Zak's Survival Pack - English language and cultural guide to britain


PART SEVEN: English for Domestic Arguments

Now, we understand that many of you are learning English because your husbands/wives, boyfriends/girlfriends, are English speakers. We also understand that there are times when you have to argue. English becomes very difficult at those times doesn’t it? What you need are some stock phrases, or clichés to make yourself sound more convincing. Imagine this situation; there is a typical English man sitting at home. He is sitting in his favourite part of the sofa, there is a pint of beer in his hand and a bag of chips on the arm of the chair. The football is just starting on the telly. It’s the bottom of the third division clash between Plymouth Argyle Football Club and Exeter City. When suddenly in comes the wife, who wants to watch some rotten Jane Austin film ‘Pride and Sensibility’ on the other channel. Look at the sentences from the text below, and decide who says which sentence. The man or the woman?


1. ‘You are right. It is your house too. It is a house. It is not a hotel! You come and go when you please, with no consideration for anyone except yourself! Why don’t you clean or tidy up?’

2. ‘I don’t make a fuss about it. That’s not fair! You never make the bed, and when was the last time you cleaned the bathroom?’

3. Well, I’m allergic to those plants! You are missing the point. What I’m saying is that there was football on last night and the night before. You only think about yourself, you selfish pig!

4. ‘I am always cleaning. I was cleaning last week. It’s just that when I do it, I don’t make a big song and dance about it like you do!

5. ‘Washing up is an art form too. It’s a pity you will never be considered as one of the great masters. You certainly don’t get any practice.’

6. ‘That’s it. That’s enough. I’m going to pub, with my mates, if a person doesn’t even have the right to relax in his own house after a hard day’s work....’

7. ‘I didn’t say I wasn’t going to clean up again. I’m just saying that whenever there is a big, dirty, or disgusting job to do, you never want to do it. Remember that cockroach in the bathroom. You didn’t want to touch that did you? How many times have you done the gardening? Exactly!’

8. ‘But, I don’t live in the bathroom like you do. You spend at least five hours in there every day. Why don’t you just move the bed and the television in there too. You make the mess there. Of course, I’m not going to clean it.

9. ‘Oh, and I suppose twenty men kicking a bag of air around a football pitch is more important than looking good and dressing well!

10. ‘Well, it’s my television and my house as well. I have a right to do what I like, when I like.’

11. ‘I only think about myself? I like that! You are the one who spends half her life thinking about make up and clothes.’

12. ‘They represent the glory of athleticism! Man struggling against his weaknesses to create what is more than a game. It’s an art!’

13. ‘That’s it! Make yourself comfortable there in front of the TV. Don’t bother to ask me if I want to watch anything. Oh, no. Just you think about yourself.

14. ‘So what you are saying is that you are never going to clean up again.’


When you have decided whether the man or the woman is talking, get onto pairs, then take the sentences and put them into the correct order.

















Role Play.

Student A.  You are the angry woman. ‘Pride and Sensibility’ is one of your favourite films. You’ve waited months to watch it. That slob of a husband of yours watches football constantly. Every time that a football competition ends, another one begins. The World Cup, the European Championship, the Champions League, UEFA, the FA Cup. It’s endless. You want to watch an educational, award winning, cultural programme. You are going to argue with your husband until you convince him.


Student B.  You are the beer drinking, football fan husband. You love Plymouth Argyle Football Club very much. Just because your wife doesn’t understand the noble game, doesn’t mean that you should let her watch her stupid programme. Besides, they put that romantic rubbish on every afternoon. Why can’t she watch it then? So it’s time to let your wife know who wears the trousers in this house.

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