or funny peculiar

02:49 | Jun 9th, 2014

When does 'funny' have nothing to do with laughter?

Corporate speak

03:22 | Jun 2nd, 2014

Blue-sky thinking? Pushing the envelope? Learn what these business terms mean

Take it with a pinch of salt

02:44 | May 26th, 2014

Helen takes Neil out for tea but why does she put salt in his cup? Find out more

Cold feet

03:12 | May 19th, 2014

Rob wants a pay rise. But why do his 'cold feet' stop him asking for one?

Not enough room to swing a cat

02:51 | May 12th, 2014

It's hard to find the right place to live. Here's an expression about space.

Off the back of a lorry

03:07 | May 5th, 2014

Buying something really good but super cheap? This expression will make you think twice.

Wrong 'un

02:54 | Apr 28th, 2014

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

02:41 | Apr 21st, 2014

Finn and Li are in the woods. Can they see more than birds flying in the sky?

On the tip of my tongue

03:05 | Apr 14th, 2014

Can't quite remember what to say? We have a phrase that might help you.

Under your belt

02:45 | Apr 7th, 2014

What does it mean if you say an actor has lots of awards under his belt?

To brush over

02:58 | Mar 31st, 2014

When you are decorating, there are some things you can't brush over

Go the extra mile

03:04 | Mar 24th, 2014

How can Feifei save money for a new car? Will she go the extra mile?

Beat around the bush

03:21 | Mar 17th, 2014

Rob and Li go camping but they are not alone. Join them to learn a phrase

The boot's on the other foot

02:51 | Mar 10th, 2014

How are boots connected to a changing situation?

Pull the plug

02:36 | Mar 3rd, 2014

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

02:59 | Feb 24th, 2014

Behave or you might end up in the kennel with your dog. Learn a new phrase.

Chew the fat

03:10 | Feb 17th, 2014

Rob and Feifei share a hearty meal and a new phrase. Join them to learn more.

Treading on eggshells

03:04 | Feb 10th, 2014

What are you treading on if you're trying not to offend someone? We can explain.

Take a rain check

03:01 | Feb 3rd, 2014

What does 'taking a rain check' mean? Do we need an umbrella?

Use your loaf

02:51 | Jan 27th, 2014

What's the connection between bread and common sense? You might need this expression.


03:08 | Jan 20th, 2014

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

03:24 | Jan 13th, 2014

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

02:58 | Jan 6th, 2014

Why is Finn cross with Li? Here's a good expression for when you're out of patience.

Crystal clear

03:11 | Dec 30th, 2013

If something is crystal clear, how clear is it? Rob and Feifei find out when they build a wardrobe.


03:06 | Dec 23rd, 2013

The glass and steel buildings of modern Shanghai are ginormous. What does this mean?

Take the mickey

03:29 | Dec 16th, 2013

Who is laughing at Rob? Is it Li or is it Mickey Mouse? Here's an expression with a twist

Fishing for compliments

03:39 | Dec 9th, 2013

What are you hoping to catch when you're fishing for compliments?

Go round in circles

03:08 | Dec 2nd, 2013

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.


02:57 | Nov 25th, 2013

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

03:17 | Nov 18th, 2013

Are you feeling tired today? Or are you full of beans? Learn more about this phrase in this programme.

To go with a bang

03:08 | Nov 11th, 2013

You don't need fireworks to say a party is going really well.

Other half

02:41 | Nov 4th, 2013

Do you always consult with your other half before you make important decisions?

Bits and bobs

03:04 | Oct 28th, 2013

Neil says he has a lot of 'bits and bobs' to sort out. What does he mean?


02:57 | Oct 21st, 2013

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.


03:04 | Oct 14th, 2013

Do you like playing cards? Are you ace at playing cards? Join us for an 'ace' programme.


03:52 | Oct 7th, 2013

Beef is meat that comes from a cow, right? Yes, but there is another meaning... Find out more here.

Out of the picture

03:29 | Sep 30th, 2013

Finn has got his camera. Who does Feifei want to see in the picture?

Cut to the chase

02:41 | Sep 23rd, 2013

Who's chasing Finn and Feifei? Here's a good expression for when you're running out of patience

Have a ball

03:00 | Sep 16th, 2013

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!

03:13 | Sep 9th, 2013

Neil and Feifei are about to watch a play but there is a lot of drama outside the theatre. What is going on?

