I met this problem in an English test at my school this morning. The requirement of the question was to rewrite the sentence with the word given in the brackets and use between 2 and 6 words. This was the sentence that troubles me.

No one listened to what the policeman was saying last night.

-> What.................last night. (Ears)

What I wrote was "What 'being said wasn't all ears on' last night" but that didn't include the policeman and I wonder if "wasn't" would be counted as a word or two. If it was not limited between 2 and 6 words, I would rewrite the sentence as "What the policeman was saying was not all ears on last night". Could you help me with this problem?

  • I suggest you ask your teacher. I can't see any way of solving this (rather artificial) puzzle. In particular, your solution is certainly incorrect. The question of is wasn't "one word or two" is a question for the rules of the test, not the rules of English. But thanky ou for showing your attempt and trying to ask a good question.
    – James K
    Nov 17, 2019 at 12:59
  • I agree with James: I can't see a sensible answer. What I will say that "all ears" doesn't fit at all. "All ears" is a story-telling phrase telling how somebody is, not what they are doing.
    – Colin Fine
    Nov 17, 2019 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


Thanks for your comments. I have just found out the answer to this problem from an English test paper with keys. The rewritten sentence is " What the policeman was saying fell on deaf ears last night". But there are 8 words in total.

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