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Make a long story short

"make a long story short" / "to cut a long story short"

Meaning: to summarize or tell briefly

Why does it mean that?

It is simple to see where this expression comes from. We are simply making a long story shorter.

When do we use it?

We use this when we do want to or do not have the time to tell an entire story. We only want to tell the final result or we only want to tell the most important parts. That is when we use this expression.

How do we use it?

"Make a long story short" is more common in American English and "cut a long story short" is more common in British English, but both are easily understood by all English speakers.

We can use this in simple sentences before we summarize the story in a different sentence.
  • I will make a long story short. I went to the party and I got in a fight.
  • I will cut a long story short. I won the contest.
We can also use these as a phrase at the beginning of a sentence. We use "To make/cut a long story short...".
  • To make a long story short, we couldn't find it.
  • To make a long story short, we got funding for our company in the end and we became very successful.
  • To cut a long story short, she got the job, moved to New York and we got divorced.
  • To cut a long story short, I needed money, so I moved to Korea to teach English.
Example English Conversation

A) What happened to your face?
B) To make a long story short, I got in a fight.
A) I want to hear details. Tell the whole story.
B) Okay. Let's get a coffee and I will tell you everything.

Adding expressions and idioms to your vocabulary will help you become a better English speaker. You do not need to learn a million expressions or idioms at one time! If you study new English expressions and idioms steadily and consistently, then your vocabulary will get better and better. Use these free English lessons to expand your vocabulary and learn useful English idioms, slang, and expressions.

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