The English We Speak – To stab in the dark

When you say you are ‘taking a stab in the dark’ it means you don’t really know the truth and you are just guessing.

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The English We Speak from BBC Learning English
Rob: Welcome to The English We Speak with me Rob and …. oh… oh… Feifei… Feifei, where are you?
Feifei: Hi… hi… over here… come quickly.
Rob: Oh… oh… what seems to be the problem?
Feifei: I think there’s been a murder!
Rob: What?! Really – a murder, here? How can you be so sure?
Feifei: Well, last night I was speaking to my friend and we were talking about Jenny from our office..
Rob: Oh yes Jenny, I haven’t seen her around for a while … so?
Feifei: My friend said Jenny has probably met someone, got married and moved to Australia but then she said something very strange, she said it was ‘a stab in the dark’.
Rob: ‘A stab in the dark’? Ha – so you think she’s been murdered?
Feifei: Well possibly – she hasn’t been seen for a long time and then someone was stabbed – and in the dark – so she must have been murdered at night. Oh dear, I think we should call the police!
Rob: No, don’t call them yet. That phrase isn’t as bad as you think. There’s not been a murder. When you say you are ‘taking a stab in the dark’ it means you don’t really know the truth and you are just guessing.
Feifei: Really? Oh phew. That is good news.
Rob: Ok. Let’s hear the phrase in action…
It might be a stab in the dark but I think my football team is in a good place to win the league this season.
I don’t know how many people came to see the show, but I’ll take a stab in the dark and say about 300.
John thought we could sell our old car for £500 – but really he was taking a stab in the dark!
Feifei: So the phrase ‘to take a stab in the dark’ does not involve stabbing people! But Rob, if we’re not sure what did happen to Jenny, it’s still a bit of mystery.
Rob: Well maybe she didn’t move to Australia… maybe she just got a new job… but I’m just taking a shot in the dark.
Feifei: A shot in the dark! Now you’re talking about her being shot in the dark?
Rob: No no no no – a shot – or a stab in the dark means the same thing – it means I’m guessing – I don’t really know.
Feifei: Well guess no longer – look, here she comes! Jenny: Hello you two.
Rob: Jenny! Jenny: Why are you looking so worried – has someone died?!!
Rob: Bye! Feifei: Bye bye!


BBC The English We Speak

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