BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Bells and whistles: In English, when you say ‘bells and whistles’, you mean something extra, like all the add-ons and gadgets.
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. ‘Bells and whistles’ is today’s expression in The English We Speak.
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…
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.
The English We Speak – Bells and whistles Transcript Video
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