Chatterbox #148 – Bad habits
Everyone has a bad habit or two. And despite how unhealthy or annoying bad habits are, they can be hard to break. In this Chatterbox episode, Harp and Andrew talk all about bad habits. Join them for their conversation about the bad habits they had when they were kids and some of the habits they still struggle with as adults.
Expressions Included in the Learning Materials
- A bad habit
- To kick it
- To pick up after yourself
- All part of something
- To snowball
- To pick on someone
- Fair enough
- To be verbing away
Note: The words and expressions that appear in bold text within the transcript are discussed in more detail in the detailed explanations section that follows the transcript.
|Harp:||Hello everyone. This is Harp.|
|Andrew:||And I’m Andrew. And we’re back with another Culips episode.|
|Harp:||Yes. Make sure you check out our website, Culips.com. That’s C-U-L-I-P-S. Because there, you can sign up and become a member.|
|Andrew:||Yeah. And we highly recommend that you become a member. And membership has a lot of great benefits. What are some of the things you get with membership, Harp?|
|Harp:||When you’re a member, you get access to all of the Learning Materials for all of our older episodes, and we have a lot of really awesome older episodes. And when you get the Learning Materials, they include a complete transcript, so you can listen and read at the same time. And they have detailed explanations for some of the key expressions that we talk about. And also, there’s a quiz to test.|
|Andrew:||Yeah. So you can test how much you’ve learnt with us.|
|Harp:||Exactly. So we strongly recommend you sign up and become a member.|
|Andrew:||And also, make sure to check us out on all of the popular social media sites, like Facebook and Twitter.|
|Harp:||Yes. And you can leave us a comment or maybe a suggestion for an upcoming episode.|
|Andrew:||That would be great. I love it when we get good episode suggestions.|
|Harp:||Ah, me too. All right. So, we’ve been recording for a while, Andrew. We’re almost done. What are you gonna do after we’re done?|
|Andrew:||You know, after the show, I’m going to go hang out with some friends, and I think we’re gonna go watch a movie.|
|Harp:||Ooh. That sounds like fun.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, I am stoked. What about you? What are you doing after the recording session?|
|Harp:||I have a really good book that I wanna finish.|
|Andrew:||Cool. Kickin’ it.|
|Harp:||Exactly. Just relaxing and reading a book.|
|Harp:||Yes. So today we’re gonna bring you a Chatterbox episode, and that’s where we chat. We pick a topic, and we talk about it, basically. So today, we’re gonna talk about something pretty interesting.|
|Andrew:||Yeah. Bad habits.|
|Harp:||Yes. Bad habits. But I don’t have any, remember, Andrew. I’m perfect, so …|
|Andrew:||Yeah. So this is gonna be a very short episode because Harp has no bad habits to talk about.|
|Harp:||I’m just joking.|
|Andrew:||Well luckily, I have a lot of bad habits, so I’ll make up for your lack.|
|Harp:||All right, so we’re gonna break it down into talking about some of the common bad habits that kids have. Then we’re gonna talk about some of our bad habits that we had as kids.|
|Andrew:||And then we’re going to talk about bad habits that adults have.|
|Andrew:||And then we’ll talk about some of the bad habits we have now that we’d like to get rid of.|
|Harp:||Yes. So let’s get started.|
|Andrew:||Sure. So today, we’re talking about bad habits. And Harp, how would you define a bad habit?|
|Harp:||A bad habit is basically something that someone does often, and they usually do it without thinking, and it’s bad because it’s not the proper behaviour.|
|Andrew:||Mmhmm. So it’s just a repeated action that you do, and it feels natural to do, but it has a negative consequence, right? It affects somebody negatively.|
|Harp:||Yeah. It could bother them. It could annoy them.|
|Andrew:||Mmhmm. But sometimes they feel good to do, so they’re hard to break.|
|Andrew:||So, what are some of the bad habits kids have in general?|
|Harp:||I would say definitely not picking up after themselves.|
|Andrew:||Oh, yeah. This is a big one. This is something that you really have to learn how to do.|
|Harp:||Yup. I can remember my mom yelling at me all the time to go put away my toys or put away my books or make my bed or put away my clothes. It was just everything.|
|Andrew:||Also, kids not doing their homework.|
|Harp:||Yes. Having to force kids to do their homework because they would often rather play than do their homework.|
|Andrew:||OK, so some other bad habits that kids have. Can you think of any?|
|Harp:||Picking their nose.|
|Andrew:||Oh yeah. Picking their nose. This is a big one, I think.|
|Harp:||Yup. A really big one.|
|Andrew:||And it can be really bad for your health because you have so many germs on your hands, you know? You don’t want to put them in your mouth or up your nose.|
