This morning, I wanted some toast but I’d run out of bread. So, I rushed out of the house and got into the car. I turned the key but the car didn’t start - I’d run out of petrol! I ran down the road to the shop but they’d run out of sliced bread. I decided to buy some rolls instead. Then I realised I’d run out of money. I’m always doing it and the shopkeeper has run out of patience with me. I came home, looked at the clock and saw that I’d run out of time for breakfast.
Put off - postpone doing something
It’s my own fault - I’m always putting things off. I don’t like shopping so I put off going to the shops. I hate filling up the car with petrol so I put off going to the petrol station. I hate queuing so I put off going to the bank and now I’ve got toothache because I’ve been putting off going to the dentist for weeks.
Get back - to return
I have got an excuse: I got back last night. I’d been away on holiday and the flight got back late and it was even later by the time I got back to the house. I can tell you, I wasn’t exactly looking forward to getting back to work.
Hold up - delay
The problem is that there was a hold up with my flight coming back. First of all, we were held up at the airport because of a storm and no flights could take off. Then we were held up waiting for other flights to take off. Finally, we were held up at the airport when we got back because the baggage carousel was broken.
Break down - stop working
On my way home the taxi broke down. Can you believe my luck? Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait too long for the breakdown recovery vehicle to arrive but I was still worried: I don’t have any luck with mechanical things. Before I went on holiday my car, my computer and my printer all broke down.
Give in - to stop fighting, admit defeat
I used to get annoyed about it but now I just give in. With technology, I can’t win so I might give in. It’s like when Terry asks me stupid questions, like what’s the capital of Guatemala? ‘I don’t know,’I say, ‘I give in.’
Show off - to boast and display
I can’t wait to get back to work and show off my tan and the photos of the beautiful beach. There’s even a picture of me standing next to a Ferrari. I pretended it was mine - just to show off!
Test 1: summarize Chapter 1
Alan _____________ of bread because he _____________ going to the shops. He hadn’t been shopping because he ______________ late. The flight was late because it was ___________. He was also late because his taxi ______________. He doesn’t have much luck with technology so he finds it’s easier just to ____________. Anyway, he doesn’t care because he can _____________ his tan.
Test 2: complete the sentences
1. Can you believe that’s the third time this week the photocopier has _____________?
2. What time do you think you’ll _____________ from the meeting?
3. Julie loves herself; she’s such a ______________.
4. I don’t know, I ____________.
5. I think I’ll ______________ visiting my sister until next week.
6. I hope you like your coffee black, I’ve ____________ of milk.
7. He’s probably been _____________ in the traffic.
Chapter 2 - Alan goes to work
Dress up - to dress smartly for a special occasion
Oh well, better get to work, thought Alan, but what to wear? Should I dress up? There’s a meeting with a client in the afternoon but on the other hand, it’s a hot day and a suit would be really uncomfortable. Anyway, I hate dressing up: I’m more of a casual type of guy. Besides, a short sleeved shirt will show off that great holiday tan!
Pick up - to collect
Drop off - deliver or take somebody or something somewhere
Now with the car broken down, the next problem is how to get to work. I know, I’ll ring Terry and see if he can give me a lift in his car.
‘Hi Terry, it’s Alan. I’ve just got back off holiday and my car’s broken down. Any chance you could pick me up and take me to work?’
‘ Hi Alan. I’d like to but I’ve got to drop off the car at the garage this morning.’
‘Yeah, tell you what. If you want I could pick you up in ten minutes and drop you off at the roundabout. You could get the bus from there and it drops you off right outside work.’
‘Great thanks. Let’s do that. I’ll wait outside.’ ‘Bye.’
Ten minutes later, Terry picked up Alan from the house and dropped him off at the bus stop near the roundabout.
Get on, get off - get on a bus, tram, train, plane, bike but not car
Alan waited at the bus stop for the 157 bus that would drop him off outside work. The 420 came and he thought about getting on that but he wasn’t sure of the route. Eventually, the 157 came and he got on but only just. It was so crowded. People were pressed against each other and each time the bus stopped, still more people got on. Hardly anybody seemed to be getting off.
Pass out - faint
People pressed against his chest so much that he could hardly breathe. He started to feel sick. In fact, he was beginning to think, he might pass out. It happened once before on a busy tram. He passed out and people thought he was drunk but he wasn’t. He didn’t want to pass out again. As the bus stopped, he reached for the bell, the doors opened and he got off. He was two stops away from work but at least he could breathe and hadn’t passed out.
