Learn English Phrases – It’s a long story / Long story short

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Hi students, it’s Shayna from and today I’m going to teach you the phrase, “it’s a long story.” You would use the phrase “it’s a long story” if somebody asks you a question and you don’t want to answer them because the answer is too long or too complicated.

For example, let’s say you have a friend; Danny, and Danny is very much in love with his girlfriend. In fact, he moves to another city just to be closer to her. Well, then three months later, Danny comes back and says he’s broken up with his girlfriend.

You ask, “Why did you break up?” and he says, “It’s a long story.” This means that the answer to your question about why they broke up is not simple; it’s a long explanation and he doesn’t want to take up all your time by telling you the entire story.

A related expression to “it’s a long story” is “to make a long story short.” Or simply, “long story short” – and we use this phrase when we want to abbreviate or shorten a long story or explanation just by giving the basic answer.

For example, let’s say your friend Linda opened up a coffee shop. It’s been her lifelong dream to open up a coffee shop and she’s excited about starting her new business. Well, a year later, she decides to close down the coffee shop, and you ask her, “Why did you close it?” She could say, “Well we had a lot of problems, but long story short, we picked the wrong location to open the coffee shop and there just weren’t a lot of customers.

Linda’s answer means that there were a lot of reasons that the coffee shop failed and it would take a long time for her to explain them all, but the basic reason, the short answer is that she picked the wrong location for her shop and there simply weren’t enough customers.

So now you know how to answer if somebody asks you a question, and the answer will be a long explanation, which you don’t want to give, simply say, “It’s a long story,” and hopefully the person will understand that you don’t want to explain it all.

Now, if you do want to give an answer but you don’t want to go into detail, simply say, “Long story short…” and then give your short answer to the person’s question.

Remember, if you don’t have a lot of time to study English, Espresso English lessons are short and easy to fit into your daily life. Visit where you can see the available courses and ebooks. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you next time.

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