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  • Hello and welcome to News Review from BBC Learning English. I'm Neil.

  • Joining me today is Catherine. Hello, Catherine.

  • Hello, Neil. Hello, everybody. Yes, today we're covering a story

  • from India, which is in the grip of a devastating second wave of Covid.

  • If there's any of the vocabulary that you hear in this programme

  • you'd like to test yourself on,

  •   there's a quiz on our website at bbclearningenglish.com.

  • Let's hear more about that story from India from this BBC News report:

  • Yes. So, a devastating second wave of coronavirus is sweeping across India.

  • Hospitals are unable to cope with the number of patients requiring

  • treatment. A website has been set up for people to register for vaccines,

  • but it has crashed under the weight of demand.

  • It is thought that hospitals are unable to report the true number of

  • cases, so actually the situation may be even worse than is thought.

  • A truly terrible situation there in India.

  • Now, you've been looking at this story and you've picked out three

  • useful words and expressions that people can use to help them

  • understand the English being used to discuss this story.

  • Yes, we're looking at: 'choke', 'dragged its feet' and 'driving'.

  • 'Choke', 'dragged its feet' and 'driving'.

  • So, let's have a look now at your first headline, please.

  • Yes, we're starting here in the UK with the BBCthe headline:

  • 'Choke' – stop functioning because of being too full.

  • Yes, OK. So, this is a verb spelt: C-H-O-K-E – 'choke'.

  • And if you eat food that then gets

  • stuck in your throat and you struggle to breathe, you're 'choking'.

  • Now, that's the literal meaning: a blockage in your throat,

  • which means you cannot breathe.

  • What we're talking about here is a blockage in hospitals so they

  • cannot function. There are so many patients in Indian hospitals,

  • they're unable to perform their role properly.

  • So, even though 'choking' is connected to an inability to breathe,

  • which is one of the symptoms of Covid,

  • in this headline that is not the sense of 'choke' we're using.

  • No, no. It's about being unable to operate because of blockage. So, we

  • often use the word 'choke' to talk about traffic – a traffic situation.

  • If the traffic is 'choked' and we're using the passive verb there

  • 'is choked' – it means traffic isn't moving

  • because there is too much of it.

  • Yeah. Also, often used with 'up': the traffic is 'choked up'.

  • Yes, a phrasal verb – 'to choke up'.

  • Again, often used in the passive: 'to be choked up' means it's not

  • working because there's too much. It's overwhelmed.

  • Yeah. Now, 'choked up', as a phrasal verb, also has another meaning,

  • which is quite different. It's connected to emotions.

  • Yes, it is. Yes, if something...

  • somebody says something to you, usually complimentary,

  • that makes you feel like you're going to cry and you can't talk properly

  • because of emotion, you can say, 'I'm choked,' or, 'I'm choked up.'

  • Yeah. And you can often see people who are 'choked up' making

  • speeches at weddings, for example.

  • It's often at a wedding or sometimes a birthday party

  • or an acceptance speech; you see those actors at the Oscars

  • and they can't really speak properly because they're so emotional.

  • They're 'choked' or they're 'choked up'.

  • Another use of 'choke' is from the world of sport often.

  • So, for example, you might have a sports person who is way ahead in the

  • gamelet's say a football team. They're winning 3–0 at half time.

  • And then maybe the pressure of perhaps winning gets to them

  • and they 'choke': they end up losing.

  • Yeah. And again, I think the idea is that, you know,

  • it's a blockage caused byin this case caused by excitement

  • or emotion of possibly winning. So, if a sports person 'chokes',

  • they lose their lead and they end up losing the competition or game.

  • OK. Let's get a summary of that, please.

  • We have another story about this idea of something being 'choked' or

  • 'choked up' – about the Suez Canal, haven't we Catherine?

  • We have, yes. 'Choked' in the sense of blocked

  • and to watch that story, just click the link.

  • OK. Let's have a look at our next headline.

  • Yes, we're now in the United States with CNN:

  • 'Dragged its feet' – responded slowly.

  • Yes. A three-word expression this time.

  • First word: 'dragged' – D-R-A-G-G-E-D.

  • Second word: 'its' – I-T-S.

  • And the third word: 'feet' – F-E-E-T.

  • Now, if you 'drag' something, you pull it along.

