BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Until the cows come home: In English, to wait ‘until the cows come home’ means to wait for a very long time.
Neil and Li spend the day in the countryside but Neil is keen to get back to town. He’s getting impatient. When will the bus finally arrive to take them home? Listen to the programme to find out.
(Neil has spent Sunday with Li in the countryside. Now they are going back to town.)
Neil: It’s been a great Sunday in the countryside, Li. I’m a city boy – I’m not used to this much walking and fresh air. It was good though, but now it’s getting late.
Li: Yes, it is, Neil. But now we are going to catch a bus to town and you’ll be back in your normal environment.
Neil: Well, where is this bus?! You said you knew this area. We’ve been here on this dirt road for a while and no buses have passed by. No vehicles at all, actually.
Li: Don’t worry, Neil. The bus will come.
Neil: Li, look! There is a note here on the wall of this old bus shelter!
Li: Oh, I didn’t notice it. What does it say?
Neil: It says buses are subject to delays! We’ll be waiting for a bus until the cows come home!
Li: Those cows?! I think they are already home, Neil. The cows live in that field. It’s us who need to go home. You might be feeling a bit light-headed as you are not used to so much fresh air.
Neil: Li, we are not actually waiting for the cows to go anywhere. In English, to wait ‘until the cows come home’ means to wait for a very long time.
Li: Ah, so nothing to do with the cows?
Neil: Not at all. Let’s hear some examples of how to use ‘until the cows come home’, today’s expression in The English We Speak.
- I’m off work tomorrow so tonight we can party until the cows come home!
- Alan is very stubborn. His wife can try to persuade him until the cows come home but he won’t change his mind.
Li: Oh.That’s a new expression for me. And you learnt something too, Neil.
Neil: What’s that, Li?
Li: Look over there!
(The bus is approaching.)
Neil: That’s our bus! Here, here! We’re over here!
Li: Don’t worry, it’s coming.
Neil: Well, you learnt a new expression and I learnt to be more patient.
Li: One day, even a city boy like you will get used to the calming and relaxing atmosphere of the countryside.
Neil: Yes. The cows look happy, don’t they? Munching away on the grass…
Li: Yes, indeed. Let’s go. Bye.
The English We Speak – Until the cows come home Transcript Video
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