The English We Speak – To go around the houses

The expression you ‘go around the houses’ means you take a long time to say or do something, when in reality it can be done or said a lot quicker…

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The English We Speak from BBC Learning English
Feifei: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak, with me Feifei..
Rob: ..and me, Rob. Hello!
Feifei: Err Rob, I’ve been meaning to ask.. you’ve got a car haven’t you?
Rob: Yes, Feifei, I have.
Feifei: Is it a quite special car? You know, a valuable, expensive one?
Rob: No no, it’s just an old car – but it gets me around. Why are you asking?
Feifei: Oh no reason.. you don’t use it much do you?
Rob: No.. Feifei, there’s no need to go around the houses – just say what you want to say.
Feifei: OK.. can I borrow your car please? But don’t worry, I won’t take it round the houses – I just want to go to the supermarket.
Rob: Ha! Feifei when I said there’s no need ‘to go around the houses’; I wasn’t referring to where you drive my car. I mean, you don’t have to waste time saying lots of unimportant things before you actually say what you want to say.
Feifei: I see! So I should just say what I want to say – I should get to the point?
Rob: Yes, that’s another way of putting it. Basically it means you take a long time to say or do something, when in reality it can be done or said a lot quicker. Let’s hear some examples of the phrase ‘to go around the houses’ in action..
Don’t go around the houses; just tell me straight, what have you done?
He went all around the houses talking about the match but all I wanted to know was who won?
I didn’t know how to tell him he’d failed his exams so I went all around the houses before I let him know.
Feifei: So, to go around the houses means you go a long way round before asking what you want to ask. Rob, you haven’t answered my question yet.
Rob: Oh yes, what was the question?
Feifei: Can I borrow your car.. please?
Rob: Oh well, erm, I need to fill it up with petrol..
Feifei: Oh right..
Rob: And I need to drive to work..
Feifei: But that’s not until Monday!
Rob: It’s not very tidy inside..
Feifei: Rob – don’t go around the houses – your answer is ‘no’ isn’t it?
Rob: Yes Feifei. You can’t borrow it. I crashed it last week – nobody can drive it!
Feifei: You certainly won’t be going round any houses then Rob!
Rob: Very funny Feifei!
Both: Bye!


BBC The English We Speak

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