In this post, you will learn the meaning and the uses of the phrase “play it by ear.”
The English language is filled with expressions and idioms that can be a bit tricky to understand.
They can mean almost anything! Every language has its idiomatic expressions, and using them will bring you one step closer to fluency!
The ideas for this post were taken from a video of English in a Minute. This Youtube Channel is a great way to learn idiomatic phrases and expressions in no time! If you have little time and want to catch some insightful information in just a minute, you can give it a try!
Without further delay, let’s jump into the meaning of this great expression!
Origin of the phrase, “Play It By Ear”
This fantastic phrase comes from music. When you are a musician, you know that you can listen to music and try to reproduce it with your voice or instrument.
In that case, you are literally playing it by ear because you are not relying on any written music.
Meaning and use
As you have already seen, the phrase is used when there are no plans or guides to follow. When you use this phrase in your everyday English, you mean that you will improvise!
Jennifer: “After the movie, would you like to have dinner or go dancing?”
Tom: “I don’t know, let’s just play it by ear!”
In this example, there is no defined plan for the rest of the evening.
Jennifer and Tom will just go out and decide what else to do as they do it. They are playing it by ear.
Every time you make a plan as you go, you can use the phrase “play it by ear” because that is exactly what you are doing.
Jennifer: “Where are we going to stay when we arrive in Florence?”
Tom: “Stop planning so much! Let’s just play it by ear!”
In this case, the second person just wants to enjoy vacations without worrying too much about plans.
Try to keep this phrase in mind, and you will be surprised by how many times you can use it in your daily life.
Adding idiomatic expressions to your vocabulary will always be beneficial. It will give your English the flair of the native speakers.
Keep looking for awesome idioms and phrases to add to your repertoire, and you will be amazed by the impact they have on your English.
Thanks to English in a Minute for their helpful and clear videos in under a minute! When you are short of time but want to have a bit of English learning in your day, this Youtube Channel is the perfect solution for you!
Keep improving, practicing, and making your English learning fun! You might even want to play it by ear from time to time!