Phone slang

04:56 | Sep 2nd, 2013

When is a bell not a bell, and a dog not a dog? Find out in our programme about phone slang.

Can of worms

03:51 | Aug 26th, 2013

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?

02:29 | Aug 19th, 2013

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

03:13 | Aug 12th, 2013

Learn English with horses. In fact, learn it 'straight from the horse's mouth' in this programme.


03:13 | Aug 5th, 2013

Join Li and Finn for a drink in the bar and learn a new way to ask someone what they want.

Weather idioms

03:19 | Jul 29th, 2013

Using weather idioms: is Jen chasing rainbows, or is it a storm in a teacup?


03:25 | Jul 23rd, 2013

Legends are stories about people who lived long ago, right? Well, there's more to it than that.

It's doing my head in!

03:01 | Jul 15th, 2013

Annoyed? Frustrated? Angry? Maybe it's doing your head in!

The bee's knees

03:00 | Jul 8th, 2013

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

03:41 | Jul 1st, 2013

How many eggs should you put in one basket? And what has that got to do with taking risks?

Don't make me laugh!

02:50 | Jun 24th, 2013

It's laughable. How to say that you think something will never happen.

A leopard can't change its spots

03:00 | Jun 17th, 2013

Can someone change their personality? A leopard can't change its spots.

To see red

03:51 | Jun 10th, 2013

Seeing red: what is making Jen and Feifei so angry on their day trip?

Haven't slept a wink

03:30 | Jun 3rd, 2013

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.


02:41 | May 27th, 2013

Are you obsessed by a hobby or sport? Feifei is but Jen's not impressed!

I wasn't born yesterday

03:17 | May 20th, 2013

Were you born yesterday? Probably not, but this is a useful expression if someone's trying to fool you.


03:21 | May 13th, 2013

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

03:14 | May 6th, 2013

Neil is cooking an unusual meal in the BBC Learning English kitchen. Would you like to eat a book?

On the up

02:25 | Apr 29th, 2013

Things are 'on the up' for Jennifer and Jean at work. Find out why in The English We Speak.


03:23 | Apr 22nd, 2013

Do you know what this text message abbreviation means? Find out with Jennifer and Rob in this week's programme.


04:13 | Apr 15th, 2013

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

02:58 | Apr 8th, 2013

Does Finn have to look after his uncle's white elephant? Find out more with The English We Speak.

Finger on the pulse

03:14 | Apr 1st, 2013

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

03:37 | Mar 25th, 2013

Can Feifei cut the mustard to win a cooking contest? Find out more with The English We Speak.

To miss the boat

03:03 | Mar 18th, 2013

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

03:45 | Mar 11th, 2013

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

03:41 | Mar 4th, 2013

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

03:18 | Feb 25th, 2013

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

02:34 | Feb 18th, 2013

Abigail tells Rob to act his age not his shoe size. But what does this mean?

Go to town

02:52 | Feb 8th, 2013

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

03:29 | Feb 1st, 2013

Someone in the office is over the moon about getting a new job. Find out what that really means in this week's programme.

To know your onions

03:41 | Jan 28th, 2013

Rob gets Li to help him with some quiz answers. Does she know her onions? Find out more about this phrase here.

Take with a pinch of salt

03:47 | Jan 21st, 2013

Why does Li think that there is a ghost in her house? Find out more here.

Not rocket science

03:05 | Jan 14th, 2013

Find out what the expression 'not rocket science' means in this programme.

Go down a storm

02:36 | Jan 7th, 2013

Kaz says his party 'went down a storm'. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Find out here.


02:38 | Dec 31st, 2012

Kaz is feeling very chuffed today. Find out what this phrase means in this programme.

Hit the ground running

02:54 | Dec 24th, 2012

Kaz decides to 'hit the ground running' in this week's programme. Find out what this phrase means by listening to this programme.

Language of the blogosphere

04:10 | Dec 17th, 2012

Finn has entered the blogosphere! Find out what this word means in The English We Speak.

Irons in the fire

02:43 | Dec 10th, 2012

Jen tells Helen that she has a few 'irons in the fire' for her fortnight off work. Learn a phrase to describe having lots of options. Find out more with this programme.

Man flu

03:33 | Dec 3rd, 2012

Li is worried when she learns that Neil has caught man flu. But how will she react when she finds out what the illness actually is...?

Drop dead gorgeous

03:29 | Nov 26th, 2012

Li is worried when Jen says somebody is 'drop dead gorgeous'. What does this phrase mean?

