The English We Speak

By BBC Radio

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Elvis Alive
 Jul 20, 2018

Description

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

Episode Date
Step on it
152
Do you need someone to go faster? Use this informal phrase.
Aug 14, 2018
Ping
159
When does the word 'ping' not make a sound? Find out in this programme.
Aug 07, 2018
Crunch time
172
When the time comes to make an important decision, what do you say?
Jul 31, 2018
Have a pop
150
Learn a phrase about having a go at something
Jul 24, 2018
A necessary evil
154
Can you accept something you don't like?
Jul 17, 2018
If the cap fits
147
Learn an expression about accepting criticism
Jul 10, 2018
My bad
160
Learn a phrase about accepting blame
Jul 03, 2018
To have a good nose (for something)
174
Rob and Feifei sniff out a new phrase to learn
Jun 26, 2018
Friends in High Places
162
Learn a phrase about important people
Jun 19, 2018
Catch-22
168
Learn an expression for a no-win situation.
Jun 12, 2018
Let the dust settle
140
Learn a phrase about allowing a situation to become calm again
Jun 05, 2018
Nothing to shout about
143
Learn a phrase about not saying much
May 29, 2018
Let sleeping dogs lie
180
Learn about a trouble-free phrase
May 22, 2018
Bleed someone dry
165
An expression for a financial injury
May 15, 2018
Small change
146
A phrase for trivial things
May 08, 2018
That'll teach you
172
Learn from what you've done
May 01, 2018
An old hand
154
Someone who's skilled and experienced
Apr 24, 2018
Out of the loop
162
Learn a phrase about missing out.
Apr 17, 2018
Rub it in
138
Learn an expression about enjoying someone's misfortunes.
Apr 10, 2018
Smombie
136
Are you a smartphone zombie?
Apr 03, 2018
Freegan
174
Are you someone who only eats food that has been wasted or thrown away? Learn a word that describes what you are
Mar 27, 2018
Barking up the wrong tree
168
Have you ever made the wrong assumption? Here's a dog-related phrase to describe your actions
Mar 20, 2018
Cloud cuckoo land
152
Can you make the impossible possible? This phrase implies you can't but what's it got to do with a cuckoo?
Mar 13, 2018
A taste of your own medicine
162
Payback time
Mar 06, 2018
Happy-go-lucky
179
Relaxed about the future? Here's a phrase that might describe your character
Feb 27, 2018
Whizz-kid
136
Young, clever and successful: find out a phrase that describes someone like this
Feb 20, 2018
The best of both worlds
163
Can you enjoy the advantages of two different situations at the same time? You can if you use this phrase
Feb 13, 2018
Bone idle
172
Are you taking it easy or just being lazy? Here's a phrase to describe your condition
Feb 06, 2018
To cut a long story short
183
Have you got a story to tell? Here's a phrase about just telling the important bits
Jan 30, 2018
A thing
141
Beards have been 'a thing' for a while. Is it now time to shave them off?
Jan 29, 2018
Just the ticket
180
Rob and Feifei help teach a phrase to describe something you really want or need
Jan 23, 2018
Do a runner
137
Is it time to go? Here's a phrase about avoiding a tricky situation
Jan 09, 2018
All that jazz
148
We love slang, idioms, phrases and all that jazz! Learn a new phrase with us
Dec 26, 2017
Not gonna lie
165
A phrase to use when you're being brutally honest
Dec 18, 2017
Up your game
158
Don't know which one to use? You need to up your emoji game
Dec 12, 2017
To shout it from the rooftops
135
Have you heard the good news? This programme has something to shout about!
Dec 05, 2017
To blow the cobwebs away
143
No spiders involved. It's time to get lively and learn a new English phrase
Nov 28, 2017
A knees-up
141
Want to go to a party? This phrase might help you get an invitation
Nov 21, 2017
To put someone on the map
156
Need directions to learn a new English phrase? Here's one about a map and being famous
Nov 14, 2017
Down in the dumps
131
Feeling unhappy? Here's a phrase to describe your mood but don't take it too literally!
Nov 07, 2017
Excuse me!
