Have you ever been talking about a friend or coworker when they walked into the room suddenly? This might be awkward for the person who has just heard his or her name mentioned. It’s normally polite to explain to that person what you were talking about. In English, you might begin by saying “Speak of the devil!” which is an idiom that means “We were just talking about you!”
Watch the video below for more examples of how to use this idiom in real-world contexts.
Speak of the devil? Sounds a little creepy! Well, the full expression is even creepier: Speak of the devil, and he shall arrive. [Shudder]. Well, we use this expression when we are talking about somebody and then — suddenly — they arrive. Or, when you are talking about something and then it suddenly happens.
Let’s clear this up with a few examples:
- I saw Charlie yesterday… Oh, here is now! Charlie, speak of the devil! How are you!
- Did you hear the news about Quentin Tarantino? Oh, speak of the devil, it’s on the news [on TV] now! Watch this!
- I was telling Mary about how Ann and Paul just got married, when — speak of the devil — the happy couple walked in the door!
So there you have it: speak of the devil. Can you give us an example of when you could use this phrase?
Try to think of a situation where you would use this expression in real life. Use the prompts below to help you.
- If you were talking about a friend and they walked into the room suddenly, what could you say?
- Imagine you were talking about your friend, and she suddenly called you. What would you say when you picked up the phone?
- Were you ever interrupted by a coworker entering the room while you were talking about them? How did you handle it?
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