Daily English
Cultural English
Practical English

1037 Ending a Party

访问量:
Complete Transcript
Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 1,037 – Ending a Party.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 1,037. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Visit our website at ESLPod.com. Become a member of ESL Podcast and download the 10-page Learning Guide for this episode that contains a complete transcript of everything I say.

This episode is a dialogue between Gunther and Maria about stopping, or ending, a party. Doesn’t sound like too much fun, does it? Well, let’s join the party and find out.

Let’s get started.

[start of dialogue]

Gunther: I think this party has run its course, and I’m ready to call it a night.

Maria: But there are still a few stragglers who seem reluctant to leave. How do we politely tell them to go home?

Gunther: I’ll just make an announcement.

Maria: Wait! That seems kind of rude. Let me try a few hints. I’ll tell them that we’re out of drinks.

Gunther: If you do that, one of those guys is liable to offer to make a beer run. That’s not going to do the trick.

Maria: What if I go over there, yawn, and comment on the lateness of the hour? That should be obvious enough without being too rude.

Gunther: Those people aren’t going to respond to subtlety. Let me handle this.

Maria: What are you going to do?

Gunther: I’m going to do what bars do at closing time. I’m turning up the lights and turning off the music.

Maria: And if that doesn’t work?

Gunther: I’m going to yell “Lights out, people!” and mean it!

[end of dialogue]

Our dialogue begins with Gunther saying to Maria, “I think this party has run its course and I’mready to call it a night.” There are two expressions or phrases in this first line of the dialogue that we want to explain. The first one is for something “to run its course” (course). “To run its course” means that something has naturally completed whatever process or perhaps cycle is involved here. It really means that the party is no longer entertaining. It’s no longer fun. It’s coming to an end. You had a good time, but now it’s time to go. That’s the idea that Gunther is trying to communicate here.

The phrase “to run its course” is often used in medicine to talk about, for example, a disease or an illness that is temporary. There are some illnesses, such as the common cold and flu, that sometimes just have to run their course. They are not illnesses that are easy to cure or even to help, sometimes. You just have to let the disease go through its stages until it’s all over.

The other expression from this first line that I want to explain is “to call it a night.” “To call it a night” means to say that you are going home. You are not going to stay at whatever event or party you are at. So, if you go to someone’s house for dinner and you stay until 10 o’clock or 11 o’clock and then you want to go, you would say to the person, “I think I’m going to call it a night,” meaning I’m going to leave now and go home. I don’t want to be here anymore.

Maria says, “But there are still a few stragglers who seem reluctant to leave. How do we politely tell them to go home?” We realize in this second line of the dialogue that Maria and Gunther are having a party at their own house. Maria says there are still a few “stragglers” (stragglers). A “straggler” is one of the last people to finish something, or one of the last few people to continue doing something.

Let’s say you go on a tour and the tour bus leaves at eight o’clock in the morning. You get there at 7:45, and at eight o’clock, the bus is ready to leave, but some people have not yet arrived from your group. So they come in at 8:05 or 8:10. We would call those final few people the “stragglers.” There’s sometimes a negative connotation about this word “straggler.” It suggests that the person is late or is very slow.

Maria says these few stragglers seem reluctant to leave. “To be reluctant” (reluctant) means to not want to do something, to not look forward to doing something. We might also say that it means “to be hesitant” (hesitant). The stragglers are reluctant to leave. You could be reluctant to go to school. You could be reluctant to go to your mother-in-law’s house. These are all very logical, perhaps even common, experiences. Maria says, “How do we politely tell them to go home?” To do something “politely” (politely) means nicely, courteously, with good manners.

Gunther says, “I’ll make an announcement”; I’ll just tell everybody. Maria says, “Wait!” meaning stop. “That seems kind of rude” – not nice. “Let me try a few hints.” A “hint” (hint) is, in this case, a gentle suggestion, an indication about what you are talking about or what you want without saying it directly. A “hint” in other context can also mean a clue – information about some mystery or problem. Here, however, it just means an indirect way of communicating a message.

Maria says that she’ll tell her guests that they are out of drinks – they have no more alcohol, let’s say, to drink. Gunther says, “If you do that, one of those guys is liable to offer to make a beer run.” The word “liable” (liable) here means likely or probable, something that could and probably will happen. “Liable” also has some other meanings that are related to the law. “To be liable” for something means to be responsible for something, often financially responsible for something, but here it just means “likely.”

One of the guys, according to Gunther, is likely “to offer to make a beer run.” A “beer (beer) run” is a quick trip to a store, a liquor store, to buy more beer. We sometimes use that word “run” to talk about doing a very short trip for one specific purpose, often to buy something. If it’s eight o’clock at night and you’re feeling hungry, you might say to your husband, “Let’s go for a doughnut run.” That would mean let’s go out and buy some doughnuts, which sounds really good right now. But again, so does a beer.

