The english we speak(BBC教学)第75期:a finger in every pie好管闲事


Rosie: Hi and welcome to The English We Speak. Today we're having an office party with the whole BBC Learning English team.


Helen: And we're eating some delicious cakes and pies that Jen has baked for us. Have you tried the apple tart?


Rosie: Mmm... It's so tasty. Jen really has a lot of different skills, doesn't she?


Helen: Yeah, she really gets involved in lots of different activities. She's always organising different parties, goes rowing... and did you know she works as a weather presenter at the weekend?


Rosie: And she's a good cook too - this blueberry crumble is delicious. She really does have a finger in every pie.


Helen: Ugh, really? I mean they taste good, but now I know she puts her fingers in them... I think I've just lost my appetite.


Rosie: That's not what I meant when I said she has a finger in every pie. It means she gets involved in a lot of different things.


Helen: So someone has a finger in every pie when they're involved in different activities? Is it a good thing then?


Rosie: Well, in this case, when I said Jen has a finger in every pie, I meant it as a good thing, but it can sometimes suggest someone gets involved in things when they shouldn't.


Helen: So it can be a good or a bad thing... Let's have a look at some examples:


If you need any information just ask Annabel. She has a finger in every pie and always knows the answer.


At work I'm a teacher but I also do some accounting and organise the end-of-term play. I like to have a finger in every pie!


"I can't seem to do anything without him being there - yesterday I went to the photography club and he was there." "Well, unfortunately he does have a finger in every pie."


Helen: So if someone gets involved in too many different things and people disapprove of this, it can be used as a CRIticism.


Rosie: Yes, and Shakespeare used it in his play Henry VIII. In the play it's used as a CRIticism of someone who gets involved in everything when he shouldn't:


No man's pie is freed From his ambitious finger.


Helen: So the person CRIticised here feels the need to put his 'ambitious finger' in every single pie that's baked to taste them all...


Rosie: Yes, which means he gets involved in things he shouldn't.


Helen: But Shakespeare used the expression in a slightly different way from how we use it today. Now we just say someone has a finger in every pie.


Rosie: Yes, it's slightly less poetic than "no man's pie is freed from his ambitious finger".


Helen: Well, this is all very interesting, but I haven't tried the peach pie yet...


Rosie: Well, no pie is freed from Helen's greedy fingers, is it? Only joking, Helen!


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