Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Hi, I'm Lori.

  • Welcome to Oxford Online English!

  • In this lesson, you'll learn how to talk about love and relationships in English.

  • You'll learn how to talk about dating, getting engaged, good relationships, bad relationships

  • and break-ups.

  • You can see lots of useful vocabulary used in natural dialogues, and we'll give you

  • explanations to help you use this language clearly and naturally in your spoken English.

  • Before we start, don't forget to visit our website: Oxford Online English dot com.

  • You can find free English lessons on many topics, and you can also take online classes

  • with one of our many teachers.

  • For this lesson, let's start by talking about casual relationships and dating.

  • So, your friend Claire

  • Yeah?

  • She seems nice

  • Oh, you like her?

  • Yeah, I do.

  • Aren't you going out with that charity worker.

  • What's her name again?

  • Georgia?

  • No, that's over.

  • What happened?

  • I liked her.

  • Sometimes things just don't work out.

  • Let me guess, she was too clingy?

  • Yeah, how'd you know?

  • Everyone's 'too clingy' for you.

  • Anyway, what about Claire?

  • Can you put me in touch?

  • Why don't you just ask her out yourself?

  • I don't have her number, or any way to contact her.

  • I think she'll be at Sam's housewarming party on Saturday.

  • Maybe you should go.

  • Maybe I will!

  • If you're single and you meet someone you like, what's the next step?

  • Of course, this is quite different in different parts of the world!

  • However, in many places, you can ask the other person on a date.

  • British and American English use different words here.

  • In British English, you say 'ask someone out' and 'go out with someone'; in American

  • English, you say 'ask someone on a date' and 'go on a date with someone.'

  • The meanings are the same.

  • 'Go out with' and 'date'—both verbscan also have the meaning that you're seeing

  • someone regularly, as girlfriend or boyfriend.

  • However, it could also mean something less serious.

  • For example, in the dialogue, you heard: 'Aren't you going out with that charity worker?'

  • Here, 'go out' doesn't clearly mean that they're in a couple.

  • It could also refer to a situation where two people are meeting each other regularly, but

  • they aren't a serious couple.

  • You could use this language in other ways; for example: 'They've been going out for

  • about a year now.'

  • 'She's dating a guy I used to work with.'

  • In these examples, the context tells you that you're talking about more serious relationships.

  • However, in many cases you would use these wordsgo out with someone, date someoneto

  • talk about couples in the early stages of a relationship.

  • If two people have been in a relationship for some time, you can use the term 'be

  • together'.

  • For example: 'How long have you and your boyfriend been together?'

  • 'They were together for about four years, but then they broke up.'

  • You can also use the verb 'see' to mean 'have a relationship with someone'.

  • For example: 'Are you seeing anyone at the moment?'

  • 'I'm sure he's seeing someone, but he won't tell me who it is.'

  • Like 'go out with' or 'date', these sentences probably refer to the early stages

  • of a relationship.

  • If you're going out with someone and everything's going well, what's next?

  • Did you hear Jen's news?

  • No, what?

  • She's engaged.

  • Really?

  • That's great!

  • When did it happen?

  • A couple of weeks ago.

  • Phil proposed to her while they were on holiday in Rome.

  • How romantic!

  • When's the wedding?

  • I don't think they've decided yet.

  • I'll have to call her to say congratulations.

  • Did she have a ring?

  • Maybe.

  • I didn't notice.

  • You're useless!

  • Here's a question: can you complete this missing word from the dialogue?

  • It means: the situation before two people get married.

  • The word is 'engaged'.

  • Be careful with 'get engaged' and 'be engaged'.

  • Do you know the difference?

  • 'Get engaged' is an action.

  • When you first agree to get married, you get engaged.

  • After you get engaged, you *are* engaged.

  • 'Be engaged' is a state.

  • For example: 'They got engaged in June, and got married in July.'

  • 'They've been engaged for two years now.

  • They say they're too busy to plan a wedding!'

  • There's a similar difference between 'get married' and 'be married'.

  • Next question!

  • Before you get engaged, one person has to ask the other to get married.

  • Can you complete this sentence from the dialogue?

  • Do you remember?

  • The verb is 'propose'.

  • Colloquially, you can also say 'pop the question' which has the same meaning.

  • For example: 'He popped the question while they were on holiday.'

  • This is conversational, so if you're not sure, use 'propose'.

  • Let's do two more.

  • Can you complete the sentences from the dialogue?

  • Do you remember the answers?

  • The full term is 'engagement ring'.

  • However, in this context, it's clear what she meant.

  • Now, do you know any couples that have a really good marriage?

  • That's our next topic!

  • How long have you been married now?

  • Ooh

  • Almost ten years.

  • That's a long time!

  • No regrets?

  • No!

  • There are ups and downs, of course, but I wouldn't change it for anything.

  • You two seem like a really good couple.

  • Yeah, it works well.

  • Of course, part of being a good couple is knowing when to give each other some space.

  • That's true.

  • I see a lot of couples who move in together, and they give up all of the things which make

  • them individuals.

  • We spend a lot of time together, but we have our own friends, our own hobbies, and so on.

  • Sure, I mean, you don't want to be *too* dependent on each other.

  • Absolutely.

  • Although, you need to strike a balance.

  • You need to make time for each other, too.

  • Of course.

  • I imagine that it can be easy to let things slip when you've been together so long.

  • Yeah, it's dangerous, actually.

  • You can't take things for granted, otherwise your relationship will suffer.

