These three micro-dictations all contain the expression ‘cut to the chase’. Complete each exercise, and then try to guess the meaning/usage of the expression from the context.

Dictation #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.

…they’re pulling the plug on our department

We saw the idiom to pull the plug earlier in the course. Can you remember the meaning?

Dictation #2

Accent: Ireland

- . .
A - don’t smalltalk. to cut .
A of advice - don’t with the smalltalk. He people to cut to the .

…a word of advice

a word of advice is an useful way to introduce a suggestion or a piece of advice to someone. This is often used when the advice is being given in a quiet or discreet way. e.g. A word of advice – don’t mention the meeting yesterday. It didn’t go well.

Dictation #3

Accent: Australia

Cutting to laying any common by .
Cutting to the without laying any groundwork a common mistake by inexperienced .

…without laying any groundwork

to lay the groundwork = to do the necessary preparations which will help you to achieve your objective. e.g. We’ve been laying the groundwork for our entry into the South American market for several years.

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.

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