160
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
Oct 31, 2017
A sting in the tail
168
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!
Oct 24, 2017
So done with
111
Are you doing something very boring? We have just the phrase for you!
Oct 17, 2017
lolz
143
You might know the slang expression ‘LOL’, but do you know about ‘lolz’?
Oct 10, 2017
Have a go
119
Poor Neil gets a lot of criticism in the programme. Of course, it’s all to help you learn English!
Oct 03, 2017
About
115
You know what ‘about’ means, right? But maybe not this extra meaning! Take another look with us
Sep 26, 2017
Wing it
130
Learn an informal expression for when you have to improvise
Sep 19, 2017
Pot luck
153
Not sure what to expect? Learn a phrase about hoping your choice will turn out ok
Sep 12, 2017
It beats me
130
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'
Sep 05, 2017
Jiggery-pokery
106
Tricks and dishonesty: Learn this phrase before it fools you!
Aug 29, 2017
Left, right, and centre
131
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 22, 2017
Donkey's years
149
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
Aug 15, 2017
Give us a bell
156
What's that ringing sound? Is it someone giving you a bell? Find out what it all means
Aug 08, 2017
Echo chamber
131
Echo echo echo echo…
Aug 01, 2017
Snowflake
128
Do you melt too easily?
Jul 25, 2017
The heat is on
118
Learn an expression which you can use to say you're under pressure
Jul 18, 2017
Wet weekend
136
When can a wet weekend be dry? Find out with another authentic English expression
Jul 11, 2017
No picnic
122
Some things in life are hard work. Discover a phrase that describes these situations
Jul 04, 2017
A busman's holiday
138
Going on holiday to do your job? What's it got to do with driving a bus?
Jun 27, 2017
Fuddy-duddy
130
Old-fashioned and set in your ways? Could you be one of these people?
Jun 20, 2017
No great shakes
147
Not impressed by something? Here's an expression that describes what you think
Jun 13, 2017
Not a sausage
125
Nothing, absolutely nothing, nothing at all… Not even one little sausage!
Jun 06, 2017
Long
106
Not everything in this life is fun. Learn a phrase to describe boring jobs!
May 30, 2017
Not half
127
Love pizza? Feifei and Neil bring you a phrase to show how much you enjoy something
May 23, 2017
All over the shop
184
Looked everywhere? Learn a phrase about shops that isn’t about shops!
May 16, 2017
It comes with the territory
124
Some things have to be expected. Learn a phrase to describe this situation
May 09, 2017
It won't wash
147
Heard something unconvincing? Maybe it's time to get out the washing powder!
May 02, 2017
Jack-of-all-trades
144
Can you do lots of different things? This could be the phrase to describe you
Apr 25, 2017
The coast is clear
148
Doing something you shouldn't? Here's a phrase about not being caught
Apr 18, 2017
Pull a fast one
136
Make the English you speak sound more natural
Apr 11, 2017
Suck it and see
110
Learn a phrase about having new experiences
Apr 04, 2017
To cut your teeth
124
Starting out in a new profession? Here's an expression about gaining experience
Mar 28, 2017
Shrinkflation
148
Getting less for your money? Could you be the victim of 'shrinkflation'?
Mar 21, 2017
La-la land
131
Is someone making unreasonable requests? Here's where they live
Mar 14, 2017
A different kettle of fish
137
Fishing for a phrase? This could be the one for you
Mar 07, 2017
Brass neck
176
What does being confident but rude have to do with your neck? Learn an expression that should not be taken literally
Feb 21, 2017
Reinvent the wheel
143
Wasting time doing something that's been done before? There's a phrase to explain this
Feb 14, 2017
Frenemy
143
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
Feb 07, 2017
To be fair
138
Give both sides of the argument with this phrase
Jan 31, 2017
On the box
120
Watching a ‘box’ can’t be very enjoyable, can it?
Jan 24, 2017
Duck
146
Learn a phrase you can use that features our feathered friend
Jan 17, 2017
Bottle
113
Use this phrase involving bottles when you’re too afraid to do something
Jan 10, 2017
Got your number
128
Understanding someone's true intentions
Jan 03, 2017
Clickbait
156
Learn a word that describes tempting online links
Dec 20, 2016
Mash-up
131
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 13, 2016
Air kiss
135
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
Dec 06, 2016
Mansplaining
130
A word for when a man explains to a woman something in a way which suggests she's stupid.
