BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – The boot’s on the other foot: this phrase means the situation is now the opposite of what it was. Or – the situation is reversed.
Rob’s had to suffer a shopping trip with Feifei but now it’s his turn for fun and he drags Feifei out walking. But when he says the boot is on the other foot, she’s not sure what he means. Rob can explain!
Feifei: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak, with me, Feifei…
Rob: …and me, Rob. Hello.
Feifei: Hey Rob, thanks for going shopping with me yesterday. It was fun, wasn’t it?
Rob: Erm, was it? I don’t really call shopping ‘fun’, but if it made you happy then that’s OK. Now it’s your turn to make me happy! Come on, get your walking boots on.
Feifei:(suspicious) Why, what we are going to do?
Rob: Go for a hike up that hill over there. You know how I love hiking.
Feifei: (reluctantly) Oh, if I have to… I really don’t like hiking.
Rob: Ha! You see, the boot’s on the other foot now.
Feifei: What? I think you’ll find both my boots are on the correct feet.
Rob: No Feifei. I’m not really talking about your boots. When we say ‘the boot’s on the other foot’ it means the situation is now the opposite of what it was.
Feifei: Thanks for clearing that up. Yes, the phrase ‘the boot’s on the other foot’ means the situation is now the opposite of what it was. Or – the situation is reversed. OK Rob, so you mean I am the one who is going to suffer now.
Rob: Yes exactly. It’s my turn for some fun now. So come on, now you’ve got your boots on, let’s go.
Feifei: Hold on, let’s hear some examples of this phrase in action first…
- My football team was always top of the Premiership, but since Manchester United signed that new player, the boot’s on the other foot now.
- My brother always had all the luck, but since I won the lottery, the boot is on the other foot now!
Feifei: So, when the boot – or shoe – is on the other foot, it means the situation is reversed. Actually Rob, I have to admit I am quite enjoying the walk.
Rob: (surprised) Really?
Feifei: Yes, my walking boots are so comfortable, the sun is shining – it’s actually quite fun!
Feifei: What’s up?
Rob: Your boots may be comfortable, but mine are – well, actually they’re too tight! Ouch. Can we go back now?
Feifei: Ha ha – the boot’s on other foot again!
Rob: Will you carry me?
The English We Speak – The boot’s on the other foot Transcript Video
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