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The English We Speak

Intermediate level

Promises, promises

Episode 220418 / 25 Mar 2022

Summary

Neil’s promised to do something nice for Jiaying, but she has her doubts – so why is she going on about promises and promises? Listen to this episode to learn a new expression about not believing someone’s promises.

Transcript

Jiaying
Hello and welcome to The English We Speak with you, Neil…

Neil
…and you, Jiaying. And today, Jiaying, as it’s your birthday, I’m going to make the coffee…

Jiaying
But…

Neil
No, I insist. And I’m going to buy the biscuits – not the cheap ones this time…

Jiaying
Really?! Hmm, promises, promises!

Neil
That’s right – two promises – make the coffee and buy nice biscuits – it is your birthday after all.

Jiaying
When I said ‘promises, promises’, I was being sarcastic!

Neil
Oh!

Jiaying
When we say ‘promises, promises’ to someone, we are being sarcastic because we don’t really believe that someone will do what they said they would do. Sorry, Neil, I was saying I don’t believe you’ll do it. Let’s hear these examples….

Examples

Promises, promises! The plumber said he’d be here at 8am – but he isn’t.

A: Next time, I will remember to bring some money to pay for dinner.
B: Promises, promises!

My boyfriend says he’ll take me to Venice for a mini break. Promises, promises!

Jiaying
This is The English We Speak from BBC Learning English and we’re talking about the expression ‘promises, promises!’ which we can say to someone if we don’t believe they will do what they say they will do. So, Neil, what about this coffee and biscuits you’re getting – are they ready yet?

Neil
Well, I haven’t got much time at the moment, and I need to borrow some money to buy the biscuits.

Jiaying
Like I said, promises, promises! But it doesn’t matter, I’ve been trying to tell you that it’s not my birthday today.

Neil
Oh. Why didn’t you say! Well, when it is your birthday, I will make the coffee and buy the biscuits.

Jiaying
Not the cheap ones?

Neil
No, the expensive ones. I promise!

Jiaying
Really?

Neil
Yep, I never break a promise.

Jiaying
OK Neil, if you say so. Bye for now.

Neil
Bye.

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