Thursday, October 25, 2012

That rings a bell

If any information rings a bell, it causes you to remember something. What someone is telling you is vaguely familiar. If a phrase or a word, especially a name, rings a bell, you think you have heard it before.

1. When my students ask me if I have ever heard of a place in Brazil, an expression in Portuguese, a Brazilian politician etc, I usually say, “I think so… that rings a bell”, sometimes even if I have definitely never heard of it. I don't want to show my ignorance!

2.  - Does the name of a TV series “Dexter” ring a bell?
     - Is that the child scientist who has a laboratory in the 
       basement of his parents’ home?
     - No… you’re talking about the cartoon for kids. I’m talking 

       about the serial killer who kills killers.

3. If someone tells me the name of a movie in Portuguese, sometimes I don’t recognize it. If I have a vague idea, then I say, “That rings a bell… could you describe what happens in the movie?” If something in the movie - especially the names of actors - sounds familiar, then it will be easier to figure out the name of the movie.


  1. That phrasal verb rings a bell, but I can't seem to remember.

  2. Haha, yes, that happens a lot! There are so many phrasal verbs that look and sound so similar!