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Changing plans

Listen to two people talking about changing their plans to practise and improve your listening skills.

Do the preparation task first. Then listen to the audio and do the exercises.



Language level

Pre-intermediate: A2



Dear team
From audio above:
Francesco: I can't go to the theatre on Friday. Something's come up.
'Come up' its mean:
to happen, usually unexpectedly.
Is my opinion correct??
If he said: something will be happen.
Is it unexpectedly or expectedly???
Thank you for your answer team.

Hi fahri,

Yes, that's right. 'Something's come up' means it is something unexpected. It's a task or job I need to do instead of the original plan. For example, my boss has just asked me to do some urgent work, or someone in my family needs my help with something.

You could say 'Something's happened' (using present perfect - the same tense as 'something's come up'). That's also unexpected, but it's a bit different. It implies it's something unfortunate or something I didn't want, such as an accident. I might say that if someone in my family has suddenly become ill, for example. Also, it might not be something you need to do instead of the originally planned activity, but something that simply stops you doing it (e.g. if my family member is ill, I'd be worried about them so I wouldn't be in the right mood to go out and enjoy a play).

Does that make sense?

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Thanks Jonathan. That's great!

Thank you very much sir. Your answer is very clear. Fantastic.

Dear team.
From the audio above.
Francesco: I promise. I promise!
What the different from: I swear I swear or I swear to god.
The question:
Which one more polite or more solemnly???
Thank you very much for your answer.

Hi fahri,

'Swear' is stronger than 'promise'. For example, in the sentence 'I _____ I'll never lie to you', both verbs work but I would use 'swear' since it's quite a strong commitment. In the listening above, Francesco is just promising not to cancel their plans again, so I think 'swear' would probably be too strong.

Also, you may notice that Francesco is replying to Sachi, who asks him to 'promise me'. In his reply, Francesco repeats the word that Sachi used.

'Swear' is also informal, so you could say 'I swear' to a friend or family member but probably not to your manager, for example.

'Swear to god' is even stronger, and may not be polite.

One other thing: 'promise' is about something in the future (e.g. I promise I won't forget your birthday). 'Swear' has this future meaning too. But 'swear' is also often used to emphasise that you're telling the truth about something in the past (e.g. I swear I didn't take your money).

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much sir. Your answer is very complete and confehensif. I am very happy

I don't use to make lot of plans, because I hate when something is cancelled, so I prefer being more spontaneous; However if someone that I know is really reliable make a plan I will accept inmediatly.

Yes, I plan to do house works, cook and go to parties, parks with my children.