To carry a torch for someone

A man carrying the Olympic torchA man carrying the Olympic torch outside the BBC’s offices in White City, London. Photo by BBC Learning English

Today’s Phrase

If you carry a torch for someone, it means you are in love with them.

For example:

John has carried a torch for Jane for years but she doesn’t seem to notice.

‘George is such a nice guy, isn’t he?

You carry a torch for him, don’t you?

No! Well yes actually… is it obvious?’

Don’t confuse it with

To carry the can means to take the blame for something.

For example:

The boss is so lazy but when there’s a mistake I always have to carry the can for him.

Interesting fact

The Olympic torch relay passed through White City, which was the site of the very first London Olympics held in 1908. The stadium was demolished in 1985 and BBC offices were built in its place. A plaque on the wall marks the place where the stadium’s finishing line was.


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