BBC The English We Speak – Down the pan (with listen&read video): When things are not going as planned, we can say they’ve gone ‘down the pan’, but which pan is it?
Hello and welcome to Authentic Real English. I’m Helen and joining me today is Neil.
Hello everyone. You know my friend Jeff the documentary maker?
Well he had this great story he was about to make a film about – the most expensive wedding in the UK.
So what happened? Has he finished it?
He was due to film the wedding on Saturday. Then yesterday, he got a call from the bride.
Don’t tell me the wedding is off.
It is. After all that hard work, everything just went down the pan.
Went down the pan? What pan?
It’s an expression we use informally to say something disastrous has happened. It’s not the cooking pan we are referring to here. It’s actually the toilet!
The toilet! Oh yuck!
Just imagine, when you flush the toilet, everything gets washed down the pipe. That’s what I mean – ‘down the pan’, everything’s gone! Total disaster! Here are a few examples:
Jason had great dreams of becoming a football player, but they went down the pan when he broke his leg.
I’m afraid all that careful preparation we did for Jemma’s surprise birthday party went down the pan when her brother told her about it.
He was ready to move into his new home, but everything went down the pan when the fire destroyed the house last night.
I get it. If things are going completely wrong and a lot of effort is wasted we can use the phrase ‘down the pan’.
That’s right. Er, Helen, I think you forgot to press the record button on this programme.
Oh no. What a disaster. Neil, would you mind re-recording this?
(Sigh). Helen, that’s my tea break down the pan.
The English We Speak – Down the pan listen&read video
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