10 - George has an accident



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By the way, does anyone know how George is?  


George who?  


You know, Hard-Luck George Jones. He had an accident yesterday.  


Oh, no! What happened?  


Well... his sister was teaching him how to drive. And he ran into a tree and broke his arm.   


Old Hard-Luck George! Well, he certainly lives up to his nickname!  


By the way is a common expression a speaker uses when he wishes to change the topic of conversation or is casually interested in introducing a new topic. Tom, who has stated that he will not get married until he is 34, is tired of this talk of weddings and nail polish.

George who? = What George are you talking about? What's his last name?

Teaching him how to drive, or teaching him to drive (without how). After the verbs teach and learn, the word how may be stated or omitted without any change in meaning: Has Johnny learned (how) to read yet? But after the verb know, the word how cannot be omitted: Does Johnny know how to read? (Not Does Johnny know to read?).  

Ran into = collided with, drove, against and hit. This is another two‑word verb with the strong stress on the second element. Ran into is also used to mean "encountered" or "happened to meet," without any connotation of "bumping' into."

Old, as used here, does not refer to age. As is frequently the case, it is used to express a, feeling of familiarity or affection. (Dear old Dad! Poor old Mary!). This use has no relation to the age of the person involved.  

Hard luck = bad luck, misfortune.

Lives up to (hacer honor a su nombre) is a phrasal verb (or three-word verb) meaning to fulfil (some expectation) or to act in accordance with (one's reputation, ideals, etc.). Here the main stress goes on the middle word: live úp to.

Nickname = a shortened or familiar form of a person's name, such as Ed for Edward, or a substitute or addition to a person's name, sometimes given in fun, such as Red for a person with red hair. George is "Hard-Luck" George because things always seem to go wrong for him.  


Since the automobile plays so important a role in American life, young people generally learn (how) to drive a car. Today most high schools offer "driver education" classes, in which students not only learn how to handle a car but also study motor-vehicle regulations (which vary from state to state), traffic laws, and safety regulations. Quite often, however, an older member of the family who is already a licensed driver will teach a younger member how to drive.

Source: English Teaching Forum - Author: Julia Dobson

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