In this edition of The English We Speak, Li finds Neil's cat 'just a bit surprising' and teaches us a useful phrase to prevent people taking offence at something.
The script for this programme
Li: Hello I'm Li! And joining me today is Neil – hello Neil!
Li: Is that a cat in the basket you're holding?
Neil: It's my adorable cat, Spencer.
Li: Oh Spencer, can I see him?
Neil: Of course...
Neil: What do you mean, urgh?
Li: That's not a cat, it's a kind of frog-chicken!
Li: It doesn't have any fur!
Neil: Spencer certainly is a cat. He's a sphinx cat; they don't have any fur. You don't like him do you?
Li: No, no, no, don't get me wrong. He's just a bit – surprising!
Li: Don't get me wrong - that's an expression you use when you're worried someone might not understand what you say or be upset by it. When I said Neil's cat looked like a frog-chicken, I didn't mean that I didn't like him; I just meant he was... a bit unusual. Here are some more examples:
- Don't get me wrong, I do like James, I just think he can be a bit annoying sometimes.
- Don't get me wrong, I'd love to come to your party, but I'm busy tonight.
- That coat is very bright – but don't get me wrong, I still think you should wear it.
Neil: Well, I think Spencer is a beautiful cat.
(miaow of agreement)
Neil: And, don't get me wrong, but you don't know much about cats do you?
Li: Yes I do! I have a Norwegian forest cat. And she's very beautiful with lots of fur! But Spencer is... very strange.
Li: A kind of gremlin.
Li: And not very friendly.
(crazed miaow of anger as Spencer throws himself on Li)
Cat: Miaow, don't get me wrong, I am only being friendly!
Li: That is a lie. Get off me, you vicious gremlin! Get off! Get off!