It takes two to tango

English sayings

It takes two to tango
   0 Published by Denisa at 14/09/2018

"It takes two to tango" is an English idiomatic phrase used for the first time in a song, in the 1950s. Pearl Bailey was the singer who made these lyrics popular: “Takes two to tango/Two to get the feeling of romance”. The idea behind the song was that although there are numerous activities you can do by yourself, just like you need another person to dance the tango with you, you can’t fall in love by yourself. 

Nowadays the expression is not only used for positive situations (like falling in love) but also negative ones. For example, if there is a conflict or a problem between two parties, we usually say "it takes two to tango" if we want to say that both are to blame. When whatever the circumstances, generally speaking, we can’t blame only one or the other.

Ronald Reagan used this expression this way when talking about Russian-American relations and the Cold War during a news conference.  The international press started to quote this using it in the headlines, and the expression became very famous and commonly used by English speakers.

Let’s take the following example:

Mark: It’s not my fault, mum. Erik started the fight.

Mum: He might have started it, but it takes two to tango. You are both guilty!

Have you ever used this expression? In what circumstances? We’d love to hear the story in the comments below.



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