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1. to put all the blame onto someone – to accuse someone of doing something, especially if they didn’t actually do it
also, the fixed phrase: to pin your hopes on something/someone = to put all your hope on one thing, when all other things have failed.
For explanations and examples, listen to the episode.


Hello there. My name is Luke Thompson. This is ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’ and here is another phrasal verb for you. This one is ‘to pin on’ or ‘to pin something on someone’, ‘pin something on someone’. And this is when you manage to blame someone else for doing something or accuse someone else of doing something often when, in fact, they didn’t do it. So, it’s like to frame someone. Okay. So, for example, let’s see… Let me think of an example. So, you can pin the blame on someone, pin the blame on someone. For example, okay, when I… again, when I was a kid, I like examples of when I was a kid for some reason but anyway, when I was a kid I remember that I broke a window. I broke a window in a house. It was like the window of my dad’s drinks cabinet. It’s a cabinet where he kept, you know, bottles of whisky and stuff. I was playing football in a living room which I should’ve been doing and I kicked the football and it hit the window of the glass cabinet and it broke, okay? But I managed to pin it on my brother, okay? I managed to pin it on my brother. I managed to make my dad believe it wasn’t my fault and it was, in fact, my brother’s fault. So, I can’t remember how I did that but somehow I managed to convince my parents that it was, in fact, my brother who’d done it. And in fact I even convinced my brother that he’d done it too. I know, I was evil as a kid but so, I pinned it on him or I pinned the blame on him. (I) don’t even remember how I did that. So, to pin the blame on someone. You could say like:

– He was arrested by the police and he was questioned but they released him because they just couldn’t pin anything on him.

They couldn’t pin anything on him, meaning ‘they couldn’t find the way of making him responsible for whatever crime had been committed. To pin something on someone, okay? To, kind of, make someone responsible or to shift the blame onto someone else.

– Do not try and pin it on him!

You know, for example. There you go.

So, here’s a phrase, here’s a fixed expression as well and it’s to ‘pin your hopes on someone’ or ‘pin your hopes on somebody’ or ‘pin your faith on someone’ as well which is slightly different to the phrasal verb I just mentioned but this fixed phrase ‘to pin your hopes on something’ means that you put all of your hope in someone or something. You put all your hope that that thing will succeed when everything else has failed, okay? So, let’s see… I’m really pinning my hopes on this… Let’s say, for example, you run a company and the company is failing, you know. It’s running out of money and so, as a last attempt to try and make your company profitable, you’re launching a new product and you just, kind of, pin… everyone is pinning all their hopes on this new product. We think that this product… If this product sells then the company’s going to survive. If the product doesn’t sell, then we’re going to go down. So, we’re all pinning our hopes on this big product launch. Okay? There you go.

Thanks very much for listening to ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’. What did we just have? ‘To pin something on someone’, so you shift the blame onto someone else and ‘to pin all your hopes on something’, alright? Now, I know that many of you out there really appreciate episodes of ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’. In fact, when I sometimes check the stats for this podcast, I’m often quite surprised at how many listens they’re getting. Now, my other podcast, which is called ‘Luke’s English Podcast’, gets lots of downloads but ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’ is starting to catch up, actually. It’s the one that I, kind of, I do not… to be honest, I don’t spend as much time on this one as I do on ‘Luke’s English Podcast’. I can’t, really. I can’t spend so much time on ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’. I just don’t have that much time in the world, in my life and that’s the whole point for me about ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’. It’s that I can record these episodes really, really quickly. It doesn’t take lots of preparation. I can just, sort of, you know, find another phrasal verb in my list and just explain it to you and then, you know, upload it and bang! That’s it. Done. So, I don’t get… I don’t really spend that much more time on it but when I do check the stats I’m often surprised at how popular these episodes are and, in fact, the whole series has received over a million downloads now. There’s something like a million and a half downloads for the whole series which is great. So, who knows, maybe some of you out there are just pinning all your hopes on me continuing this series. You’re thinking to yourselves ‘Oh, how am I ever going to learn all these complicated phrases that you have in English. How am I ever going to understand all of these specific participle phrases, these phrasal verbs. It’s a nightmare. The only solution is to keep listening to ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day’ but I’ve got to hope Luke doesn’t stop. So, maybe you’re pinning all your hopes on this. But anyway, I’m going to keep going, okay? I’m going to keep recording them and I’m not even half way through. My target is 365. I’ve really bitten off more that I can chew. I haven’t even reached the halfway point but I have to just keep moving forwards, right? I have to keep trucking and keep producing episodes. Right. This’s become too long, so I’m now going to stop talking. Thanks for listening. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.