Podcast: Long story short

By Ana | Podcast Inglês Online

Mar 25
Inglês - Podcast Long story short

long story shortHey, all. Neste episódio, eu falo sobre dois idioms comuníssimos com a palavra story. Explico também o verbo to whine, que é usado para descrever alguém que está reclamando assim… meio choramingando.


Hey, all. This is the new episode of the Inglesonline podcast. Please subscribe to this podcast using the Podcasts app for iPhone or iPad, or listen to the episodes using the Inglesonline Android app. Thanks for all the comments at the iTunes store and if you haven’t yet left a comment for this podcast please do so: the more comments for the Inglesonline podcast, the more people will find out about it and listen to the episodes. Thanks for telling your friends, your neighbours, your family and keep listening.

Today we’re going to open our episode with an expression that you can use when you feel like whining about something. Whining – first of all, what does “whining” mean? To whine, w-h-i-n-e, means to complain, but… in sort of a childish way, in a bit of an annoying way. Can you picture that? Picture someone – maybe you – complaining in a way that reminds you of a spoiled or bratty child. Imagine that it’s an adult doing it. A good way to describe that would be “This guy or this woman is whining… about something.” In movies or TV shows it is common to hear someone say “Quit whining” when someone else is going on and on complaining about something.

So imagine your friend Mary is whining about how she bought a beautiful shirt last week, and today that same shirt went on sale! Twenty percent off. Mary says it’s the second time this has happened to her, and then you say “Oh, story of my life. Last year I bought three jackets at my favourite shop and the next week they were 40 percent off.”

So when you say “story of my life” what you’re saying is, that thing your friend just mentioned is something that is typical in your life. Of course, it’s usually an exaggeration – it’s not like that happens every day. It’s a way to sympathise with the other person, though… So we use it when we’re talking about something unfortunate. Let’s say you’re waiting in line to pay a bill at the bank and you start to chat with the person in front of you. You’re telling her it took you twenty minutes to find a parking spot for your car. She replies “Story of my life.” She’s saying the same thing happens with her all the time.

And check out this one: to make a long story short. You use this one when you’re telling someone what happened, for example, but you don’t wanna go through every single detail so you’re just going to give them the basic facts. A short, summarised version of the story. I’m not sure we have a similar expression in Brazil – what do you think? Maybe “Bom, pra resumir…” but I’m not a hundred percent sure. We sometimes say “pra resumir” when we’re reaching the final part of our story so it’s not really the same meaning.

Let’s say you bump into a colleague in the office – Mark. So you haven’t seen Mark in three days, which is highly unusual. You’re used to seeing Mark all the time when he comes to speak to your boss like, two or three times a day. So when you see Mark after three days, you say “Hey, Mark. Haven’t seen you in a while. What’s up?” And Mark goes “Long story short, this may be the last time I see you. I’m being transferred to our office overseas. Sorry, I have to go now but I’ll see you tonight at happy hour”. So Mark didn’t get into the details; he didn’t even really explain why he wasn’t in the office for three days. He just gave you the short version: he’s being transferred overseas so maybe today is the last time you guys see each other. He’ll probably tell you more at happy hour.

In my opinion, this idiom is very applicable in daily life. Very often, it is impossible to tell everyone you run into every single detail of what’s going on in your life. And, you may not want to be talking about the same thing again and again, especially when the details are not very pleasant. So, for example, someone broke into your home and stole your TV and some of your belongings. You keep running into new people who want to know what happened and, while you appreciate their concern, you don’t want to recount the same story a hundred times. So you just say “Oh, it was very upsetting but we’re alright. Long story short, we’re going to replace one of the windows and probably go shopping for a new TV on the weekend.”

What are your examples?  Has anything happened in your life recently and are you giving people the short version of the story? Please let us know in the comments, and talk to you next time!


Key terms

  • whining
  • story of my life
  • (to make a) long story short



bratty = mimada, que faz birra quando não tem o que quer

jonata fontela 02/04/2015

Hi Ana !!! Really cool expressions on this episode , huh :-D
And…I hate when that happens.. when I buy something expensive and then the next week it’s on sale..hahaha so sometimes I’ll whine a little bit… lol

Jennifer 28/03/2015

Hi Ana!! Long time no see you! And to make a long story short I can tell you that I’m overbusy lately…I’ve been teaching,studing and working hard at the university for while. The expression” to make a long story short” have been the story of my life! Be fine!!

    Ana 07/04/2015

    Nice, Jennifer… You don’t have a lot of spare time to get into the details of your life with most people – I understand!! :)

Fatima Regina 26/03/2015

Hello Ann!

“Really, when a person isn’t happy with the situation, they try to make a long story short in order to avoid annoyance, but for the other side, I believe that, our lives are so agitated nowadays, that we are always making it everyday.”

    Ana 07/04/2015

    Yes, Fatima, sometimes we just don’t want to talk about it… Isn’t that the truth?

Sergio Rodrigues 25/03/2015

Does “to make a long story short” and “in a nutshell” should be used in similar context?

    Ana 07/04/2015

    They are very similar, yes, and they could be used to mean the same thing.

Comments are closed