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David Silva pulls the strings for Manchester City.

Hard: To pull the strings

Hard: To pull the strings

Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.

This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms. These phrases can be used to talk about football but are also useful when talking about other topics.

Summary

Learn more football vocabulary with Premier Skills English. Each lesson in our Premier Vocabulary section looks at one football word or phrase. This lesson looks at the phrase to pull the strings

You can find more lessons on the side of this page.

Transcript

Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to Premier Skills English - Premier Vocabulary.

Jack: Hi there! I’m Jack. We’re here to help you with your football English. Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. 

Rich: We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.

Jack: This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms. These phrases can be used to talk about football but are also useful when talking about other topics.


Rich: The phrase we are looking at in this episode is: to pull the strings.

Jack: It’s an idiom which means to control events or other people.

Rich: I like this idiom. It’s really visual. I think it helps if you imagine a puppet on a string. I like to imagine Pinocchio - you know the Italian story of the wooden toy boy that wanted to be a real boy.

Jack: Yes, I know the story. So, you imagine Pinocchio’s movements being controlled by someone. 

Rich: Yes, in my imagination I am controlling Pinocchio. I am pulling the strings.

Jack: So, where is the connection with football?

Rich: Well, this idiom is used to describe an influential player on the pitch - usually a midfielder.

Jack: Ah yes. We can say Kevin De Bruyne pulls the strings for Manchester City.

Rich: Exactly. This is saying he is controlling the match. His movement and passing is controlling the match. He decides how his team play.

Jack: We can use it generally and say Kevin De Bruyne pulls the strings for Manchester City or we might use it about a specific match and say something like Bruno Fernandes is pulling the strings for Manchester United.


Rich: OK, so the idiom to pull the strings is used to talk about a footballer usually a midfielder who controls events on the pitch.

Jack: But we use this idiom outside of football too. It’s often used to talk about politicians. Listen to this:

Rich: We all know that the USA has a lot of power in the world, the American President is probably the most powerful person in the world.

Jack: No way. He’s just a puppet. A puppet on a string.

Rich: What are you on about?

Jack: It’s the aliens that really pull the strings.

Rich: Aliens?

Jack: Yeah. They rule the world. They pull the strings. Loads of politicians are actually aliens they just look like humans.

Rich: Are you all right, Jack? I think you’ve been working too hard.


Jack: So, to pull the strings is an idiom that is used to describe someone that controls events or that controls other people.

Rich: The definite article is important to remember in this idiom. Someone pulls THE strings.

Jack: This is because to pull strings is a totally different idiom. To pull strings for someone means to use your influence to get an advantage for someone else.

Rich: For example, you might say this to a friend who needs to see a dentist quickly but can’t get an appointment until next week.

Jack: I have a friend who’s a dentist. I could pull a few strings and probably get you an appointment tomorrow.

Rich: So, it’s pull the strings not pull strings because that’s another idiom.

Final whistle

Jack: There is the final whistle!

Rich: We’ll be back soon with more Premier Vocabulary from Premier Skills English.

Jack: Bye for now and enjoy your football.

Discuss

Who pulls the strings for your team?

Write your answers in the comments section below.

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Comments

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
03/12/2020
UA
5690
points

Jack is right, all the politicians are aliens, only, as Sting in New-York, they are LEGAL aliens on Earth. 


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
03/12/2020 21:05
Ukraine
Liverpool
5690

Jack is right, all the politicians are aliens, only, as Sting in New-York, they are LEGAL aliens on Earth. 

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
03/12/2020
UA
5690
points

At present Jota, Milner and Wijnaldum are pulling the strings in Liverpool.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
03/12/2020 20:58
Ukraine
Liverpool
5690

At present Jota, Milner and Wijnaldum are pulling the strings in Liverpool.

Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
29/09/2020
UA
5690
points

In Liverpool Mane, Van Dijk and Milner pull the strings.


Alex_from_Ukraine's picture
Alex_from_Ukraine
29/09/2020 09:21
Ukraine
Liverpool
5690

In Liverpool Mane, Van Dijk and Milner pull the strings.

Osama Magdy El Sayed
28/04/2020
EG
1
points

I think KDB pulls the strings of everything in my team


Osama Magdy El Sayed
28/04/2020 23:35
Egypt
Manchester City
1

I think KDB pulls the strings of everything in my team

hsn's picture
hsn
18/04/2020
TR
1761
points

I think Harry Kane pull the strings for my favourite team Tottenham.


hsn's picture
hsn
18/04/2020 18:44
Turkey
Tottenham Hotspur
1761

I think Harry Kane pull the strings for my favourite team Tottenham.

Hector Pinzon's picture
Hector Pinzon
14/04/2020
CO
495
points

In my country Carlos "el pibe" Valderrama pulls the strings for Colombian team. He is the best number 10 and leader that I've seen in my life.


Hector Pinzon's picture
Hector Pinzon
14/04/2020 20:50
Colombia
Manchester United
495

In my country Carlos "el pibe" Valderrama pulls the strings for Colombian team. He is the best number 10 and leader that I've seen in my life.

Mostafa Gadallah
14/04/2020
EG
7
points

I'm a big fan to FC Barcelona and I see Leo MESSI pulls the strings of everything inside and outside the pitche
On the other hand I support arsenal in the premier league and can't see A specific player in the team to say he pulls the strings in the pitche
But if we wanna mark somebody in the team we can choose mikel arteta the new Football coach , I think he pulls the strings of the team


Mostafa Gadallah
14/04/2020 01:16
Egypt
Arsenal
7

I'm a big fan to FC Barcelona and I see Leo MESSI pulls the strings of everything inside and outside the pitche
On the other hand I support arsenal in the premier league and can't see A specific player in the team to say he pulls the strings in the pitche
But if we wanna mark somebody in the team we can choose mikel arteta the new Football coach , I think he pulls the strings of the team

Vic
06/04/2020
MX
465
points

In my opinion, Mohamed Salah pull the strings in Liverpool.


Vic
06/04/2020 23:26
Mexico
Liverpool
465

In my opinion, Mohamed Salah pull the strings in Liverpool.

Leaderboard

Top Scorers
RankNameScore
1Alex_from_Ukraine5690
2mobeckham5639
3kwesimanifest4754
4wsanta4632
5Liubomyr4210
6elghoul3974
7assemjuve3705
8aragorn19863557
9Gergő Nagy3396
10haydi3189
Country ranking
RankNameScore
1Colombia71140
2Ukraine33056
3Serbia27078
4Spain23280
5Albania20475
6Macedonia19063
7Bosnia and Herzegovina16268
8Brazil16123
9Vietnam15627
10Turkey13727
Club ranking
RankNameScore
1Manchester United131839
2Liverpool93888
3Chelsea79444
4Arsenal72875
5Manchester City45330
6Tottenham Hotspur12454
7Leicester City12039
8Newcastle United9975
9Leeds United5252
10West Ham United5088

Level

5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Goals

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