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Can you imagine living without a mobile phone? The arrival of mobile phones has made things so much easier. You can look up the number (=check the number) in your telephone address book and call the person straightaway. If you cannot get through (=connect and talk  to the person you wanted), because someone’s phone has been muted (=made quiet), there is voice mail (=a system of leaving messages for users who couldn’t be reached) so that a message may be left on it. Problems begin to crop up when someone is out of reach (=in a place where the cell phone isn’t working properly), because you are likely to be cut off (=stop hearing what the other person is saying) every now and then, or when their battery is low (=almost used-up) as it needs recharging (=connecting to electricity for some time). You may also find yourself in an embarrassing situation when you forget to switch the phone off (=turn it off) at the theatre or church! Of course, if you don’t have a pay monthly plan (=where you pay a set amount of money per month), but you use a pre-paid service (=where you decide how much you spend by buying special cards), you will need to buy a top-up card (=a card which increases your funds for calling) from time to time not to run out of funds in the middle of a call. Some scientists also believe that long-time exposure (=the use of something over a long period of time) to the cell phone’s radiation may be harmful to users. The cell phone is a great invention but you don’t really need to be on your mobile (=have the phone on and be able to accept a call) all the time, do you?


More contexts for the new words:

  • We reached the village after 40 minutes of walking. (= came to)
  • Is a two-week holiday enough for you to recharge your batteries? (= to relax before getting down to work again)




Match the words from both columns to make correct expressions.


  1. voice                               a) phone off
  2. out of                             b) your phone
  3. recharge                        c) mail
  4. low                                 d) to someone
  5. mute                              e) card
  6. pre-paid                        f) reach
  7. get cut                          g) battery
  8. get through                 h) a battery
  9. be                                  i) exposure
  10. top-up                          j) off
  11. look up                        k) on your mobile
  12. switch your                 l) service
  13. long-time                   m) a number



Complete the questions with missing words and answer the questions for yourself. Put one word into a gap.


  1. Have you ever forgotten to ____________ your phone before going to a meeting/church etc. and it started to ring? What did you do? How did you feel?
  2. How do you feel about leaving messages on _________ _________?
  3. Would you accept a job which would require being _______ your ________ 24 hours a day?




In the text about mobile phones you read that when the battery in your mobile phone is low, it needs recharging.


We are going to take a closer look at the verb NEED and verbs that can follow. In the example above NEED goes with a GERUND form of a verb (= ing).
This is the case when you say what is necessary to do. Mind you, the subject of a sentence where you use NEED + GERUND is SOMETHING and not somebody.
It’s also possible to replace the gerund form in such sentences with a passive infinitive (=to be + the 3rd form of a verb). Look at a handful of examples:


The bike needs mending. = The bike needs to be mended.
Your room needs tidying up. = Your room needs to be tidied up.
My hair needs washing. = My hair needs to be washed.


However, if you want to express the same idea, but with a person responsible for a given activity as a subject, you use SOMEONE + NEED + INFINITIVE WITH TO, e.g.

John needs to mend his bike.
You need to tidy your room.
I need to wash my hair.




A/ How do you know that Pete and Monica are getting married?



If you hear something on the grapevine, you get information by talking to someone; it suggests the way in which information spreads quickly from one person to another through conversation.






1. If you LOOK UP TO someone, you admire and respect them.


I’ve always looked up to my grandpa and wanted to be like him.

Jeff is a role model for other players to look up to.


2. If you LOOK DOWN ON someone, you think you are better or more important than this person or you think he/she is not good enough for you.


My neighbour looks down on anyone who hasn’t graduated from university.

Don’t look down on her just because she doesn’t wear designer label clothes.




Rearrange the words given below to create meaningful sentences with the phrasal verbs/idioms you’ve learnt.


  1. ……………………………………………………… .

often, older, or, sisters, Kids, look, to, up, their, brothers


  1. ……………………………………………………….. .

on, company, heard, you, are, it, the, I, grapevine, that, leaving, the


  1. …………………………………………………….…. .

looking, the, people, are, well-off, you, than, Stop, who, down, on, less







The idea that your PC can be infected with spying programmes, watching the way your use not only computer applications, but also, and perhaps mainly, the World Wide Web, has recently become a sad fact. But would you suspect the same when it comes to your mobile phone?

Well, nowadays, as more and more phone applications are created, there exists a perfectly legal kind of application which serves as a tool for catching a cheating spouse or keeping an eye on the children while they are away from home. Some years ago, it was only the authorities who could establish the location of an individual with precision – these spyware apps can do not only that, but also enable looking through a person’s e-mails or listening to their calls, and in the case of some phones, even turning on the microphone and listening to what the person is doing and saying at any time you wish. So next time you think it’s only you and your phone, think twice!




to spy – to observe secretly

a spouse – a wife or a husband

an individual – a person

to enable – to let, to make possible


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  1. c
  2. f
  3. h
  4. g
  5. b
  6. l
  7. j
  8. d
  9. k
  10. e
  11. m
  12. a
  13. i



  1. switch off
  2. voice mail
  3. on, phone



  1. Kids often look up to their older brothers or sisters.
  2. I heard it on the grapevine that you are leaving the company.
  3. Stop looking down on the people who are less well-off than you.