Nov 29, 2016
Rolling in it
132
Neil is rolling on the floor to teach a phrase connected to wealth. Feifei explains
Nov 22, 2016
Photobomb
156
Feifei and Sian discuss a word to use when something unexpectedly appears in your photo.
Nov 15, 2016
Cyberchondriac
172
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
Nov 08, 2016
To wash your dirty linen in public
142
Are you discussing your private life in public? Here's an expression to describe what you're doing
Nov 01, 2016
Cat got your tongue?
140
There's a cat about and Feifei's not talking. Learn an expression that questions her quietness
Oct 25, 2016
It takes two to tango
146
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 18, 2016
Knee-jerk reaction
128
Feifei kicks Neil in the face after he hits her knee with a hammer. It's all to teach you a useful English expression
Oct 11, 2016
To have an axe to grind
159
An expression with three related but slightly different meanings connected to strong opinions
Oct 04, 2016
Close, but no cigar
123
Why is Neil trying to smoke a cigar in the studio? Learn an English expression about almost succeeding
Sep 27, 2016
Get somebody's goat
126
Neil's goat Fred is a bit smelly but useful for teaching an English expression. Feifei's not happy
Sep 20, 2016
Bust a gut
130
Neil's wearing a vest in the studio to teach an expression about effort. Feifei's concerned he'll injure himself
Sep 13, 2016
Old-school
139
Feifei has written a letter to her family. Find out why Sian finds this old-school
Sep 06, 2016
Shedloads
133
Sian has received lots of emails! Learn another way to say 'lots'
Aug 30, 2016
Hangry
134
Sian is irritable today because she skipped breakfast! Learn an adjective to describe people who feel angry when they get hungry
Aug 23, 2016
To pull something out of the hat
154
What can you pull out of a hat? Learn an expression that describes doing something that saves the day
Aug 16, 2016
Off the hook
112
Are you obliged to do something you can't or don't want to? We teach you what to say
Aug 04, 2016
Barefaced
146
Is someone telling an outrageous lie? Here's an expression we can use
Jul 26, 2016
To make a mountain out of a molehill
145
Someone making a big fuss about something small? Here's a phrase to describe what they're doing
Jul 19, 2016
The last straw/final straw
143
When friendship is under test, something tiny and as light as a straw could cause a huge problem
Jul 12, 2016
The university of life
151
Want to learn about life? Here's a place most of us have studied at
Jul 05, 2016
White collar worker / blue-collar worker
159
What does the colour of your clothes say about your job?
Jun 28, 2016
Drama queen
149
No need to be in the theatre to find a drama queen. We teach you where to find them…
Jun 21, 2016
It's on the cards
127
An expression for when something is likely to happen. What's on the cards for you?
Jun 14, 2016
Until you're blue in the face
164
Is nobody listening to you? Learn a colourful phrase to explain the situation
Jun 07, 2016
Clean up your act
167
Someone behaving badly? Here's a phrase that tells them what to do
May 31, 2016
You're pulling my leg!
159
Want to trick someone? Here is a phrase that involves pulling a part of your body!
