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The English We Speak

Intermediate level

Bitten by the bug

Episode 220627 / 27 Jun 2022

Summary

Neil’s new hobby is gardening, which he’s excited about until he realises he gets bitten by bugs! But is this the sort of bugs that Feifei is trying to tell him about? All will be explained in this episode of The English We Speak.

Transcript

Feifei
Hello and welcome to The English We Speak from BBC Learning English. I’m Feifei…

Neil
…and hello, it’s me, ouch! ...Neil.

Feifei
Are you OK?

Neil
I can’t stop itching. 

Feifei
Oh dear, that’s very uncomfortable. What’s caused that? 

Neil
Well, it’s probably because I’ve started gardening – I’ve planted some flowers and I’ve started growing my own vegetables.

Feifei
I’m impressed! It sounds like you’ve been bitten by the bug.

Neil
Yes, bugs in the garden – that’s what’s causing me to itch. Ouch! 

Feifei
Probably, but I wasn’t referring to the actual bugs! When you are ‘bitten by the bug’, it means you have become very interested and excited in doing something. We’re not actually being bitten by a bug! But in your case, Neil, it looks like you’ve been bitten by both types of bugs!

Neil
Yep. Can we have some examples, please?

Examples
Ballroom dancing is back in fashion and Catherina’s been bitten by the bug – she’s bought a sequin dress to wear at her lessons.

Lyn’s been bitten by the fitness bug – he spends hours at the gym every day.

I’ve been bitten by the travel bug – I’m always looking for new destinations to visit.

Feifei
You’re listening to The English We Speak from BBC Learning English. I’ve been explaining the phrase ‘to be bitten by the bug’, which means to become interested and excited in doing something. So, it’s great that you’ve become interested in gardening, Neil.

Neil
Thanks – but not great if bugs are going to bite me every time I go into the garden.

Feifei
Maybe it’s not bugs. I’ve heard that poison ivy can cause severe itching.

Neil
Oh no, I don’t like the sound of that. Hmm, maybe gardening isn’t for me. Can I be ‘unbitten by the bug’?

Feifei
No, Neil. But I know what you mean.

Neil
Right, I’m off to buy some cream to soothe my itches. Bye.

Feifei
Bye, Neil.

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