|Harp:||Yeah. But kids do both. They sometimes pick their nose and then eat it.|
|Andrew:||Hey, yeah. It’s all part of growing up, maybe.|
|Harp:||Yeah. What about you? Can you think of some other bad habits?|
|Andrew:||Oh, lying. What about lying, you know? Kids, some kids, not all kids, but some kids are little liars.|
|Harp:||Yup. And I think it’s ’cause they just don’t wanna get in trouble because they’re always getting in trouble for things like not putting away their toys or not doing their homework, so they start lying instead of facing consequences.|
|Andrew:||So it kinda snowballs. Your bad habits turn into other bad habits.|
|Andrew:||What about you? Can you think of any other bad habits?|
|Harp:||When I think of kids and bad habits, I think of bullying.|
|Andrew:||Yeah. This can be a really bad thing, right? Bullying.|
|Harp:||Yeah, it happens often with kids and even teenagers. And what is bullying?|
|Andrew:||So bullying is when you make fun of other kids, or you pick on other kids. You don’t treat them very nicely. Maybe you call them names, or you physically beat them up.|
|Andrew:||This is bullying.|
|Harp:||It’s really not a good habit, and kids often do it.|
|Andrew:||Thankfully, though, this is something that most people outgrow. And bullying isn’t as big of an issue when you’re an adult.|
|Harp:||Yeah. It’s definitely much rarer. And it becomes very noticeable when there’s an adult who bullies because, yeah, like you said, usually you grow out of it.|
|Andrew:||Mmhmm. Right. So these are some general bad habits that kids have. Did you specifically have any bad habits when you were a kid?|
|Harp:||I already told you, Andrew, I’m perfect now. I was perfect when I was a kid. I have no bad habits.|
|Andrew:||OK. Fair enough. Maybe you have the lying bad habit, is that it?|
|Harp:||Maybe… No I’m just joking. I had quite a few little bad habits.|
|Andrew:||Yeah? Do you want to share any with us?|
|Harp:||Putting away my stuff. That was one of my biggest bad habits that my mom always yelled at me about. I would leave my books everywhere. My clothes… My clothes would just pile up, and then by the end of the week they would just be sitting there. And it would take me so much more time to put them away rather than if I put them away every day like my mom said.|
|Andrew:||Mmhmm. Yeah, it’s true, you know? It’s just so fun to play with your toys. But it’s not fun to put them away.|
|Harp:||Nope. Not fun at all.|
|Andrew:||I had kind of a unique bad habit when I was a kid because I’m a drummer. I play drums. And so, when I was a kid I took drum lessons, and I really was just a very rhythmic kid. You know, I would take my pencils and drum on my desk at school, and just, like, really annoy everybody around me and especially my teachers. And so this was something that I had to stop doing.|
|Harp:||Yeah, I can imagine that would be very annoying for students trying to concentrate or for your poor teacher.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, because I would just like to practice my drum rudiments is what we call them – our exercises to get better at drums. And I just wanted to do it all the time, so I’d be tapping away instead of doing my homework or whatever.|
|Harp:||Oh, that’s funny. How long did it take you to get out of this habit?|
|Andrew:||It took me a while. And you know, I still do it sometimes, but I’m just more aware when I do it now. I notice that if I’m at school or in a library I shouldn’t do it. But I think it’s kind of a stress reflex, you know? If I’m stressed out about something, I just absent-mindedly do it. But I’ve got it under control these days.|
|Harp:||OK. Yup. When I was a kid, I had a bad habit of bouncing my leg, which I think is kind of, not musical like you, but a bit of a nervous habit.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, for sure. I think it’s a little bit unnatural to put kids in a classroom all day, every day. You know? We have so much energy when we’re that age.|
|Andrew:||We just wanna run.|
|Harp:||I wish I had that much energy now.|
|Andrew:||I know. It’s not fair. We need to do a reversal.|
|Harp:||Yeah, no, I agree with you. Kids should be playing and running and exercising and doing fun things like that more than just sitting at a desk all day.|
|Andrew:||Yeah. So I think a lot of kids, you know, they get in trouble at school for not being able to sit still, and we could maybe consider this a bad habit. But at the same time, it’s just natural when you’re that age to wanna move around.|
|Harp:||Yup. I agree with you 100%.|
|Andrew:||Cool. So should we transition into talking about bad habits that adults have?|
|Harp:||Yes. Let’s talk about some bad habits of adults.|
|Andrew:||So what is the first bad habit that comes to mind? To me there’s a huge, glaring bad habit that adults have.|
|Harp:||I’m thinking smoking.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, smoking. This is the number-one bad habit, I think.|
