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Episode 06: He's a pest!

Joe the 4-year-old nephew - is he a pest or just a sweet little boy?

Do the Preparation task first. Then listen to the audio. Next go to each Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Olivia:  Joe!  Can you stop that please!  Can you please come here and sit down!
Magda:  Hello there, Olivia.  Who’s this?
Olivia:  This is Joe – he’s my nephew.
Magda:  Nephew?
Olivia: My sister’s son.
Magda:  Oh!  I see.  He’s lovely!  I love children...
Olivia:  Yeah, they’re great until you have to look after them...
Magda:  You’re looking after him?
Olivia:  Yeah, just for today, fortunately.  My sister can’t get a babysitter.  But Joe comes to my shop quite often.  He loves it there...unfortunately!
Magda:  Why’s that ‘unfortunate’?
Olivia: Because he’s a pest, that’s why...
Magda:  What’s a ‘pest’?
Olivia:  Somebody or something which makes you angry...
Magda:  No!!  I don’t believe it!  He’s so sweet!  How old is he?
Olivia:  Four, nearly five. 
Fadi:  Whoooaaaa!  Slow down there, little man!  Who’s this?
Olivia:  Fadi, meet Joe.
Magda:  He’s Olivia’s nephew.  And a sweet little pest!
Fadi:  Oh really!  I didn’t know you were Aunt Olivia!
Olivia:  Thank you very much Fadi.  You make me feel old. Listen, have you had a chat with Harry yet?
Fadi:  About work?
Olivia:  Yeah.
Fadi:  No, not yet, but I’m supposed to talk to him today.  He said he’d be in here later.
Olivia:  Listen, though, it’s not true what Harry was saying...
Fadi:  About what?
Olivia:  About me being upset if he can’t do the website for my shop...I don’t mind if he can’t do it!  He wanted far too much money.  I could never have afforded it.  Now it’s ok, because he thinks he’s turning me down...I don’t have to offend him by saying ‘no’! A happy result all round!
Fadi:  I I don’t have to bail you out, after all?
Olivia:  No!
Olivia:  Joe, can you stop that please?  Come over here!
Fadi: ...and here he is!
Harry:  Alright mate!  Alright Olivia, Magda...who’s this young man?
Olivia:  My nephew, Joe.
Harry:  Hello Joe!
Harry:  He’s very...erm...what’s the word...energetic?
Olivia:  I just call him “trouble”!
Harry:  So, Fadi, you wanted to talk business?
Fadi:  Yeah, finally...well, I’ve got the all clear from my uncle, so we’re on. 
Harry:  Great. 
Fadi:  But...
Harry:  There’s always a “but”!
Fadi:  You’re going to have to do us a favour and come down on the price, mate...
Harry:  What price did I quote you?
Fadi:  Two thousand five hundred.
Harry:  Well, seeing as you’re a friend, I could come down to two thousand four hundred, but not less than that.
Fadi:  We can offer two thousand.  That’s our top limit.  We don’t have a bigger budget than that.
Harry:  Come on!  You’re joking!
Fadi:  Sorry mate.  It’s two thousand, or nothing.
Harry:  No way.  Can’t be done.  I’ve got to go to go and see Johnny – he’s offered me a real job...bye all!
Fadi:  Oh no, do you think he’s really upset now?
Olivia:  I don’t think “upset” is the word....
Fadi:  We can go a bit higher actually...I was just trying to be a tough negotiator.
Magda:  A bit too tough, I think.
Olivia:  You should never mix work and friendship, anyway.
Magda:  And you probably shouldn’t have a business meeting in a café!
Fadi:  Oh no.  What a mess.  I’d better go.  Hang on..where’s my...where are my....I can’t find my mobile!  Or my keys!  Has anyone seen them?
Magda:  Let’s look under the seats...they must be here somewhere...
Fadi:  I can’t see anything.
Magda:  No sign.
Olivia:  How strange...hang on a minute, my nephew’s been terribly quiet for the last five minutes...what’s he up to...Joe!!!


Language level

Pre-intermediate: A2


Hello Sir,
I always get confused when I use Adjectives with noun.
Simpley, we use adjectives to describe more information about Noun that is qualified by an adjective.
Sir, But as far as I know there are two types of Adjectives
1) Attributely Adjectives which are used before Noun.
2) Predicately Adjectives which are used after a noun.
If I take an example
*1) This makes simple things.
*2) This makes things simple.
In *1 'simple' is an adjective and also in *2 simple is an adjective.
I want to know what is the difference in *1 and *2.
Please help, sir
Thank you

Hello Kapil Kabir,

Simple is an adjective in both sentences, but there is a change in meaning.

In the first sentence, you make things and the things are not complex. Make has the meaning of construct or create.

In the second sentence, the situation is clarified or simplified. Make has the meaning of results in or causes to be.


As far as the names given to different types of adjectives, or rather their different roles in the sentence, it's really a question of linguistic analysis rather than language learning and so falls outside of our focus on LearnEnglish. The Wikipedia page has a good summary, however:



The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you, Sir

Everybody has some pest relative in their own family.
Thanks for the exercise.
Great site!.

May I ask a question, please?
I didn’t know you were Aunt Olivia!
Shouldn't he say :
I didn’t know you are Aunt Olivia!
Cause she still is an aunt.

Hello corfiz,

In indirect speech like this when something is still true it is grammatically possible to use the past form or the present form. However, in modern usage we tend to prefer the past form when the sentence begins

I didn't know...

It's really a question of convention rather than grammar. I didn't know you are... is not wrong, but it does not quite sound right in terms of common usage.



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello LearnEnglish Team,

In the Activity 2, sentence 5, I don’t understand a answer: “Fadi uncle has agreed to pay MORE THAN two thousand pounds.
In my opinion Fadi’s uncle wants to pay exactly two thousand pounds. (When Fadi says: “That’s our top limit.”).

Thank you,

Hello thiagocrvg,

If you look a little later in the transcript you'll see that Fadi says something else:

We can go a bit higher actually...I was just trying to be a tough negotiator.


So, Fadi's uncle has agreed to pay more than £2000, and Fadi was just pretending that £2000 was his limit as a negotiating tactic.



The LearnEnglish Team