Miles Kington: Trust me. Would I pull the wool over your eyes?

We British hate to admit we are lying. We call it 'beating about the bush' or 'being economical with the truth'
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The Independent Online

In particular, I have been asked by a number of people from overseas how they can tell if the British are telling the truth or not. A good question! Because although we British lie a lot, we do hate to admit that we are lying.

In fact, as a nation we are so sensitive about it that we don't even call it lying. We call it "beating about the bush" or "being economical with the truth" or various other ghastly euphemisms.

Luckily, there are a certain number of give-away phrases which will tell you when we are not being 100 per cent truthful. (By which I mean "lying through our teeth". )

So, if you hear a Brit utter one or more of the following, you can be pretty sure that he is being less than straight with you.

(By which I mean "lying his head off". You see? Even I can't bring myself to say it straight out! No wonder Mr Blair finds it difficult to admit it when he's telling porky pies ... There I go again! Using cuddly little phrases like "porky pies" instead of saying "lying himself blue in the face" ... ! )

Anyway, these are some of the more common give-away phrases which may tell you when we are trying to pull the wool over your eyes.

It's been great.

We've had such a good time.

Why don't we do it again some time?

It was so nice to meet you.

It's all been such fun.

We must keep in touch.

You must come to our place.

Let's do it soon.

The food was wonderful.

You must give me the recipe.

I'll ring you tomorrow.

I'll be in touch.

You can leave it to me.

You can trust me.

Believe me.

Would I lie to you?

It'll be ready Friday.

Weekend at the latest.

Sure as eggs is eggs.

It'll be in the post tonight.

Without fail.

Sure as God made little green apples.

It will be ready for collection in the morning.

It will be as good as new.

It will be right as rain.

You won't know the difference.

As I live and breathe.

I love you.

You are beautiful.

It is the real thing.

I can't live without you.

I've never felt this way before.

There is nobody except you.

I can't wait to see you again.

I'd do anything for you.

I'd move heaven and earth.

Unfortunately, I can't talk right now.

There's someone on the other line.

Something's come up.

I'm in a meeting.

I'm in conference.

I'm between meetings.

I'm late for a meeting.

The meeting over-ran.

I'm going into a tunnel.

My phone is about to run out.

My money is about to run out.

My patience is about to run out.

I am about to run out.

I am just about to run out and buy a coffee and a sandwich.

That's a nice dress!

It suits you.

No, honestly.

It's very flattering.

Not fattening.


Nice colour.

Nice cut.

No, I'm not cut.

I've had one small drink.

Well, perhaps a couple.

But I'm fine.

Nothing wrong with me.

I can drive.

I'm as safe as trousers.



I've never felt better.

A bit of rain, and I'll be as right as fresh air.

I mean, a bit of fresh air, and I'll be right as rain.

Tip top.

Ready to take on the world.

Raring to go.