Archive for February 26, 2010

idiom: to be on the tip of one’s tongue


Today, I have another body idiom for you: to be on the tip of one’s tongue. This is used in situations where you have forgotten some piece of information, and you can almost remember but not quite. The information is usually quite simple such as someone’s name, the title of a movie or even just a word. For example:

I can’t remember the name of that movie, but it’s on the tip of my tongue.

What’s your brother’s name again? Wait, don’t tell me! It’s on the tip of my tongue.

What’s the word for “chair” in Japanese? Oh, it’s on the tip of my tongue! I hate it when this happens!

As you can see, we use this idiom when we ourselves forget some information, but it’s unnatural to use it about other people. Therefore, we DON’T say, “It’s on the tip of your tongue” or “It’s on the tip of her tongue”, etc. Also, we don’t use it when we forget some information which is more detailed and complex.

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