EPISODE 44
LEVEL B2

READING COMPREHENSION

 

PROBLEMS WITH CARS

My last month’s journey to my friend’s wedding was a real nightmare. I decided to drive since I didn’t want to depend on public transport and be late. It turned out, however, that my car was not very reliable, either.
To begin with, after several minutes I realized that I was running out of petrol and I had to stop at a petrol station to fill up. Then, a car driving behind me started hooting (= making a loud sound as a warning) at me – apparently I had a puncture (= there was no air in one of my tyres). I had to pull over (= stop by the side of the road). I was wearing my best clothes and I didn’t want to get dirty, but luckily some nice man stopped and helped me change the wheel. With the wheel changed, I drove off happily. That wasn’t my lucky day, though. I was in a hurry and I knew I was going over (= driving faster than) the speed limit. When I caught a glimpse of a police car, I slammed on the brakes (= braked with great force), but it was too late. I was stopped and asked to get out of (= leave) the car. Then all the routine proceedings: checking my papers and a breath test (= a test to see if I had drunk any alcohol). I didn’t even protest when they told me I had to pay a fine (= money you pay when you have broken the law). It seemed as if all the possible problems had happened to me that day, well except for crashing into (= hitting) another car maybe. However, the worst thing was that I was late for my friend’s wedding.

 

More contexts for the new words:
• He left the room having slammed the door with anger.
(= shut a door with great force so that it makes a loud noise)
• When he blew into the breathalyzer it turned out he had been drinking.
(= a piece of equipment used by the police for checking how much alcohol a driver has drunk)

 

EXERCISE 1
Match the problems 1-8 with their possible causes a-h.

1. crash into another car
2. pay a fine
3. slam on the brakes
4. go over the speed limit
5. hoot
6. pull over
7. have a puncture
8. run out of petrol

a) a pedestrian has jumped out in front of your car
b) the car in front of you is really slow
c) you broke the law
d) you drove over broken glass
e) you forgot to fill up
f) you want to have a look at the map
g) you were looking the other way
h) you’re late for work

 

EXERCISE 2
Complete each gap with one word, then answer the questions.

1. When did you last …………………………. a fine? Why did you have to do it?
2. When did you last …………………………. over the speed limit? Why?
3. Have you ever had a breath ………………………….? Why?

 

 

ENGLISH IN USE

 

From the first paragraph of the text we know that the writer doesn’t depend on public transport because you can’t count on it and the person added ‚that my car was not very reliable, either‚.

Remember that when you have two ‚positive’ ideas and you link them in one sentence, then you should use ‚too‚ at the end:

Buses are always late and the trams are late, too.

However, if you have two ‚negative’ ideas and they are similar, then ‚too’ cannot be used at the end of a sentence. Look what you are supposed to use:

A) I don’t like X.
B) I don’t like X, either.

 

 

IDIOM CLOSE-UP

A/ Harry seems to beRUNNING OUT OF STEAM.
B/ Yeah, he really seems tired and downcast.

When you run out of steam, you lose energy, enthusiasm, or importance.

 

PHRASAL VERBS CLOSE-UP

 

1. When a car RUNS OVER a person or an animal, it hits and drives over them, injuring or killing them.

An elderly man was run over at the corner of Świętokrzyska and Marszałkowska.
Henry was run over by a car outside his house.

 

2. If someone is KNOCKED DOWN, they are hit by a vehicle and injured or killed.

Two children were knocked down by a drunken driver.
Kate was knocked down just yards from her home.

 

EXERCISE 3
Decide if these sentences are true or false. Correct the false ones.

1. ‘Knock down’ and ‘run over’ have very similar meanings.
2. A person can run over a car.
3. A train can run out of steam, just like a car can run out of petrol.

 

NEWS

BUMPER STICKERS

If you’ve ever been to America, you couldn’t fail to notice the seemingly ubiquitous bumper stickers. Driven by some kind of internal (or maybe external) compulsion, the citizens of the US feel compelled to decorate their bumpers with messages proclaiming their religion, political affiliation, attitude to life, or anything else. Some of the more witty examples include: ‘Honk if you’re horny,’ ‘Don’t worry what people think – they don’t do it very often,’ and ‘A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.’ And what bumper sticker would you like to have?

 

GLOSSARY
– ubiquitous – present everywhere
– compulsion – a feeling that you really have to do sth
– compelled – forced
– bumper – a long thin bar of metal or plastic at the front or back of a car, designed to protect it if it hits anything
– affiliation – connection with an organization
– honk –make a loud noise using a horn
– horny – sexually excited

 

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>>Answers

KEY TO EXERCISES

Ex.1

1. g
2. c
3. a
4. h
5. b
6. f
7. d
8. e

Ex. 2
1. pay
2. go
3. test

Ex.3
1. True
2. False – a car can run over a person
3. False – a person can run out of steam

 

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