keep it down 4

keep it down: meaning and explanation

Keep it down is a phrasal verb as well as being a fixed expression.

This is what you say when you want someone to be quiet or to stop making so much noise. e.g. I don’t mind you having your friends over, but please keep it down a bit – we don’t want the baby to wake up.

Usually, it is clear from the context what noise we are talking about, so we just say ‘it’. However, it is also fine to specify if you want to: keep the music down, keep the volume down, keep your voice down etc.

Have a go at this dictation exercise to hear this phrasal verb being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: North American

please a ? I can think.
Can please it down a ? I can barely myself think.

…I can barely hear myself think

Barely has the same meaning and usage as hardly: almost not. For example, if you say “I barely slept last night”, then you slept, but only a tiny bit.

“I can hardly hear myself think” is a fixed expression that we can use when we’re complaining about how noisy something is – usually when we’re trying to focus or work and the noise is distracting us.

Discussion questions

Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • Has anyone every ignored you when you asked them to keep it down? Or have you ever ignored someone who asked you to keep it down?
  • Can you remember a situation when you had to keep your voice down?

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

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Yes, every time my brother would get home being drunk, he played music so loudly that we could hardly hear ourselves think.

Although my parents used to ask him to keep it down, he just ignored them. So we had to put up with him and with his loud music. That noise grated on me a lot and I could barely sleep a tiny bit.

I remember a time when I had a job that I had to get up at 5 am. I always tried to keep everything down so that no one wouldn’t wake up.


Sometimes when I’m studying at home my mom start to play music cooking or making dinner and she keeps her music too loud, so I always have to remember her that I’m in home and need silence or at least keep the music down for a while.

Yes, all the time in the library when I meet with my classmates and we started to argue about a subject so loud, people start to complain and keep our voice down. Can you keep your voice down? I can´t focus, please and thank you.

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