12 - Teenagers should study more



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I still think teenagers should spend more time studying and less time driving around.   


Is that why I can't have the car except on weekends?


It certainly is! You'd never do your homework otherwise.


Oh, Dad. That's just not true. You know I'd study no matter what.


Really? Didn't I see you "studying" a comic book a little while ago?


Aw, c'mon, Dad! I just picked up one of Tom's old books.  


Spend more time studying and (spend) less time driving around. Notice that the verbal following spend ... time is the -ing form. Spend in this sense means "use" or pass time. This is a common expression: spend time working, playing, thinking.

Driving around is a not-so-usual two-word verb meaning motoring, or driving for pleasure, without a definite purpose. It also has the main stress on the last word: driving aróund.

I can't have the car except on weekends = I can use/drive the car only on weekends. The use of can't ... except emphasizes the negative aspects of the situation.

No matter what = regardless of what the situation mIght be.

Really? Notice that the intonation rises from a low to a high pitch. This, together with the slow tempo and the special intonation of studying, expresses a gently sarcastic disbelief of what his son has said.

Aw, c’mon, Dad! = aw, come on (sometimes expressed: Come off it!! = Stop teasing me!!).


Since teenagers in a family usually learn to drive, there is often some competition over who gets to use the family car, especially on weekends. North American parents are often accused of being too lenient with their children, but as this dialogue suggests, an easy relationship often exists, which is nevertheless bound by certain elements of control. The "comic" book Fred picked up is a popular form of reading among children. The comic books tell their stories by means of a series of "strips” of pictures, with appropriate dialogue or narrative written in each block. The comic strips, or "funnies," are a standard feature of almost every daily newspaper, and many adults, too, seem "addicted" to these. Many of the most popular, such as "Peanuts," by Charles Schulz, and "Blondie," by Chick Young, have been translated into a number of other languages and are carried in newspapers and magazines around the world.

Source: English Teaching Forum - Author: Julia Dobson

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