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“To ring a bell”

When I’m teaching at The English Tree at Le Terrazze, I often hear the church bells of San Timoteo ringing as the time passes during the day. Today they made me think of a popular idiom that English speakers like to use… to ring a bell.

If something rings a bell, it sounds familiar – we think we have heard it before.We often use it in conversation when someone refers to the name of a person, a place, a book, a film, a piece of music…. If we think we know the name, but can’t remember details, we say: “The name rings a bell, but I’m not sure where I heard it.”

Here are some examples in short conversations:

“Do you know John Wilson?”

The namerings a bell, but I don’t remember him. Who is he?”

“Have you been to Bath in the South West of England?”

The name rings a bell, but I haven’t been. What’s it like?”

“Have you read ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ by Harper Lee?”

The name rings a bell, but I can’t remember it very well. What’s it about?”

We hope that these new idioms start to ring a bell with you!!