Talk Like a Native
Episode 14 - Hands are tied
Kevin: Hey Christine, do you think I could get a raise?
Christine: I can’t. My hands are tied.
Kevin: What? Your hands look fine to me. If you didn’t want to give me a raise, you could just tell me. You don’t have to make up an obvious lie.
Christine: It’s not that I don’t want to raise your salary, it’s that we don’t have enough money in the budget to do it. When I say my hands are tied, I mean that there is nothing I can do about it.
Kevin: Oh, I thought you were just trying to make up an excuse.
Christine: I’m really sorry. I promise that when we start to earn more money, I will give you a raise.
Kevin: It’s ok, I understand. Let’s hear some more examples of this phrase!
- Although the president promised to spend more on healthcare, he now claims his
hands are tied due to budgetary restrictions.
- I would really like to help you refund this product but my hands are tied. If you do not have your receipt, we cannot process the refund.
- With the new rules, their hands were tied and they could no longer help on the weekends.
Kevin: How about buying me lunch? Don’t tell me your hands are tied there too.
Christine: I actually already have plans today but I promise to buy you lunch next time.
Kevin: Everybody heard that right? She promised to buy me lunch next time. Let’s go have steak. Oh or sushi or lobster!
Christine: I’m going to buy you McDonald’s if you keep annoying me.