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Last updated at 13:05 BST, Tuesday, 05 August 2014

Look like the back end of a bus


Feifei has an audition for a job in TV. She wants to look her best, not like 'the back end of a bus'. Can you figure out what this phrase means? Listen to the programme to find out.

The back end of a bus

The back end of a bus. Beautiful?

The script for this programme

Helen: Hello, Feifei.

Feifei: Hi, Helen.

Helen: Getting ready for The English We Speak?

Feifei: Well, kind of.

Helen: Look at you - are you going somewhere special later?

Feifei: Yes, I am. As it happens, I'm going for an audition for a new TV programme.

Helen: What new programme is it?

Feifei: It's called The Analysis - it's all about current affairs and, you know, serious news items.

Helen: Really, I would have thought you would be auditioning for a celebrity chat show. You're looking awfully glamorous for a news programme.

Feifei: Well, you can't look like the back end of a bus when you go on TV, no matter what kind of TV programme it is.

Helen: What? Back end of a bus? What's 'bus' got to do with TV?

Feifei: Oh, you know what I mean. What do you see on the back of a bus?

Helen: Er, a window and... er, exhaust pipes?

Feifei: Not much to see, is there?

Helen: No, who would want to look at the back end of a bus? It's so ugly.

Feifei: Exactly. Nobody wants to look at the back end of a bus. If I looked like the back end of the bus, nobody would hire me in TV.

Helen: I get it. The phrase 'look like the back end of a bus' means looking ugly. You want to look your best - that's why you're wearing make-up and that beautiful dress.

Feifei: That's right.

  • A: (sobbing) I can't believe what a vengeful person Mike is. We broke up last Friday.
  • B: It doesn't surprise me. I've never thought much of him!
  • A: And he wrote to his friends that he dumped me because I look like the back end of a bus.
  • B: Oh, no! What a horrible thing to say! He should look in the mirror himself.

Helen: So this expression, 'look like the back end of a bus' is not a very pretty thing to say to anyone. It would really offend somebody.

Feifei: No, you should definitely not use it to describe what someone looks like. Let's hope this new dress is worth the money I spent on it. See you later.

Helen: Good luck!


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