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Last updated at 10:15 GMT, Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Finger on the pulse

Listen

Feifei and Finn are at the cinema and she asks him about who the actors in the movie are. Finn answers that he has his finger on the pulse. Is he nervous about something? Find out more with The English We Speak.

A nurse has her finger on a patient's pulse, BBC image

Does the phrase 'finger on the pulse' have anything to do with health?

The script for this programme

(Finn and Feifei are in the cinema; the film is about to start)

Finn: Hi, I'm Finn. This is The English We Speak. And this is Feifei.

Feifei: Hi. I hope you can hear me. This cinema is very crowded! I've never heard of this movie... and who are these actors, Finn?!

Finn: Well, Feifei, when it comes to the best new actors, I have my finger on the pulse.

Feifei: Finger on the pulse? Oh, don't do that here, Finn. You mean you touch the wrists of all these film actors? Where is your British reserve?!

Finn: No. I am not going to touch anybody's pulse or wrists and my fingers are here, in my popcorn. In English, 'to have your finger on the pulse' means: to be familiar with the latest trends and developments.

Feifei: Ahhhh, that's a relief.

Finn: You might hear the expression 'to have your finger on the pulse' or 'to keep your finger on the pulse'. Let's hear some examples.

  • You have to keep your finger on the pulse of consumer trends if you want to succeed in business.
  • How do I manage to dress so well all the time? I buy this fashion magazine every week because it really has its finger on the pulse.

Feifei: Ah I see. So this expression is about keeping up-to-date with trends.

Finn: Yes it is.

Feifei: Finn, I've been looking at the poster of the film while we wait for the door to open and... this film...

Finn: 'The City That Never Sleeps'. Yes?

Feifei: There is a picture of a zombie on the poster... and... what is that in the corner? A dead woman! Is it a horror movie, Finn?!

Finn: Calm down. It is a great movie. Full of blood and suspense. It will be a thrill!

Feifei: Oh. I don't like that, Finn! I really don't like that! I get really upset when I watch this sort of movie. My heart races... here, put your actual finger on my actual pulse... Here.

Finn: Oh, OK, OK, sorry Feifei. Your heart is beating very fast. I didn't know you had a problem with horror movies. Let's go and watch a musical then.

Feifei: 'The Sound of Music'?

Finn: Go on then!

Feifei: That's much nicer! Bye.

Finn: Bye.

Both: (Singing) Doe, a deer, a female deer. Ray, a drop of golden sun...

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