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第15课 LITTLE THINGS MEAN A LOT

2006-07-29 10:11

  Gary used the term “coffee-shop”。 Although this type of place may exist in places outside Singapore, they would probably not call it a “coffee-shop”, except in Malaysia. Therefore, for the benefit of a foreigner, you could call it “a small food centre” instead.

  Gary is in the office, shredding photocopies……

  Gary: Aiyah.

  Jane: What's wrong?

  Gary: Paper shredder spoil already.

  Jane: You mean you didn't intend to shred all those copies?

  Gary: No! I mean “yes”! First I zap the wrong things, then paper shredder spoil already. Jaya asked me to shred all these. Only half-done and machine spoil already.

  Jane: Let me try. Maybe you've got the controls wrongly set.

  Gary: No good, Jane. Machine spoil already.

  The shredding machine falls apart with a clatter……

  Jane: Oh dear, the bin's come right off in my hands!

  Jaya hears the clatter and comes to investigate……

  Jaya: What's going on?

  Gary: (Very frustrated) I'm so mad with this machine, Jaya, I want to throw it.

  Jane: Gary! Temper! Throwing things around won't do any good - you could seriously injure someone.

  Gary: Eh?

  Jaya: Don't worry, Jane - he doesn't want to throw it at anyone. What Gary wants me to do is throw it out, throw it away. (To Gary) You throw a ball, Gary. You throw away something you don't want any more.

  Gary: All that for one little word! Anyway - it's too small - we should think about selling it away.

  Jaya: Er ……well. In this case, Gary, you don't need 'away'…… We should think about selling it.

  Gary: First away then not away. How to tell?

  Narrator: Yes, Gary, English can be frustrating at times and there's no simple answer here. To throw means one thing; to throw away, another. Sometimes, you just have to learn the right way to say things - although a good up-to-date dictionary will give you this information. How old is your dictionary?

  Gary: Well - I know I used it in Primary 3……

  Narrator: In that case, it might not be very helpful in telling you the difference between break and spoil.

  Replay……

  Gary: Paper shredder spoil already.

  Jane: You mean you didn't intend to shred all those copies?

  Narrator: If a machine isn't working, it isn't spoilt but it could be broken. If it's stopped working, it could have broken down. If it's come apart in some way, it's definitely broken. HotDotCom's paper-shredder has fallen to pieces, so it's broken. Jane - what else can you break?

  Jane: Well, if Gary throws paper-shredders around, he could break a window!

  Jaya: ……or break his arm.

  Jane: ……or break the law.

  Jaya: You can break a tooth……

  Jane: You can have a tea break!

  Jaya: Trust a Brit to think of that one!

  Narrator: What about spoil?

  Jane: You can spoil……your……

  Jaya: …… dinner - or your appetite.

  Jane: or yourself!

  Jaya: Oh, that reminds me, Jane - about that poster you've just put up on the office window?

  Jane: Mmm?

  Jaya: Well, it spoils my view of the sea!

  Jane: Jaya……

  Jaya: Mmm

  Jane: I could break our dinner date……

  Jaya: What? - and spoil my evening?

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