|Harp:||Oh, it’s the worst. Everyone knows how unhealthy it is, but it seems like so many adults just still do it.|
|Andrew:||There’s no positives really, right? It’s just all negatives. It’s expensive. It smells bad. It’s bad for your health.|
|Harp:||Yup. Exactly. It makes your teeth go yellow. It’s just a horrible habit, but so many adults do it.|
|Andrew:||Yeah. Especially in Montreal, I find. Montreal is a big smoking city.|
|Harp:||I agree. Coming from out west, I find it weird that so many people smoke here.|
|Andrew:||You’d be very hard-pressed to find smokers on the West Coast. Like, in Victoria, where I went to university, there’s not that many people that smoke. You won’t see it when you walk down the street. But in Montreal, it’s everywhere.|
|Harp:||I agree. Even for me, growing up in Edmonton, if I try to think of how many of my friends smoked or who smoke now – none.|
|Andrew:||Yeah. So if you’re a smoker, come to Montreal.|
|Harp:||Yes. This is a very bad habit that adults have, and in Montreal, there seem to be a lot of them.|
|Andrew:||Right. So this is a… Yeah. Like you said, it’s a bad habit. Can you think of any other bad habits?|
|Harp:||Um… I would say skipping breakfast or skipping meals.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, skipping meals, and this is especially common for people that work a lot and that are very busy. Sometimes they just don’t have enough time to sit down and eat a meal.|
|Harp:||Yup, so skipping a meal, it’s really a bad habit, but it happens more often than… than we would think.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, yeah, but it’s just not good for your health, you know?|
|Harp:||It’s really bad.|
|Andrew:||Another bad habit that people that are busy face is not finding the time to exercise.|
|Harp:||Yes, and like we were saying, when you’re a kid, you just naturally wanna run around and play and move. But when you’re an adult, it seems to be a really bad habit that you end up just being more… lazy, almost.|
|Andrew:||More lazy. More dormant. But I really understand this bad habit, you know? Because I’m guilty of this myself sometimes. Especially in the winter.|
|Harp:||You and me both.|
|Andrew:||What about procrastination? This is a big bad habit.|
|Harp:||Yup. This is a bad habit that a lot of adults have. So procrastination is basically when you have something that you know you need to do, and you just find, kind of, other things to do. You watch TV instead of finishing that report for work. Or you go out with friends when you know you should be at home doing something else.|
|Andrew:||Mmhmm. Yup. Because it’s just more fun to have fun.|
|Harp:||Yeah, that’s true.|
|Andrew:||And there’s one more that comes to mind, one more bad habit. And I think this affects kids and adults equally, and that’s spending too much time with electronics.|
|Harp:||Yes. That is a very bad habit that both kids and adults have.|
|Andrew:||Mmhmm. Yeah. So out of all of these bad habits, are there any that affect you?|
|Harp:||How many times do we have to talk about this, Andrew? I’m perfect! No, I’m just joking. I’m just joking. I’m just joking. I would say I definitely don’t skip meals. I get very grouchy if I try to skip a meal, so that will never happen to me. When someone says to me that they were too busy to eat and they forgot about it, I can’t even imagine and think of and understand that.|
|Andrew:||See, I’m guilty of this one.|
|Harp:||Oh, really? OK.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, yeah, yeah, for sure. I think when I’m busy or when I’m stressed, I just don’t get hungry. So it seems unnatural for me to stop and eat. It doesn’t affect me like that.|
|Harp:||Oh, no. Me, I need to eat. I cannot skip a meal but…|
|Andrew:||Except – I have to throw this condition in here – at night. If I’m working at night, then I get hungry. And I’m like… If I don’t eat, then I get – we call it – hangry.|
|Andrew:||You get angry because you’re hungry. So this is a new slang word – hangry. But in the daytime, you know, if I skip lunch, it’s cool.|
|Harp:||A bad habit that I’m very guilty of is not exercising enough.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, yeah. I agree. I think I could put more time in. I should put more time into exercising.|
|Harp:||Yup. Sometimes I get home after work, and I’m like, “Oh, I should go to the gym, or I should go for a run, or I should go do some yoga,” and it’s just… the couch just seems so inviting.|
|Andrew:||I know. It’s difficult. But this is an important thing.|
|Harp:||It’s very important. But, like you said before, it’s tough in the winter to motivate yourself to get outside when it’s freezing to do exercise.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, in the summer, no problem. Because maybe I’ll walk to work, or I’ll ride my bike to work, or I’ll go to the park after work. So I feel like I get some exercise. But in the winter, it’s a different story.|
|Harp:||Now, you mentioned about electronics. Are you guilty of this bad habit?|