Run into - meet someone without expecting to
He walked along the street feeling a little dizzy and overheated. It hadn’t been a good return or a good start to the day. Surely it couldn’t get any worse.When he turned the corner he ran into Amanda Mathews. She was gorgeous and he’d always fancied her. She worked in the same company of Crook and Swindle but in another department. He ran into her in the corridor from time to time. She looked at his creased and sweaty shirt and said,
‘ Hi Alan, feeling the heat?’
If he wasn’t so hot, she would have seen him blushing. Now he wished he’d dressed up. He wished that he hadn’t run into her looking such a mess.
‘A little. Going to work? Perhaps we could walk together.’ ‘Sure, why not. I’m glad I ran into you.’
Test 1: summarize Chapter 2
Alan didn’t _____________ because he prefers casual clothes. He asked his friend Terry to _____ him ______ and _____ him _______ at work. He took him part of the way and Alan _____________ a bus. But he felt sick and thought he would ______________. He _____________ and walked and then ____________ Amanda Mathews.
Test 2: complete the sentences
1. I think this Sunday, I’ll _____________ my bike and go for a ride in the park. 2. I was late for work because I _____________ at the wrong stop. 3. I need to go and _____________ a parcel from the post office. 4. Guess who I ____________ in the supermarket? 5. I’m catching an early flight tomorrow; could you ____ me ______ at the airport. 6. The lift was so crowded, I thought I would _____________. 7. It’s Jenny’s 30th birthday party, I think I should _____________.
Chapter 3 - Alan arrives at work
Cheer up - to become happier, to make somebody/something more cheerful
Finally they got to work. They got into the crowded lift and Amanda got out on the fourth floor. They didn’t even say goodbye. Then he saw Kevin.
‘Cheer up,’ said Kevin, ‘it may never happen.’
He was the kind of person who thought he was funny but was annoying. He carried on. ‘Oh I forgot, you’ve just got back from holiday, you’ll need cheering up. Knowing your luck, I bet it rained all week!’
‘Actually, the weather was good but my car broke down so I had to get the bus to work.’
Kevin got out on the seventh floor and Alan went onto the eighth. He didn’t feel cheered up at all.
Catch up - to reach somebody who is ahead by going faster
The problem with going on holiday is that when you return, there’s so much to catch up on. Alan thought about all of the things he needed to catch up on. He needed to catch up on his emails: his in box would be a nightmare. He needed to catch up on his work: three reports to finish by the end of the week. He’d need to catch up on all the news and of course, catch up on all the gossip. Maybe a coffee would give him some energy as he didn’t get the chance to catch up on his sleep. He headed towards the kitchen and saw his colleague Benny, but he was walking so quickly, he had to almost run to catch up with him.
‘Benny, what’s the rush?’ He asked
‘Can’t stop now, I’ve got to catch up with the sandwich guy. He just left.’
'That’s typical of Benny', thought Alan. He gets behind on everything.
Pay back - return owed money
He got to the kitchen and made a coffee. He opened the fridge. Would you believe it? They’d run out of milk! Then Benny arrived panting but looking pleased with his sandwich.
‘Alan, hi mate. I hate to ask but could you pay me back that tenner I lent you before you went away. I’ve run out of money.’
‘Sure, I’m sorry you had to ask. I like to pay back my debts.’
Alan was lying. He couldn’t really afford to go on holiday and he had borrowed money to go. Now he’d have to pay back his parents, pay back his brother and pay back three colleagues; £100, £50 and 3 x £20; £210 altogether. Looks like it’s pay back time, he thought.
Look after - take care of something or somebody
Finally, Alan sat down at his desk and switched on his computer. He was just working his way through his emails when his boss arrived and put a friendly hand on his shoulder - never a good sign.
‘Alan!’ He said, enthusiastically. ‘Great to see you’ve got back safely.’
‘I’ve got one or two things I’d like you to look after.’
‘Yes, there’s the Jenkins contract of course, and while you are doing that, you might as well look after Marshall Holdsworth too.’ ‘
Thanks.’(More work - he thought)
‘ Yes, but most of all ...,’and now Alan realised they weren’t alone but accompanied by a tall, tanned, Mediterranian with thick, black hair, ‘I’d like you to look after Demetrius'.
