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English problems (The Sketch Show US)
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These group of people have problems with different aspects of the English language, so they signed in for an English course.

This is a fragment from the TV comedy series: Kelsey Grammer Presents: The Sketch Show. The guy in green speaks British English.


- Hey, are't we all in the same English course?
- Oh, yeah, how's it going?
- Uhm, not bad, except I sometimes have trouble with my grammar, isn't it? I mean, sometimes I perfect but other times I don't, won't they?
- See, I'm alright with my grammar, my problem is spilling. I can't spill to save my loaf
- Yeah?
- Yeah. I have to rely on my spill chock on my compluter.
- Why, you know, look at it this way: you can lead a horse to water but you can't eat it too. You know what I'm saying?
- No, no. Not really.
- Oh, I think that she sometimes has trouble mixing metaphors, aren't she?
- Yeah. Sorry guys, I'm always crying over spilt chickens before they're hatched.
- It's alright for you all. I've got a very small vocabulary.
- What's that like?
- It's alright for you all. I've got a very small vocabulary.
- That's ok. I have problems with my "emphAHsis".
- Your "emphahsis"?
- Yes. My emphAHsis on different parts of the sentEnces. In my job that can cause a lot of awkwArdness.
- What do you do?
- I'm a speech therApist.
- A peach therapist that can't spike pripperly! I'm surprised your boss hasn't sucked you.
- It's alright for you all. I've got a very small vocabulary.
- Can I make a sUggestion? Why don't you purchAse a dictionAry? You'll save yourself a lot of embarrAssment.
- I'll tell you what, why doesn't we all try studying together, isn't it? How doesn't next week sound, didn't we?
- Grape idea!
- FabUlous!
- Yea, you give them an inch, it's worth two in the bush.
- It's alright for you all, I've got....
- Shut up, isn't it?

TROUBLE= /trʌbəl/ Problems.

I MEAN,= A phrase we use in conversations when we want to add an explanation of what we just said.

I'M ALRIGHT WITH...= I don't have any problems with...

LOAF= A loaf of bread (a metaphor for money)

TO SAVE MY LOAF= (expression) To make money.

RELY ON= Trust.

WHY= This is not an interrogative word, it means the same as "Well...", so it means nothing, just a conversation filler.

,YOU KNOW,= Another conversation filler, it doesn't really mean anything, but it gives you an extra second to think of what to say next. In this case she needed two extra seconds because she uses two conversation fillers together ;)

LOOK AT IT THIS WAY= Consider the situation from this point of view.

YOU CAN LEAD A HORSE TO WATER...= The proverb says "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink". It means "you can advise or push people to do something, but they'll only do it if they want to (you can't force them)"

YOU CAN'T EAT IT TOO= The proverb says "You can't have your cake and eat it" (talking about things that will disappear if you use them), which means "you can't use something up and keep it" (if you use it, it's gone; if you don't use it, you can't enjoy it). For example, if you have money you can either keep it or spend it to buy things, but if you spend it on things then you can't complain about not having that money anymore.

YOU KNOW WHAT I'M SAYING?= A very common conversational phrase to check understanding = Do you understand me?

METAPHORS= Here it means "proverbs", but a metaphor, in general, is anything which stands for something else. For example, a red heart is a metaphor for "love" and a white dove is a metaphor for "peace".

I'M ALWAYS CRYING OVER SPILT...= The proverb is "Don't cry over spilt milk", which means "if something went wrong and you can't do anything about it, just forget about it because worrying now is useless".

...CHICKENS BEFORE THEY'RE HATCHED= The proverb is "Don't count your chickens before they're hatched". HATCH is to break out of the egg (when chicks are born), so if you have an egg and the bird inside hatches, it breaks the crust of the egg and comes out. This proverb comes from an old European story (of Indian origin: Panchatantra) where a milkmaid was taking her pail of milk to the market and on her way she thought she would sell the milk and with that money she would buy some eggs and when the eggs hatched she would feed the chicks and then sell them to buy a pig... and she was planning to buy more and more things until she would finally be rich, but she was so raptured in her daydreaming that she didn't see a stone on the path, tripped and her pail of milk fell and all the milk was spilt. She felt so miserable and started to cry because she now had lost all her riches and was poor again (so here we also have the origin of our previous proverb: "don't cry over the spilt milk).
(you can read the story of the milkmaid here: The Milkmaid and her Pail).

WHAT'S THAT LIKE?= Is it difficult to live with that? Is that a big problem?

EMPHASIS= When you put emphasis on something you bring it out to notice because you want people to know it's important. If we are talking about pronunciation, to put emphasis on a syllable means to stress it, to pronounce it louder than the others (every word with more than one syllable is stressed, but if you stress the wrong syllable it's difficult to understand, and sometimes impossible).

AWKWARDNESS= Embarrassment. If a situation is awkward /ɔ:kwəd/ you feel very uncomfortable.

A SPEECH THERAPIST= A doctor who tries to help people (children and adults) when they have problems to speak properly.

SUCKED YOU= (coll.) He has problems with spelling so here he means "sacked you", which means "fired you". If your boss sacks you or fires you or kicks you out, you lose your job. But the verb "suck" means to use your tongue and/or lips to lick something (for example a lolly-pop or an ice-cream).

PURCHASE= (formal) /pɜ:ɪs/ buy.

I'LL TELL YOU WHAT,= A phrase we often use in conversation when we want to get people's attention towards what we're going to say next.

HOW DOES NEXT WEEK SOUND?= Do you think (studying together) next week would be a good idea?

YOU GIVE THEM AN INCH= The proverb says "Give them an inch and they'll take you a mile". It means, "sometimes if you are generous with somebody, they take even more from you (so they take advantage of you)".
1 inch = 2.5 centimetres
1 mile = 1.6 kms

IT'S WORTH TWO IN THE BUSH= The proverb says "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush" = it's better to have one bird in your hand than to have two birds in the bush. If you have caught one bird and you let it go because you see more birds over there and you want to catch them, maybe you won't be able to catch them and you'll lose the one you have, so it's better to keep what you have and not risk it in the hope of getting more, because you can go empty-handed and lose everything. So this proverb says: be contented with what you have and don't risk it.

SHUT UP= A colloquial and/or rude way of saying "be quite" (it depends a lot on the intonation you use).

© Angel Castaño 2008 Salamanca / Poole - free videos to learn real English online || InfoPrivacyTerms of useContactAbout
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