|Andrew:||You know, I think I am. Even when I’m hanging out with my friends and stuff, I’m not constantly checking my phone, but I do do it more than I want to.|
|Harp:||Yup, I agree. It’s like this tic that I have that I check my phone when I know no one’s calling me. I’m with the people who I want to be with, but I just check my phone to see if I missed a call or missed a message or something. Even right now, I feel like checking my phone.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, I know. It’s really weird.|
|Harp:||I’ve heard of some friends that they’ll put all their phones – let’s say, for example, if they go out for dinner – they’ll put all their phones in the middle of the table upside down, so they can’t see them, and the first person who goes to check their phone has to pay the bill.|
|Andrew:||Ah, OK. I like this.|
|Andrew:||I’ve heard of a similar game that’s a drinking game, so if you check your phone, you have to take a drink.|
|Harp:||Yeah. I’ve heard of that too.|
|Andrew:||So some sort of punishment. I like it. I think this is a good idea.|
|Harp:||Yup. Any other bad habits that you have?|
|Andrew:||Pretty much all of the ones that we talked about, except for smoking, I’m guilty of to some extent. Procrastination is a big one for me.|
|Harp:||Oh, yeah. You’re a procrastinator.|
|Andrew:||For some things, yeah, yeah, definitely. I feel like I’m getting better. It’s something that I’ve been working over the last few years, and I do think I’ve gotten much better. But when it comes to just doing some things that I don’t like to do, I just leave them to the last minute.|
|Andrew:||For example, I just did my taxes, and I waited, literally, till, like, 3 days before the deadline to send my taxes in.|
|Harp:||Yup. I know what you mean.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, so things like that, I just, I can’t be bothered, so I don’t know. I should do them earlier. I’d be easy. And you know what? Actually, when I finished my taxes this year, I went to my calendar, and I went to February, and I made myself a note: “Do your taxes right away next year. It’ll be better for you.”|
|Harp:||That’s a good idea. And that’s actually the plus side of the electronics bad habit, is that I put more on my calendar, so I’m procrastinating less.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, totally. I think this is a good way to break a bad habit.|
|Harp:||Yeah. My bad habit is that I’m often late.|
|Andrew:||Oh yeah? Yeah, it happened today, didn’t it?|
|Harp:||It did happen today, and it used to happen all the time with Maura. Maura used to have to wait for me all the time. But I’m getting better, I would say.|
|Andrew:||Yeah, but you were only a couple of minutes late, so it’s not a big deal.|
|Harp:||Yeah. Hopefully, you don’t hate me.|
|Andrew:||No, it’s all good. Cool. Well, I think that’s about it for today’s episode.|
|Harp:||Yup. We talked about some of the common bad habits that kids have, some of the bad habits we had when we were kids, and then the same thing for adults.|
|Andrew:||Exactly, so listening to Culips is not a bad habit at all. It’s actually a good habit. And it will help you with your English studies, so make sure to check out our website, Culips.com. Take a listen to our back episodes. And also, we’re on social media, so leave us a note. Leave us a comment, and tell us what you think of the show.|
|Harp:||Yes, and we’ll talk to you soon. Bye everyone.|
A bad habit
This episode is all about bad habits. A bad habit is something you do over and over again even though it is bad for you or it annoys the people around you. Bad habits are difficult to break for several reasons. You might do them without thinking when you’re nervous (like biting your nails) or they might make you feel good (like smoking). According to researchers, the average amount of time it takes to reverse a bad habit is 66 days.
Here is a list of some bad habits:
- Buying things you can’t afford
- Drinking too much
- Spending too much time watching TV or using the Internet
- Skipping meals
- Eating unhealthy food
Here is a list of verbs that go with (or collocate with) the expression a bad habit:
|To have a bad habit||Do you have any bad habits?|
|To acquire a bad habit||I acquired some bad habits when I was young.|
|To fall into a bad habit||I fell into this bad habit when I was in high school.|
|To form a bad habit||He formed the bad habit of smoking when he was still in elementary school.|
|To become a bad habit||I didn’t used to drink very much, but alcohol became a bad habit once I started working at a bar.|
|To break a bad habit||What do I have to do to break a bad habit?|
|To kick a bad habit||I know smoking is bad for me. I really need to kick this bad habit.|
When you feel excited, you are stoked. In this episode, Andrew says that he is stoked to meet up with his friends and watch a movie. In other words, he is excited to watch a movie with his friends.
