Session 11

Listen to find out how to use an everyday English expression.
ከመይ ጌርኩም ንመዓልታዊ መግለጽ-ሓሳብ እንግሊዘኛ ከም እትጥቀምሉ ንምፍላጥ ተኸታተሉ።

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

On the tip of my tongue

Look at the Session Vocabulary – make sure you know what these words mean:

  • a girlfriend
  • IT
  • to get married

Listen to Rob and Helen talking about Bob, someone they used to work with. As you listen, think about these questions:

1. Do Rob and Helen know the woman Bob is going to marry?

2. Can Rob remember her name?

Listen to find out the answers. Then check them on the transcript below.

Show transcript Hide transcript

ሰላም፡ እዚ፡ ብቋንቋ እንግሊዝኛ ሓሳባትኩም ንምግላጽ ዝሕግዘኩም መደብ English Expressions እዩ። እንቋዕ ብደሓን መጻእኩም።
ሎሚ ‘on the tip of my tongue’ ዚብል መግለጺ-ሓሳብ ክንርኢይ ኢና... ቃል-ብቓሉ “ኣብ ጫፍ መልሓሰይ” ማለት’ዩ። እቲ ልክዕ ትርጕሙ ግን እንታይ ክኸውን ይኽእል ትብሉ? ሕራይ፡ በሉ ምስማዕ ቀጽሉ!
ሄለንን ሮብን ብዛዕባ ዘሕለፍዎ ቀዳመ-ሰንበት የዕልሉ ኣሎዉ። ኣብ ሞንጎ ክልቲኦም ዝነበረ ዕላል ሓቢርና ንስማዕ።

Hi Helen. How was your weekend?

Good thanks, I didn’t do much, just relaxed. How was yours?

Well, interesting. Do you know what? I bumped into Bob…

Bob? Oh the guy we used to work with.

Yes, that’s him. Well, I had a good chat with him. You know all he talked about was computers and how he could never get a girlfriend… well, guess what?

He’s now head of IT?


He’s won the lottery and is a millionaire?

No Helen. He’s getting married!

ሮብ ‘bumped into’ ምስ ቦብ - ሓደ ናይ ቀደም መሳርሕቱ ዝነበረ - ጎፍ ንጎፍ ተባሃሂሎም። ንሮብ ሓደ ዘገረሞ ነገር ብዛዕባ ቦብ እንታይ ከምዝነበረ ትዝኩሩ'ዶ? ልክዕ! ቦብ ክምርዖ’ዩ! ምስ መን ይምርዖ ከም ዘሎ ንኽትፈልጥ ሄለን ተሃንጥያ’ያ ዘላ። ሓቢርና ንከታተል።

Oh that’s good news. Is he marrying someone we know?

Yes. That’s the thing – it’s someone we know really well.

Who’s that?

Hmm… erm… I can’t remember her name… it’s on the tip of my tongue.

The tip of your tongue? That’s a strange place – well ok, stick your tongue out.

(with his tongue out) Why do I need to do that, Helen?

You said it was ‘on the tip of your tongue’.

No, Helen. I mean I know her name but I can’t quite remember it right now.

Why didn’t you say! But Rob, will you remember the information soon?

Yes, I will. It really is just on the tip of my tongue.

ሓደ ነገር ኣብ ጫፍ መልሓስኩም ክህሉዉ ከሎ… እንታይ ከምዝኾነ እንዳፈለጥኩሞ ካብ ኣፍኩም ምዉጻእ ዝኣበየኩም ማለት’ዩ። ስለዚ ኣብ ከምዚ ዓይነት ኵነታት፡ ማለት ሓደ ነገር ኣብ ሓሳብና ሃልዩ ክነሱ ንኽንገልጾ ዘይከኣልና ‘on the tip of your tongue’ ዚብል ሓረግ ንጥቀም - ንሮብ ስም ናይ ሕጽይቲ ቦብ ‘on the tip of his tongue’ ኣላ።
ከምዚ ዓይነት መግለጺ-ሓሳባት ዘሎዎም ሓድሓደ ኣብነታት ሲዒብና ንስማዕ፡

What’s the name of the actor in the new film? His name’s on the tip of my tongue but I can’t remember it.

We nearly won the quiz; John had the answer to the last question on the tip of his tongue - but the other team said it first.

The name will come to me soon, it’s on the tip of my tongue… ah yes, his name is Paul.

So if something is ‘on the tip of your tongue’, it means there is some information you can’t quite remember, but hopefully will soon. So Rob, is the name of the woman that Bob is marrying, still on the tip of your tongue?

No. I remember it now – her name is Alison.

Alison – from accounts? That’s great news.

Yes, it is and Bob says we’re invited to the wedding.

Brilliant. I love a good wedding – when is it?

Oh, erm… errr…

Don’t tell me. It’s on the tip of your tongue.

It is… sorry. I’ll remember soon.

I hope you do.

ሮብ ሎሚ፡ ነገራት ናይ ምዝካር ጸገም ዘጋጠሞ’ዩ ዝመስል ዘሎ። ንዝኾነ ነገር ኣብ ጫፍ መልሓሱ ቀርቂሩ፡ ስም ሕጽይቲ ቦብ ይኹን ዕለተ መርዓኦም ኩሉ ግብ ኣቢሉ ረሲዑዎ’ሎ። ንዓኻትኩም’ከ ከመዚ ዓይነት ነገር ኣጓኒፉኩም’ዶ ይፈልጥ? ብዙሕ ጊዜ ኣብ ጫፍ መልሓስኩም ዝተርፉ ነገራት ከመይ ዝበሉ’ዬም?
ኣብ ዝስዕብ መደብ English Expressions የራኽበና።


1. Yes, they used to work with her.

2. Yes, he eventually remembers her name.

How do I use it?

When using the expressions 'on the tip of my tongue', we start the sentence with what we have forgotten - this can be a noun (eg. his name) or a pronoun (eg. it) - followed by the verb 'to be'. We commonly use this expression when talking about names and, depending on who is trying to remember, we can change 'my' to 'his' or 'her', etc..
Look at these examples:

I saw this great film the other day, I think you'd really like it. But I can't remember the's on the tip of my tongue

A) Have you heard? Lisa and Mark have had a baby girl.
B) Oh really? That's great! What did they call her?
A) Ugh, it's quite unusual. Give me a minute and I'll tell you. Her name's on the tip of my tongue!

Richard said the answer was on the tip of his tongue, but he couldn't remember it so in the end he failed the oral exam.


On the tip of my tongue

3 Questions

Choose the correct answer.
እቲ ቅኑዕ መልሱ ምረጹ።

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Over to you!

Do you sometimes have problems remembering people's names? What other information is sometimes 'on the tip of your tongue'? Come and tell us on our Facebook group.

Join us for our next episode of English Expressions, when we will learn more useful language and practise your listening skills.
ኣብ ዝስዕብ መደብ English Expressions ኣጠቓቕማ ቋንቋን ናይ ምስማዕ ክእለትኩም እተማዕብሉሉን ትምህርቲ ሒዝና ክንቀርብ ኢና።

Session Vocabulary

  • the weekend

    a girlfriend

    ኣይ.ቲ. (ሓበሬታ ተክኖሎጂ)

    to get married

    a quiz

    an actor