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Home > Level 1.> Level 2 >..Level 3 > Level 4 > Level 5

Level 5: Advanced English Audio Lessons


.........You will learn: .........Subscriber Benefits:
Advanced English listening 5 Daily Audio Lessons per week
Advanced English conversation 2 audio files per lesson, 1 fast & 1 slow
English slang and humour Download lessons as MP3 and PDF to use offline
Advanced English phrasal verbs Your own permanent online Personal Lesson Bank
Advanced English idioms Full access to hear and download all DailyStep Audio Blogs
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Here is a sample week of Level 5 Lessons:

Here is your DailyStep on Monday, 21 April 2014

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Eva: I’m off to the boat show at Earls court tomorrow. I’ve really been looking forward to it. I can’t wait.

John: What are you going there for?

Eva: My husband and I have dreamt about buying a small yacht and we finally managed to scrape the money together to buy one. So, we just want to look into it a bit before we take the plunge. My husband’s already got his mind set on a medium-sized, single-masted, French-made sloop and he’s like a dog with a bone when he gets an idea in his head.

John: Well, if I never set foot on a boat again, it will be too soon.

Eva: Why, did you have a nasty experience in one?

John: Well, maybe I shouldn’t recount it to you. I don’t want to put you off. Especially seeing as you’re so excited about it all.

Eva: Come on, you can’t leave me in the dark now. If I’m just about to sample a life on the ocean, I’ve got a right to know what I’m letting myself in for.

John: OK, but I warn you, it’s not pleasant.

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Situation: Eva and her husband have been saving up for years to buy a boat. John is not to keen on sailing because of a previous experience out at sea!

Style: informal conversation

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Functions:

1. Talking about plans: I’m off to the boat show at Earls court tomorrow.

2. Expressing excitement: I’ve really been looking forward to it. I can’t wait. (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

3. Talking about long term plans: My husband and I have dreamt about buying a small yacht...

4. Expressing deep dislike of a location: Well, if I never set foot on a boat again it will be too soon. (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

5. Insisting that the truth is revealed: Come on, you can’t leave me in the dark now. (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

6. Giving a warning: OK, but I warn you it’s not pleasant. (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

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Notes:

1. I’m off to (phrasal verb) = I’m going to / I’m going to go to

2. to the boat show at Earls Court = to a show of new boats and sailing equipment that is held at London’s Earls Court exhibition centre once a year

3. I’ve really been looking forward to it (phrasal verb) = I’ve been anticipating it with great excitement (note: much more formal - we rarely actually say it like this!)

4. I can’t wait (more emphatic) = I’m very excited about it and I’m really looking forward to (phrasal verb) it

5. My husband and I have dreamt about buying = My husband and I have always wanted to buy

6. a yacht = a recreational boat or ship, usually with sails but often powered by a motor

7. to scrape the money together (phrasal verb) to buy one = to save with great difficulty the money to purchase one

8. we just want to look into it (phrasal verb) a bit = we simply want to investigate it a bit / we want to do a bit of research about it

9. before we take the plunge (idiom) = before we actually do it / before we commit ourselves to this big step

10. My husband’s already got his mind set on (idiom: to have your mind set on something = to be determined to get or to achieve something) = My husband has already firmly decided on / my husband is determined to get

11. single-masted = ship with one mast (the mast is the tall pole that carries the sails)

12. sloop = small sailing boat with one mast and two sails

13. he’s like a dog with a bone when he gets an idea in his head (idiom) = he is very determined when he has an idea and it is very difficult to get him to change his mind

14. if I never set foot on a boat again it will be too soon (more emphatic) = I don’t ever want to go on board a boat again

15. maybe I shouldn’t recount it to you = maybe it is better if I don’t tell you the story

16. to put you off (phrasal verb) = to discourage you / to deter you

17. Come on (phrasal verb) = Do it! / Go ahead! (phrasal verb)

18. you can’t leave me in the dark now (idiom) = you have to tell me now / you can’t leave me in a situation where I don’t know

19. I’m just about to (more emphatic) = Very soon I’m going to

20. to sample = to try

21. a life on the ocean = a life of sailing on the ocean in boats

22. I’ve got a right to know = I am entitled to know (more formal)

23. what I’m letting myself in for (phrasal verb: to be letting yourself in for something = to expose yourself to something unpleasant or unusual) = what kind of problems I might be exposing myself to

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Audio file name: DailyStep-5_story-boat-002_01

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Here is your DailyStep on Tuesday, 22 April 2014

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Eva: So, what happened on this boat trip to give you such an aversion to sailing?

