AE 299 – Expression: To Cross That Bridge When You Come To It

Learn Australian English in this Expression episode of Aussie English where I teach you to use TO CROSS THAT BRIDGE WHEN YOU COME TO IT like a native!

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AE 299 – Expression: To Cross That Bridge When You Come To It

Morning guys.

How’s it going? How have you been? What you been up to? What you’ve been up to?

That’s a really good greeting in Australian English. What you been up to? What have you been up to?

“What have you been up to?” meaning “what have you been doing?”.

How has your week been going? I hope you guys have been well. I finally had my final presentation for the PhD.

So, I spent all week, well all the fortnight really, the last two weeks, putting that together practicing it, rehearsing it.

And then, yesterday, the day before yesterday, on Thursday, I got to present in front of the University.

That said, there weren’t that many people there. It was probably a small room of about 20 people.

It was pretty good. It took about, you know, 30 or 40 minutes for me to get through my 96 slides in my Power Point presentation for these guys.

But, yeah, (I) felt really good. We had pizza afterwards. I hung around with everyone there for a bit.

And then, (I) had to jump back home and give some private lessons.

So, it was a good day except for the fact that it pissed down rain.

So, it was raining cats and dogs as we had to walk from the Museum over to the University.

So, the University requires me to give my final presentation in the University or at the university, although I am based at the Museum.

So, I’m normally at the Museum because my supervisor is based at the museum.

That’s where he works. And so, I work there with him.

But I am enrolled through Melbourne University.

Anyway, so, aside from that, last night we went out. So, it was a big party with the lab that I work in.

So, all the people that I work with who are also students studying at the Museum.

We went out to a place called The Napier Hotel. N-A-P-I-E-R. And that is in Fitzroy.

So, for anyone living in Melbourne or planning to visit Melbourne, I really recommend going to the Napier, N-A-P-I-E-R, in Fitzroy, because they have the most amazing parmas.

So, “parma” is an Australian slang term for parmigiana. I’m probably saying that incorrectly.

Basically, a parma is a dish, a certain food, where you get… you usually get a salad, some chips, and you’ll get a chicken breast that’s been cooked in crumbs.

And then it usually has ham on top with cheese on top of that with tomato sauce on it as well.

Forgive me, my alarm just went off.

So, parmas are one of my favourite meals to go out and have in Australian pubs.

The Napier is an Australian pub.

This is one of these stereotypical Australian meals that you’ll find if you go out and about in Australia.

And so, the reason the one at The Napier is so good is because they use smoked kangaroo.

So, that may come as a bit of a shock to some of you guys, but we can eat kangaroo in Australia.

They are actually a pest species.

There’s way way way too many of them because of all the farming that we do.

They breed like crazy. Anyway, we can eat them. We have them often at restaurants.

You can get them at Woolworths, which is a supermarket chain.

But, the Napier’s so good because it’s smoked kangaroo that they use instead of ham.

Anyway, these parmas are huge. They’re about the size of your head. Really really really good good food.

On top of that, we drank a whole heap of beer.

Definitely more than I should have drunk, but I made it home in the end.

I, you know, walked home through the streets after hanging out with all of my friends, and we all parted ways, and (I) came home and pretty much got straight into bed.

So, I got home, walked through the door, and hit the sack. I hit the hay.

I went to bed pretty much straight away. So, that’s been my week.

That’s been my last evening. I am now sitting here in front of my computer chatting to you guys with a coffee.

So, (I’m) trying to sort of, hopefully, cleanse a little bit today, and be a little more healthy.

I might go get a salad for lunch. Anyway, today’s going to be an awesome episode, guys.

Let’s get into it.

So, today’s expression is “to cross a bridge” or “to cross that bridge when you come to it”.

“To cross that bridge when you come to it”. As usual guys, let’s just get into it.

Let’s define the words in the expression to cross that bridge or to cross a bridge when you come to it.

So, “to cross”, “to cross something”, this is to traverse something, to pass over something.

To go from one place to another place to cross something.

So, you could cross a river if you use a bridge to literally go across the river.

You cross the river. You could cross an ocean if you were in a boat. You could cross the ocean by sailing.

Or you could be in a plane and you could fly over the ocean, to cross it.

You could cross the ocean by flying over it. So, that’s the verb “to cross”.

“A bridge.” “A bridge” is a structure for walking, for driving, for riding across to pass over something usually a road or a river, a building, a path.

A bridge is a structure for crossing something else, for going over something else. A bridge.

“To come to”, “to come to something” is to arrive at something.

So, “to come to a stop” is to arrive at a stop. “To come to a place” is to arrive at a place.

So, I could say, “Today, I have come to this beach to go for a swim. I have arrived at this beach to go for a swim”.

“To come to” is to arrive at.

As usual, let’s go through and define the expression, guys.

So, if you say to someone, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.” or you tell them that they need to cross that bridge when they come to it, it means that they need to solve that problem when and if it arises.

So, it’s a metaphor for solving a problem, for overcoming an obstacle when and if it arrives, when and if it happens.

So, “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it” will mean that we’ll worry about, quite literally, crossing that bridge, we’ll worry about going over that bridge, when we get to the bridge, when we arrive at the bridge.

But figuratively, if we use this as a metaphor, it means that we will solve that problem, we will overcome that obstacle, whatever the obstacle or whatever the problem is, when we get to it, when we arrive at it, when we come to it.

So, to cross the bridge when we come to it is to solve a problem when it happens.

As usual, let’s talk about some examples of how we would use this expression in everyday life guys.



So, imagine, number one, that you are going on a road trip. You’re going on a road trip around Australia.