May 24, 2016
One good turn deserves another
163
A helpful phrase for doing something good
May 17, 2016
To fall at the first hurdle
165
Got an idea that's never going to work? Here is a phrase to describe the situation
May 10, 2016
Pain in the neck
117
Learn the phrase Helen needs to describe the headache her mobile phone company is causing her
May 03, 2016
Burn a hole in your pocket
149
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
Apr 26, 2016
To turn something upside down
121
How to describe doing a thorough search for something in a very messy way
Apr 19, 2016
Going forward
139
How do you ask someone to change the way they do things in the future? Learn this phrase connected to motion
Apr 12, 2016
A recipe for disaster
173
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
Apr 05, 2016
Crash course
133
When you need to learn something very quickly, it’s worth considering a super fast learning programme, but it’s not for everyone
Mar 29, 2016
You've sold it to me
134
When you are in total agreement with ideas or suggestions from others, try a new phrase to express yourself
Mar 22, 2016
Full of the joys of spring
156
What time of the year describes a good mood? Learn this lively and cheerful phrase
Mar 15, 2016
Six of one, half a dozen of the other
137
Is this expression related to numbers? If half a dozen is six, what does this expression mean? Listen to the programme
Mar 01, 2016
Test the water
132
How can you make sure a new project is going to be a successful? Here's a piece of good advice
Feb 23, 2016
To lie through your teeth
153
Not telling the truth is not a good thing to do. Learn a phrase to describe your actions
Feb 16, 2016
To make a monkey out of me
173
Rob's been asked to dress up like a monkey but it seems like someone is literally making a monkey out of him!
Feb 09, 2016
There's method to my madness
152
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
Jan 26, 2016
In good nick
124
Learn a phrase to describe something in top condition
Jan 19, 2016
Cheap and cheerful
125
Most people like a present that is cheap and cheerful. But no one likes something that is cheap and nasty
Jan 12, 2016
A bitter pill to swallow
178
When a situation is hard to accept, what do you say? This phrase could be for you
Jan 05, 2016
Potty
120
When we see people going crazy about something, here is an alternative expression
Dec 31, 2015
I'm game
119
Neil is dying for a game of squash but Li is not game. Find out why...
Dec 22, 2015
That'll put hairs on your chest!
158
Learn a humorous expression that is used when someone is going to have a strong alcoholic drink
Dec 15, 2015
Down the pan
138
When things are not going as planned, we can say they've gone ‘down the pan’, but which pan is it?
Dec 01, 2015
Sweet tooth
147
Do you have a sweet tooth? Is it something that you are born with or do you develop it?
Nov 17, 2015
Bumper-to-bumper
143
When a car bumper is almost touch another car bumper, you know the situation on the road is bad
Nov 10, 2015
Eye candy
144
How can you describe someone good looking but not interesting?
Nov 03, 2015
Thingy
131
Oh no, you've forgotten the word for something! Don't worry, this expression might help
Oct 27, 2015
Across the pond
150
Are London and New York separated by a pond? Learn this expression people say on both sides of the Atlantic
Oct 20, 2015
People person
143
Are you good at working with other people? This expression might describe you
Oct 13, 2015
It's a steal!
158
Have you paid very little money for something normally expensive? Learn an expression for when you find a bargain
Oct 06, 2015
Bull and bear market
177
Learn what you say when share prices rise and when they fall. We help you to understand financial terms
Sep 29, 2015
Social media words
153
'Trolls' and 'haters' are the people who want to annoy you. The names are part of the new vocabulary of social media
Sep 22, 2015
Don't give up the day job
151
If you don't think someone is very good at doing something what should you say? Here's a phrase to help you
Sep 15, 2015
A barrel of laughs
175
What object is full of laughs? This is a phrase that describes someone who is fun
Sep 08, 2015
To know something like the back of your hand
139
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
Sep 01, 2015
Give me credit
162
Learn a phrase that's full of praise. You won't need a credit card to use this one
Aug 18, 2015
To keep the wolf from the door
164
Who's that knocking at the door? Someone's here to tell you you're in financial trouble
Aug 11, 2015
Red tape
152
Fed up with rules and regulations? You must learn this expression
Jul 14, 2015
To drink someone under the table
144
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 30, 2015
Cyberbullying
151
Is there someone tormenting you online? Here's an expression for when people hide behind a computer to attack others
Jun 16, 2015
A close shave
131
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.
May 19, 2015
My mind's gone blank
127
Why did Rob ask Feifei to meet him in the studio? Here's an expression for when you've forgotten something.
May 12, 2015
To sleep on it
159
Find out how 'sleeping on it' doesn't just mean lying on a bed!
May 05, 2015
All over the place
125
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.
Apr 28, 2015
To go around the houses
165
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?
Apr 21, 2015
Done and dusted
142
When someone says the phrase 'done and dusted', do they mean doing some proper cleaning?
