BBC Learning English: The English We Speak – Pull the plug: in English, when we tell someone we’re going to pull the plug on something, we mean we are going to stop spending time or money on it.
Rob is having serious problems writing a programme about art. Li wants to help him. But how? Listen to the programme to find out.
(Li comes into the office and finds Rob very annoyed)
Li: Good morning, Rob.
Rob: Hi Li. I wish the morning was good but it’s not.
Li: Why not?
Rob: Well, I came to the office very early today to write a programme about art.
Rob: Yeah, but it’s giving me a headache because I don’t really understand art. I think I’m going to pull the plug on this idea!
Li: Pull the plug?
Rob: Yes. If I pull the plug on this one I’ll be more relaxed and inspired to write a programme about technology. They’re the ones I like the best. I love new gadgets!
Li: No problem. I can do it for you.
Rob: (surprised and concerned) Oh, my computer has been switched off! What’s happened!?
Li: Here’s the plug. I’ve just pulled it out. You can be more relaxed now. There you go.
Rob: Oh Li, I didn’t literally mean “pull the plug out”. In English, when we tell someone we’re going to pull the plug on something, we mean we are going to stop spending time or money on it. Let’s listen to some examples.
- Research on the new product was becoming very expensive so the company pulled the plug on the project.
- The play got really bad reviews and almost no one came to see it, but the theatre owner said he wouldn’t pull the plug on it.
Li: OK. So you don’t want to spend time on a programme you don’t enjoy writing.
Rob: No, not really.
Li: So I might have done you a favour by pulling the plug out.
Rob: Well, maybe. Yes, you’re right Li. Thank you.
Li: OK. Now that you sound more relaxed, I will plug it back in so you can write about… technology!
Rob: That’s right. And I can start describing the wonders of electricity!
Li: That’s a great idea. You see, you see, your face has just lit up with joy! Bye.
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