Well, the cat’s out of the bag. Several of you have guessed my secret.
That cat’s out of the bag. What a great idiom. In this American English pronunciation
video, we’ll go over how what it means, how to say it, and how to use it.
It would be hard to keep a cat in a bag wouldn’t it? I imagine it would struggle, it would
move around a lot, and would want out.
>> The cat’s out of the bag.
‘The cat’s out of the bag’ is an idiom in English that means a secret becomes known.
>> Hey, are you coming to Renee’s surprise party tonight?
>> Yes, but it’s not a surprise anymore. The cat’s out of the bag, she overheard
me talking about it.
Now, there’s something that I’ve been keeping from you, the Rachel’s English audience.
It’s gotten harder and harder to keep you from knowing, and in my last video, quite
a few of you noticed. The cat’s out of the bag. It’s not a secret anymore.
I’m pregnant. Over the course of our trip this summer, and this fall, I’ve been getting
bigger and bigger. And now I’m about two months away from my due date. I’m due December
30, with a boy. This is my first baby. And my husband and I are really excited.
I’ve had a lot of fun over the past week reading your comments on Facebook and YouTube
as some of you figured out that I’m pregnant. Thank you for your well-wishes.
So there it is, the cat’s out of the bag. Interestingly, I got a request this week to
go over the phrase ‘out of’, so the timing is perfect for this idiom.
>> The cat’s out of the bag.
The cat’s out of the bag. We have six words, and only two of them are stressed, which means you
want the rest to be really short. Since all of these words go together to make one idea,
they should all link together.
The first word is ‘the’. Voiced TH, schwa. Because this is a function word, it’s not
very important. We don’t have to bring the tongue tip all the way through the teeth,
th. You can instead press the tongue behind the teeth, the. It will squish through the
teeth a little bit, the, the, but it doesn’t take as long as bringing the tongue tip all
the way through the teeth, th, th, the. Th, th, the. The cat’s, the cat’s.
Here’s a stressed word. We’ve made it a contraction with ‘is’. ‘Cat is’
becomes ‘cat’s’. K sound, the AA vowel, aa. You might want to lift your top lip a
little bit to get the right sound, aa. The tongue lifts high in the back and then comes
down in the front. AA, ca-, ca-, cat’s. The TS cluster. Close the teeth and put the
tongue to the roof of the mouth, cat-ts, stop the air, then release the air and the tongue
tip down, keeping your teeth together for the S, ts, ts, ts. Cat’s. Cat’s. Do you
hear how ‘cat’ is much stronger than ‘the’? The cat’s, the cat’s. That’s because
‘the’ is a function word. It’s less important. We don’t care about it as much.
Cat’s is a content word. These are more important for the meaning, so they have clearer.
That means we’ll make them longer. The cat’s, the cat’s.
Now we have three function words in a row. Out-of-the will be pronounced ‘outta the’.
So the V in ‘of’ is dropped, and we want to link it to the word ‘out’. Outta, outta.
What do you notice about the T? Outta. It’s a Flap T because it comes between two vowels.
Just bounce the tongue once against the roof of the mouth, outta, don’t stop the air,
outta, outta the. Outta the. Another ‘the’, pronounced just like the first ‘the’.
You don’t need to bring the tongue tip all the way through the teeth.
Outta the. Practice that a couple times. Outta the, outta the, outta the. The cat’s, outta
the. The cat’s out of the. The cat’s out of the.
And finally, one more stressed word, ‘bag’. Another word with the AA vowel. Drop your
jaw and lift the top lip slightly, ba-, ba-. Back of the tongue is high, tongue tip is
down. Bag. What do you notice about the pitch of this word? Bag. It goes down in pitch.
Bag, bag. That’s what we want with a stressed syllable.
The cat’s out of the bag. [3x]
You can use this idiom in any setting, casual or business. We do use idioms in more formal
speech and in work situations.
I hope this video has helped you understand when and how to say this idiom. If there’s
an idiom you’d like explained, please put it in the comments below.
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That’s it, and thanks so much for using Rachel’s English.