EPISODE 53
LEVEL B2

 

READING COMPREHENSION 

 

PET PEEVES

 

‚Ugh, I just hate people who leave things lying around and will not tidy them up.’
‚Are you talking about your… ?’
‚Yes, I AM talking about Rona, my flatmate. Can you believe it? She didn’t even bother to hang her clothes up properly, but left them lying on the floor, let alone the piles of books and papers scattered all around the house and half-finished cups of coffee left on the table. She is always doing this and I feel I’ve had enough.’
‚I know what you mean. Not that I’m perfectly tidy myself or something, but it gets to me (= it makes me angry) when people just have no respect for those who they live with.’
‚And there is one more thing that actually drove me mad (= annoyed me) yesterday. Although I avoid doing it, I had lent Rona one of my books that she was desperate to read. So yesterday she hands me the book back, all happy, I flick through the book and what do I see? My book with ten or so pages dog-eared (= with their page corners damaged by folding)!!! I felt I could kill her there and then!’
‚No wonder the girl gets on your nerves. There is also one person in my office who is a real pain in the neck (= annoying person). Her name is Teresa.’
‚What about her?’
‚To begin with, she keeps using the office phone for private calls, which doesn’t bother me (= doesn’t annoy me) that much, but the thing is that we all have to listen to her quite intimate conversations with her boyfriend.’
‚It’s just appalling (= awful)!’
‚It IS. And then she will go on (= talk so much that people become annoyed or bored) about her personal problems and make us listen about people we do not have the slightest wish to know. It really bugs (= irritates) me.’
‚I just can’t understand how thoughtless and carefree people can be.’
‚But I guess we are not ideal, either. I wonder which behaviour of mine could be someone’s pet peeve (= a kind of behaviour you hate)?’

 

More contexts for the new words: 

  • I thought I might go out with them, but I can’t be bothered.
    (= used for saying that you feel lazy or it is too much effort and that’s why you will not do it) 
  • My Mum keeps bugging me to get married and settle down.
    (= continue asking someone to do something in a way that annoys them) 

 

EXERCISE 1 

Write words and expressions next to their definitions.

 

  1. ……………………………….. = a kind of behaviour you hate
  2. ……………………………….. = an annoying person
  3. ……………………………….. = awful
  4. ……………………………….. = not to mention
  5. ……………………………….. = to talk a lot about sth
  6. ……………………………….. = with folded corners

 

 

 

ENGLISH IN USE  

 

In this lesson there were a few structures used for indicating that we are angry. One of them is:

I hate people who leave things lying around and will not tidy them up.’
And then she will go on about her personal problems
.’

WILL does not refer to the future here, but is used to emphasize that the behaviour is repetitive and irritating. Look at a handful of other examples:

She will leave the light on even if she isn’t in the room.
They are the sort of people who will not just show up, but will not say ‚Sorry’, either.

 

 

IDIOM CLOSE-UP

 

A/ Why does your new colleague get on your nerves?

B/ Her work simply isn’t UP TO SCRATCH.

 

If something is up to scratch, it is at an acceptable standard.

 

 

PHRASAL VERBS CLOSE-UP

 

 

  1. When you RUN somebody DOWN, you criticize them, often unfairly.

 

Sue’s big sister is always running her down, even through Sue is much smarter than her.

You’re a wonderful mother. Why do you run yourself down?

 

  1. When you RUB something IN, you talk to a person about something that they are trying to forget because they feel bad about it.

 

I know it was my fault, but I wish people would stop rubbing it in!

OK, I lost, no need to rub it in!

 

EXERCISE 2 

Match the sentence halves.

 

  1. You’re always running                   a) me down!
  2. OK, I made a mistake,                   b) up to scratch.
  3. Your last essay wasn’t                    c) you don’t have to rub it in.

 

 

NEWS

 

TOP 3 PET PEEVES

 

A street survey was conducted last week, asking passers-by about their top pet peeves. Here are the things that drive mad most of the respondents:

 

  1. People smoking everywhere.

It is simply unfeasible to go anywhere without walking into a cloud of billowing cigarette smoke. Despite numerous bans, smokers are everywhere – at the bus stops, next to the bus stops, around entrances to all buildings. Lung cancer from passive smoking guaranteed. 

 

  1. People on public transport.

It is unbelievable how obtuse people can be on public transport. Getting on the bus, everyone seems to stop right after entering, thus blocking the doorway and preventing the others from getting on. Also, people tend to take the aisle seats, leaving the window ones unoccupied, so if you want to sit down you have to fight your way past them. Nervous breakdown guaranteed.

 

  1. People parking badly.

Last but not least, drivers are also notorious for being thickheaded. Everyone seems to routinely flout the Highway Code, and parking in disabled spaces is rampant. Accidents guaranteed.

 

So, next time you smoke, get on the bus, or drive a car, think twice. Maybe it is you who drives people mad?

 


GLOSSARY 

passers-by – people who walk in the street

unfeasible – impossible

billowing – hovering

obtuse – stupid

aisle – narrow passage

notorious – famous for sth bad

thickheaded – stupid

flout – break the rules

Highway Code – the law connected with traffic

rampant – widespread

 

download lesson (pdf)

>>Answers

 

KEY TO EXERCISES  

 

Ex.1

  1. a pet peeve
  2. a pain in the neck
  3. appalling
  4. let alone
  5. to go on about sth
  6. dog-eared

 

Ex.2

  1. a
  2. c
  3. b

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