This is a very informal expression and should be avoided in formal contexts.
The word stoked was made popular by American surfers in the 1960s. Even today, it is mainly used by teenagers, especially ones who like to skateboard, surf, and snowboard.
So, if you feel stoked, you feel excited or enthusiastic about doing something.
Here are a couple more examples with stoked:
|John:||Thanks so much.|
|Colleen:||What are you doing to celebrate?|
|John:||My girlfriend bought us tickets to go see a concert tonight.|
|John:||Yup, I’m stoked. It should be a good time.|
|Gustav:||We leave tomorrow for our fishing trip. Are you stoked or what?|
|Glenn:||You bet. I bought a new fishing rod last week. I can’t wait to try it out.|
|Gustav:||Just make sure to share some of what you catch with me.|
To kick it
When you kick it, you spend time relaxing — either with friends or alone. In this episode, Harp says she’s going to kick it at home with a good book after she is finished recording the episode.
Experts are uncertain, but this expression might originate from people taking off their shoes when they relax. A synonym for to take off your shoes is to kick off your shoes. So we might use to kick it to mean to relax because it is more comfortable to hang out barefoot. Whether this is the actual origin of the expression remains unknown, but it might help you to remember the expression. So, when we kick it, we relax and spend time with our friends or just alone.
This expression has a very casual tone and is usually only used by younger people. Like any slang expression, it shouldn’t be used in formal contexts.
Here are a couple more examples with to kick it:
|Claire:||What are you doing this weekend?|
|Taylor:||I don’t have any plans. I’ll probably just kick it with some friends or watch a movie or something.|
|Claire:||Oh, that’s cool. I was thinking of heading to the park on Sunday. If you wanna come with me, just send me a text.|
|Taylor:||Sounds fun. I’ll probably do that.|
|Ben:||I should get going. I have to work early tomorrow|
|Jason:||Really? It’s only 8:30pm. What time do you start work?|
|Ben:||Well, I really don’t start work until 9:00am, but I like to have an hour or two in the morning to just kick it by myself and read the newspaper.|
|Jason:||OK, fair enough. I’ll catch you later.|
To pick up after yourself
The phrasal verb to pick up after yourself means to clean up the mess you made. In this episode, Harp says that she hated to pick up after herself when she was a kid. In other words, she didn’t like cleaning up her room or putting away her toys. It was her bad habit.
So, when you tidy or clean up a mess after you make it, you pick up after yourself.
This expression is most commonly heard in the USA and Canada. In other parts of the English-speaking world, to tidy up after yourself is preferred.
Here are a couple more examples with to pick up after yourself:
|Heesun:||How are things going with your new roommate?|
|Matias:||Not very well.|
|Matias:||He is super dirty. He leaves dirty dishes all over the kitchen and he never picks up after himself.|
|Heesun:||That’s super frustrating. I once had a roommate exactly like that.|
|Matias:||Oh yeah? How did you deal with it?|
|Heesun:||I actually just ended up moving out to live by myself. I learned that I don’t get along very well with roommates.|
|Matias:||Yeah, if the situation doesn’t change soon, I might consider moving out too.|
|Mom:||It’s time for dinner in 10 minutes. Can you put your toys away?|
|Daughter:||I don’t want to!|
|Mom:||If you don’t pick up after yourself, then you can’t have any dessert.|
|Daughter:||What’s for dessert?|
|Daughter:||OK Mommy, I’ll clean up right now.|
All part of something
In this episode, Andrew says that picking your nose is all part of growing up. This means that it is normal for children to pick their noses – that is it something almost all children do when they are growing up.
So, when something is typical, normal, or to be expected of an activity or position, we can use the expression all part of something.
For example, if a class of students complained to their teacher about having too much homework, the teacher might say, “Come on guys, homework is all part of being a student.” In other words, homework is to be expected when you are a student. It is a normal part of attending school.
So, when something can be expected or is normal, it is all part of something.
