T-learning # Idiom
Speak Like a Native

it’s swings and roundabouts

Click below to listen to the phrase.

Choose the correct definition a, b or c.

a) it’s a situation with pros and cons

Well done ! That’s the right answer.

it’s swings & roundabouts’ is an idiom used to describe a situation in which there are as many advantages as there are problems.

French translation

ce que l’on gagne d’un côté, on le perd de l’autre

How NOT to translate : *c’est balancelles et carrousels


Examples in context

Swings and roundabouts for skills funding

Tony Blair is said to have once joked that you could hide a declaration of war in a speech about skills and no-one would ever notice it. He might still be right.

Last week, while Labour was setting out its plans to tinker with university funding, the government released largely unnoticed news of a significant budget cut. The skills budget is being trimmed by 5% from this year into next year - but that number disguises bigger swings.’

BBC News, 2nd March 2015


Swing or Roundabout ?

In many respects, the way in which we talk (and perhaps the way in which we think) about general elections is decades out of date. We bend our understanding of modern events to fit the language that was coined to describe the events of the past and sometimes, even if we are aware of this, we are in danger of being led astray.

A classic example of this is the way we talk about the shift of votes between parties. We look at the 2010 general election, when the Conservatives gained more votes than the Labour Party, we calculate the ground that Labour has made up since then as a net percentage of the vote so that we can extrapolate to infer the position in individual constituencies, and we still call this change a swing.’

Huffington Post, 21st April 2015


Everyday usage

It’s swings and roundabouts at work, but at least we finished the accounts for 2015 last week.

If you make more money, you have to pay more tax, so what we gain on the swings, we lose on the roundabouts. It’s swings and roundabouts, really.

b) it’s a different game

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

c) it’s extremely delicate

Sorry, wrong answer. Please try again.

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