My bad

Summary 

Rob’s late for the studio – has it got something to do with his back? Feifei thinks so until she realises he’s using a phrase that admits his mistake without actually saying ‘sorry’. Learn a piece of English slang in this episode of The English We Speak.

Transcript

Feifei
Welcome to The English We Speak. Hello, I’m Feifei… but where is Rob? 

Rob
Oh! Hi, Feifei, you’re nice and early – can’t wait to get started, hey? 

Feifei
I’m not early – you are late! 

Rob
Late? No, no, no, no – we said we’d start at half past ten… didn’t we? 

Feifei
No – ten o’clock, Rob. Look at this text message: “Can we start earlier at ten, please?” and you replied “sure”. 

Rob
Oh! My bad!

Feifei
Your back? Don’t start complaining about your back just to avoid apologising. 

Rob
No, not my back – my bad! I am apologising – that’s what ‘my bad’ means – it’s an American English phrase that we use sometimes to mean we accept responsibility for a mistake. 

Feifei
Well, that’s good to know. So you’re really saying ‘sorry’? 

Rob
Well, not exactly. Let’s hear some more examples of using ‘my bad’… 

Examples
My bad! It was me who put my pink socks in with the white washing – oops! 

My friend knocked a glass of red wine over me and all he could say was ‘my bad’ – I don’t think he was that bothered! 

It was me who lost the car keys – my bad – I’m sure they’ll turn up somewhere.

Feifei
This is The English We Speak from BBC Learning English, and we’re finding out about the phrase ‘my bad’ which is slang for saying ‘my fault, my mistake, I’m to blame’ – but Rob just can’t bring himself to say ‘sorry’! I’m sensing ‘my bad’ is a way of apologising without actually saying sorry.

Rob
Yes, I suppose so – but I’ll say ‘sorry’ if that helps. You know I can’t be perfect all the time! 

Feifei
That’s true. 

Rob
Anyway, why are you so keen to start early today? 

Feifei
Oh! My bad – I forgot to tell you it’s Neil’s birthday and we’re leaving early to go and celebrate at the pub. 

Rob
That is bad – that wasn’t a mistake: you did that on purpose. 

Feifei
Why would I do that? Come on, Rob, I’m sure you can join us – just don’t forget your wallet. 

Rob
OK. Bye. 

Feifei
Bye.