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Last updated at 12:14 BST, Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Big Day


In this week's The English We Speak programme, we find out about the phrase 'the big day' and why it relates to the royal wedding.

Prince William and Catherine Middleton's engagement photo

It's Prince William and Catherine Middleton's big day on Friday!

The script for this programme

William: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak, I'm William Kremer.

Li: I'm Yang Li and I'm excited!

William: So I see! Do you want to share with everybody what you're so excited about, Li?

Li: Oh come on Will, you know why I'm excited.

William: I'm not sure I do know why you're excited.

Li: Well, here's a little clue...

Crowds of cheering people

William: Lots of cheering people. Hmm, is that one of those 75% off sales on Oxford Street?

Li: No, no! Listen, here's another clue...

'Here comes the bride' organ music.

William: Durr-du-duh duh! Hmm, organ music. Are you going to an organ concert, Li? I didn't know you were interested in that.

Li: OK, I'm just going to tell you. This Friday is Prince William and Catherine Middleton's big day, their wedding day.

William: Ah, I knew that. I was joking.

Li: Of course you were joking William. We've made lots of programmes about it haven't we!

William: Yes, we have. But Li, I think we'd better explain the meaning of 'the big day'. Here 'the big day' means their wedding day. But does 'the big day' always refer to weddings? Listen to these examples:

  • A: Guess what?
  • B: What?
  • A: Marie and Phil are engaged!
  • B: You're kidding – wow, that's fantastic news!
  • A: I know!
  • B: So when's the big day? Have they set a date yet?
  • C: I don't think Charlie and I will ever get married.
  • D: Oh. Why's that?
  • C: Because of my mum and dad being divorced. I just know that at the wedding they'll end up having a massive argument; they can't help it.
  • D: Oh, surely that won't happen. They would never ruin your big day.

Li: So in both those examples, the phrase 'big day' was used to describe a wedding.

William: Yes, it was. And I think this is how this phrase is usually used, exactly in the way that you used it, Li. People talk about a couple's big day but I've also heard people say 'her big day' to describe the bride's wedding day in particular. It's probably used a little bit less for men.

Li: Hmm, but do you, William, still remember your big day?

William: I do. But I don't need to remember it now!

Li: What do you mean?

William: Well, I always forget it on the day that I should remember it.

Li: Oh dear, on your anniversary. What a bad husband you are! You might be called William, but I think Prince William is much more romantic than you are!

William: Well, we'll see won't we! Now, on our website you'll find lots of other learning English resources relating to the royal wedding, including a photo gallery and a special blog.

Li: Not to mention my series, 'A royal wedding, an everyday love story'.

William: Oh yes, don't miss that!

Li: Bye!

William: Bye bye.

'Here comes the bride' organ music fading out.


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