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A bright spark: The English We Speak

Feifei: Hello, this The English We Speak. I’m Feifei.
Rob: And hello, I’m Rob.
Feifei: Hey, Rob. You know we’ve got a
‘bright spark’ in our office?
Rob: A bright spark? Oh yes – by that you
mean someone intelligent…
Feifei: Well…
Rob: Someone full of energy…
Feifei: I didn’t exactly…
Rob: Someone with clever ideas. Feifei,
there’s no need to waste everyone’s time.
Just say my name! Rob is the bright spark
in the office.
Feifei: Ermm… Rob, that is just one
definition of ‘a bright spark’. A bright
spark can describe someone who is
clever, intelligent with lots of energy. But
this isn’t the definition that applies to you Rob!
Rob: So come on, Feifei. When else would
you describe someone as ‘a bright spark?
Feifei: Well, it can be used sarcastically
and humorously to describe someone
who thinks they are intelligent
but actually does something stupid. A bit
like this…
Which bright spark suggested we go for a
walk on the wettest day of the year?!
Come on, own up – who’s the bright spark
who turned the power off and caused
everything in the freezer to melt?
Are you the bright spark who told the
other team our game plan? I think you
owe us an apology.
Feifei: This is The English We Speak from
BBC Learning English. And we’ve
discovered that ‘a bright spark’ can either
be a very smart person or someone who
has done something stupid. So I’m sorry
to say, Rob, you are the second kind of
bright spark!
Rob: Oh really. Why is that?
Feifei: You left the window open last night
and this morning I found all my
documents and scripts blown all over the floor.
Rob: Are you sure? A bright spark like me
would never do something like that.
Feifei: Rob, it’s exactly what a bright spark
like you might do – and it means I’ve lost
the last page of this script.
Rob: Oh really! I think I can remember
what it said. Something like – ‘Sorry, Rob.
You are wise and clever and the brightest
spark I have ever known’.
Feifei: I don’t think so, Rob. Which bright
spark would write something as cringey
as that?
Rob: Err… Time to go I think.
Feifei: Good idea. Bye.
Rob: Bye.
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