English on the Internet - English Magazine

Greetings my Czech friends!

November 7, 1999

I was thinking the other day about how English speaking people might express disbelief in something that someone has told them. In English we have several idioms relating to this and several funny expressions which you could use to express your disbelief in what someone has just said.

Firstly, those idioms. If you "lead someone up the garden path", or you "pull the wool over their eyes" it means that you have tricked or fooled them, or that you have arranged matters such that they believe something other than the truth.

A similar expression is "to pull someone's leg". If you attempt to pull someone's leg, it means that you are trying, usually for fun, to fool or trick them into believing something.

Now for some humorous responses. If you think that a friend (don't say this to a stranger!) is trying to fool you, you could say "You're pulling my leg!" or, to be more colloquial, "Pull the other one!", or even "Pull the other one; it's got bells on!". Some (not all!) British people may occasionally express disbelief by saying "That's a load of old cobblers" or simply "Cobblers!"

So, now you know what to say to me if at any point you don't believe what I'm telling you!

Until next time,


To suggest a topic you can write to me at dareid@btinternet.com or you can visit my home page at www.btinternet.com/~dareid

© November 1999 English on the Internet www.aj.cz