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Slack Off

Slack Off English, baby! Video Lesson

Date: Aug 17 2010

Themes: Work

Grammar: Present Progressive Tense


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During the work day, everyone has to take breaks. Breaks help refresh you and keep you efficient. But for some workers, the day is mostly breaks and very little working. That’s not productive at all. Someone who relaxes all day and doesn’t get much done is slacking off.

This idiom comes from sailing. If something is slack, it means it’s loose. On a ship, there are lots of ropes that need to be kept tight. If you’re not doing your job, slack builds up. You’re slacking off. Someone who does more work than is required of them is said to be picking up the slack.

It seems Ella is slacking off a bit at work. Watch Marni try to convince her to focus and get something done.

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1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Ella:  Oh my god! Oh, man.

Marni:  Ella?

Ella:  What?

Marni:  What are you doing there?

Ella:  My friend sent me the goofiest picture. It is hilarious!

Marni:  Okay, but… it’s still 4 o’clock… we’re still working.

Ella:  Yeah.

Marni:  Yeah?

Ella:  Yeah!

Marni:  Did you… ...did you ever hear back from Christian Van Der Slice about the marketing research? You were supposed to call Christian?

Ella:  Oh yeah, I was going to wait ‘til about 5 o’clock because that’s when people’s voicemails turn on, you know, so I don’t have to talk to him directly.

Marni:  But we want to talk to him directly.

Ella:  No, well, not I. Not I. I feel like it’s more efficient on voicemail because then they can hear the same answering message several times and they get a real grasp of what I’m trying to say.

Marni:  Okay. Um, I can’t help but notice those files are still sitting on the desk. Do you think that you could get to that maybe in the next hour?

Ella:  I really appreciate the colors, so I’m just going to stare at them a little more.

Marni:  Okay, I gotta be blunt. It appears to me that you are slacking off.

Ella:  Sla-what? Are you accusing me of slacking off? Because I work hard. I work really hard. I do all the stuff that no one else wants to do. You know? Slackers, they don’t do that! They just sit around and wait for things to get done. I get them done! Even if it takes a little longer than normal. But I don’t slack off! I don’t slack off at all.

Marni:  Well, you’re…you know…not doing any of the filing I asked for, and you’re talking or looking at pictures on your phone, and you have a magazine open. To me, that’s slacking off. That’s not working. Not being productive. You know, I don’t really need enthusiasm, I just need you to work. I need you to be productive! Yeah?

Ella:  Maybe… okay.


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Ella starts laughing because a friend of hers sent a funny picture to her phone. Suddenly, Marni notices that Ella isn’t working at all. She hasn’t done the things she’s been asked to do and is reading a magazine. She intends to make an important call after the work day ends so she can leave a message and won’t have to talk to anyone.

It’s clear that Ella is slacking off. Marni confronts her directly. Ella tries to argue that she works hard, but it’s hard to argue with the work she hasn’t done and the magazine on her desk. At the end, she reluctantly agrees to get some work done.

Do you like to slack off? Or are you someone who picks up the slack?



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Iran, Islamic Republic Of

never heard of that. sounds helpful to me..thanks anyway

05:49 PM Jun 25 2015 |



slack off is very interesting

12:18 AM Feb 20 2013 |


MasbararSuper Member!


Very nice video.If Marni is the manager of Ella it’s acceptable the act of Marni.In that case,Ella must not argue with her.But if Marni is not her manager,this is not a good way to argue with her or blaim her.There are some people in the companies like that,in the schools too.The people must show their success to demonstrate to the other how they are successful,but not with the way to blaiming others.

12:30 AM Aug 02 2012 |




I don´t feel confortable slacking off. I think you should always look for work that needs to get done. If your workload has finished, then you should ask around for outstanding work. You don´t need to pick up the slack but lending a hand is never too much.

07:53 PM Jul 24 2012 |



I personally think everyone has responsabilities to accomplish. I often help some friends, classmates or workmates when I can. But it doesn`t mean that I have to help them doing their work. It`s a little bit uncomfortable to treat slacker people.

08:22 PM Jan 31 2011 |


Viet Nam

thanks for an interesting and helpful lesson

09:06 AM Jan 31 2011 |


Viet Nam

I am actually do not like slack off. Specially to someone who not only slack off but also annoy people.


03:32 AM Dec 14 2010 |



Iran, Islamic Republic Of

i slack of when there's is nothing to do and when i am not asked to do sth

09:22 AM Nov 23 2010 |



Syrian Arab Republic


08:39 AM Sep 22 2010 |



Palestinian Territory, Occupied

Great one

thank you

08:37 PM Sep 21 2010 |





05:41 PM Sep 20 2010 |




this lesson is so helpful. i learnt a new word, so thank u so much, well, i m usully slackin off when i m on work , bt i well realy want to get over with that, I will pick up the slack as earliest possible, thank u so much.

09:18 AM Sep 19 2010 |



you beil fammau

10:20 PM Sep 17 2010 |



i don't like to slack off because i like my job to much

04:52 PM Sep 12 2010 |



i don't like to slack off because i like my job to much

04:51 PM Sep 12 2010 |




Before three months i am not a slacker. But  now i think i am getting used to slack off. it is too bad. i hope i will get over that.   :)

12:25 PM Sep 12 2010 |




i hate slackers


08:01 AM Sep 08 2010 |



Slack Off

01:21 AM Sep 05 2010 |




good talk girls


03:01 AM Sep 01 2010 |

Lee Yong Chan


I don't like a slacker.If my collegue is slackking off,I'll be blunt and tell him to work hard immidiately.

02:25 PM Aug 31 2010 |

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