Last updated at 10:46 BST, Tuesday, 08 July 2014

Bells and whistles

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Feifei has finally bought a laptop and is grateful for Finn's advice. But was he really helpful? Listen to the programme to find out.

A bell and a whistle

Will a bell and a whistle do much for your machine?

The script for this programme

Feifei: Hi Finn. I'm so happy. I finally bought that laptop I was so keen on.

Finn: That's great, Feifei. It took you a long time to decide on the brand, the model... and even the colour, didn't it?

Feifei: Yes, I know. But there are so many options on the market... Every computer has its good and bad points, but I followed your advice!

Finn: My advice?

Feifei: Yes, your very good advice! Let me take the laptop out of the bag and show you...

Finn: Bells?!

Feifei: Yes, bells! Aren't they lovely?

Finn: And what on earth are those?

Feifei: Those are whistles!

Feifei: And this one, too.

Finn: Feifei, the laptop is a good one. This is the latest model of a very good brand...

Feifei: Yes, it is! And you told me to buy one with all the bells and whistles!

Finn: Yes, but when I said that, I didn't mean actual bells and whistles. In English, when you say 'bells and whistles', you mean something extra, like all the add-ons and gadgets.

Feifei: No whistles? And no bells?

Finn: I'm afraid not. 'Bells and whistles' is today's expression in The English We Speak. Let's hear some examples of how it's used.

  • My neighbour is very jealous of me. I've just bought a car with all the bells and whistles! It's even got a mug holder for my coffee by the dashboard!
  • I don't need a mobile phone with the latest bells and whistles. They add to the cost and all I do is answer calls and send text messages.

Feifei: Well, even if you didn't mean actual bells and whistles, Finn, you gave me good advice.

Finn: Oh? How come?

Feifei: When I left the shop, with my brand new laptop, a mugger tried to steal it from me.

Finn: Oh, that's terrible, Feifei!

Feifei: Yes, I know. But I managed to unzip my bag, shook the laptop and blew the whistle. A policeman who was nearby heard the noise; he rushed over and arrested the mugger!

Finn: Oh, that's brilliant! Well, maybe I should attach some bells and whistles to my laptop, too.

Feifei: Yes. A computer with all the bells and whistles is great, I say!

Finn: OK. Bye.

Feifei: Bye.

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