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Last updated at 14:25 BST, Tuesday, 06 May 2014

Not enough room to swing a cat


Finn is looking for a flat to rent, but after visiting several places he's still not happy. Li is accompanying him to help cheer him up. But how could a cat help him?

A cat

This cat's not for swinging

The script for this programme

(Li is accompanying Finn as he goes flat hunting)

Finn: This is flat number five, Li. I'm happy you came along to help me find a nice place to live.

Li: Renting a new place is a big step, Finn. This one looks good. Look here. Big windows, lots of light coming in. Isn't it nice?

Finn: Yeah. It's good but…

Li: It's been painted recently. Look, the wooden floor is lovely!

Finn: Yes, you're right, it's lovely but… Li… there's not enough room to swing a cat!

Li: A cat? Are you sure? No problem. I saw one outside. I'll be back in a minute.

(She leaves the room for a few seconds)

Finn: Li, what is this?!

Li: It's a cat, Finn. I didn't know you liked swinging cats around, but… well, this cat was just outside and you can try swinging it! Just be gentle with it.

Finn: No, Li. I don't swing cats. In English, you use the expression 'there's not enough room to swing a cat' when you want to say a place is much too small.

Li: What a relief!

Finn: 'Not enough room to swing a cat' is today's expression in The English We Speak. Let's hear some examples of how to use it.


  • The library at my college was really small. There wasn't enough room to swing a cat!

  • I can't work in this office. There's not enough room to swing a cat! Where will I put my books and my computer?

Finn: So, not enough room for me in this flat, Li. But thanks for coming with me all the same.

Li: So what are you going to do, Finn?

Finn: I think I'll just move in with my brother.

Li: Is his flat small? Could you… swing a cat there?

Finn: In my brother's house cats rule! He loves furry little animals.

Li: Well, I think this cat might join you there. Let's go, Finn. Bye.

Finn: Bye. And no cat was harmed in the recording of this programme. Isn't that right, Tubby?

Tubby: Meow.


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