Walk 'n' Talk Level Up #73 - Grasping at straws

Do you normally grasp at straws when the situation is not very pleasant?

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Leitura de 
20 min

Hello, everyone! How are you all doing?

Welcome to Walk ‘n’ Talk Level Up! No episódio de hoje, vamos ouvir uma professora e um estudante conversando. O estudante parece estar evitando a professora, porque ainda não entregou o trabalho final da disciplina! Aproveite o episódio para enriquecer o seu vocabulário, e lembre-se de repetir os exemplos em voz alta para melhorar a sua pronúncia!

Abaixo, você vai encontrar novas expressões e outros exemplos de frases, ou seja, muito conteúdo para praticar! Lembre-se de que você pode ouvir o episódio quantas vezes quiser até memorizar todas as frases, assim você vai poder usá-las quando estiver conversando com um nativo!

Sounds good? Time to study, let’s go!

Dialogue

Ms. Green: Mr. Robb, just the person I wanted to see.
Mr. Robb: Oh, Ms. Green… Long time no see.
Ms. Green: Yes, it’s almost as if you’ve been avoiding me. Have you been avoiding me, Mr. Robb?
Mr. Robb: No! I would never. I guess it’s just the way things were working out. 
Ms. Green: Yes, sure. You haven’t submitted your term paper yet. It was due last week.
Mr. Robb:
Well, my grandma fell ill, and then I had to take my parents to the doctors, and then I had a dentist’s appointment, and I broke my laptop…
Ms. Green: You’re grasping at straws here, Mr. Robb. Have the term paper on my desk by the end of the week, if you want to pass my class.

Expanding your vocabulary

“You’ve been avoiding me…”

This structure ‘have been doing’ is called Present Perfect Continuous. It is used when we want to say that an action or behavior started in the past and it is still happening. Take a look at this example:

She has been studying French every evening.
This means that she started studying French in the past and she is still doing it. Notice how there is a sense of continuity in the sentence.

Another use of the present perfect continuous is when we are talking about a past action that has recently stopped, right before we start talking. For example, imagine a friend of yours looks  red and is running out of breath. When you ask them what happened, they might say:

I’ve been running!
In this example, we understand that this person has just stopped running.

Another example, a very common thing to say in English is “I’ve been thinking…”. This is similar to our “andei pensando” in Portuguese. It shows that you started thinking about a subject in the past and you are still thinking about it. There is a sense of continuity.

“It was due last week”

The word “due” is used when we want to say when something is expected to happen. It indicates the deadline. Here are some examples:

The rent is due at the end of the month.
Our baby is due in June.

Grasping at straws

When you are trying really hard to make something work or even when you try to feel hopeful in a bad situation but nothing you do actually works… you are grasping at straws. In the dialogue, you heard a student trying to come up with different excuses to get himself out of trouble but it didn’t help him. He had no other option besides submitting his paper so, like the teacher said, he was grasping at straws. Here are some examples:

I knew I was failing the exam... when I tried to answer the last question I was just grasping at straws. 
She is grasping at straws! I’m not going to give her a new phone and there’s nothing she can do about it.
They would do anything to win that award but everybody knew they didn’t stand a chance… they were definitely grasping at straws.

In the examples above you can see that there is always someone trying to change reality in vain. 

That’s it for today, folks! I hope these explanations and examples have been helpful! Don’t forget to check all the free content we have around here and make sure to come back next week for another Level Up episode!

Bye!

Paula Gabriela
Heyy, what's up? Eu sou a teacher Paula, sua professora de inglês da Fluency Academy!
Nome do autor
Hey guys! Eu sou a Becca, teacher de inglês na Fluency Academy!
Nome do autor
Hey guys! Eu sou a Becca, teacher de inglês na Fluency Academy!
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