Gunther says, “That’s not going to do the trick.” “To do the trick” means to be successful, to reach your goal or objective. Gunther is saying that telling their guests that they have run out of drinks will not be effective. That won’t work. It won’t do the trick (trick).

Maria then makes another suggestion to Gunther: “What if I go over there,” where the people are standing, “yawn, and comment on the lateness of the hour?” “To yawn” (yawn) is to open your mouth wide and take a deep breath, usually sighing outwards. It’s better and easier to simply illustrate this. A “yawn” would be something like [yawns]. Interestingly enough, I believe that when one person yawns, it often causes other people to yawn. So, if you just yawned yourself, well, there you go. It did the trick.

Maria is going to yawn because when someone yawns, it often indicates that he is tired. She’s going to try to indicate to her guests that it’s getting late. In fact, she’s going to “comment on the lateness of the hour.” The “lateness of the hour” simply means how late it is getting, how it is time for people to go home and go to sleep. Maria says that should be obvious enough without being too rude.

Gunther says, “Those people aren’t going to respond to subtlety.” “Subtlety” (subtlety) is being very indirect. “Subtlety” is indirectness, not being direct with someone. It’s similar to hinting. Gunther says, “Let me handle this,” meaning let me take care of this. Maria then asks, “What are you going to do?” Gunther says, “I’m going to do what bars do at closing time.” A “bar” is a place where you go and get an alcoholic drink. He says, “I’m turning up the lights and turning off the music.”

Sometimes in a bar, when they are ready to close, the owners will turn off the music and turn up the lights. Some lights can be made to be less bright, and that’s the case in a bar. Usually, if you go into a bar, there aren’t really bright lights shining on you – that’s because people are drinking, and they don’t want to see bright lights. “To turn up the lights” would be to go from the room being sort of dark to suddenly being very bright.

Maria says, “And if that doesn’t work? Gunther says, “I’m going to yell” – say very loudly – “‘Lights out, people!’ and mean it.” “Lights out” means that it’s time to go to sleep, to turn off the lights and go to sleep. It’s something that, for example, a father or mother might say to his or her children when it’s time for them to go to bed. The parent might send the child to his room and then turn the lights off and say something like “Lights out,” meaning it’s time to turn the lights off. You might also hear that expression in the military when it’s time for everyone to go to bed, to go to sleep.

Gunther says he’s “going to yell ‘Lights out people!’ and mean it.” “To mean” (mean) something means to really believe it, to actually do what you say you are going to do. We sometimes use this phrase when someone doesn’t believe that you are going to do what you say you’re going to do. So, a parent may say again to his or her child, “If you don’t go to sleep right now, you’re not going to get any candy tomorrow. I mean it.” The parent is emphasizing that he or she is serious and will actually do what he or she says that he or she will do. Wives also speak this way sometimes to their husbands.

Now let’s listen to the dialogue this time at a normal speed.

[start of dialogue]

Gunther: I think this party has run its course, and I’m ready to call it a night.

Maria: But there are still a few stragglers who seem reluctant to leave. How do we politely tell them to go home?

Gunther: I’ll just make an announcement.

Maria: Wait! That seems kind of rude. Let me try a few hints. I’ll tell them that we’re out of drinks.

Gunther: If you do that, one of those guys is liable to offer to make a beer run. That’s not going to do the trick.

Maria: What if I go over there, yawn, and comment on the lateness of the hour? That should be obvious enough without being too rude.

Gunther: Those people aren’t going to respond to subtlety. Let me handle this.

Maria: What are you going to do?

Gunther: I’m going to do what bars do at closing time. I’m turning up the lights and turning off the music.

Maria: And if that doesn’t work?

Gunther: I’m going to yell “Lights out, people!” and mean it!

[end of dialogue]

I’m not at all reluctant to say that the greatest scriptwriter in the world is our very own Dr. Lucy Tse. Thank you, Lucy.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again right here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast was written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan. Copyright 2014 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
to run its course – for something to naturally complete its process or cycle, without being interrupted, sped up, or slowed down

* Unfortunately, doctors can’t cure the common cold. We’ll just have to let it run its course.

to call it a night – to say that something has ended, or to announce that one has had enough of something, and then go home and/or go to bed.

