to ring a bell

by | Last updated May 9, 2019 | Expressions | 5 comments

to ring a bell

by | Last updated May 9, 2019 | Expressions | 5 comments

This sentence contains the expression "to ring a bell". Do you know this idiom? How much of the sentence can you understand?

Listen as many times as you need to, then check your understanding and practise using the new language.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Language: C2 (Proficient)  //  Accent: English (RP)

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

This sentence contains the expression "to ring a bell". Do you know this idiom? How much of the sentence can you understand?

 

Listen as many times as you need to, then check your understanding and practise using the new language.

 

If you have any questions, feel free to ask!

 

Language: C2 (Proficient)  //  Accent: English (RP)

 

Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

... ?
isn’t ringing ...do a photo ?
The isn’t ringing any ...do have a photo him?

About the sentence

to ring a bell

If someone says that something 'rings a bell', then they are saying that it sounds familiar - it triggers a memory, but not a clear or complete one. 

As with the example, this is most commonly used with names. It's impossible to remember everyone that you meet, and I'm sure you've experienced situations where you hear a name, and can't quite remember whether you have met the person or not. You kind of recognise the name, but you can't recall the person. The name 'rings a bell'. It's a useful expression to use to 'buy time', when you're trying to remember something: "hmmm, the name rings a bell, let me think...".

This expression is often used negatively (to mean that something doesn't sound familiar, e.g. "the name doesn't ring any bells") and as a question, to ask if someone remembers something (e.g. "does the name Peter Smith ring any bells?").


Notice the weak pronunciation of 'do' and 'you' as /də jə/ (or almost /djə/).

Discussion question:

Write your answer to this question in the comments section, and I'll get back to you with some feedback:

  • Tell me a story (real or made up) about a time when you bumped into someone who knew you, but who you didn't recognise. Try and use the expression 'to ring a bell'. 

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Marisela
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Marisela

My family and I met a person in a little town in 2007. But we hadn’t seen each other until 2016. We can say that the situation happened the other way around because when we bumped into him he didn’t remember us at all but we did remember his whole name. We asked him whether our names rang any bells but as much as we tried to help him, he couldn’t remember anything until we sent him a photo of him with us.

AlineS
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AlineS

Once I met a school time colleague in an event. I remembered him, but he was with a friend, who I didn’t know. For my surprise, his friend knew my name and said hello as if he hadn’t seen me for a long time. His face didn’t ring any bells, but I pretended I recognized him, because I have a bad memory for faces and he could really know me.

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