Apr 14, 2015
Chill pill
163
It's hard to swallow but maybe it's time for a chill pill!
Apr 07, 2015
Put a sock in it!
194
Why has Helen put a sock in the toaster and how is that going to keep her quiet?
Mar 31, 2015
A wild card
132
Who's the wild card in the office? Rob and Feifei use a phrase to describe an unpredictable colleague.
Mar 31, 2015
To take a shot / stab in the dark
169
Feifei thinks someone's been killed but then discovers taking a stab in the dark doesn't involve using knives!
Mar 17, 2015
To keep a lid on it
162
Li and Neil go for a coffee, but why do they have to keep a lid on it?
Mar 10, 2015
To be on the ball
100
Learn a phrase to describe the ability to react quickly to things.
Mar 03, 2015
Mind-blowing
196
Feifei and Harry use an expression for things that amaze and astound.
Feb 24, 2015
Out for the count
151
Neil and Li talk about how a boxing expression can be used in everyday life.
Feb 17, 2015
Game changer
180
Feifei and Harry use an expression for people and ideas that change the way we do things.
Feb 10, 2015
Wow factor
178
Harry and Feifei look at an expression for when things surprise and impress you.
Feb 03, 2015
Full on
169
Harry and Feifei talk about a common colloquial expression for when things are intense.
Jan 27, 2015
Stab in the back
160
Harry and Feifei talk about an expression that is not as violent as it sounds.
Jan 20, 2015
To downsize
143
Neil and Feifei talk about a word made popular by the economic downturn
Jan 13, 2015
At the movies
160
Sci-fi, romcom, whodunnit – What kind of movies do you like?
Jan 06, 2015
Killing time
153
Neil tells Helen to kill time but she smashes up a clock. Find out why and learn a useful expression.
Dec 30, 2014
Like turkeys voting for Christmas
158
Do you celebrate Christmas? Do you like eating turkey? Do you think turkeys like Christmas? Learn this humorous idiom
Dec 23, 2014
Face the music
120
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 16, 2014
Internet speak
197
'Snail mail', 'post' and 'hard copy' – learn expressions connected with computers
Dec 09, 2014
Viral
177
Li's cat video has gone viral. Will she be happy about it? Learn an expression from the internet age
Dec 02, 2014
Give the cold shoulder
154
Is Feifei's designer shawl a solution to her problems with Lisa? Listen to the programme to find out
Nov 25, 2014
Phishing
147
Rob is deleting some emails. He won't take the bait sent in by criminals!
Nov 18, 2014
Take to the cleaners
182
Rob's very expensive shirt is ruined! Who will pay for it? Listen to the programme to find out
Nov 11, 2014
Eat humble pie
187
Is Rob hungry enough to win a pie-eating competition? Listen to the programme
Nov 04, 2014
Water off a duck's back
183
Feifei has a thing or two to learn from the ducks in the park. So do you. Listen to the programme.
Oct 28, 2014
Take for a ride
196
Li wants to invest in a car moved by air. Is she going to lose her money?
Oct 21, 2014
Baby phrase
212
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 14, 2014
Joe Bloggs
203
Do you know Joe Bloggs? He might be just beside you.
Oct 07, 2014
Butter up
178
Is this butter for a cake, for toast or... to put on a person? Finn and Feifei explain
Sep 29, 2014
Hair of the dog
228
Rob had too much to drink. Is this the cure for his hangover?
Sep 22, 2014
Splash Out
255
Finn is spending a lot of money. But can he afford it?
Sep 15, 2014
Cheesed off
166
Finn is angry, so Li offers him some tasty cheese. Will it calm him down?
Sep 08, 2014
Frogmarch
181
A style of walking that is hard to do on your own.
Sep 01, 2014
Proof is in the pudding
192
What does Rob mean when he says 'the proof is in the pudding'?
Aug 22, 2014
Dinosaur
163
What’s the link between dinosaurs and mobile phones?
Aug 18, 2014
Look like the back end of a bus
163
If someone says you look like 'the back end of a bus', is it a good thing?
Aug 11, 2014
Interjections
239
Wow! Ouch! Yippee! The useful little sounds which mean a lot.
