topic 21.3

Unit 21 :
Delaying Activities



To demonstrate an understanding of the meaning of several different phrasal verbs.

topic 21.1

What is something that you always put off until another day?

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Repeat these words/ phrases after your teacher.

  • make it (phr)
  • show u (phr)
  • make it (phr)
  • incompetent (adj)
  • blurt (sth) out (phr)
  • rattle off (phr)


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Dialogue 1

Read the dialogue aloud with your teacher.



Hey Brianne, are you still going to the party tonight?

I don’t think I can make it tonight, Brian. I gotta work.

Like work work?

No no. The online business that I’ve been doing on the side.

You’re always hustling! Can’t you put it off until tomorrow?

I need to wrap a few things up today. It really can’t wait.

You mean can’t wait, or can’t wait can’t wait? Mike said he was going to show up later! Don’t you have a thing for him?

Mike is cute, but I’m starting to think I like his brother Matt.

 Like, like, like him?

Yeah, like, like him.

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Let’s practice

Answer the following the questions by choosing the correct phrasal verbs.

  1. You’re brave and courageous. You can _____.

    a.Make it        b. Put off          c.on the side

2. He makes a little money _____ by cleaning windows in his spare time.

    a. Put on         b.on the side       c.make it

3. The meeting has been ______________for a week.

    a. Show up       b. Can’t wait         c.put of

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Dialogue 2

Role-play Dialogue 2  with your teacher.



 I did the stupidest thing the other day. I’m embarrassed to even talk about it.

Haha, come on, fess up! What’d you do?

Remember I told you about how my boss always talks down to me and treats me like I’m incompetent?

Yeah, and I said you should speak up – it’s not right to treat an employee like that.

Well, I didn’t want to cause any problems, so I usually just try to tune him out. But yesterday I finally got fed up and called him out on it – respectfully, of course.

 I just pointed out that I’ve been with the company for two years and he doesn’t need to spell out every single task as if I were a child.

Oooh, good for you! How’d he react?

He didn’t even let me finish! He cut me off and said I was challenging his authority. 

 Then he rattled off all his own accomplishments and started harping on the importance of new employees needing to respect the company hierarchy. 

Ugh – so did you keep quiet or tell him off?

Before I could say anything, another colleague of mine butted in – I thought she was going to stand up for me, but she backed him up instead! 

 That really stung, because I had opened up to her about my frustrations and she had promised to help me out. 

So… I don’t get it. What was the stupid part?

I was at a restaurant with my best friend and I had been ranting about my boss for a solid ten minutes when suddenly my friend blurted out, “Look behind you!”

 Let me guess – your boss was right there.


How much did he overhear? 

 Enough to make him furious, although he was trying not to let on because he was having dinner with his wife and kids. 

But I could tell by the look on his face that he’s definitely going to bring up my “attitude problem” at the next performance review.

Ouch. Well, a lesson learned – always check your surroundings before you start to vent!

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Let’s Practice

Answer the following questions by applying the correct phrasal verbs.

  1. I knew my boss was lying to the client, but I didn’t ___________ because I was afraid of losing my job.

     A. speak up       B. stand up for him        C. tune out 

2.  It’s annoying when people ___________ because they don’t think I understand English.

    A. cut me off       B. harp on me                 C. talk down to me

3. The gym teacher ___________ the rules of the game so that all the kids would know how to      play it.

    A. blurted out        B. spelled out            C. pointed out

4. Steve is really into astronomy – if you can ask him, he can __________ the names of all the constellations. 

   A. bring up             B. rant about             C. rattle off

 5.When my doctor told me my cholesterol levels were high, I __________ and admitted I hadn’t stuck to my diet. 

  A. butted in               B. fessed up              C. spoke out

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Share your idea with your teacher. Try to make sentences.

1. What are the things that you usually delay?

2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of delaying some activities?