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Innovation in Learning

A A GENERAL ENGLISH

Taxi!
Lesson code: BF7I-B5CB-B75Q-2 UPPER INTERMEDIATE +

1 Idioms
Rephrase the sentences below using the idioms

get to grips with give (sth) a miss in one piece on the spot out of the blue

1. The traveller was caught without a ticket, and had to pay a fine immediately.
2. The dog attacked me completely unexpectedly.
3. When I was living in Poland, it was hard to become familiar with the language.
4. He went on a dangerous journey but managed to arrived back home without any harm or injury.
5. The soup we ordered did not look very appetizing, so we decided not to try it.

2 Key words
Match the following words to their correct definitions:

1. manoeuvre a. a device in a taxi which shows how much you have to pay
2. horn b. a device in a vehicle which makes a loud noise to signal or warn other people
3. meter c. a movement made by a car in order to go back in the direction which it came from
4. cab d. a movement that needs skill and care
5. fare e. a taxi
6. U-turn f. the amount of money that you pay for a journey in a vehicle

3 Find the information


Read the following article to find out the opinion of British travellers on taxi drivers in different
countries. In which places mentioned in the article do taxi drivers...

1. drive too fast?


2. drive anywhere on the road and sound the horn non-stop?
3. make sudden maneouvres and open doors without looking?
4. overcharge you by changing the meter settings?
5. always charge the correct fare?
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Taxi!
Innovation in Learning

A A A A GENERAL ENGLISH

Taxis
A cab ride in a faraway place can be a life-saver - or cause the whole of your life to
flash before your eyes. Frank Partridge finds out what can happen to travellers who
respond to a variation of the universal question: "Where to, sir?"
Adapted from The Independent, 02 July 2007

1 It's well after midnight, and the rain is pouring 4 "In Athens, don't even think about asking the
down in an unlit suburb of a city you hardly know. driver to slow down," says publishing agent Mick
You don't speak the language and haven't got to Don, "because he'll consider it an insult to his
grips with the local currency. You desperately masculinity. Just keep quiet, close your eyes and
need to get back to your hotel. Magically, a taxi hope for the best."
appears from out of the blue with its light on. The
driver speaks English, recognises the address you 5 In Tokyo, the drivers from some of the upmarket
want, sets the meter, gets you there by the firms wear white gloves. "This makes them look
shortest possible route, and charges the correct very respectable," says sports coach Tim Ferber,
fare. It probably happens more often than not, but "but they can be dangerous. If they see a potential
few people remember the smooth rides: it's the customer, they stop on the spot, or do a U-turn
taxi nightmares that travellers talk about. where they please. Another scary habit they have
is opening the door without looking, and stepping
2 "In theory, vehicles drive on the left; in practice
into the road."
they drive wherever they can. The only rule seems
to be to try not to hit anything. The strategy is to
6 Prague's beauty contrasts sharply with its
sound the horn almost non-stop before, during
reputation for dodgy cabs. Despite efforts by the
and immediately after making any manoeuvre as
authorities to clean up the taxi cartels, the metered
well as at all other times." So says educationalist
cabs have variable settings that can drastically
Brenda Hopper, who's spent much of her career
alter a fare. Language teacher Ros Bateman was
abroad. She was recalling riding taxis in the
the victim of a secret flick of the switch: "The
Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, but she could have
meter was moving so fast I could hardly read the
been describing almost anywhere.
numbers, and I was charged the equivalent of ¿25
3 Driving technique - or the lack of it - is the main for a journey that two days earlier had cost ¿3.50."
complaint, and Chicago is one of the most
notorious cities for catastrophic cab rides. 7 So, is it always hopeless to hail a cab abroad?
Computer engineer Neil Doward felt secure when Hong Kong is living proof that it isn't. Almost
he got in a smart-looking vehicle with a friendly everywhere you go, there's the reassuring sight of
driver, but not for long: "Within a couple of a bright red, green or blue saloon, which will take
minutes he was doing 70mph along a major you virtually anywhere in the metropolis for less
thoroughfare, Doward recalls. "I yelled at the guy than ¿10. For Trevor Pike, an engineering
to slow down because neither of us was about to designer, the only drawback is linguistic: "The
give birth, and he just carried on smiling and drivers usually speak some English, and I speak a
speeding. When we arrived at my hotel, somehow little Mandarin, but it's easy to misunderstand
still in one piece, I was so shaken that when I each other. Take a map with you and point to your
stepped on to the sidewalk my legs were actually destination, or even better have it written out in
wobbling. I love Chicago, but in future I plan to Chinese characters. I've never had a bad
give the taxis a miss." experience yet."
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Taxi!
Innovation in Learning

A A A A GENERAL ENGLISH

4 Checking understanding
Put T (True) or F (False) next to each of the following statements:

1. Most taxi experiences are good.


2. Taxi drivers break the rules in Nepal more than everywhere else.
3. Taxi rides in Chicago are worse than most other cities.
4. In Athens, taxi drivers welcome comments about their driving.
5. In Tokyo, taxi drivers wear white gloves to look professional.
6. In Prague, the authorities have sucessfully stopped dishonest taxi companies.
7. In Hong Kong, it helps to speak a little Mandarin.

