BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Look like the back end of a bus: This phrase means looking ugly. This expression is not a very pretty thing to say to anyone. It would really offend somebody.
Feifei has an audition for a job in TV. She wants to look her best, not like ‘the back end of a bus’. Can you figure out what this phrase means? Listen to the programme to find out.
Helen: Hello, Feifei.
Feifei: Hi, Helen.
Helen: Getting ready for The English We Speak?
Feifei: Well, kind of.
Helen: Look at you – are you going somewhere special later?
Feifei: Yes, I am. As it happens, I’m going for an audition for a new TV programme.
Helen: What new programme is it?
Feifei: It’s called The Analysis – it’s all about current affairs and, you know, serious news items.
Helen: Really, I would have thought you would be auditioning for a celebrity chat show. You’re looking awfully glamorous for a news programme.
Feifei: Well, you can’t look like the back end of a bus when you go on TV, no matter what kind of TV programme it is.
Helen: What? Back end of a bus? What’s ‘bus’ got to do with TV?
Feifei: Oh, you know what I mean. What do you see on the back of a bus?
Helen: Er, a window and… er, exhaust pipes?
Feifei: Not much to see, is there?
Helen: No, who would want to look at the back end of a bus? It’s so ugly.
Feifei: Exactly. Nobody wants to look at the back end of a bus. If I looked like the back end of the bus, nobody would hire me in TV.
Helen: I get it. The phrase ‘look like the back end of a bus’ means looking ugly. You want to look your best – that’s why you’re wearing make-up and that beautiful dress.
Feifei: That’s right.
- A: (sobbing) I can’t believe what a vengeful person Mike is. We broke up last Friday.
- B: It doesn’t surprise me. I’ve never thought much of him!
- A: And he wrote to his friends that he dumped me because I look like the back end of a bus.
- B: Oh, no! What a horrible thing to say! He should look in the mirror himself.
Helen: So this expression, ‘look like the back end of a bus’ is not a very pretty thing to say to anyone. It would really offend somebody.
Feifei: No, you should definitely not use it to describe what someone looks like. Let’s hope this new dress is worth the money I spent on it. See you later.
Helen: Good luck!
The English We Speak – Look like the back end of a bus Transcript Video
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