Here are a couple more examples with all part of something:
|Greg:||Did you have a good day at school today?|
|Alexandra:||It was OK. The students were pretty loud and they didn’t behave very well.|
|Greg:||Some days are like that. It’s all part of being a teacher, isn’t it? There are good days and bad days.|
|Alexandra:||Yeah, you’re right. Tomorrow will be better.|
|Greg:||Yeah, I think so. You’re a great teacher and your students love you.|
|Alexandra:||Thanks for saying so. It means a lot.|
|Kortnay:||Did you see that play?|
|Jack:||I can’t believe it. What a shot! Kobe Bryant hit that three-pointer with only 0.2 seconds left of the clock!|
|Kortnay:||The score is tied now, right? I guess that means we’re going to overtime.|
|Jack:||I can’t handle the excitement! It’s too tense!|
|Kortnay:||Ah, it’s all part of the game.|
|Jack:||I know, but if we lose, I’ll be crushed.|
|Kortnay:||Just think positively!|
If a problem, activity, situation, or issue gets bigger and bigger, it snowballs. In this episode, Andrew says that bad habits can snowball. One bad habit can cause other bad habits to form. The initial bad habit can snowball and get bigger and more severe.
This expression is easy to visualize. Imagine a person rolling a small snowball over the side of a hill. By the time the snowball reaches the bottom of the hill it will be huge because it picked up more and more snow as it rolled down the hill. Just like a snowball grows in size, when an issue, problem, or activity snowballs, it gets bigger, more serious, or more important.
We can use this expression for both positive and negative situations. For example, if your debt snowballs, you will find yourself in a very bad situation. On the other hand, if an idea you present at a business meeting snowballs, you might end up making more sales in the future.
Here are a couple more examples with the expression to snowball:
|Michael:||Hey, I hate to ask you this but do you think I could borrow a few bucks?|
|Todd:||I don’t feel comfortable doing that. Why do you need the money?|
|Michael:||I owe a lot of money on my credit cards this month because I went on a bit of a shopping spree recently. I’m worried now because if I can’t pay my debt back soon, it will just snowball and get bigger and bigger.|
|Todd:||Instead of borrowing money from me, can you take back some of the things?|
|Michael:||That’s a good idea. I’m going to see if I can return some stuff for a refund.|
|David:||I’m going to the parade on Saturday.|
|Elexa:||There’s a parade on Saturday?|
|David:||Yes, to celebrate the Potato Festival.|
|Elexa:||Wow, I had no idea that the Potato Festival included a parade. Last time I went to the festival it was just a little celebration.|
|David:||It’s really grown in the past few years. Its popularity has snowballed. It’s now a pretty big festival with a fair, games, and even a parade.|
|Elexa:||Wow, sounds great. I’m going to have to check it out!|
|David:||It’s pretty fun. The French fries at the festival are some of the best I’ve ever had.|
To pick on someone
When you pick on someone, you choose one individual and treat them badly by making fun of them, criticizing them, or being unfair to them. In this episode, Harp and Andrew talk about bullying. Bullying occurs when someone picks on somebody else.
The phrasal verb to pick on someone is usually used to talk about kids’ behaviour. If a kid makes fun of or teases another child, then that kid is picking on the child. We can also use this expression to describe unfair treatment by adults. For example, if one of your co-workers was overly critical of an idea you presented at a brainstorming meeting, you might feel like that co-worker was picking on you.
So, when a person picks on someone, they treat that person badly for no good reason.
Here are a couple more examples with to pick on someone:
|Sean:||I’m worried about my son. Some of the kids at school pick on him.|
|Kim:||That’s horrible. Nothing makes me angrier than bullying.|
|Sean:||Yeah, I don’t know what to do about the problem.|
|Kim:||You have to tell his teacher and principal right away. Most schools have a zero-tolerance bullying policy. They should be able to deal with the issue.|
|Sean:||That’s great advice. I’ll talk to his teacher this afternoon when I pick him up from school.|
|Ellington:||My 10-year high school reunion is next month but I’m not sure I’m going to go.|
|Lindsay:||Really? Why wouldn’t you want to go?|
|Ellington:||I wasn’t very popular and some of the other students picked on me.|
|Lindsay:||Oh. I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe they’ve changed now that they’re older and more mature?|
|Ellington:||It’s possible but I’m not sure I want to take the chance. It would be nice to reconnect with some of the friends I did have, though.|
|Lindsay:||Yeah. If I were you, I would go.|
|Ellington:||I’m thinking about it. We’ll see!|
When you accept or understand something that someone has told you, you can respond by saying fair enough. This expression is often used in response to a refusal. For example, if you propose an activity to someone but they can’t do it, you can say fair enough to show that you understand and accept that they can’t do the activity with you.