John: Well, I’ve got this rich mate. I suppose if you were to label him a playboy, it wouldn’t be too far from the truth. He’s got all the trappings of a playboy - you know, sports cars that he always ends up wrapping around some tree after a big night out, an extremely rich Daddy and of course he’s had every expensive hobby under the sun. But up until March ‘96, he’d never done any sailing.

Eva: So, Daddy bought him a yacht!

John: Yes, how did you guess? Anyway, he invited me down to Poole where he’s got this penthouse apartment overlooking Poole Harbour that he refers to as his ‘little south coast crash pad.’

Eva: Um, it’s alright for some, isn’t it?

John: Yes, he was certainly born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Anyway, we were out on the town for the night when he suggested we go sailing the next day. I said that I’d come along as long as he knew how to handle the yacht.

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Situation: John explains to Eva how his rich friend Tarquin invited him out for a day’s sailing on his brand new boat and John accepted on the condition that Tarquin knew how to sail.

Style: informal conversation

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Functions:

1. Describing someone in indirect terms: I suppose if I were to label him a playboy, it wouldn’t be too far from the truth. (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

2. Expressing envy: Um, it’s alright for some, isn’t it? (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

3. Reacting ironically to deduction of something very obvious: Yes, how did you guess? (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

4. Returning to the subject: Anyway, we were out on the town for the night when... (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

5. Stating a condition: I said that I’d come along as long as he knew how to handle the yacht. (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

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Notes:

1. to give you such an aversion to sailing = to make you dislike sailing so intensely

2. mate (informal) = friend / buddy

3. a playboy = a rich young man who lives a very flamboyant lifestyle and doesn’t do much work (note: often a playboy will be the son of very wealthy parents.)

4. if I were to label him ... it wouldn’t be too far from the truth = if I said he was ... it would be more or less correct

5. sports cars = expensive, fast cars (normally with just two seats)

6. cars that he always ends up (phrasal verb) wrapping around (phrasal verb) some tree = cars that in the end he always crashes into a tree

7. Daddy (note: by using the expression ‘Daddy’, which is the way young children address their fathers, Eva is implying that Tarquin has never grown up and still relies on his father for everything.) = Dad / Father

8. he’s had every expensive hobby under the sun (idiom) = he has had every expensive pastime that you can possibly imagine

9. a yacht = a recreational sailing boat

10. he invited me down to Poole (note: we say ‘down to’ if we are heading south and ‘up to’ if we are heading north.) = he invited me south to the coastal town of Poole (note: Poole is a beautiful and incredibly expensive part of the south coast of England. Only very rich people have houses there!)

11. penthouse apartment = luxury flat on the top floor with access to the roof

12. overlooking Poole Harbour = with a view of Poole Harbour

13. crash pad (idiom) = property used for the purpose of passing the night when you happen to be in the area (note: the fact that Tarquin calls it a ‘crash pad’ indicates his casual approach to the fact that he has a luxury property that he just stays at occasionally!)

14. it’s alright for some, isn’t it? (sounds more envious) = Some people have a really easy life, don’t they?

15. he was certainly born with a silver spoon in his mouth (idiom) = he was certainly born into a very privileged position

16. we were out on the town (idiom) for the night = we were having a night out in the town’s pubs and clubs

17. he suggested we go sailing (subjunctive) = he suggested that we should go sailing / he suggested that we went sailing (we can use the past tense here as it is indirect speech)

18. I said that I’d come along (phrasal verb) = I said that I would come along / I agreed to accompany him (much more formal)

19. as long as = provided that / on condition that (stronger)

20. he knew how to handle the yacht = he knew how to manage and sail the sailboat

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Audio file name: DailyStep-5_story-boat-002_02

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Here is your DailyStep on Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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Eva: So, was your friend a qualified sailor?

John: Well, he assured me that he knew what he was doing and I didn’t press him on it too much although I should have done because I know from experience that you have to take anything that Tarquin says with a pinch of salt. So, we set off from the quay and I must admit to a certain trepidation and a slight nagging doubt in the back of my mind about Tarquin’s seamanship. But he deftly negotiated his way past the harbour enclosure and through the maze of buoys that led out to the open sea. He seemed quite at home behind the wheel with his captain’s hat set on his head at a rakish angle. If he had had a big, bushy beard he would have even looked the part.

Eva: So, you were lulled into a false sense of security?

John: You could say that! Though outright conned would be more accurate! But the sun was out and the sea was calm as a mill pond. I stretched out on the deck and thought to myself “This is the life!”, and then dozed off. And so did Tarquin.

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Situation: John explains how he was quite impressed with Tarquin’s sailing skills as he manoeuvred his yacht out of the harbour.