‘Yes, Demetrius my nephew, he’s here on work experience for a few weeks so I’d like you to look after him and train him for us.’
Alan had a reputation for looking after things. As a child he looked after a dog with a broken leg. He looked after his grandmother when she was sick. As the oldest child, he’d looked after his brother and sister.
Get on with sb - be friends
Demetrius looked at Alan and smiled but it was the sort of creepy smile that makes you uncomfortable. Alan forced a smile.
‘Super!’ said the boss, ‘I can see you two are going to get on like a house on fire!’
Alan wasn’t so sure. He wasn’t very good at getting on with people and he certainly didn’t think he’d get on with Demetrius. What a strange name!
Test 1: summarize Chapter 3
Finally, Alan got to work and Kevin tried to _______ him ____. Alan needed to ____________ on all his work. He also had to _____________ the money he owed Benny. The boss asked him to _____________ his nephew Demetrius but Alan wasn’t sure that he would __________ with him.
Test 2: complete the sentences
1. If you take out a loan, you have to ______________ the money. 2. If I’m sad, I find that a comedy show always ________ me ___. 3. My sister asked if I would _____________ her son this weekend. 4. It helps if you ___________ the people you work with. 5. The trouble with going on holiday is that you need to _____________ your work when you get back.
Chapter 4 - Alan arrives at work
Fill in - 1) to enter data in spaces on a form, 2) To substitute for somebody
Alan wondered where to start with teaching Demetrius about the job and showing him the ropes. There were so many forms to fill in. That’s how it is in insurance: it starts and finishes by filling in forms. Insurance offices send the customer forms that have been filled in and you have to check that they are correct. Then there are some parts of the forms that we need to fill in also. Demetrius seemed to understand and started filling in forms. Hm, thought Alan, maybe Demetrius could be useful after all and fill in for Alan while he went for a walk.
Go out with sb - date
Alan was still thinking about Amanda and wondered if she was going outwith anyone. She was certainly pretty enough. In fact he’d be surprised if she wasn’t going out with anybody. Still, it was maybe worth asking but would she even consider going out with him? He thought about how he might ask her, indirectly maybe:
‘Erm Amanda? I don’t suppose you’re going out with anyone, are you?’ or ‘you wouldn’t like to go out with me, would you? ’
No, too weak, more manly would be better: ‘Amanda, will you go out with me?’ or stronger still, ‘Amanda, go out with me! ’ no, too aggressive. Maybe it was best to leave it - realistically, who’d want to go out with Alan? Not Amanda.
Send back - to return
When Alan got back, to his amazement, Demetrius had filled in all of the forms that Alan had given him. It was two hours work and he’d filled them all in 20 minutes. Was he just showing off? Demetrius did the strange smile and said:
‘I think these will have to be sent back: they’re incorrect.’
He didn’t remember telling Demetrius about sending incorrect forms back but he seemed to know about it any way. He wished he could send Demetrius back to where he came from - wherever that was. Maybe he was the boss’s spy and Alan would get demoted and sent back to accounts - it was all very worrying and suspicious.
Set up - trick or trap
Was this a set up, he wondered. Had Demetrius been placed with him to set him up and catch Alan doing something wrong? There was one way to find out: he could also be a cunning fox. He’d set up Demetrius instead but how could he trap him? The boss had asked Alan to show him the ropes but he already seemed to know some of them. He would have to show him more ropes and trickier ones and then he’d find a way of setting him up.
Go over - review
Alan decided to go over all of the different policies and procedures. He went over the insurance claims and he spent a lot of time going over policy documents and the different clauses you had to go over to check if a claim was acceptable. After he’d gone over everything, he even asked Demetrius if there was anything he’d like to go over again. Demetrius just smiled and said:
‘No thank you, I think you’ve gone over everything very well.’
This just made Alan even more suspicious and worried.
Put up with - tolerate
Alan could put up with almost anything. He could put upwith toothache. He could put upwith the neighbour’s dog barking. He could put upwith having no money or car and he could even put upwith Kevin’s awful jokes but he didn’t know for how long he would be able to put up with Demetrius. Well, thought Alan, no point getting stressed, I’ll just have to put up with him until I can create a plan to set him up and send him back.
