speech: An intermediate
level English resource.
upon a time, everybody had work. Today, lots of people are "out of
work"; but what is "work"? And what do young people in Britain think
about it? Freeway magazine asked some British teenagers for their views.
Work : a hassle, or
something to enjoy ?
Well I hate
work! And if I could sit back and not do a stroke
for the rest of my life, I'd be delighted!
You wouldn't! You'd be bored to tears! Imagine having nothing to
do all day! It'd be like being permanently on the dole!
Oh no! You don't think we're serious, do you Naomi?
I am! .... I'm quite serious! I'd love to not have to work! A
life of luxury! Great! Fantastic!
See, he is!
Well I'm not! There's nothing wrong with working!
No, everyone's got to work, but I don't think it should be the
only thing in life. I reckon
there's too much pressure on people to
work these days.
Oh that's rubbish!
I wouldn't say I've got too much work to do,
at least not normally. There are some days I reckon I'm overworked,
like when we've got a history essay to do, or exams to swot for; but
normally I don't do too much. And generally speaking, people are
working shorter hours these days than ever before, aren't they?.
I think it's normal to work hard, though I know I don't always!
But if you want to get anywhere in life, you've got to make an effort!
You won't get a good job unless you work well, and I don't think you
No. But I still don't want to spend all my life
working. I'd like to have time to enjoy myself too.
But why can't you enjoy yourself and work at the same time?
'Cos work's basically something different from enjoying yourself!
I think it depends on the sort of work you do, doesn't it? I
mean it can't be much fun sitting in a factory doing the same old
boring job, day in, day out, like some people do; but other jobs can be
quite exciting. Like being a pilot or something like that.
Yeah, up to a point,
but not always. I mean, my Dad's been
working in the same office since before I was born, and he's really at
home there. He does the same thing all the time, but he's quite happy
O.K, why not? I think you can enjoy
anything, if you set
mind to it!
Yeah, I think it's largely down to attitude. As long as you
thinking 'this is a real pain' just 'cos it happens to be work, you'll
never get anywhere!
Of course! And as far as I'm concerned, I'm quite willing to
work hard, if it means earning more, or getting a better job. After
all, people who work hard should get more money and better jobs,
Maybe, but often they don't, do they?
Often they do though!
But look at the people in badly-paid jobs: they have to work
overtime often, just to
make ends meet.
Sometimes they don't even get
that. I mean, take my brother for instance, he worked all through the
summer hols last year selling balloons in the High street. He put in
absolutely hours, but he only made about £200 a week in the
That sounds like exploitation to me!
O.K., some people are exploited, yeah, and that shouldn't be
allowed... but let's
face it, generally speaking the harder you work,
the better rewards
Not selling balloons, or waitressing.
Well in most jobs, anyway!
Only up to a point! Look, if you're a labourer, you'll
as much as a doctor, will you? However hard you work!
I don't know. Look at the blokes
They earn tons, don't they!
Well why shouldn't they?
I didn't say they shouldn't, did I? They work really hard for
it. And it's dangerous. I reckon they deserve it!
But what about shop assistants and people like that? They often
work hard too, don't they?
Yes, but maybe if they'd worked harder at school, they wouldn't
be shop assistants now!
But someone's got to be shop assistants, haven't they? After
all, look at it! Even if everyone slaved their guts out
at school, and
we all went to university, we'd still need shop assistants and dustmen
and people like that.
hassle : something
we don't like doing - delighted:
very happy - reckon: think - swot:
work hard, revise - deserve:
merit - enjoy: find
pleasure in - reward:
recompense - labourer: manual
worker - bloke:
man (slang) -
dustman: man who
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Talking about work
Pick out the
different "tags" used by the speakers (example You don't, do you?),
then add the appropriate tags to these sentences or questions:
► To learn all about using
tags, see Linguapress English grammar: Tag questions
doesn't work very fast, ..........
You can't get a good job if you haven't
got qualifications, .....
You like reading books ......
We've got to finish it, ......
He didn't tell them they should, .....
We'll never finish it by this evening,
You've done everything you had to, ......
Naomi lives in London, ......
Select the correct alternative that best matches the following
expressions used in the dialogue: try to be logical
do a stroke:
be ill, be comfortable, work hard.
the dole: without work, sitting down, on the road.
rubbish: that's true, that's not
true, that's exciting.
up to a point:
that's best, possibly,
not at all.
to set your mind to
it: to stop thinking about it, to not
be interested in it, to make a determined effort.
to make ends meet:
to finish the job, to earn
enough for their needs, to succeed.
let's face it : on
the contrary, let's talk, in reality
long as: if, until, because
machines, people, firms
their guts out: did nothing, worked very hard, walked out
(a) pronunciation: Naomi is pronounced [neiəmi], Jamie is
pronounced [d3eimi]. (b) Agreeing with a negative statement: Note that
Jamie twice agrees with a negative statement by answering "no".
Actually, he could have answered "yes" and still implied the same, but
using "no" in this situation is more normal.
Note the use of pro-forms in a number of speeches, for example: Naomi:
You wouldn't! A pro-form is a modal or auxiliary verb standing in place
of a full verb, to which it refers back. Have pupils find other
examples, and explain what they mean.
what do pupils understand by: at home (happy), down to attitude (a
question of attitude), overtime (longer than normal),
does he / can you / don't you / haven't we / did he / will we / haven't
you / doesn't she. Note that tag questions which are not real questions
but just requests for confirmation are intoned with falling intonation.
answer to MCQ. work hard / without work / that's not true / possibly /
make a determined effort / earn enough for their needs / in reality /
if/ people / worked very hard.
Oral Expression: have pupils learn a role by heart for homework, and be
ready to re-enact the discussion without their magazines. Pay attention
EFL teachers: Help develop this resource by contributing extra teaching
materials or exercises.
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Revised 2015 . Originally published in Freeway, the Intermediate level
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