We can also use fair enough to show that we accept a statement that someone has made. In this episode, Harp jokes with Andrew about being perfect. Harp tells Andrew that she has no bad habits and Andrew accepts this joke by saying fair enough. In other words, he politely acknowledges Harp’s statement as being true even though he knows it is a joke.
So there are two main ways we use the expression fair enough. The first is to show that we acknowledge a refusal and the second is to politely accept the truth or validity of a statement.
Here are a couple more examples with fair enough:
|Rae:||Wanna see a movie this weekend?|
|Lesley:||I’m not feeling very well. I think I’m just going to get some rest at home.|
|Rae:||Fair enough. Maybe some other time. I hope you feel better soon.|
|Lesley:||Thanks. Yeah, let’s go see a movie when I’m back to normal.|
|Emily:||What are you going to bring to the work potluck?|
|Jill:||I was thinking about just bringing a salad.|
|Emily:||Don’t you think you should bring something a little more substantial than a salad?|
|Jill:||I have three kids at home to take care of and almost zero free time. I really don’t have the option of bringing anything fancy.|
|Emily:||Fair enough. What do you think I should bring?|
|Jill:||Devilled eggs are always a hit.|
|Emily:||Great idea! That’s what I’ll bring.|
To be verbing away
We can use the phrasal verb construction to be verbing away when someone is very involved and occupied with doing an activity. For example, if someone is singing away, they are singing with great focus and are ignoring the world around them.
In this episode, Andrew talks about a bad habit he had when he was a kid: drumming with his pencils at school. He says he would be tapping away on his desk, annoying his teacher and classmates. In other words, when Andrew did his desk drumming, he became lost in the activity. He would focus on the drumming and ignore his surroundings.
So when someone is verbing away at an activity, they are very focused on that activity and are unaware of other things that are going on around them.
Here are a couple more examples with to be verbing away:
|Erin:||Were you able to get in touch with Dan?|
|Shannon:||Yes, but it took me quite a while.|
|Shannon:||I called him a few times but he didn’t pick up. Finally I just decided to go down to his office. He was there working away on the computer with his headphones on listening to music.|
|Erin:||Ah, that explains why he didn’t hear his phone ringing.|
|Shannon:||Yup. I told him from now on he has to make sure he has his ringer volume up. If an emergency ever happens and I need to get in touch with him, I need to make sure he can hear my calls.|
|Erin:||Yes, that’s important.|
|Emma:||Look at our kids out there in the backyard just playing away.|
|Dawn:||They’re so cute.|
|Emma:||I love how they can be so happy just playing like that.|
|Dawn:||Yeah, they just love being outside, don’t they?|
|Emma:||Yup. All they need is some nice weather and their imaginations and they have the best time.|
When someone is absent-minded, they forget things often. This could be because they are distracted by something else or because they have a health issue that is preventing them from remembering information.
When we use the adverb form of this expression, the meaning changes slightly. When someone does something absent-mindedly, they do that thing without thinking about it.
In this episode, Andrew says that he used to absent-mindedly tap on his desk with his pencils when he was a student. In other words, Andrew would forget this was annoying to other people and would tap his pencils without thinking about the consequences.
So when someone is distracted or zoned out, they might do something absent-mindedly, without thinking about the thing they are doing or the consequences that action might have.
Here are a couple more examples with the adjective absent-minded:
|Rick:||Did you remember to hand in the report this morning?|
|Jamie:||Oh shoot! I totally forgot.|
|Rick:||Are you serious?|
|Jamie:||Yes. I’m so sorry. I’ll hand it in right away. I’ve had a lot on my mind recently and I’ve been a little bit absent-minded. I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.|
|Rick:||That’s OK. Just make sure to go get that report in to the boss right now.|
|Jamie:||Yup, for sure.|
|Leah:||How are your grandparents doing these days?|
|Evan:||Thanks for asking. My grandmother is doing great but I’m a little worried about my grandfather. Lately he’s been quite absent-minded.|
|Leah:||It could be stress related or it might be the early signs of dementia. I recommend that he sees a doctor to see what’s up.|
|Evan:||Yes, I thought so too. He has a doctor’s appointment booked for next week so we’ll be able to find out more information then.|
|Leah:||I hope everything is OK.|
|Evan:||Yes, me too!|
A person who is grouchy is grumpy and in a bad mood. A grouchy person has little patience and often snaps or gets angry at other people. In this episode, Harp admits that if she skips a meal, she becomes grouchy. She’ll be in a bad mood and will feel irritated until she gets something to eat.