  • If two people go well together, you can say they're a good couple.

  • You could also say 'a great couple', or 'a perfect couple'.

  • What do you think makes two people a good couple?

  • In the dialogue, you heard these: 'Part of being a good couple is knowing when to

  • give each other some space.'

  • 'You need to make time for each other.

  • 'You can't take things for granted, otherwise your relationship will suffer.'

  • Do you know what 'take things for granted' means?

  • If you take something for granted, you've had something for a long time and you get

  • used to it.

  • Then, you don't appreciate it any more.

  • For example, imagine you eat in an amazing restaurant.

  • The food is incredible, and you have a great time.

  • Now, imagine you eat in the same restaurant every night for a year.

  • Will you still appreciate it?

  • Probably not.

  • You'll get bored of it, and it won't be special any more.

  • You'll take it for granted.

  • What do you think?

  • Do you agree with these ideas?

  • Could you add any more suggestions for a successful relationship?

  • Of course, there are many ideas!

  • Here are three more: 'The most important thing is to listen to each other.'

  • 'Accept that you'll have ups and downs; don't expect everything to be perfect.'

  • 'If you're unhappy about something, deal with it quickly.

  • Don't let things fester.'

  • 'Fester' here means that you don't deal with a problem, so it becomes bigger and more

  • serious as time goes by.

  • Of course, not all relationships go perfectly.

  • Next, let's see how you can talk about relationship problems.

  • Have you seen Sasha lately?

  • Yeah, we met for a beer the other evening.

  • How's he doing?

  • I haven't seen him for ages.

  • Not so well.

  • It seems like he and Maria are having a difficult time.

  • Really?

  • I remember seeing them together in the summer, and they seemed like the perfect match.

  • I guess things have gone sour since then.

  • From what he said, they aren't getting on well at all, so they're fighting all the

  • time.

  • He didn't seem happy.

  • What's he going to do?

  • He wasn't sure.

  • Do they live together?

  • Yeah.

  • That complicates things

  • It does.

  • Maybe they'll work things out.

  • You should call him.

  • He'd be glad to hear from you.

  • Mmm

  • I'll give him a call tonight.

  • Look at three sentences from the dialogue.

  • Can you explain what they mean?

  • If a couple are having a difficult time, it means they're having some relationship problems.

  • You can also say 'have problems'.

  • For example: 'He and Maria are having problems.'

  • 'Go sour' is an idiom.

  • Here, it means that things were fine in the past, but now they're not.

  • Literally, 'go sour' is used with milk and other dairy products.

  • If you keep milk for too long, it'll go sour, and then it smells bad and you shouldn't

  • drink it.

  • Here, you're using 'go sour' metaphorically.

  • Lastly, 'they aren't getting on well at all' means that they have a lot of conflict.

  • You might also say something like: 'They're fighting all the time.'

  • 'They're arguing a lot.'

  • 'They just aren't seeing eye-to-eye at the moment.'

  • 'Seeing eye-to-eye' is another idiom.

  • If you see eye-to-eye with someone, you understand each other and you have a good relationship.

  • You can use this in other contexts, not just to talk about romantic relationships.

  • Finally, let's talk about what happens when relationships end.

  • Are we still doing movie night at yours tonight?

  • Ah

  • Maybe not.

  • My friend Jon is staying.

  • It's a bit of a messy situationhe left his wife, and I think it's for good.

  • Poor guy!

  • That must be tough.

  • Welldon't feel too sorry for him.

  • He was cheating all over the place, and it was his decision to walk out.

  • OK then, poor wife!

  • Soon to be ex-wife, I suppose

  • Probably.

  • They're that kind of couple, though: they break up, get back together, break up again...

  • This time, though, I don't see how they can patch things up.

  • Yeah

  • I don't know them, but I don't think I could stay with someone who cheated on me.

  • It's too big a betrayal.

  • I agree.

  • I guess it's for them to deal with.

  • Anyway, can we do the movie night at your house instead?

  • Please say yes; I've already told everyone that it's at your place.

  • Yeah, sure!

  • When you're talking about the end of a relationship, you need different words depending on whether

  • the couple you're talking about is married or not.

  • For an unmarried couple, you mostly use 'break up'.

  • 'Break up' can be an intransitive verbused without an objector you can break up *with*

  • someone.

  • For example: 'They broke up about six months ago.'

  • 'She broke up with him because he didn't seem serious enough about their relationship.'

  • For a married couple, you can use the verb 'separate', meaning that the two people

  • are still legally married, but they aren't in a relationship any more.

  • Then, you can use the phrases 'get divorced' and 'be divorced', in the same way as

  • you can use 'get married' and 'be married'.

  • For example: 'They've been living apart for ages, and they finally got divorced last

  • year.'

  • 'She's divorced.

  • She left her husband last year.'

  • You can also use the verb phrase 'leave someone'.

  • This is more common with married couples, but you could use it for unmarried couples,

  • too.

  • Look at three more sentences which you heard in this dialogue, and one from the last section.

  • Do you know what these sentences mean?

  • 'Work things out' is a general phrase, but if you're talking about a relationship,

  • it means that two people find a way to solve their problems, or at least to accept them.

  • 'Patch things up' has the idea of repairing or fixing something.

  • If a couple have a big fight, or if one person does something bad to the other, they might

  • need to patch things up, meaning they try to make things better again.

  • Some couples might break up, and then get back together again.

  • You can use 'get together' to talk about a couple starting a relationship, but 'get

  • back together' has a different meaning; it means that two people are going back to