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cut to the chase: meaning and explanation

to cut to the chase = to go directly to the main or most important point or issue without spending time on anything else.

This can be useful when someone is telling us something in an inefficient way and we want them to hurry up, but bear in mind that this is quite a direct phrase and should be used carefully. e.g. Can you cut to the chase? I’ve got a meeting in 5 minutes.

We can also use this phrase to explicitly tell people that we are not going to waste time and will get straight to the main point. This is useful when giving important or bad news (as the first micro-dictation) – in such situations, it is often better to be frank and direct.

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Micro-listening #1

Accent: North America

, . .
Look, I’ll . Head office morning they’re on department.
Look, I’ll to the chase. Head office me this morning they’re pulling the on our department.

About the sentence

…they’re pulling the plug on our department…

You can find an exercise to practise this expression here.

Micro-listening #2

Accent: Ireland

Micro-listening #3

Accent: Australia


Extra practice

Here are some questions/links to help you learn the new vocabulary:

  • In communication, why is it sometimes important to “cut to the chase” and get straight to the point? Can you think of situations where being direct is crucial?
  • Can you remember a time when you wished someone would cut to the chase?
  • Do you think there are cultural differences in how people perceive “cutting to the chase” in communication?

Photo by Jonny Kennaugh on Unsplash

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