John is invited to dinner at the house of his new girlfriend, Elsa. He’s nervous about meeting her parents for the first time, but she assures him that they’re very friendly. On the day of the dinner, John arrives at the family’s home and knocks at the door hesitantly. Elsa’s father opens the door, smiles and says “Nice to beat you, John. I mean … nice to meet you!” Why do you think he made this slip of the tongue?
Watch Dara’s video to learn more about this common idiom.
A slip of the tongue? Tongues can’t slip – they don’t have any feet!
Not literally! A slip of the tongue is an idiom which means an error in speech. Now, this is an unintentional physical error, so it’s not a bad decision. It’s just a physical accident – for example a mispronunciation or mixing up words. Something like that.
Let’s look at a few examples:
- It’s lovely to see you again, Mr. Fool – Poole!! Mr. Poole!! I’m very sorry, Mr. Poole. That was a slip of the tongue!
- Hello, is the bean dizzy? … Sorry, slip of the tongue … I mean, is the Dean busy?
- OK, you have pepper in the water. Now, get some washing-up liquid… This is the pun fart – the fun part!! The – fun – part!! Sorry, slip of the tongue!
So, there we have it: tip of the slung – I mean, slip of the tongue. Slip – of – the – tongue! [Sigh]. See you next time!
Read the questions and think of a response that includes today’s idiom.
- Did you or one of your classmates ever say something foolish to a teacher by mistake?
- Have you ever mixed-up or mispronounced an English word, which changed the meaning of the sentence? For example, students commonly mix-up the words ‘chicken’ and ‘kitchen’, or ‘pleasure’ and ‘pressure’. Which words did you mix up?
- Can you think of an example from a movie where a character got into trouble for saying something foolish? What happened?
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Watch more Everyday Idioms here, or check out our English Grammar Guide.
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