Small Donate Button[Download] To reduce the number of possibilities or choices that you have.
“The police are narrowing down the number of suspects in their enquiry”
“What’s the name of that English restaurant?
-which one?
You know the one that does the bad food.
-Oh that narrows it down a bit!” (sarcasm)

Hi, everyone. You’re listening to ‘A Phrasal Verb a Day.’ Here is number 97 and it’s NARROW DOWN. Narrow is a sort of like the opposite of wide or broad. Okay. A narrow space would be a space that’s not very wide, it’s very thin, difficult to squeeze through.
For example: a narrow road would be a road that maybe only one car can go down at a time. It’s impossible to drive two cars down there at the same time because it’s too narrow.
And the phrase NARROW DOWN is quite literal because it’s fairly similar to the meaning of narrow. If you narrow something down it means you reduce the number of possibilities or choices. Okay.
For example: The police might say something like ‘We’re trying to narrow down the list of possible suspects.’ If… In a police investigation there might have a hundreds suspects who may have committed the crime. But they (it) can’t be all of them. So they need to try narrow it down. So they go and speak to all the suspects and they work out what each suspect was doing and they get rid of certain people from the enquiry and just narrow it down until eventually they have about ten suspects and then they can launch a further investigation.
Sometimes this phrase THAT NARROWS IT DOWN A BIT or THAT NARROWS IT DOWN sometimes that’s used in sort of sarcastic responses.
For example in this kind of situation you might be saying something like this:
‘What’s the name of that English restaurant? What English restaurant?’ And they say ‘You know, the one that does the bad food.’ You go ‘Well, that narrows it down.’
So, that’s a sort of a sarcastic joke because obviously it’s saying: Which English restaurant is it? It’s the one that does the bad food. Well, in fact, that doesn’t narrow it down because, in fact, you would imagine that they all do bad food. Which is a sort of a cliche. Not necessarily true. But anyway ‘What’s the name of that English food (restaurant)? Which one? Well, you know, the one that does the bad food. They serve fish and chips and stuff. Oh yeah, that narrows it down.’
Meaning that’s not helping to narrow it down. Sarcasm. I hope you understood that.
Okay, so TO NARROW IT DOWN: to narrow down the possibilities, narrow down the choices, reduce the number of possibilities or choices which are available to you.
Okay, all right. That’s the end of this episode. Speak to you again soon. Bye.