Catch Word #137 – To dot your i’s and cross your t’s

At Culips, we always try to focus on the details and get everything right for you! The expressions in this episode are used to talk about analyzing and examining things, checking for information, or making sure that everything is perfect. Of course, at Culips, we like to dot our i’s and cross our t’s! Listen to this episode to learn about this expression and others that mean to look very carefully at something. If you’re a member, you can also go over this episode with a fine-tooth comb by reviewing the transcript!

btn_lipservice.gifEnglish Podcast

Expressions included in the learning materials

  • Sugar cream pie
  • Original and unique
  • You can’t complain
  • To dot your i’s and cross your t’s
  • Handwriting
  • To double-check
  • A CEO
  • To go over something with a fine-tooth comb
  • Comb
  • Lice
  • To bring something home
  • To dissect something
  • Dissections in biology class
  • Metaphors and stanzas

For a complete transcript, click:

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Sample transcript

Maura:            That is right. And Harp, how are you feeling today?

Harp:              You know, I’m really good. But I’m so full.

Maura:            I bet I know why you’re full. We just had pie.

Harp:              I know. Why did I take that second piece though?

Maura:            Because it was so good. And Harp, you brought such an interesting flavour tonight.

Harp:              Yeah. It was kinda different. It had apples and pears and cranberries.

Maura:            And then there’s also a kind of pie that’s very popular in Quebec called sugar cream pie. And they had bits of sugar cream in the pie, too.

Harp:              Really, it was pretty intense. It was a flavour explosion.

Maura:            Yeah. It was original and unique. But you can’t complain. It’s a pie; it’s gotta be good, right?

Harp:              Yes. Next time I’ll only have one piece though.

Maura:            All right. Let’s get to today’s episode. Today we’re doing a Catch Word episode, and that is where we talk about different related expressions. Of course, we tell you what they mean, how you can use them, and we give you examples.

Harp:              Yes. So let’s get started. Today we’re looking at expressions that mean to review something very carefully.

Maura:            That’s right. So all today’s expressions are talking about looking at something in a very detailed manner. This means to be meticulous or thorough, which just means that you’re looking very carefully at something.

Harp:              Let’s get started with the first expression.

Maura:            The first expression is to dot your i’s and cross your t’s.

Harp:              Yes. To dot your i’s and cross your t’s.

Maura:            Now, this expression is kind of long and could be confusing, so let’s say it a couple more times. To dot your i’s and cross your t’s.

Harp:              To dot your i’s and cross your t’s.

Maura:            Now the first thing that’s worth mentioning: in this expression, when we say i’s, we’re not talking about the word that’s spelled E-Y-E-S, like the two eyes in your head. It’s the plural of the letter i. And when we talk about t’s, we’re not talking about that great drink, a cup of tea. We’re actually talking about the letter t, and that is also plural, when we say t’s.

Harp:              Yes, so to dot your i’s and cross your t’s; we’re talking about the letters i and t.

Maura:            Now, this expression means to review something carefully, to go over something in a very detailed way in order to make sure that you don’t have any mistakes. So with this expression, you’re checking something carefully to make sure that there isn’t an error and to make sure that you finished it well.

Harp:              Yes. So when you say to dot your i’s and cross your t’s, you’re carefully going over your work to make sure that there are no mistakes, there are no errors, everything is perfect.

Maura:            Right. This could be for written work, or it could be for a project, or a presentation, any kind of work that has been or is almost completed.

Harp:              Yes. To dot your i’s and cross your t’s. It’s something you do at the end, when your work is being finished. It’s your final check before you hand in a project or before you’re finished a presentation.

Maura:            Now this expression is related to cursive handwriting. And this is a style of writing where all of the letters of your word are connected together, so as you’re writing, you don’t have to lift your pen and pencil. Also, when you’re writing like this, you might write the letter i or the letter t, and when you get to the end of the word, you have to go back to dot the i and cross the t.

Harp:              I remember being young and learning handwriting and having to go back and cross the t, make sure all the i’s were dotted, so I see where this expression comes from.

Maura:            Right. Sometimes when we’re writing really fast and we have a lot of ideas, we might forget to dot an i or cross a t when we’re writing, and so, at the end of something that you’ve written, it’s a good idea to check and make sure that you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s. That’s where this expression comes from. But now, it’s not speaking specifically about the letter i and the letter t, it just means that you’re checking over your work to make sure there are no mistakes.

Harp:              Yes. You go back, you read over what you’ve written or you look at the project that you’ve completed to make sure that there are no mistakes, there are no errors.


english PodcastAudio/Learning Materials: Culips