* We still need to study another three chapters, but I’m too tired to concentrate. Let’s call it a night.

straggler – one of the last people to finish something, or one of the last few people to continue to do something

* The marathon started six hours ago, but a few stragglers have still not completed the race.

reluctant – not wanting to do something; hesitant; not looking forward to something

* They’re reluctant to sign a lease with such high rent, but they really want to live downtown.

politely – with consideration, good manners, and courtesy

* If you want to have a successful career, you’ll have to learn to give criticism politely.

hint – a gentle suggestion or slight indication, without clearly stating what the thing is

* Randall won’t tell his girlfriend where he’s taking her, because he wants it to be a secret, but he has given her a few hints.

liable – likely; probably; something that could and probably will happen

* If we plan an outdoor event in April, it’s liable to rain, so make sure we have enough tents and umbrellas for all the guests.

beer run – a quick trip to a store to buy beer, especially after people have drunk all the was available at a party

* If you’re making a beer run, can you please bring back some chips and salsa, too?



to do the trick – to solve the problem; to be effective

* That duct tape should do the trick and stop the leak until we can buy a new pipe.

to yawn – to open one’s mouth wide and take a deep breath with a sighing sound, usually when one is very tired, but trying to stay awake

* Your son often yawns during my classes. Is he getting enough sleep at home?

lateness of the hour – a formal phrase describing the late evening, especially when people are normally asleep

* They usually go out for dessert after seeing a play, but given the lateness of the hour, they decided to go home instead.

subtlety – using delicacy and indirectness to express oneself

* Are you able to appreciate the subtlety of this artwork?

to turn up the lights – to make the lights brighter and more intense in a room that was partially dark

* At the end of the movie, they turned up the lights in the theater.

lights out – the time to turn off the lights and go to sleep, especially when used as a command to tell others to turn off the lights

* Most nights, the kids are in bed and reading by 8:00, but it’s lights out at 8:15.

to mean (something) – to sincerely believe what one is saying, without any doubt or hesitation

* Did you mean it when you said that you’d quit your job if you had to work for Irene?

Comprehension Questions
1. What does Gunther mean when he says, “This party has run its course”?
a) Too many people are at the party.
b) The party didn’t have enough food for everyone.
c) It’s time to end the party.

2. What will happen if the guys make a beer run?
a) They’ll have a competition to see who can drink the most beer.
b) They’ll go to the store to buy more beer.
c) They’ll spray the beer as they run around each other.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
to call it a night

The phrase “to call it a night,” in this podcast, means to say that something has ended, or to announce that one has had enough of something, and then go home and/or go to bed: “We’ve been working on this since 10:00 a.m., and it’s already dinnertime. Let’s call it a night.” The phrase “to work nights” means to work a nighttime shift, when most other people are asleep: “As an international pilot, Kerry is used to working nights.” Finally, the phrase “Night night” is used to say goodnight to someone who is going to bed, especially a child: “Night night, I’ll see you in the morning.”

to mean (something)

In this podcast, the phrase “to mean (something)” means to sincerely believe what one is saying, without any doubt or hesitation: “Don’t say that you want a divorce unless you really mean it.” The phrase “to mean to do (something)” means to plan or intend to do something: “I meant to fill out that paperwork yesterday, but I forgot.” The phrase “to mean well” means to intend to be kind, helpful, or polite, even though one’s words or actions are not really perceived that way: “When Brett bought his wife a workout DVD, he meant well, but she was really offended by it.” Finally, the phrase “to mean the world to (someone)” means to be very important to someone: “Winning that competition means the world to Heather.”

Culture Note
Terms Used to Talk About Beer

Beer is a popular drink in the United States, and many special terms are used to talk about beer and drinking it. When buying beer, most people purchase a “six-pack,” or a group of six cans of beer, each with an individual serving, that are held together by a piece of clear plastic with six “rings” (circles) that are place around the top of each can. Of course, beer can also be purchased in “bottles” (glass containers), in which case a “six-pack” is held together by a “cardboard” (thick paper) carrier. People can also buy cans or bottles “by the case” (with 12 to 24 units in a cardboard box).

When people are buying a lot of beer, especially for a college party, they can buy a “keg,” or a small “barrel” (a large, round container) that was traditionally made of wood, but now is more often made of aluminum or steel. The keg keeps the liquid under pressure, and the beer is “dispensed” (moved out of the keg and into a glass) by “tapping” (opening) the keg at the “valve” (a small piece used for opening and closing). At a “kegger” (a party with kegs of beer), there is a lot of emphasis on people, especially men, “chugging beer” (drinking beer very quickly without stopping until it is finished) in order to “feel the effects of alcohol” (become drunk) very quickly.

At a bar or restaurant, it’s common to be served “draught beer” that is served from a “tap” (a special faucet that serves beer from a large container that is under the counter). Many of these draught beers are “craft beers” (beers produced locally and in smaller quantities than beers from national “breweries” (companies and places where beer is made)).

Comprehension Answers
1 - c

2 - b