Style: informal conversation, quite dramatic

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Functions:

1. Referring to a promise: Well, he assured me that he knew what he was doing and I didn’t press him on it too much... (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

2. Expressing regret: ... although I should have done because I know from experience that you have to take anything that Tarquin says with a pinch of salt. (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

3. Emphasising a negative opinion: and I must admit to a certain trepidation

4. Hypothetical sentence: If he had had a big bushy beard he would have even looked the part.

5. Agreeing partially or doubtfully: You could say that! (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

6. Correcting someone in their choice of words: Though outright conned would be more accurate! (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

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Notes:

1. a qualified sailor = an experienced sailor who has passed sailing examinations

2. he assured me that = he promised me that

3. I didn’t press him on it too much = I didn’t ask him too much about it / I didn’t push for too much information about it

4. to take anything that Tarquin says with a pinch of salt (idiom: to take something someone says with a pinch of salt = to be doubtful about the veracity of someone’s statement) = to not always accept as the truth everything that Tarquin says

5. we set off (phrasal verb) = we left / we sailed away / we started our journey

6. the quay = the harbour side

7. I must admit to a certain trepidation = I must admit, I had a certain trepidation

8. trepidation = fear or worry that something might happen

9. a slight nagging doubt in the back of my mind about (idiom) = a persistent worry that it was difficult for me to stop thinking about

10. seamanship = ability and knowledge of sailing

11. he deftly negotiated his way past the harbour enclosure = he expertly and efficiently sailed past the harbour wall

12. the maze of buoys = the confusing pattern of buoys

13. a maze = labyrinth / paths or walkways laid out (phrasal verb) in a confusing pattern

14. buoys = plastic ball-shape floats that are tied to the seabed and used to guide boats and ships along the deep channels and prevent them from running aground

15. He seemed quite at home (idiom) = He seemed relaxed and capable, as if he knew what he was doing

16. the wheel = the ship’s wheel, which controls the rudder

17. with his captain’s hat set on his head at a rakish angle = wearing his captain’s hat in a way that made him look interesting or enigmatic

18. rakish = displaying a dashing, cheeky or slightly disreputable quality or appearance (You might describe Casanova or Don Juan as being rakish.)

19. a big, bushy beard = a very full, hairy beard

20. he would have even looked the part (idiom) = he would have even looked like a ship’s captain

21. you were lulled into a false sense of security (idiom: to lull somebody into a false sense of security = to falsely make someone feel relaxed. For example, a boxer might pretend that he is not a good fighter in order to lull his opponent into a false sense of security, therefore making his opponent vulnerable) = you were deceived into feeling confident about his abilities

22. You could say that! = = Yes, that is one way of describing the situation (note: the phrase ‘you could say that’ is usually followed by a more accurate choice of words.)

23. Though outright conned would be more accurate = But completely deceived might be a better way to describe it

24. the sun was out (phrasal verb) = the sun was shining

25. the sea was (as) calm as a mill pond (simile – sometimes we omit the first ‘as’) = the sea was very flat and calm, just like the water in a mill pond

26. I stretched out on (phrasal verb) the deck = I lay on the deck

27. the deck = the floor of a ship or boat

28. This is the life! = Life is very good! / This is how I want to live my life! (note: we often use this phrase when we are in a lovely situation, feeling happy and relaxed. )

29. then dozed off (phrasal verb: to doze off = to fall asleep unexpectedly or suddenly. We often use the phrasal verb ‘doze off’ if you are sitting in a chair and you fall asleep, or if you fall asleep after a meal.) = then fell asleep because I was feeling relaxed

30. And so did Tarquin (using only the auxiliary) = And Tarquin also dozed off

31. The sound that you can hear at the end is a gasp. When she hears that Tarquin also dozed off, Eva gasps in horror or shock at the thought of what might have happened next!

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Audio file name: DailyStep-5_story-boat-002_03

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Here is your DailyStep on Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Eva: So, captain and crew were both sleeping on the job with no lookout on duty. I don’t claim to have an extensive knowledge of the rules of the sea but I know that’s not good practice.

John: Well, I didn’t know that Tarquin, who was meant to be at the wheel, had also taken a nap. If I had suspected he would do such an unspeakably dumb thing, I would never have boarded his toy boat.

Eva: So, at what point did you wake up?

John: When I heard the boom of a fog horn, which nearly turned my insides to jelly and made me jump out of my skin. I raised myself off the deck and saw the huge, dirty, great rusty hull of an enormous oil tanker towering above us about 10 metres off our stern and heading straight towards us.

Eva: Oh, my God!