So, a person who complains a lot, is unpleasant to be around, and is in a bad mood is a person who is grouchy.
You might be familiar with the character Oscar the Grouch from the children’s TV show Sesame Street. This character acts grouchy and is always grumpy and in a bad mood (except when he’s around kids).
Here are a couple more examples with grouchy:
|Brooke:||Can you shut up? I can’t concentrate!|
|Stephanie:||I’m not even making any noise!|
|Brooke:||Yes you are. You’re clicking your mouse too loudly.|
|Stephanie:||Are you serious? How can you click your mouse too loudly? Why are you so grouchy? Is something wrong?|
|Brooke:||You’re right, I’m sorry. I’m just stressed out about the presentation I need to make tomorrow.|
|Stephanie:||Here is an extra pair of ear plugs that I have. I use them when I need to concentrate. Why don’t you try them out? Maybe they’ll help.|
|Brooke:||OK, cool. Thanks a lot!|
|Ray:||How was work today?|
|Ross:||It was so-so. My boss was in a bad mood and was really grouchy all day.|
|Ross:||Yeah, but he’s always in a bad mood and grouchy, so it was nothing unusual. How was your day?|
|Ray:||It was good! My boss was in a good mood and left me alone all day, so I was pretty happy.|
In this episode, Andrew talks about a new slang expression, hangry. This is a portmanteau or blended word. It combines the words angry and hungry. When someone is hangry, they are in a bad, grumpy, angry mood because they are hungry.
Harp says she becomes hangry when she skips meals. So she always makes sure to eat at every meal time. On the other hand, Andrew can skip meals during the day, when he is focused on other activities, but if he misses a meal at night, he’ll become hangry.
This is a very informal, casual expression and should be avoided in formal contexts. It’s only been in use for the last couple of years so it might still be unknown even to some native English speakers.
So, when you are hungry and because of this you find yourself becoming frustrated easily, grumpy, or in a bad mood, you’re hangry.
Here are a couple more examples with hangry:
|Mariah:||What time is it?|
|Esther:||Quarter past five.|
|Mariah:||Oh no! I’ve gotta run.|
|Esther:||Already? You just got here.|
|Mariah:||My boys get home from school around 6:00 and if I don’t have dinner ready for them right away, they get hangry.|
|Esther:||Can’t they cook their own dinner?|
|Mariah:||I guess they could but they’re only 14 and 15. After they’ve had a long day of school I like to cook dinner for them so they can relax for a little bit before they have to do their homework. Anyway, I better go. See you some other time.|
|Esther:||OK, see you later.|
|Nick:||Man, I’m starting to get hangry. I need to get some food into me right away!|
|Peter:||Yeah. I’m starving too. There is a burger joint just down the road. Wanna stop there?|
|Nick:||Yeah, let’s do it.|
|Peter:||OK, let’s go. I’ll drive.|
1 -When you pick up after yourself, what do you do?
a) meet a friend and give him a ride
b) clean up a mess you’ve made
c) feel better after being sick
d) make a huge mess
2 – If you’re hangry, how do you feel?
a) hungry and sad
b) hungry and happy
c) hungry and elated
d) hungry and grumpy
3 – What do you do when you kick it?
a) hang out and relax
b) play soccer
c) remove your shoes
d) work hard to meet a tight deadline
4 – Which of the following is NOT a bad habit?
b) being punctual
c) nail biting
5 – How do you feel if you’re stoked?
6 – True or false? If you’re working away, you are paying close attention to your surroundings.
7 – If you do something absent-mindedly, you are what?
8 – What happens to a problem when it snowballs?
a) it is solved
b) it gets less serious
c) it gets more serious
d) it disappears
9 – Which of the following would be all part of the job for a police officer?
a) studying grammar
b) making arrests
c) cleaning up
d) organizing files
1.b 2.d 3.a 4.b 5.a 6.b 7.b 8.c 9.b
Hosts: Andrew Bates and Harp Brar
Episode preparation/research: Andrew Bates
Audio editor: Andrew Bates
Transcription: Nancy Miller
Learning Materials writer: Andrew Bates
Transcript and Learning Materials editor: Jessica Cox
Webmaster: Hussain Mohammed
Business manager: Tsuyoshi Kaneshima
Project managers: Harp Brar and Maura Smith