Aug 04, 2014
Blah blah blah
235
Having a repetitive and boring conversation? This expression is for you.
Jul 28, 2014
Have a lot on my plate
198
When is a meal not so tasty? This expression will give you the answer
Jul 21, 2014
Bells and whistles
200
Will bells and whistles add to the value of your gadget? Listen to the programme
Jul 14, 2014
Everything but the kitchen sink
208
Neil and Li are going on a camping trip. But are they packing too much?
Jul 07, 2014
Beat the drum
171
Neil and Li want to help protect baby turtles. But do they need a drum?
Jun 30, 2014
Until the cows come home
185
Neil and Li are keen to go home. How long will they have to wait for the bus?
Jun 23, 2014
Smell a rat
227
Li is told she won the lottery. But is it true? Neil has bad news for her.
Jun 16, 2014
Funny ha-ha or funny peculiar
169
When does 'funny' have nothing to do with laughter?
Jun 09, 2014
Corporate speak
202
Blue-sky thinking? Pushing the envelope? Learn what these business terms mean
Jun 02, 2014
Take it with a pinch of salt
164
Helen takes Neil out for tea but why does she put salt in his cup? Find out more
May 26, 2014
Cold feet
192
Rob wants a pay rise. But why do his 'cold feet' stop him asking for one?
May 19, 2014
Not enough room to swing a cat
171
It's hard to find the right place to live. Here's an expression about space.
May 12, 2014
Off the back of a lorry
187
Buying something really good but super cheap? This expression will make you think twice.
May 05, 2014
Wrong 'un
174
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.
Apr 28, 2014
Pie in the sky
161
Finn and Li are in the woods. Can they see more than birds flying in the sky?
Apr 21, 2014
On the tip of my tongue
185
Can't quite remember what to say? We have a phrase that might help you.
Apr 14, 2014
Under your belt
165
What does it mean if you say an actor has lots of awards under his belt?
Apr 07, 2014
To brush over
178
When you are decorating, there are some things you can't brush over
Mar 31, 2014
Go the extra mile
184
How can Feifei save money for a new car? Will she go the extra mile?
Mar 24, 2014
Beat around the bush
201
Rob and Li go camping but they are not alone. Join them to learn a phrase
Mar 17, 2014
The boot's on the other foot
171
How are boots connected to a changing situation?
Mar 10, 2014
Pull the plug
156
Rob is having serious problems with a project. Li wants to help him. But how? Listen to the programme to find out.
Mar 03, 2014
In the doghouse
179
Behave or you might end up in the kennel with your dog. Learn a new phrase.
Feb 24, 2014
Chew the fat
190
Rob and Feifei share a hearty meal and a new phrase. Join them to learn more.
Feb 17, 2014
Treading on eggshells
184
What are you treading on if you're trying not to offend someone? We can explain.
Feb 10, 2014
Take a rain check
181
What does 'taking a rain check' mean? Do we need an umbrella?
Feb 03, 2014
Use your loaf
171
What's the connection between bread and common sense? You might need this expression.
Jan 27, 2014
Stumped
188
Playing cricket is not the only place where you could get stumped. Find out what it means when it happens to you.
Jan 20, 2014
Skeleton in the closet
204
Finn and Li go to his late uncle's house. What is Li afraid of? We hope this expression won't frighten you.
Jan 13, 2014
To have words
178
Why is Finn cross with Li? Here's a good expression for when you're out of patience.
Jan 06, 2014
Crystal clear
191
If something is crystal clear, how clear is it? Rob and Feifei find out when they build a wardrobe.
Dec 30, 2013
Ginormous
186
The glass and steel buildings of modern Shanghai are ginormous. What does this mean?
Dec 23, 2013
Take the mickey
209
Who is laughing at Rob? Is it Li or is it Mickey Mouse? Here's an expression with a twist
Dec 16, 2013
Fishing for compliments
219
What are you hoping to catch when you're fishing for compliments?
Dec 09, 2013
Go round in circles
188
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.
Dec 02, 2013
Bottomless
177
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.
Nov 25, 2013
Full of beans
197
Are you feeling tired today? Or are you full of beans? Learn more about this phrase in this programme.