Celeb (Celebrity): 19 Nov

03:40 | Nov 19th, 2012

Vera teaches Rob how and when to use the word 'celeb' in a modern society. Find out more in The English We Speak.

Emoticon: 12 Nov

03:47 | Nov 12th, 2012

Rob and Vera have a misunderstanding about an email. Listen to this programme to find out why emoticons can be useful in written messages.

Keep your chin up!: 5 Nov

03:21 | Nov 5th, 2012

Rob tells Vera to 'keep her chin up'. But what does he mean? Find out with this week's programme.

Cost an arm and a leg

03:34 | Oct 29th, 2012

Rob goes shopping but the clothes cost 'an arm and a leg'. What does this mean?


03:06 | Oct 22nd, 2012

Rob and Chris mention the phrase 'hunky-dory' to Helen. Are they trying to say that they are muscular men? Find out what this phrase means with The English We Speak.

Things are looking up

03:01 | Oct 15th, 2012

Helen gets confused when she hears that 'things are looking up'. Find out what this phrase means with The English We Speak.

My mind has gone blank

03:09 | Oct 8th, 2012

Rosie's mind has gone blank in the studio! Does that mean she's lost her memory? Listen to this programme to find out.

Shut up

03:34 | Oct 1st, 2012

Li and Rosie look at an expression which can be rude or jokey. Be careful how you use it!

Throw the book at somebody

04:44 | Sep 24th, 2012

Rosie arrives late again and she tells Helen that their boss will throw the book at her. Is he going to hurt her?

A finger in every pie

03:24 | Sep 17th, 2012

Jen made some delicious pies but what does it mean when we say she has 'a finger in every pie'?

Finding your feet

02:42 | Sep 10th, 2012

Helen and Rosie are doing a salsa class, but Rosie is still finding her feet. What does it mean?

The skin of your teeth

03:03 | Sep 3rd, 2012

Jennifer managed to do something by the skin of her teeth. What does it mean?

No-win situation

04:08 | Aug 27th, 2012

Rob finds himself in a no-win situation although he wins a horse racing bet. What does it mean?

Plain sailing

04:15 | Aug 20th, 2012

Li joins Rob on a sailing boat. Listen to their excursion and learn some sailing idioms..

Down with the kids

03:04 | Aug 13th, 2012

Why is Rob dressing like a teenager? Find out in The English We Speak!

Quids in

03:39 | Aug 6th, 2012

Have you ever made a lot of money? Rob's got the right expression for Helen.


02:54 | Jul 30th, 2012

Helen is a bit puzzled by Neil's statement that she is looking rather sheepish. Find out what he means in The English We Speak.

Keep me posted

02:58 | Jul 23rd, 2012

Neil gets in trouble with the police just to teach you a new expression! Find out more in The English We Speak.

To go bananas

03:27 | Jul 16th, 2012

Li thinks Neil is a bit out of control and says he's gone bananas. Has this got anything to do with fruit?

Not give someone the time of day

02:32 | Jul 9th, 2012

What does Rosie mean when she tells Li to put her money where her mouth is? Li is confused and thinks it's really disgusting. Listen to more of their conversation about this expression!

Put your money where your mouth is: 02 JUL12

03:29 | Jul 2nd, 2012

What does Rosie mean when she tells Li to put her money where her mouth is? Li is confused and thinks it's really disgusting. Listen to more of their conversation about this expression!

To fly by the seat of your pants

02:52 | Jun 25th, 2012

Can Chris fly by the seat of his pants? Li and Chris discuss the use of this phrase.

To bend over backwards

02:37 | Jun 18th, 2012

What are the different meanings of the phrase 'to bend over backwards'?

It's a joke

02:56 | Jun 11th, 2012

Does the expression 'it's a joke' mean something funny? Find out more in this week's The English We Speak.

What's the damage?

03:33 | Jun 4th, 2012

In this series you can learn authentic English words and phrases. This week's programme looks at the phrase What's the damage?

Why the long face?

03:08 | May 28th, 2012

In this series you can learn authentic English words and phrases. This week's programme looks at the phrase Why the long face?

To murder something

03:55 | May 21st, 2012

In this series you can learn authentic English words and phrases. This week's programme looks at the phrase 'to murder something'.

Catch your eye

02:51 | May 14th, 2012

In this series you can learn authentic English words and phrases. This week's programme looks at the phrase 'to catch someone's eye'.