BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Have a lot on my plate: In English, when you say you ‘have a lot on your plate’ or ‘too much on your plate’, you mean you have a lot of work to do or a lot of problems to deal with.
Feifei and Finn are having a meal in a new restaurant. His plate is full of tasty food, but his life is full of difficult problems. Then why is he not happy when Feifei tries to help him out? Listen to the programme to find out.
Feifei: This is a great restaurant, Finn. I’m glad we could finally come here and try out their new menu.
Finn: It is a good restaurant, Feifei. But, well, I haven’t been able to relax and enjoy a nice meal in the last few weeks.
Finn: Yes, well, I’m moving home soon…
Feifei: Oh, I know how difficult it is to find a new flat.
Finn: Yes. And my grandmother has been complaining that I don’t visit her in Scotland very often…
Feifei: Yes, our elders like us to visit every now and again.
Finn: And this new project at work…
Feifei: I’ve noticed that you have been working late…
Finn: I simply have too much on my plate right now!
Feifei: Oh, if you have too much on your plate, can I help you?
Finn: Yes, well, that would be nice…
Feifei: Leave it to me. Let me take some of this lovely looking chicken from you. Mmm… this is very tasty…
Finn: Feifei, what are you doing?! You’re taking food from my plate?!
Feifei: Mmm… I must find out how they cook this chicken. It tastes so good!
Finn: Feifei, I didn’t mean for you to take food from my plate. In English, when you say you ‘have a lot on your plate’ or ‘too much on your plate’, you mean you have a lot of work to do or a lot of problems to deal with.
Feifei: Problems?! That’s not good.
Finn: Yes. Well, it’s not about food, but about work and problems. ‘Have a lot on my plate’ is today’s expression in The English We Speak. Let’s hear some examples of how it’s used.
- Ann has a lot on her plate at the moment. She’s just had twins!
- Sorry, but the manager can’t speak to you today. The company is launching new products next week and she’s got too much on her plate right now.
Feifei: Oh, so this expression has nothing to do with this delicious food you have on your plate.
Finn: Come on, Feifei. You knew this expression already – you just wanted to pinch my chicken!
Feifei: OK, OK, guilty as charged! This chicken looks so appetising… and these potatoes and…
Finn: Feifei, I can share them with you.
Feifei: Oh thank you, Finn. And you can share the workload, too. I can help you with your new project so you’ll have time to go and visit your granny.
Finn: Feifei, I’m very grateful. Here, have some more potatoes. And… I like the look of that carrot mash you have on your plate.
Feifei: Here, have some… this food is lovely! We’ll have clean plates in no time at all. Bye.
The English We Speak – Have a lot on my plate Transcript Video
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