Listening Practice

A. Listen to the dialogue and remember the notes below

Listen / Послушай

Title: "Car Trouble"
Author: Jane Lawson

- Sorry, I’m late David but the car’s been playing up again.
- Surprise, surprise. I’ve told you you want to get rid of that heap of scrap. It’s been on its last legs for years and it’s a death trap.
- What do you mean? I’ve just had a new radiator put in it and it passed its MOT last year with flying colours. I reckon it’s got a few more years in it yet.
- Oh come on, get real! I’ll give you a rundown of why in my opinion it should have been condemned to the scrap heap years ago.
- Why should I get rid of a perfectly roadworthy car?
- Well, firstly it’s a rust bucket, it’s bad for the environment, and I’ve seen it kangarooing down the high street pumping out clouds of toxic exhaust fumes like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, leaving the unfortunate shoppers who happen to be in the vicinity coughing and spluttering in its wake and besides that, your work is suffering as a result. You’re late again.
- Oh, I’m sorry. It won’t happen again.


1. "the car’s been playing up.." (phrasal verb: to play up = to not work properly or to behave badly) again = the car has not been working very well again

2. "Surprise, surprise.." (here the speaker is using sarcasm – he means that it is not a surprise at all.) = What a surprise!

3. to get rid of (phrasal verb) = to dispose of (more formal)

4. heap of scrap (idiom) = old car that is very bad condition

5. "It’s been on its last legs for years.." (idiom: to be on its last legs = to be ready to die) = It has been ready to be replaced for years

6. a death trap (idiom) = a very dangerous thing that could cause a fatality

7. "I’ve just had a new radiator put in it.." = I got the mechanic to replace the old radiator

8. radiator = water storage container (in the cooling system of a car)

9. MOT = Ministry of Transport compulsory annual test (to prove the roadworthiness of a vehicle)

10. ".. it passed its MOT last year with flying colours.." (idiom) = it passed its MOT with good marks

11. "I reckon it’s got a few more years in (phrasal verb) it yet.." = I think it will work for a few more years still

12. get real (informal and strong. Be careful with this expression as it could cause offence. It is fine between friends, or in strong arguments) = you need to face reality

13. "I’ll give you a rundown of why.." (more emphatic) = I’ll explain to you a series of reasons why

14. " should have been condemned to the scrap heap years ago.." (stronger) = it should have been taken to the scrap yard years ago

15. the scrap heap = (place were cars are broken up after they are no longer useful) scrap yard

16. "Why should I get rid of.." (phrasal verb) = Why should I dispose of (more formal)

17. a perfectly roadworthy car = a car that is in good enough condition to be used on the road

18. a rust bucket (idiom) = a rusty old car

19. kangarooing down the high street (idiom) = moving down the high street with very erratic jumping movements (like a kangaroo)

20. pumping out (phrasal verb) = emitting (more formal)

21. toxic exhaust fumes = poisonous waste products (the waste products of a petrol engine)

22. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (note: this expression is onomatopoeic, in other words, it sounds like its meaning. If you say ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’, it is a bit like the sound of a car with its engine backfiring!) = a famous flying car (from the children’s film of the same name, based on the novel written by Ian Fleming)

23. "who happen to be in the vicinity.." = who are by chance in the area

24. coughing and spluttering = making erratic engine noises

25. in its wake = after it has gone past (note: the white water left in the sea after a ship has passed is called ‘the ship’s wake’.)

Examination Practice

B. Complete the sentences. Use the Passive Voice of the verbs in the box.











1. Those guys ran with all their might. They by the police dogs.

2. Where English ?

3. Last night the picture from the museum.

4. The buildings by the fire.

5. John Lennon in 1980.

6. The game of tennis by Andre Agassi, the famous tennis player.

7. The bear cub by the children.

8. St Paul’s Cathedral by Sir Christopher Wren.

9. Jane to the party. But really she didn't like the idea.

10. Television by Baird, wasn't it?

Examination Practice

C. Change the following sentences into the Passive

1. They found the rare manuscript in the basement.

2. Do they include the service charge?

3. I bought a book a week ago.

4. The scientists are examining the new bacterium.

5. An old lady found a box of jewellery last week.

6. People often ask for this book.

7. A distinguished surgeon will operate on my sister.

8. Tom has just told me a good story.

9. She has tidied the room thoroughly.

10. Bob and Jack were carrying our bags.