What can you do?

    Spotlight 10/2016
    Wie bitten Sie auf Englisch um Rat.
    © JasonBatterham/iStock.com
    Von Dagmar Taylor

    1. How are things?

    Maureen is meeting her friend Kate for coffee in a cafe

    Maureen: Hey! There you are! Good to see you.
    Kate: Hi! I’m so sorry I’m late. I went to Quentin’s school to talk to his maths teacher, and it all took longer than expected.
    Maureen: Oh, I remember you saying that he wasn’t very happy at school. How are things?
    Kate: I’m worried sick about him, to be honest. He’s just not motivated, and his marks are getting worse. He used to be so interested in everything when he was little.
    Maureen: How old is he now?
    Kate: He’s 13. He’s in year nine at school.
    Maureen: Did his teacher give you any helpful advice?
    Kate: Well, in a way. I mean, she was very nice, but all she said was that it was normal at his age and that he’d grow out of it later.


    • Here, talk means “to discuss something with someone”, often in the sense of trying to find a solution to a problem.If people are worried sick, they are extremely worried about something.
    • A mark (N. Am. grade) is a number or letter that is given to show the standard of somebody’s work or performance at school, college or university.
    • Advice is uncountable. You can give someone advice or “a piece of advice”.
    • If you grow out of a way of behaving, you stop doing it as you get older.


    2. School's the problem

    Maureen and Kate are talking about Kate’s son, Quentin

    : Do you think he might be depressed? A lot of kids, particularly boys, suffer from depression during puberty.
    Kate: Yeah, I know, but I don’t think so. He’s got a nice bunch of friends he sees regularly, and he’s really into football at the moment. Generally, he seems quite happy and balancedausgeglichenbalanced.
    Maureen: So, it’s just school that seems to be the problem. Have you thought about changing schools?
    Kate: Not really. I have the feeling he’s quite to be settledsich eingelebt habensettled there. I think it has more to do with some of his subjectSchulfachsubjects. He hates Latin and maths. He can’t make himself study for them at all.
    Maureen: What about getting a private tutor to help him study?
    Kate: I hadn’t thought of that.

    • Here, bunch (ifml.) Means "a group of people".
    • If someone is into something (ifml.), He or she takes an active interest in it.
    • One way people give advice is asking questions, such as Have you thought about ...?
    • When one thing has it, it is related to it.
    • A private tutor is a private teacher, especially one who teaches an individual student or a very small group.


    Related audio and exercises

    Explore the topic further by following these links:

    Exercise: Asking for and giving advice
    Audio: What can you do?

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