BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Pie in the sky: In English, we use the expression ‘pie in the sky’ to talk about something good that we would like to happen but which is unlikely to.
Finn and Li are bird-watching in the woods. As she looks up in the sky Li wonders: Is it a bird? Is it a plane? Is it… a pie?! Listen to the programme to find out what the phrase ‘pie in the sky’ means.
Li: I’m so happy you invited me to come to the woods to do some bird-watching with you, Finn.
Finn: I’m glad you came along, Li. It’s a very British hobby. We love nature and the different species of birds. That one, for example, is a swallow.
Li: Oh. Pass me the binoculars please.
Finn: Can you see how beautiful it is?
Li: Oh, I can see it clearly. It’s tiny. It must be a young one. It’s good that the mayor has promised to preserve these woods, Finn.
Finn: I wish they would stop building shopping centres everywhere. But preserving all these areas is pie in the sky, Li.
Li: Pie in the sky? Where? These binoculars are good but I can’t see any pie!
Finn: No, there is no actual pie up there, Li. In English, we use the expression ‘pie in the sky’ to talk about something good that we would like to happen but which is unlikely to.
Li: So you think the idea of preserving these woods is good but they might end up building a shopping centre here.
Finn: Exactly. Unfortunately, I think these businesses are too powerful.
Li: Let’s not lose hope, Finn.
Finn: Well, ‘pie in the sky’ is the expression in this edition of The English We Speak. Now let’s hear some examples of how it is used.
- When my bank manager says the stock market is sure to recover by the end of the year, that’s clearly pie in the sky.
- Mary’s plans to live a life of luxury are just pie in the sky. She doesn’t have much money.
Li: Well, I must admit that the idea of pie has made me hungry.
Finn: Yeah, I’m hungry too. Let’s go back to town and find a place where they serve tasty pies.
Li: Yes! I love cherry pie! Bye bye little birdies!
Finn: Yum yum. Bye.
The English We Speak – Pie in the sky Transcript Video
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