Nov 18, 2013
To go with a bang
188
You don't need fireworks to say a party is going really well.
Nov 11, 2013
Other half
161
Do you always consult with your other half before you make important decisions?
Nov 04, 2013
Bits and bobs
184
Neil says he has a lot of 'bits and bobs' to sort out. What does he mean?
Oct 28, 2013
Nosh
177
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 21, 2013
Ace
184
Do you like playing cards? Are you ace at playing cards? Join us for an 'ace' programme.
Oct 14, 2013
Beef
232
Beef is meat that comes from a cow, right? Yes, but there is another meaning... Find out more here.
Oct 07, 2013
Out of the picture
209
Finn has got his camera. Who does Feifei want to see in the picture?
Sep 30, 2013
Cut to the chase
161
Who's chasing Finn and Feifei? Here's a good expression for when you're running out of patience
Sep 23, 2013
Have a ball
180
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.
Sep 16, 2013
Don't make a scene!
193
Neil and Feifei are about to watch a play but there is a lot of drama outside the theatre. What is going on?
Sep 09, 2013
Phone slang
296
When is a bell not a bell, and a dog not a dog? Find out in our programme about phone slang.
Sep 02, 2013
Can of worms
231
In this series you can learn authentic English words and phrases. This week's programme looks at the phrase 'a can of worms'.
Aug 26, 2013
What's his face?
149
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.
Aug 19, 2013
Straight from the horse's mouth
193
Learn English with horses. In fact, learn it 'straight from the horse's mouth' in this programme.
Aug 12, 2013
After
193
Join Li and Finn for a drink in the bar and learn a new way to ask someone what they want.
Aug 05, 2013
Weather idioms
199
Using weather idioms: is Jen chasing rainbows, or is it a storm in a teacup?
Jul 29, 2013
Legend
205
Legends are stories about people who lived long ago, right? Well, there's more to it than that.
Jul 23, 2013
It's doing my head in!
181
Annoyed? Frustrated? Angry? Maybe it's doing your head in!
Jul 15, 2013
The bee's knees
180
Finn wants to share some special food with Li. But they receive some uninvited guests who also want to eat their delicious picnic snacks.
Jul 08, 2013
To put all your eggs in one basket
221
How many eggs should you put in one basket? And what has that got to do with taking risks?
Jul 01, 2013
Don't make me laugh!
170
It's laughable. How to say that you think something will never happen.
Jun 24, 2013
A leopard can't change its spots
180
Can someone change their personality? A leopard can't change its spots.
Jun 17, 2013
To see red
231
Seeing red: what is making Jen and Feifei so angry on their day trip?
Jun 10, 2013
Haven't slept a wink
210
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.
Jun 03, 2013
Freak
161
Are you obsessed by a hobby or sport? Feifei is but Jen's not impressed!
May 27, 2013
I wasn't born yesterday
197
Were you born yesterday? Probably not, but this is a useful expression if someone's trying to fool you.
May 20, 2013
Six-pack
201
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.
May 13, 2013
To cook the books
194
Neil is cooking an unusual meal in the BBC Learning English kitchen. Would you like to eat a book?
May 06, 2013
On the up
145
Things are 'on the up' for Jennifer and Jean at work. Find out why in The English We Speak.
Apr 29, 2013
LOL!
203
Do you know what this text message abbreviation means? Find out with Jennifer and Rob in this week's programme.
Apr 22, 2013
Makeover
253
Feifei thinks that Catherine looks better, younger, prettier. Why does Catherine look so different today? Find out more with The English We Speak.
Apr 15, 2013
A white elephant
178
Does Finn have to look after his uncle's white elephant? Find out more with The English We Speak.
Apr 08, 2013
Finger on the pulse
194
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?
Apr 01, 2013
Cut the mustard
217
Can Feifei cut the mustard to win a cooking contest? Find out more with The English We Speak.
Mar 25, 2013
To miss the boat
183
Does Feifei really need a lifejacket to go to Finn's uncle's party? Find out more about this phrase in this programme.
Mar 18, 2013
To take (something) on board
225
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.
