cut down: meaning and explanation

to cut down on something = to reduce something

We often use this phrasal verb to talk about reducing something which we think we should do less often (e.g. Money is a bit tight this month, so I need top cut down on eating out.), or consume less of (e.g. I’m trying to cut down on crisps but I’m really struggling.).

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

You'd you cut amount coffee .
You'd better if you cut on the amount coffee you .

About the sentence

…You’d sleep better if you cut down on…

This is an example of a second conditional: If + past, would + verb.

We use the second conditional to talk about the unreal or hypothetical present.

This means that in this example, it is very unlikely or impossible that the person will cut down on the amount of coffee they drink.

Micro-listening #2

Accent: Ireland

, .

, but I've to .

I smoke, but I've been to .

About the sentence

…I’ve been trying…

In this example, the way that the speaker pronounces I’ve been trying is very difficult, and it sounds more like I been.

This is an example of elision, which is when sounds disappear and are not pronounced

Micro-listening #3

Accent: England (RP)

? ?

you want biscuit? I thought to sugar?

Are you you want to have biscuit? I thought were to cut on sugar?