5 Find the word


Find a word or phrase in the text that means:

1. well-known (usually for a bad reason) (adjective, P3)


2. shouted or screamed (to get someone's attention) (verb, P3)
3. driving faster than the speed limit (verb -ing, P3)
4. shaking from side to side (verb -ing, P3)
5. expensive, of high quality (adjective, P5)
6. not to be trusted or depended on; not exactly legal (informal adjective, P6)

6 Road features - UK/US English


Match the following British English terms to their equivalent US terms:

UK English US English
1. pavement a. gas station
2. main road b. highway
3. roundabout c. intersection
4. car park d. parking lot
5. petrol station e. sidewalk
6. road junction f. thoroughfare
7. motorway g. traffic circle
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Taxi!
Innovation in Learning

A A A A GENERAL ENGLISH

7 Grammar Review: verb + -ing/to...


Look at the following sentences from the text:

You desperately need to get back to your hotel.


try not to hit anything
...he just carried on smiling
She was recalling riding taxis ...
I plan to give the taxis a miss.
In Athens, don't even think about asking the driver to slow down.

If one verb is followed by another verb, we use an infinitive (e.g. to get) or -ing (e.g. smiling) for the
second verb. Some verbs can be followed by both an infinitive or -ing, with a difference in meaning.
Complete the table below:

+ infinitive + verb -ing


need X X
try X X
recall X
plan X
ask X
start
want
remember
forget
admit
stop
imagine
decide
VERB + preposition, X
e.g. carry on
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Taxi!
Innovation in Learning

A A A A GENERAL ENGLISH

Explain the difference in meaning between the following pairs of structures:

Remember to drop by the supermarket on your way home.


I remember playing with my cousins as a child.
When I saw Tom, I stopped to chat to him.
After many years, Arthur finally stopped smoking.
I need to get up early tomorrow.
The remote control isn't working. I think the battery needs changing.
I tried to tell her about it, but she wouldn't listen.
I just cannot contact him. I've tried calling and emailing.
I forgot to lock the door when I left the house this morining.
I'll never forget living in London as a student.

8 Grammar practice
Now complete the sentences below by putting the verbs in brackets in their correct form. Some verbs
may be followed by an infinitive or -ing, depending on the context.

1. I promise (help) you if you come to my party tonight.


2. I don't remember (lock) the door after I left the house this morning.
3. Lee's phone is switched off at the moment. Please remember (call) him this evening.
4. Try (not/speak) too quietly during the interview tomorrow.
5. I tried (tell) him about my problem, but he just carried on (laugh).
6. I stopped (take) taxis when I was living in London. They were just too expensive!
7. On my way home, I saw an old friend of mine. I stopped (talk) to him.
8. Mark can't imagine (learn) a difficult language such as Chinese.
9. The government has decided (help) the unemployed (find) work more
easily than ever before.
10. I didn't have time to speak to Joanna, so I asked her (send) me an email.
11. I'll never forget (ride) a bicycle for the first time.
12. My computer is very slow today. I think the system needs (reboot).

9 Talking point
Discuss any of the following questions:

1. Have you had similar experiences to the travellers mentioned in the article? If you have taken taxis in
the places mentioned, do you agree with the opinions expressed?
2. What advice would you give to travellers in your country about taxi rides?
3. Do you drive? What is it like driving in your country? Have you had any interesting experiences driving
in a foreign country?
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Taxi! - Key
Innovation in Learning

A A A A GENERAL ENGLISH

1- Idioms

1. on the spot 2. out of the blue 3. get to grips with 4. in one piece 5. give it a miss

2- Key words

1. d 2. b 3. a 4. e 5. f 6. c

3- Find the information

1. Chicago, Athens 2. Kathmandu 3. Tokyo 4. Prague 5. Hong Kong

4- Checking understanding

1. T 2. F 3. T 4. F 5. T 6. F 7. T

5- Find the word

1. notorious 2. yelled 3. speeding 4. wobbling 5. upmarket 6. dodgy

6- Road features - UK/US English

1. e 2. f 3. g 4. d 5. a 6. c 7. b

7- Grammar Review: verb + -ing/to...

1. start + infinitive/-ing 2. want + infinitive


3. remember + infinitive/-ing 4. forget + infinitive/-ing
5. admit + -ing 6. stop + infinitive/-ing
7. imagine + -ing 8. decide + infinitive

`Remember + infinitive' means `remember that you need to do something (in the future)'. We use
`remember + -ing' when we remember that we have done something (in the past).
`Stop to do sth' means stop `in order to' do something. When you `stop doing something' you do
something and then you stop it.
When `need' is followed by -ing, it takes on a passive meaning (= `the battery needs to be
changed'.)
When you `try to do sth', you make an effort to do something, but you do not actually succeed in
doing it. `Try + -ing' means to do something as an experiment to see if it works.
`Forget' is followed by -ing when there is a negative word in the sentence, e.g. not or never, and a
modal verb, e.g. will. The action (e.g. `living') took place in the past.

HINT: The difference in meaning can often be inferred from the sequence of actions. When the action described
by the second verb happens before or at the same time as the first verb, -ing is used. When the action described
by the second verb happens after the first verb, the infinitive is used.
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Taxi! - Key
Innovation in Learning

A A A A GENERAL ENGLISH

8- Grammar practice

to help locking to call not to speak to tell; laughing


taking to talk learning to help; to find to send
riding rebooting

9- Talking point

Depending on the class size and various experiences of the students, decide whether to have a class, group or
pair discussion. Select appropriate questions for the students to discuss or have the students select discussion
topics in pairs or groups.

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