John: Those were my exact words. Both Tarquin and I made a mad dash for the wheel. We were now in the shade of the monstrous ship and could hear the terrifying low rumble of the huge steel propellers churning up the water. I thought, “This is curtains for both of us.”

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Situation: John and Tarquin both lay asleep on the deck enjoying the sunshine and the rocking motion of the boat until they were suddenly awoken by a terrible sound. John describes to Eva what happened next!

Style: informal conversation, quite dramatic

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Functions:

1. Claiming sufficient knowledge to understand a situation: I don’t claim to have an extensive knowledge of the rules of the sea but I know that’s not good practice. (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

2. Expressing regret: If I had suspected he would do such an unspeakably dumb thing, I would never have boarded his toy boat. (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

3. Talking about certain death: I thought, “This is curtains for both of us.” (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

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Notes:

1. sleeping on the job (idiom) = sleeping when you should be doing something important (note: this can also mean ‘not paying sufficient attention to what you are doing’.)

2. lookout = observer / person on watch duty (to warn of danger)

3. on duty = working / currently responsible for a task or job

4. I don’t claim to have (more formal) = I’m not saying that I have

5. an extensive knowledge of = a broad knowledge of

6. I know that’s not good practice = I know that it is not the way it should be done

7. who was meant to be at the wheel = who should have been steering the boat / who was supposed to be at the wheel

8. had also taken a nap = had also gone to sleep

9. an unspeakably dumb thing (more emphatic) = an incredibly stupid thing

10. I would never have boarded his toy boat = I would never have got on his silly child’s boat (note: the boat is not a toy, of course, but John calls it a ‘toy boat’ because Tarquin was like a child playing with a toy, rather than a serious, responsible sailor.)

11. the boom of = the loud and deep noise of

12. a fog horn = a ship’s horn which produces a long, loud, low musical note produced by compressed air, which acts as a warning to other ships in foggy weather (note: sometimes if someone has a really loud, low, booming voice, we might say that he has ‘a voice like a foghorn’ – though it is not a particularly nice thing to say!)

13. which nearly turned my insides to jelly (idiom) = which shook my insides a lot due to the vibration / which made feel terrified

14. made me jump out of my skin (idiom) = gave me a terrible fright

15. I raised myself off the deck = I got up (phrasal verb) off the deck

16. rusty = oxidised (rotting metal)

17. hull = body of a ship

18. oil tanker = ship that carries oil

19. towering above (phrasal verb) us = appearing above us like a tower

20. stern = back of a ship

21. heading straight towards us = coming in our direction

22. Those were my exact words = that is exactly what I said

23. Both Tarquin and I made a mad dash for (idiom) the wheel = Tarquin and I ran to the ship’s wheel in a frantic hurry

24. in the shade of = in the shadow of

25. the terrifying low rumble of = the very frightening, deep noise of

26. steel = alloy of iron and carbon used in ship building and heavy construction

27. propellers = circular blades that spin under the water to drive a ship forward

28. churning up (phrasal verb) the water = mixing up (phrasal verb) the water a great deal

29. This is curtains for both of us (idiom: this is an expression that comes from the theatre, where the curtain comes down to signify the end of a scene or the end of the show. Now it is used to signify the end or life or the end of a relationship) = We are both going to die / It’s the end for both of us (note: there is a joke pun in English that uses this phrase in both its idiomatic meaning and its literal meaning, which a common type of humour in English. The joke is: “If it wasn’t for blinds, it would be curtains for all of us!” There are 2 possible meanings to this sentence. Meaning 1: “If there were no blinds, we would all need to cover our windows with curtains instead.” Meaning 2: “If there were no blinds, we would all die.” This joke is not related to the tale of Tarquin but I just wanted to mention it along with this idiom, as an example of the kind of pun that is often used in the English sense of humour!)

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Audio file name: DailyStep-5_story-boat-002_04

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Here is your DailyStep on Friday, 25 April 2014

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Eva: Did the tanker’s bow actually ram the yacht?

John: The bow just missed us but for what seemed like an eternity we scraped and bashed along the rusty barnacle-covered ship’s hull. Tarquin and I were screaming, praying, cursing and clinging onto each other for dear life. Finally, we saw the stern of the great ship and feared we would be sucked into the propellers. There was a brief moment of calm before the ship’s wake hit us side on. The yacht climbed the huge wave and I was sure we were going to capsize, but somehow or other we stayed upright and plunged down into the trough between the waves. The next wave swamped the boat with a huge quantity of water and our engine spluttered to a stop and I thought “Oh no, out of the frying pan and into the fire”.

