BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater is an English idiom which means: ‘don’t lose something valuable while we’re getting rid of something else that we don’t want’.
Feifei loves taking care of babies and is considering becoming a babysitter. Finn reminds her about all the good things she does in her current job, and tells her not to change career. Does he convince her? And who will end up holding the baby? Listen to the programme to find out.
(Doorbell rings, door opens)
Hi, Feifei. Fancy a lift to the office?
Hello, Finn. Sorry, I’m not actually going in to the office today. I’m taking care of my niece.
Oh, what a sweet baby!
Isn’t she adorable? You know, I’m thinking about becoming a full-time babysitter!
Hang on, Finn. (To the baby) Time for your bath, little one!
But Feifei, you don’t actually want to change your job, do you?
Well, I enjoy my job. But sometimes, you know, it can be very stressful. I feel like a change…
Really? But you’re so good at your job! I know how you love completing projects. And we’d all miss you so much.
I know. But dealing with babies is so much easier.
Well, just don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, Feifei.
What do you mean?! I know how to take care of a baby. Why would I throw her out?
See what you’ve done.
Sorry! ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’ is an English idiom which means: ‘don’t lose something valuable while we’re getting rid of something else that we don’t want’. So I was talking about your job, Feifei. Just because you find it stressful – that’s the thing you don’t want – don’t stop completely and lose what’s valuable.
Ah, I see. So you think my job gives me satisfaction, in spite of the long hours in the office… so I shouldn’t give it up.
That’s right. ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater’ is the expression in this edition of The English We Speak. Now let’s hear some examples of how it’s used.
I know you don’t like the dress, but I think if you make a few changes to it, it will look lovely. It’s such beautiful material. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. I know the wallpaper is ugly, but this is a lovely house. We can always redecorate.
Thank you, Finn. Having colleagues like you who care for me is so important. You know what? I don’t want to be a babysitter after all.
That’s the spirit!
So… here’s the baby and… well, the nappies are in that drawer.
Feifei, what do you mean?
Well, Finn, someone has to take care of the baby. I’m going to the office. See you later. Bye!
And I’m left holding the baby… Bye!
The English We Speak – Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater Transcript Video
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