In this week's programme, is Jen being rude to Li, or does this idiom have a different meaning to what she first thinks?
The script for this programme
Jen: Hi! I'm Jen. And here's Li.
Li: (Sighing) Hi.
Jen: You seem in a bad mood, what's wrong?
Li: Take a look at this brochure.
Jen: (Reading) "Golden palm beach, Barbados. This resort boasts miles of unspoiled beaches, crystal blue waters and five star accommodation..." Is this where you're going on holiday, Li?
Li: Yes, I just booked it.
Jen: Well, you don't sound very happy about it, what's the problem?
Li: Well, it cost me £5,000!
Jen: That's a lot of money.
Li: I know, and I wanted to save my money so that I could get my bathroom decorated.
Jen: Why did you book a holiday, then?!
Li: I have to go on holiday - I haven't had a break for two years!
Jen: Well, that's ok, you've booked it now!
Li: But I really need to get the bathroom done too!
Jen: Well, you can't have your cake and eat it, Li!
Li: What do you mean? How did you know I had cake today? Are you calling me fat?! Do you think I should stop eating cake?!
Jen: Whoa! No, no, I'm not saying anything-
Li: Then why do you want me to stop eating cake?!
Jen: Calm down. I said, "You can't have your cake and eat it." We use this phrase in English to mean that you can't have something both ways.
Li: Oh. So you mean I can't spend my money and save it at the same time?
Jen: Exactly. Let's hear some more examples:
- He's just got married, but he misses the single life. Well it's too bad – you can't have your cake and eat it!
- I drank a whole bottle of champagne at the party last night, but now I feel sick - I've got the worst hangover ever. But I suppose you can't have your cake and eat it!
Li: The second example is good – you can't expect to drink a lot of alcohol without feeling the effects the next day: you can't have it both ways; you can't have your cake and eat it.
Jen: And you can't have your lovely holiday without spending a lot of money on it.
Li: I suppose you're right.
Jen: All this talk of cake has got my stomach rumbling, I feel really hungry now.
Li: There's a new cafe across the road which is selling little cupcakes, they look really delicious! We could go and get some after the programme?
Jen: I would love to, but I can't, I want to save my money to go out to dinner tonight.
Li: Oh well Jen, you can't have your cake and eat it. I'll just get one for myself!