when it comes to: meaning and explanation

When it comes to something is a very useful phrase for focussing on a specific topic or area.

We use this phrase to introduce a more specific topic or area that we want to talk about. e.g. In general I’m quite a relaxed parent, but when it comes to my children’s safety I don’t take any chances. 

Imagine I am explaining the ways in which I am similar to my parents. In some ways, I am similar to my mum. In other ways, I am similar to my dad. I can use ‘when it comes to’ to focus on specific areas, e.g. When it comes to my appearance, I take after my dad. When it comes to my personality, I take after my mum.

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

Dictation #1

Accent: England (London)

good driver, but parking problems.
I'm a good driver, but it comes parking I have problems.

Dictation #2

Accent: North America

This clip is from an episode of the Table Manners podcast, in which Jessie Ware and her mum Lennie interview a guest while preparing and eating a meal. It’s always a great source for relaxed conversation with interesting people. This episode features actor Zachary Quinto.

, I this I've . If , I that me .
You , I will say this this is something I've and embrace. If you know me, I don't that me all that when it comes .
You what, I will say this about and this is something I've come to and embrace. If you ask who know me, I don't really think that has changed me all that much when it comes to .

…this is something I’ve come to know

The structure to come to do something is used to talk about something that you do gradually, eventually, or after a period of time. e.g. I didn’t like Jack when I first met him, but I’ve got to know him quite well over the last few years and I’ve come see him as one of my best friends. 

…and embrace

The verb to embrace someone/something literally means to hug someone/something. It can also be used metaphorically to mean that you accept something in a very positive or enthusiastic way. e.g. Jessica has always been someone who embraces new technology.

Discussion question

Write your answer to this question in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • The UK has many nice places to visit. When it comes to history, Bath is probably the most important city. When it comes to nightlife, London is definitely the most popular destination. When it comes to outdoor activities, the Scottish Highlands can’t be beaten.Tell me about different places to visit in your country, using ‘when it comes to’ to focus on different areas.

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