  • It's usually on the ground. You don't have wheels. It can't move itself.

  • You just pull it. Now, if something has feet and you're 'dragging' it,

  • it means it's not using its feet or it's not using its feet properly.

  • Think of a time, Neil, when you have to take your children

  • home from the park and they don't want to go home.

  • They want to play in the park. How do they behave?

  • Yes. Well, strangely all of the energy that they had when they

  • were playing in the park seems to vanish quite quickly and they

  • don't want to even walk any more. And you almost have to 'drag'

  • them along the ground without them using their feet.

  • Exactly. So to 'drag your feet'. If something 'drags its feet', it

  • moves slowly because it's reluctant and it doesn't want to do something.

  • Now, this is a very informal and idiomatic expression,

  • but it's one that we use a lot.

  • The alternatives are slightly too formal sounding, aren't they?

  • Well, yes. You've got things like 'prevaricate'

  • orwhat's the other one?

  • 'Procrastinate'. 'Procrastinate', yeah.

  • And they mean the same thing, you know: not do something because

  • or take a long time to do something because you don't want to do it.

  • 'Drag your feet' can be used in a lot of different circumstances.

  • You can use it to talk about the kids coming home from the park.

  • But you can also use it to talk about governments, organisations not doing

  • things or doing things very slowly because they don't want to do them.

  • Yeah, usually things they should be doing.

  • Often, yeah.

  • Yeah. OK. Let's get a summary:

  • If you would like to see another story about Covid and vaccines,

  • and what's happening with them,

  • we have the perfect one for you, don't we Catherine?

  • We do. Just click the link and you can watch it.

  • Now, our next headline, please.

  • Yes, we're back in the UK with the Financial Times nowthe headline:

  • 'Driving' – pushing something in a certain direction.

  • Yes. One word now: D-R-I-V-I-N-G – 'driving'.

  • It's the continuous form of the

  • verb 'to drive' and you know what that means, don't you Neil?

  • Yeah. So, 'to drive' is to operate a carto move the car

  • in a certain direction, I suppose.

  • Exactly. You make the car go in a particular direction.

  • If you 'drive' something, you make it move. There's an idea of control

  • and even force: you're obliging the car to do what you want it to do.

  • So, if we take that away from the car and just use it in a more – a wider

  • sense, if you drive something, you make it happen.

  • Yeah. So, often used in terms of policy.

  • So, perhaps for a company or a government.

  • Yes. I mean, imagine a business thatit sells things in shops

  • and it decides to go online. You could say that whoever's

  • organising that change is 'driving' the business online, or you could

  • use it to say that customers are 'driving' a business online.

  • They're 'driving' the change because customers don't want to go to shops;

  • they now want to go online, so they are 'driving' the change.

  • Yeah. And we can use 'drive' with two different particles to

  • make two different phrasal verbs: 'drive up' and 'drive down' –

  • to do with increasing and decreasing.

  • Yes, exactly that.

  • So, you could say that coronavirus is 'driving airline ticket sales down'

  • and you could also say it's 'driving the use of masks up'.

  • Yes. We also see this used in a passive form to describe when

  • somebody is forced into a situation because of something negative.

  • They are 'driven' to something.

  • Yeah, yeah. This is often used when people do something they

  • don't really want to do. But it's as the result of some pressure.

  • So, you could say that, you know, all this work is 'driving me to drink'–

  • I'm drinking alcohol because of the pressure of work.

  • It's quite a common expression: 'to be driven to drink'.

  • That's right, yes. Or 'to be driven to insanity'

  • or something like thatsomething negative.

  • It's quite... yeah, a dramatic expression, actually. Yeah.

  • Yeah. OK. Let's get a summary:

  • Time now for a summary of the vocabulary please, Catherine.

  • Yes. We have: 'choke' – stop functioning because of being too full.

  • 'Dragged its feet' – responded slowly.

  • And 'driving' – pushing something in a certain direction.

  • If you'd like to test yourself on the vocabulary,

  • there's a quiz on a website at bbclearningenglish.com.

  • And of course we are all over social media.

  • Thank you for joining us and please do try to stay safe.

  • Thank you and goodbye.

  • Bye.

Hello and welcome to News Review from BBC Learning English. I'm Neil.

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B1 choked choke driving headline catherine dragged

India's Covid nightmare: BBC News Review

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/05/04
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