Test 1: summarize Chapter 3
Alan showed Demetrius how to ____________ forms. He spent some time wondering whether to ask Amanda to _____________ with him but eventually decided not to. When he returned, Demetrius had ___________ all the forms and identified some that need to be ___________. Alan didn’t trust him and decided to try to ______ him _____. He ___________ all of the policies and procedures. He didn’t trust him but decided that for now, he would just have to ___________ him.
Test 2: complete the sentences
1. Now if that’s not clear, I’ll just __________ it once again. 2. Have you heard the gossip? Sally’s _____________ Darren! 3. When the robber was caught, he claimed he’d been _________ by the police. 4. I can _____________ anything except bad manners; that really makes me cross! 5. This isn’t the CD I ordered; I’ll have to ________ it _____. 6. Please could you __________ this form here.
Chapter 5 - The meeting
Hand out - to distribute
The monthly departmental meeting was usually boring but today Alan was relieved to get away from Demetrius. Monika, the Department Manager, handed out the meeting agenda. Then she handed out the monthly sales figures and after that, the quarterly financial spread sheet showing budgeted costs against actual expenditure. In fact, there were so many hand outs that Alan had to help hand out all the hand outs.
Cut back on, cut down on - reduce
Monika started the meeting.
‘As you can see from the agenda,’ she said, ‘the main issue we need to discuss is cost control. It’s rather serious because we are well over budget and management want us to cut back on our expenditure. We need to explore all the things we can cut down on to reduce costs or management will make cut backs any way, so it’s better that we decide which things to cut down on.'
Everybody looked depressed, it seemed whatever we cut down on the bosses were still looking to make more cut backs. Alan wasn’t thinking about work but rather personal life and all the things he’d cut down on. He’d cut down on smoking, cut down on eating cakes, cut down on salt and sugar. If he cut back anything else, he thought, there would soon be nothing left of him!
Chip in - contribute
Monika continued: ‘Would anyone like to chip in with some suggestions?’
Dave chipped in: ‘We could cut down on printing.’
‘Good idea', encouraged Monika, ‘would anybody else like to chip in?’
The trouble with chipping in, thought Alan, was that it was always the same people who chipped in. Alan hadn’t chipped in for a while. If you chipped in with an idea, it usually led to you doing extra work to implement it. No, he’d leave the chipping in to people who liked to show off in meetings.
Bring something up - raise an issue
‘Do you mind if I bring something up?’ Asked Margaret. ‘Certainly, go ahead.’ replied Monika. Margaret was a wicked old dragon and when she brought something up, it always led to trouble. ‘Well,’ she continued, ‘I think I’ve brought this matter up before but I just don’t think it’s fair. In fact, I’m always bringing it up, as you well know. The fact is, that the Leasing section accounts for 75% of our costs, but when the company looks for savings, we’re penalised as a whole department.’ Monika tried to remain calm and replied. ‘Thank you for bringing that up, I’ll bear it in mind.’
Back somebody up - support
But Monika wouldn’t be able to push away the issue so easily. Her side-kick, Tricia chipped in.
‘For once’, she said, like a drunken queen at a dinner party, ‘I’d like to back Margaret up on this one, she’s quite right.’ That was a joke: she backed her up on everything. In fact, they backed each other up all the time. Two dragons in one department. It was as much as Alan could put up with. It was times like this that you needed some back up, like when the cops call for back up at a crime scene. It came in the form of Leasing Manager, Les Grey.
Fall out with somebody; fall out over something - to enter into conflict
Les loved a good argument and was always falling out with the dragons. He started his speech which was rather more than just chipping in:
‘I wouldn’t want to fall out over this but as usual, you’re talking rubbish. My section might account for more cost but it produces 90% of the revenue - if we were to fall out and the department split into two, your section would be the first to go.’
‘Well, really! That’s outrageous!’ replied Margaret. I could see there was going to be a big falling out over this one!
Work out, figure out - solve a problem, resolve a conflict
Monika decided to chip in. ‘I don’t think it’s worth falling out over; I’m sure if we put our heads together we can work something out and it will all work out OK in the end.'
‘Sure,’ added TJ, who was American and as optimistic as Mickey Mouse, ‘we’ll figure it out somehow. I think if of it not as a problem but as an opportunity to be more efficient. If you put your mind to it, you can figure out anything: where there’s a will, there’s a way.