Mar 11, 2013
The writing is on the wall
221
Vera gets angry with Dominic when Rob mentions the phrase 'the writing is on the wall'. Is Dominic being naughty?
Mar 04, 2013
Every Tom Dick and Harry
198
Kaz invites Tom, Dick and Harry to the studio and introduces them to Yang Li. Who are they?
Feb 25, 2013
Go to town
172
Why does Abigail keep saying she's 'going to town'? And what has it got to do with red food? Find out here.
Feb 08, 2013
Over the moon
209
Someone in the office is over the moon about getting a new job. Find out what that really means in this week's programme.
Feb 01, 2013
To know your onions
221
Rob gets Li to help him with some quiz answers. Does she know her onions? Find out more about this phrase here.
Jan 28, 2013
Take with a pinch of salt
227
Why does Li think that there is a ghost in her house? Find out more here.
Jan 21, 2013
Not rocket science
185
Find out what the expression 'not rocket science' means in this programme.
Jan 14, 2013
Go down a storm
156
Kaz says his party 'went down a storm'. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Find out here.
Jan 07, 2013
Chuffed
158
Kaz is feeling very chuffed today. Find out what this phrase means in this programme.
Dec 31, 2012
Hit the ground running
174
Kaz decides to 'hit the ground running' in this week's programme. Find out what this phrase means by listening to this programme.
Dec 24, 2012
Language of the blogosphere
250
Finn has entered the blogosphere! Find out what this word means in The English We Speak.
Dec 17, 2012
Irons in the fire
163
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.
Dec 10, 2012
Man flu
213
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...?
Dec 03, 2012
Drop dead gorgeous
209
Li is worried when Jen says somebody is 'drop dead gorgeous'. What does this phrase mean?
Nov 26, 2012
Celeb (Celebrity): 19 Nov
220
Vera teaches Rob how and when to use the word 'celeb' in a modern society. Find out more in The English We Speak.
Nov 19, 2012
Emoticon: 12 Nov
227
Rob and Vera have a misunderstanding about an email. Listen to this programme to find out why emoticons can be useful in written messages.
Nov 12, 2012
Keep your chin up!: 5 Nov
201
Rob tells Vera to 'keep her chin up'. But what does he mean? Find out with this week's programme.
Nov 05, 2012
Cost an arm and a leg
214
Rob goes shopping but the clothes cost 'an arm and a leg'. What does this mean?
Oct 29, 2012
Hunky-dory
186
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.
Oct 22, 2012
Things are looking up
181
Helen gets confused when she hears that 'things are looking up'. Find out what this phrase means with The English We Speak.
Oct 15, 2012
My mind has gone blank
189
Rosie's mind has gone blank in the studio! Does that mean she's lost her memory? Listen to this programme to find out.
Oct 08, 2012
Shut up
214
Li and Rosie look at an expression which can be rude or jokey. Be careful how you use it!
Oct 01, 2012
Throw the book at somebody
284
Rosie arrives late again and she tells Helen that their boss will throw the book at her. Is he going to hurt her?
Sep 24, 2012
A finger in every pie
204
Jen made some delicious pies but what does it mean when we say she has 'a finger in every pie'?
Sep 17, 2012
Finding your feet
162
Helen and Rosie are doing a salsa class, but Rosie is still finding her feet. What does it mean?
Sep 10, 2012
The skin of your teeth
183
Jennifer managed to do something by the skin of her teeth. What does it mean?
Sep 03, 2012
No-win situation
248
Rob finds himself in a no-win situation although he wins a horse racing bet. What does it mean?
Aug 27, 2012
Plain sailing
255
Li joins Rob on a sailing boat. Listen to their excursion and learn some sailing idioms..
Aug 20, 2012
Down with the kids
184
Why is Rob dressing like a teenager? Find out in The English We Speak!
Aug 13, 2012
Quids in
219
Have you ever made a lot of money? Rob's got the right expression for Helen.
Aug 06, 2012
Sheepish
174
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.
Jul 30, 2012
Keep me posted
178
Neil gets in trouble with the police just to teach you a new expression! Find out more in The English We Speak.
Jul 23, 2012