Hold Your Horses (new: audio included!)

BBC Learning English is an excellent tool to improve your English skills.


William: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak. My name is William Kremer.

Li: And I’m Li. William, what’s our phrase today?

William: Well, hold on a second Li, let me just play you –

Li: No, come on, tell me now – what phrase are we looking at today?

William: Well, we’ll come onto that in a minute but I’ve got some very special FX for you…

Li: More special FX?! And special music? That’s not what our people want! They want authentic English phrases, and they want them now! So what’s our phrase today?

William: Li, hold your horses!

Li: Eh?

William: Hold your horses. It means: be patient.

Li: Oh… where does this phrase come from, William?

William: Well, apparently it comes from battles in times of war:

FX – Battle re-enactment noise

Man: Hold your horses men!

FX – gunfire, horses whinnying

Li: Wow, Will, your FX this week are really special!

William: Hmmm, I know! In that clip we heard a soldier telling his men to hold their horses before he started firing weapons.

Li: But nowadays, I am guessing, you don’t need to be a soldier to use this phrase, right?

William: Exactly, yes. It means: don’t rush, be patient. Let’s hear a couple of examples:

Man: I’ve just gone online to order us some new computers. What’s our charge code again?

Woman: Ah, well you’re going to have to hold your horses! I haven’t agreed a budget yet with the management team.

Man 2: I’ve just spoken to Mark –

Woman 2: Have you indeed? Well don’t listen to a word that man says! He’s never liked me…

Man 2: Hey, hey hey! Hold your horses. We didn’t discuss you at all, as a matter of fact.

Li: So in that first example, the man couldn’t order his computers yet because the company hadn’t agreed a budget. He had to wait; he had to hold his horses.

William: Hmm. And in the second example it was slightly different. In that clip we heard a woman interrupt the man because she thought she knew what he was going to say.

Li: Ah yes, the man told her to hold her horse and wait for him to finish speaking.

William: Ah, yeah, but Li we never say “Hold your horse” we always say “Hold your horses”.

Li: Oh OK, I’ll bear it in mind. But, er, Will…?

William: Yeah?

Li: Can you hold this for me please?

Horse whinnying

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/learningenglish/

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