Last updated at 10:39 GMT, Thursday, 27 March 2014

To brush over

Listen

Rob is hoping to decorate the studio but there are a few details he wants to 'brush over'. Li thinks everything will be a mess until she finds out what 'brushing over' really means.

paint brush and tin of paint

You need a paintbrush for decorating

The script for this programme

Li: Welcome to The English We Speak with me, Li…

Rob: (up a ladder) And me, Rob. Hello. Now, Li, would you just mind holding that ladder still please.

Li: I'm trying... but Rob, what are you doing up a ladder anyway?

Rob: I'm decorating!

Li: Why?

Rob: Well this studio is really scruffy - you know, not that smart - so I thought I'd tidy it up and paint it, too.

Li: Hmmm. I don't think it's a good idea.

Rob: Why?

Li: For a start, you haven't put any sheets down to stop the paint splashing on the carpet, ... and you need to move the chairs outside... you're wearing smart clothes, not ones for decorating in.

Rob: Well, no, err, that's true. But shall we just brush over that?

Li: Brush over? You can't brush over those things – you'll get paint everywhere!

Rob: No, Li! When you say you will 'brush over' something, it means you will ignore it or not take it that seriously.

Li: I see. So Rob, you're saying making the preparations for decorating is not important and you're going to ignore it?

Rob: Well... I'm in a rush.

Li: I see. Let's hear some examples, shall we?

  • My teacher's history lesson was fascinating, but he brushed over World War I and that was the bit I wanted to hear about most!
  • We haven't sorted the figures for the meeting, but we'll brush over those and just talk about the future.
  • How old am I? Well, let's just brush over that and say I'm as old as I feel!

Li: So, to 'brush over' something means to ignore something or miss it out. Rob, have you actually asked for permission to decorate this studio? It doesn't belong to you.

Rob: Well... err...

Li: Are you brushing over that, too?! Anyway, even if you did get permission, shouldn't you cover up the windows?

Rob: That's true, Li. But before I do any of that, there is something more important to do.

Li: Oh yes?

Rob: Buy some paintbrushes!

Li: Ah yes, you can't brush over that!

Both: Bye.