Anecdota

Laughter is the Best Medicine

What does ‘the joke is on you’ mean?


Feifei: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak. I’m Feifei and joining me is Rob… Rob: Hello! Hey, Feifei. Have you heard the news? Feifei: Gossip, you mean. Rob: No, no – it’s true! We’ve been given the day off! So, sorry, I’m not going to hang around – I’m off to the beach. Feifei: Hold on! Who says? Rob: Neil. He said the boss told him that we’ve all worked so hard we don’t have to work today! Feifei: Hmm. It sounds like a wind-up to me – a wind-up is another way of saying ‘a trick or joke’. I’m sure Neil was joking! Rob: April Fool, Feifei! I was joking! I wanted to trick you – to see if you’d leave the office and… take the day off. Feifei: Ha ha, very funny. Well, actually, I have got the day off today. So the joke is on you, and it starts now. Goodbye. Rob: Feifei, where are you going? Come back and explain what ‘the joke is on you’ means… please! Feifei: …OK, Rob! When ‘the joke is on someone’, it means the person who has tried to make you look silly has ended up looking silly themselves. The joke has backfired. And now you look silly, Rob. Rob: Point made, Feifei. Here are some more examples of this phrase in action… Daisy laughed at my ‘terrible’ dress sense, until she found out I was wearing a designer dress – I guess the joke’s on her now! Ha, you thought I’d never beat your time for completing the marathon. But I have, so the joke’s on you! I know you were trying to be funny by saying I’d never pass my exam. But now you’re the only one who hasn’t, so the joke’s on you, I’m afraid! Feifei: This is The English We Speak from BBC Learning English and we’re looking at the phrase ‘the joke is on someone,’ which means someone has tried to make someone else look silly but ended up looking silly themselves! So this perfectly describes you, Rob – the joke about taking a day off is ‘on you’. Rob: I was just having a laugh at April Fool’s Day. But, hold on. Where is everybody? The office is empty. Feifei: Ha – not another one of your ‘jokes’? Rob: No, seriously – look, there’s an email. It says ‘Due to a power failure the office is out of action. You can all take the day off.’ Ha, looks like we’ve all got a day off after all – the jokes on you, Feifei! Feifei: Ah well, enjoy your free time. Rob: Fancy going to the beach? Feifei: No, thanks. Bye, Rob. Rob: I was joking. Bye.

27 thoughts on “What does ‘the joke is on you’ mean?

  1. There was a man at Franc embassy who was making fun of me and said to me that I wouldn’t be able to take visa but I did.. so the joke was on him 😎

  2. i love your videos so much.There are always on time and seems dont miss any funny events around the year ! in Vietnam we call today is " cá tháng tư " = " fish April ". Afterall, wish you guys will catch fish as much as you can !

  3. I just want to say thank you very much guys for making us more fluent in English, I hope u upload more and more videos and never stop this great work .I dont know if u are reading my message or not . But I use these phrases in my daily life .

  4. One of my friends told me that you'd never get an Ielts 8.0 overall band but actually I managed to achieve this unrealistic target. So the joke's on him now!

  5. My classmates used to laught at me that i would never be able to speak English but since I've been watching your videos It have become so easy so now joke is on them

  6. ı had a hard exam and my friends said that ''you wont pass the axam '' but ı passed it . and am saying now joke is on them after watch this video

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