The English We Speak
To cut a long story short
Episode 180129 / 29 Jan 2018
Rob's had a late night but we're not sure why. He's not giving Feifei all the details to save time - but is there another reason why he's cutting his long story short? Learn a new English phrase and find out his reasons in this episode of The English We Speak.
Hello and welcome to The English We Speak from BBC Learning English. I'm Rob...
And hello, I'm Feifei. We're here to teach you a real English phrase. Rob, if you don't mind me saying, you look a bit… rough.
Rough? Well you would be, if you'd had the night I've just had.
Oh yes? What happened?
Well, I went out for dinner with Neil, then we went to a pub and then I lost my wallet and… to cut a long story short… I got home at two o'clock this morning.
Oh dear. But why 'cut the long story short'? I want to hear the whole story.
No, you don't – it would take too long and we haven't got time – and anyway, it's not that interesting – that's why I'm just telling you the most important parts of the story.
Right, so 'to cut a long story short' means to tell only the main or important parts of a story – not all the details. Hmm, that's a shame Rob because I'm sure you had lots more to tell me.
Really? Well we've got to keep this programme short so shall we move on and hear some examples of this phrase in action….
So I spoke to the boss and to cut a long story short, I'm getting a promotion!
There was a technical problem with our plane which they couldn't fix so to cut a long story short, we had to wait for another flight and we arrived a day late.
I met Geeta last year and to cut a long story short, we getting married tomorrow!
So 'to cut – or make - a long story short' means to tell only the important parts about something that has happened and leaving out all the details. So Rob, you're telling me you went out with Neil, lost your wallet and got home very very late?
Yes, that's about it. Not very exciting – but the details are boring – that's why my long story is short. Why do keep asking?
Well actually Rob, it sounds like you're telling a tall story - a story or fact that is difficult to believe.
Oh really, why do you say that?
Well I spoke to Neil this morning and he said you didn't go for dinner last night. You went straight to the pub, then another and another pub. And you left your wallet there so you had no money to get home and had to walk.
Ah well… that's the long story. Did you really want all the details?
Oh yes. Never cut a long story short if it's a good one!
If you say so Feifei. Bye.
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