So, maybe you’re driving from Perth all the way east to Victoria, to Melbourne, where I live.

And then, you’re going to drive all the way north up the east coast of Australia to Cairns.

And that’s thousands and thousands of kilometres.

I think it be about 12,000 kilometres to do those two legs of that trip.

To drive from Perth to Melbourne. The first leg.

And then, to drive the second leg from Melbourne to Cairns.

So, it’s a huge road trip that you’ve got planned, and you have an old car.

So, the car’s a bit of a bomb. You’re worried the car’s going to break down.

It’s going to stop functioning. So, that something in the engine is going to go wrong.

Maybe something will break. A cable will break. Maybe the radiator will blow.

Something’s going to happen and the car’s going to break down. This is what you’re worried about.

If you say to someone, “What happens if the car breaks down?”, the other person could say to you “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

And they’re saying that meaning, “We will worry about that problem when it happens. We’ll worry about overcoming that obstacle, the obstacle of the car breaking down, if it happens, when it happens. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”


Number two. Imagine you’re planning a surprise birthday for your mother, for your mum.

So, you want to plan this awesome epic surprise birthday with all your relatives, with all of her friends, with all of the gifts.

You’re going to cook up a barbie.

You’re going to have a whole bunch of food. It’s going to be an amazing party.

But your mother hates surprises. She absolutely hates surprises.

So if someone said to you, “Oh man! What happens when she gets here and she freaks out, she gets angry because it’s a surprise and you know your mother hates surprises?”

You could say, “Well, if she gets angry about it we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. You can cross that bridge when you come to it. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. We’ll worry about this problem, we’ll worry about the obstacle that is mum getting angry about this surprise birthday party, when and if it happens. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.“


So, the last example, example number three, is that you are worried about an upcoming exam for an incredibly difficult subject that you are studying at university.

So, I imagine that you’re studying something like, at least for me, maths.

I was awful at maths as a kid, and I was awful at university, and I still am awful at maths.

Imagine that you’re studying for an exam that you need to pass in order to continue studying, and you’re incredibly worried that you’re going to fail it.

Maybe you say to someone, “Oh, I’ve got to study for this exam. I have to go and complete it. I have to get at least this score. I’m really worried that if I don’t I’m going to get thrown out of university.”

Someone could say to you, “Look, just do your best. You’ve still got several weeks to study. Do your best. See how you go, and if things go badly we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. We will cross that bridge when we come to it. We’ll worry about that obstacle or that problem when and if it happens. You can cross that bridge when you come to it.”

So, as usual guys, let’s go in, let’s dive in, let’s do a listen and repeat exercise where you guys can practice your pronunciation.

So, listen and repeat after me, guys, and try to sound exactly like I do as a native English speaker.

Let’s go.

Listen and repeat:

To cross.
To cross.

That bridge.
That bridge.

To cross that bridge.
To cross that bridge.

To cross that bridge when you come to it.
To cross that bridge when you come to it.

I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.
You’ll cross that bridge when you come to it.
He’ll cross that bridge when he comes to it.
She’ll cross that bridge when she comes to it.
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.
They’ll cross that bridge when they come to it.
It will cross that bridge when it comes to it.

Good job, guys. Good job.

So, now as usual, let’s have a little quick chat about pronunciation and connected speech, guys, and how it relates to the expression “To cross that bridge when you come to it”.

In this one, I want you to notice that when we say “To_w_it”, “To_w_it”, “To_w_it” we join the two vowels that “-o” and the “i-“, “To_w_it”, with a W-sound.

So, this happens all the time in English.

And this, again, is not just Australian English. This is all forms of English.

When we have two vowels either side of one another, one at the end of a word, for instance “to”, and the other at the start of a word, in this case “it”, we link them.

And we’ll link them with either a “Weh” sound, a W sound, “Weh”, or a “Yeh” sound, a Y sound, a “Yeh”.

So, in this case, it’s a W. It’s a W sound. “To_w_it”.

So, listen and repeat after me, guys. I’m going to say “To_w_it” five times.

Practice your pronunciation, and then we’ll go through the listen and repeat exercise one more time so that you can practice this pronunciation and connected speech tip.

Let’s go.

Listen and repeat:


I’ll cross that bridge when I come to_w_it.
You’ll cross that bridge when you come to_w_it.
He’ll cross that bridge when he comes to_w_it.
She’ll cross that bridge when she comes to_w_it.
We’ll cross that bridge when we come to_w_it.
They’ll cross that bridge when they come to_w_it.
It’ll cross that bridge when it comes to_w_it.

Great job guys. Great job.

Remember, that as usual, as I always go over at the end here, if you want to sign up to be a member go over to, and click on Learn English Faster.

You can sign up and become an Aussie English supporter straight away, you can become a member, and you can get access to all the bonus content for this episode, as well as all the previous expression episodes.

So, the bonus content includes MP3s, a more thorough PDF of the transcript, and you get access to all of these exercises that are designed to teach you to speak English and to understand English just like a native speaker.

So, we go through substitution and phrasal verb exercises, we go through pronunciation in connected speech exercises, grammar exercises, slang exercises, listening comprehension exercises, everything that you need to take your English to the next level faster.

Aside from that, guys, if you want to support Aussie English you can become a patron on the Aussie English Patreon page.

This is a page that you go to online where you can donate money.

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So, you can donate one dollar. You can donate more than a dollar if you choose.

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So, thank you to all the current patrons on there.

It means the world to me that you guys are supporting me (to) create this content to help everyone learn Australian English.

Anyway, guys I hope you have a great week. Keep practicing your English.

Keep practicing speaking, reading, listening, and writing.

Keep at it, and I’ll chat to you soon.

See ya guys!

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