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set your heart on: meaning and explanation

If you set your heart on something or have your heart set on something, then you desperately want it, and it is deeply important to you that you get it or achieve it. e.g. Theresa has set her heart on getting a job as a pilot when she leaves university.

This expression communicates the idea that getting or achieving this thing is emotionally important to you – you will be very sad or disappointed if it doesn’t happen. In fact, a useful way of using this expression is to talk about someone not getting what they want. e.g. Poor little Michael was very upset because he had set his heart on getting a new bike for Christmas.

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

Josh , .
Josh his studying medicine, hope he he needs.

Micro-listening #2

Accent: Ireland

Micro-listening #3

Accent: England (RP)


Extra practice

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

  • Is there anything that you have your heart set on at the moment? You can answer with the structures “my heart is set on sth/doing sth” or “I have set my heart on sth/doing sth”.
  • Tell me about a time that you were very disappointed because you didn’t get something that you really wanted.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

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