Phrasal Verbs about Arguing (at Christmas)

Phrasal Verbs about Arguing (at Christmas)

17/12/20 / Keyword: phrasal verbs

ECP coach Ali talks about Christmas, arguing and phrasal verbs. You might not enjoy family arguments, but at least you can get some English practice by writing about them using phrasal verbs!

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Useful vocabulary

phrase: a group of words

friction: negative energy between two people

row: an argument, a dispute

even: also (surprisingly)

to be involved (in sth): to be part of sth

mood: emotional state

can’t help doing sth: can’t avoid or resist doing sth

beware of sth: (imperative) be careful about sth

to fester: if an emotion festers, it becomes worse because it is ignored for a long time

to keep sth going: to maintain sth

Listen to the audio and read the text (refresh the page if it’s not visible).

You might not enjoy family arguments, but at least you can get some English practice by writing about them using phrasal verbs!

A phrasal verb is a phrase consisting of a verb and a preposition or adverb (or both), whose meaning is different from the meaning of its separate parts. For example, “to look” means to use your eyes to see, and “after” means “following”, whereas the phrasal verb “to look after” means to be responsible for something; to take care of it. Without a doubt, the best way to learn phrasal verbs is by reading or hearing them in context. Some websites provide lists of the most common phrasal verbs and example sentences containing them. Similarly, this week’s article will present you with some phrasal verbs related with arguing.

For many, Christmas is an opportunity to spend quality time with family. Delicious food and drink, presents, songs and holiday TV are best enjoyed in the company of those you love most. However, we all know that spending too much time together can lead to friction and the inevitable row or two. There’s so much to disagree about — money, politics, even the food on the table — not to mention the fact that there’s usually a reasonable amount of alcohol involved. 

What’s more, there’s the additional pressure to be in a good mood at Christmas, because it’s the holidays, and you have visitors, so you’re expected to be kind and polite the whole time. Naturally, we sometimes feel the need to be alone for a few minutes, but we can’t escape — so we can’t help arguing.

When two people in your family square up to each other, it’s probably best to stay out of it, but if you do decide to step in, beware of sticking up for one person, as this could cause you to fall out with the other. In the long term, siding with one person can cause your relationship with the other person to break down.

Often, the anger has been festering for years, and sooner or later someone blows up. Even the smallest comment can stir things up between two people, and there’s little you can do to prevent them from going at each other. To make things worse, sometimes neither person will back down, so the argument can ruin the entire Christmas dinner!

Admittedly, you might get angry yourself and lash out at someone you love. This often happens when you’ve been keeping your feelings down and they eventually boil over. Of course, the advisable thing to do is take back what you said. That way, the two of you will be more likely to patch things up before dessert.

While some family members may tend to storm off in the middle of an argument, others will try their best to rise above the chaos and stay calm. After all, everyone wants to have fun at this family celebration and keep a good atmosphere going.

In other words, when someone criticises you, no matter how much it annoys you, it’s probably best to just laugh it off. I’m sure Santa Claus would agree! (Ho, ho, ho!)

Written by ECP coach Alison Keable

Let’s chat about phrasal verbs and Christmas!

  1. Did you understand the phrasal verbs in this article thanks to their context?
  2. Which of these phrasal verbs do you already use, and which would you like to start using?
  3. Why do people tend to argue with family members at Christmas?
  4. How do you usually respond when someone tries to start an argument with you?
  5. What do you think you can do to help keep the peace at  home this Christmas?

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