BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Not enough room to swing a cat: In English, you use the expression ‘there’s not enough room to swing a cat’ when you want to say a place is much too small.
Finn is looking for a flat to rent, but after visiting several places he’s still not happy. Li is accompanying him to help cheer him up. But how could a cat help him?
(Li is accompanying Finn as he goes flat hunting)
Finn: This is flat number five, Li. I’m happy you came along to help me find a nice place to live.
Li: Renting a new place is a big step, Finn. This one looks good. Look here. Big windows, lots of light coming in. Isn’t it nice?
Finn: Yeah. It’s good but…
Li: It’s been painted recently. Look, the wooden floor is lovely!
Finn: Yes, you’re right, it’s lovely but… Li… there’s not enough room to swing a cat!
Li: A cat? Are you sure? No problem. I saw one outside. I’ll be back in a minute.
(She leaves the room for a few seconds)
Finn: Li, what is this?!
Li: It’s a cat, Finn. I didn’t know you liked swinging cats around, but… well, this cat was just outside and you can try swinging it! Just be gentle with it.
Finn: No, Li. I don’t swing cats. In English, you use the expression ‘there’s not enough room to swing a cat’ when you want to say a place is much too small.
Li: What a relief!
Finn: ‘Not enough room to swing a cat’ is today’s expression in The English We Speak. Let’s hear some examples of how to use it.
- The library at my college was really small. There wasn’t enough room to swing a cat!
- I can’t work in this office. There’s not enough room to swing a cat! Where will I put my books and my computer?
Finn: So, not enough room for me in this flat, Li. But thanks for coming with me all the same.
Li: So what are you going to do, Finn?
Finn: I think I’ll just move in with my brother.
Li: Is his flat small? Could you… swing a cat there?
Finn: In my brother’s house cats rule! He loves furry little animals.
Li: Well, I think this cat might join you there. Let’s go, Finn. Bye.
Finn: Bye. And no cat was harmed in the recording of this programme. Isn’t that right, Tubby?
The English We Speak – Not enough room to swing a cat Transcript Video
The English We Speak
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