In today’s episode I explain how to use the expression “To Have Other Fish To Fry” or “To Have Bigger Fish To Fry”, and give you some examples and exercises as well.
Download the full PDF transcript here.
Ep051: Expression – To Have Other/Bigger Fish To Fry
G’day guys. Welcome to this episode of Aussie English. Today is yet again another expression involving animals, and this one today’s going to involve fish, fish.
So, the phrases today or the idiom, the expression, the sentence today is going to be, “To have other fish to fry” or “to have bigger fish to fry”. So, both of these tend to be used as equally commonly as each other. So, I often hear “dah… I’ve got other fish to fry” or “dah… I’ve got bigger fish to fry”.
What does it mean? This phrase means to have other more important matters to attend to. So, to have other more important matters to do, you know, you can’t be here you’ve got to be elsewhere doing something that matters, doing something important.
So, let’s go through some of the words in this phrase.
The word “other” it’s sort of like further, additional, something else, something different, um… from what you’ve already mentioned, from what you’re talking about. So, in the sense of “to have other fish to fry” it means that other than what I’m doing now I’ve got other fish to fry. So, if I’m frying a fish right now, I’ve got other fish to fry, so I’ve got to go and do that. I’ve got other fish to fry.
“Bigger”, I’m sure most of you, if not all of you, know the word bigger. It means larger. So, larger than something.
Um… the word “fish” it’s an animal. It lives in water. So they’re all found in rivers, oceans, ponds, lakes, anything with water in it often has fish in it. They’re limbless, they don’t have limbs, they’ve got no arms [and] no legs. They’re cold blooded. So, they don’t have warm blood like mammals. They’re cold blooded. They have gills. So, the slits in the side of the neck where the water passes through their mouth and goes out the side of their neck, so that’s how they get oxygen into their bodies. They’re called gills. A gill, gills. Fins, they also have, which are the things they use to direct themselves around, ah… instead of arms they have fins. They have a tail fin. They have a dorsal fin on their back, and they have pectoral fins. They have scales. You know what a fish is. That’s a fish.
Um… the verb “to fry”. So, to fry something in this sense means that you’re cooking something in hot fat or in oil. So, for example, a really common meal in Australia is fish and chips, and in order to make these we often cover them in batter. So, batter is flour and water. So, we dip the fish and the chips in batter, and then we fry them in oil. So, we put them in the oil and we deep fry them. So that’s to fry.
So when would you use the phrase “to have other fish to fry” or “to have bigger fish to fry”? You would use these kinds of phrases any time you’ve got to be somewhere else doing something that matters, doing something more important.
So, for example, say, you were in a meeting at work but it was really boring and had nothing to do with what you were doing at work, what you should be doing right now, but you got dragged along. You had to go to that meeting. So, you could say, you know, like, “I don’t really want to be here because I have other fish to fry”. “I don’t want to be here. I’ve got more important things to be doing. I’ve got other fish to fry”.
Um… another example could be say, a professional boxer, say, Mayweather, you know, he’s getting constant um… people asking him, “Can I fight you? Can I fight you? Can I fight you?”, and he’s probably always saying “no”, you know, to all these people who want to fight him because he’s at the top. He only wants to fight the best to maintain his title. He doesn’t want to fight nobodies, he doesn’t want to fight people who don’t matter. And so, to the people who try and challenge him, if they are really, you know, not known at all in the boxing world he could say “look I don’t really want to fight you because I have bigger fish to fry”, which means “I have more important people… which means I have more important people that I could be fighting. I have something else to do. Something more important to do. Sorry, I’ve got bigger fish to fry”.
So, let’s go through some exercises guys, and we’ll do some more conjugating ones today. So, the first one’s going to be “I had other fish to fry”. So this is in the past tense. “I had other fish to fry”. Let’s do it:
I had other fish to fry.
You had other fish to fry.
He had other fish to fry.
She had other fish to fry.
We had other fish to fry.
They had other fish to fry.
And now let’s do one in the future:
I’ll have bigger fish to fry.
You’ll have bigger fish to fry.
He’ll have bigger fish to fry.
She’ll have bigger fish to fry.
We’ll have bigger fish to fry.
They’ll have bigger fish to fry.
So, I hoped you enjoyed that episode today guys. You know, remember to get on Facebook or to get on the website at www.theaussieenglishpodcast.com . Let me know what you think of these episodes, guys. If you have any expressions, sayings, slang terms, anything of the sort that you would like me to do an episode on, that you would like me to explain, feel free to ask. Send me a message whether it’s on the website, whether it’s on the Facebook page, The Aussie English Podcast. Send me a message. I’d love to talk to you guys, and I’ll try and do an episode on whatever it is you’re having trouble with as soon as I can. So, until next time guys have a great one!