Test 1: summarize Chapter 5
At the beginning of the meeting Monika ______________ a lot of information. The main issue of the meeting was the need to _______________ expenditure. She invited people at the meeting to _______________ with suggestions. However, Margaret had something that she wanted to ______________ and this led to her _____________ with Les from Leasing. Monika tried to calm things by saying that they would ________ something out and TJ, the American, agreed that somehow, they would _________ it ______.
Test 2: complete the sentences
1. I’d like your support. Will you ______ me _____ at the meeting? 2. Will you help me to ____________ these information leaflets? 3. I’m not talking to Dave any more, we’ve _______________. 4. Have you got a minute? There’s something I’d like to ______________. 5. Don’t worry, it’ll _____________ alright in the end. 6. It’s a very informal meeting so if there’s anything you want to say, feel free to ___________. 7. With rising petrol prices, we’ve had to ____________ the number of car journeys we make.
Chapter 6 - Home again
Switch on/turn on - to make work
It was a great relief for Alan to get back home that evening. It had been a rather stressful day with running out of everything, looking after Demetrius and people falling out in the meeting. As he entered his apartment, he switched on the hall light. He went into the living room and turned on the TV. He went into the bedroom and switched on the radio. He went into the kitchen and switched on the kettle. Because he lived on his own, he liked to fill the home with noise by switching everything on.
Take off - to remove (clothing)
Alan went into the bathroom. He took off his shirt. He took off his trousers. He took off his socks. In fact, he took off all his clothes. ‘Now,’he thought, bath or shower? That’s the question. A shower would certainly refresh him and wash out the heat of the city but it had been such a stressful day that maybe a bath would be more relaxing.
Fill up - to fill to the limit
He decided to have a nice, long, relaxing bath. He turned on the taps and proceeded to fill up the bath with water. As he did so, he could smell something very strange: a kind of burning smell coming from the kitchen. He ran to the kitchen to see smoke coming from the kettle. He’d switched it on but forgotten to fill it up with water. He quickly filled it up with water from the kitchen tap and switched it on again but it didn’t work; it was broken. He emptied the water from the kettle and threw it in the bin. As he was doing this, he could hear something strange in the bathroom: a kind of dripping sound. He ran into the bathroom to see water pouring over the top of the bath and flooding the bathroom floor. He’d certainly filled up the bath!
Mop up - to remove and absorb liquid
He turned off the taps and quickly ran to the cupboard to get the bucket and mop. He tried to mop up the water but the mop head was old and thin and didn’t really mop up anything: it just moved the water around the floor. He’d meant to buy a new one but of course, he had put it off for so long that the shop had run out of them. So, he still needed to mop up the water. He put two big towels on the floor - that mopped up the water nicely. He put them into the washing machine and finally got into the bath.
Put on - to get dressed, to fake something
He put his whole body under the water. He took a deep breath and put his head under too: it was almost like swimming but somehow, he couldn’t relax. It was as if he could hear a banging noise far in the distance. He pushed his head back above the water. There was banging and it was coming from his apartment door. He got out of the bath and put on his slippers but he thought he’d better put on some clothes too. The banging continued louder and louder. He decided just to put on his bathrobe instead. He went to the hallway and opened the door. It was Mrs Sokolowska from the flat below. She looked angry - he tried to put on a smile but it didn’t help.
Get on (with) sb - to have a good relationship
Fall out - stop being friends
‘You silly man!’ she shouted, ‘You’ve flooded the bathroom again. That’s the third time this year. If it stains my ceiling, you’ll pay for the repair'. They used to get on very well but these days, they weren’t getting on at all. It’s not a good idea, thought Alan, to fall out with your neighbours; it’s much better to get on with them.
Test 1: summarize Chapter 6
When Alan got home, he _______________ all of the appliances. Then he _____________ his clothes. He ____________ the bath but he forgot to _____________ the kettle. The water flooded the bathroom floor and he had to try to _________ it ________. When he heard knocking at the door, he had to ________________ his bathrobe. After flooding the bathroom for the third time, him and Mrs Sokolowska were no longer ________________.
Test 2: complete the sentences
1. It’s cold outside, you’d better ______________ your hat and scarf. 2. Have you got some bread so I can ___________ the rest of this sauce? 3. I don’t know where the next petrol station is so we’d better ____________ at this one. 4. If you’re hot, why don’t you _____________ your coat? 5. We have a lot of fun together, we _______________ really well. 6. I think I’ll _____________ the computer and check my emails.