T-learning # Idiom
Speak Like a Native

I heard it through the grapevine

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) I heard it from an official source

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

b) I misheard the information because I was drunk

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

c) I heard it from someone who heard it from someone else

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

to hear something through the grapevine’ is commonly used to mean ‘unofficially’ rather than through an official announcement. Rumours and gossip are spread ‘on the grapevine’.

French translation

je l’ai entendu dire, c’est un bruit de couloir, j’ai appris par la rumeur


Examples in context

’Dean’s Office to Revise Advising Practices

A new student advising initiative is in the works at Fordham College at Lincoln Center (FCLC). According to Mark Mattson, associate dean at FCLC, the goals of the initiative are to increase retention and four-year graduation rates and resolve conflicts that seniors face while attending their spring advising meetings. [...]

Megan Tribble, FCLC ’13, said that the advising problems stem from the students’ failure to take the initiative and speak directly with their advisors. “In my opinion, students are kind of clueless when it comes to advising. If they would just go and make an appointment with their deans, they would get the information they needed directly as opposed to getting it through the grapevine from other students indirectly,” Tribble said.’

The Observer, 17 Oct. 2012


’Ooh, I bet you’re wondering how I knew

About you plans to make me blue

With some other guy you knew before.

Between the two of us guys

You know I love you more.

It took me by surprise I must say,

When I found out yesterday.

Don’t you know that...

I heard it through the grapevine

Not much longer would you be mine.

Oh I heard it through the grapevine,

Oh I’m just about to lose my mind.

Honey, honey yeah.’

I Heard it Through the Grapevine was written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for Motown Records in 1966, and made famous by Marvin Gaye in a single released in October 1968 on Motown’s Tamla label.

Our favourite at Claramedia : Creedence Clearwater Revival’s cover.

  • Now click again the audio button at the top of the page.


Everyday usage

I heard through the grapevine that she was going to be promoted, but I don’t know anything more.

His proved to be a very good move recently when we heard through the grapevine that a competitor had entered the market who was using a logo [...]

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