Eva: But I assumed that you were aboard a sailing boat with sails?

John: We were, but Tarquin had only learnt how to use the motor. His knowledge didn’t stretch to hoisting sails and tying knots. He had no emergency flares on board and we couldn’t figure out how to put out a mayday on the radio. We drifted aimlessly for hours as the sea got rougher and rougher. We were finally rescued by a fishing boat and towed to port. The crew of the fishing boat thoroughly enjoyed themselves poking fun at two posh boys who had bitten off far more than they could chew. Humiliating is not the word!

Eva: I suppose that that put an end to your and Tarquin’s nautical adventures.

John: And our friendship. We haven’t spoken since.

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Situation: John describes to Eva the terrifying moment when he and Tarquin were only inches away from being run down and crushed by the huge oil tanker.

Style: informal conversation, quite dramatic

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Functions:

1. Seeking clarification: Did the tanker’s bow actually ram the yacht? (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

2. Expressing surprise or confusion: ... but somehow or other we stayed upright and plunged down into the trough between the waves. (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

3. Making an assumption: But I assumed that you were aboard a sailing boat with sails?

4. Emphasising a poor choice of words: Humiliating is not the word! (note: please copy the tone and emphasis carefully here.)

5. Making an assumption: I suppose that that put an end to your and Tarquin’s nautical adventures.

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Notes:

1. the tanker’s bow = the front of the oil tanker

2. oil tanker = enormous ship for carrying oil

3. ram = crash into (phrasal verb)

4. the yacht = the sailing boat

5. The bow just missed us = The bow came very close to us but it did not hit us

6. The bow = the front of the ship

7. for what seemed like an eternity (more emphatic) = for what felt like an extremely long time

8. we scraped and bashed along = we rubbed against and banged into

9. rusty = oxidised (decaying metal)

10. barnacle = small sea animal with a shell that attaches itself to ship’s hulls and rocks

11. ship’s hull = ships body (the watertight part that keeps the ship afloat)

12. cursing = swearing

13. clinging onto (phrasal verb: to cling on to something = to hold on to something very tightly) each other for dear life (idiom) = holding on to each other in desperation and in fear that we might die

14. the stern of the great ship = the back of the huge ship

15. sucked into the propellers = dragged by the motion of the water into the propellers

16. the ship’s wake = the area of disturbed white water that a ship leaves after it has passed

17. hit us side on = struck us from the side

18. to capsize = to turn upside down / to turn over (phrasal verb) (a boat or a ship)

19. we stayed upright = we stayed the right way up / we did not capsize

20. plunged down into the trough between the waves = moved rapidly in a downward direction into the deep valley between the waves

21. The next wave swamped the boat = The next wave filled the boat with water

22. our engine spluttered to a stop = our engine made a coughing noise and gradually stopped working

23. out of the frying pan and into the fire (idiom) = from one terrible situation and into another terrible and possibly even worse situation

24. a sailing boat with sails = a yacht with cloth or plastic sheets that are used to capture the energy of the wind and provide motion

25. His knowledge didn’t stretch to (idiom – very disparaging of Tarquin. If we use this idiom, we imply that someone should have known something but they did not.) = He didn’t even know how to

26. hoisting sails = raising sails by pulling a rope or turning a winch

27. tying knots = joining rope or string using special interweaving patterns

28. emergency flares = emergency signals (like fireworks that are fired into the air)

29. on board = on the ship

30. we couldn’t figure out (phrasal verb: to figure out = to deduce / to understand) how = we couldn’t understand how / we couldn’t work out (phrasal verb) how

31. to put out (phrasal verb: to put out = to emit) a mayday on the radio = to issue a call for help on the radio

32. mayday = Come to our rescue (note: the word ‘mayday’ originates from the French “venez m’aider”, which means “come and help me.”)

33. We drifted aimlessly = We moved across the sea without purpose of direction, totally at the mercy of the winds and currents

34. the sea got rougher and rougher = the waves became bigger and bigger

35. towed to port = pulled to harbour (by another boat)

36. poking fun at (idiom: to poke fun at someone = to make jokes about someone ) = making fun of

37. posh boys = boys from rich, high class families

38. who had bitten off far more than they could chew (idiom: to bite off more than you can chew = to start a task which is too difficult for you to finish) = who had embarked on a task that was too much for them to manage

39. Humiliating is not the word = It was very humiliating, but the correct word would be something much stronger than humiliating! (note: I suppose the much stronger word could be ‘mortifying’, or ‘shaming’.)

40. that put an end to (phrasal verb) = that stopped

41. nautical = related to the sea

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Audio file name: DailyStep-5_story-boat-002_05

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