Have you ever felt like a rabbit in the headlights? Finn and Yang Li explain this phrase in The English We Speak.
The script from this programme:
Finn: Hello. I'm Finn.
Li: And I'm Li.
Finn: And we're whispering – we're talking very quietly - because we are about to watch an awards ceremony for the best dancer in the UK.
Li: Yes – I think it's going to begin now. Shh.
Awards Host: And the award for best dancer this year goes to… Timmy Tapper!
Timmy Tapper: Erm, thank you!
Awards Host: Timmy, would you like to say a few words?
Timmy Tapper: Yes, erm, thank you… to… everybody! Thanks.
Awards Host: Great. Well thank you Timmy. You've done a fantastic job this year!
Finn: (whispers) Li, what happened? He was like a rabbit in the headlights.
Li: I don't know, he was very nervous. But what did you say, Finn, about rabbits?
Finn: Oh, rabbits, yes. A rabbit in the headlights. It's a phrase used to describe someone who is so nervous that they can't move or speak.
Li: I see. Someone who is too nervous to move or speak. But why does it involve headlights – the lights at the front of a car?
Finn: Well if you think about if you are driving a car at night and you have your headlights on. Suddenly, a rabbit appears in the middle of the road. But it is too scared by the car driving towards for it to run away. It's a rabbit in the headlights.
Li: That's a rabbit in the headlights. Oh, Finn, I think Timmy Tapper wants to say something.
Finn: Oh yes.
Timmy Tapper: Oh, sorry. Can I just say one more thing?
Awards Host: Sure, go ahead, Timmy!
(Timmy starts tap dancing)
Awards Host: Well, isn't that amazing!
Li: Ha ha. I think Timmy was nervous speaking in front of everyone here just now, but now he's happy to express himself through tap dancing!
Finn: He looks very happy doesn't he? And while Timmy dances, I have some advice for everyone. If you want to speak confident English, and not be like a rabbit in the headlights, why not visit our website explore our free English learning materials?
Finn: That's it. Bye.
(Timmy tap dancing)