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Slack Off

Slack Off English, baby! Video Lesson

Date: Aug 17 2010

Themes: Work

Grammar: Present Progressive Tense


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

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2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

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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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i love working hard , i love the power of work

03:30 PM Aug 22 2010 |




i love this lesson very much….well,i'm not a slacker at all,even my boss calls me boss sometimes…if i don't get my work done,which weighs on me a lot…

03:03 PM Aug 22 2010 |



I do like my job, but Im slack off a bit at the end of the week.

02:48 AM Aug 22 2010 |

spider girl


I never slack off, it makes one dull and inefficient and habitual to it.

Those who slack off more frequently usually end up with alot more work on their desk to be done at weekends. Above all it also slows down the whole chain and pace of the work in progress at your end. So never put off tomorrow what you can do today.!

03:40 AM Aug 21 2010 |




unfortunately, i often ended up being the one that picks up the slack, its not fun at all.

02:15 AM Aug 21 2010 |



My job is very interesting, I am every busy everyday, I like that. I just take a break to have lunch, sometimes I don't have the time. I don't want to slack off it's not productive for my compagny and for me too.

08:44 AM Aug 20 2010 |



Russian Federation

I like my job so I do not slack off. Only little breaks. That's all.

05:16 PM Aug 19 2010 |



ı dont like to slack off but sometimes most of people need a some break and bome break keep them fresh and productive..

01:21 PM Aug 19 2010 |

ngai cheung


i don't have any ideas about this!

01:04 PM Aug 19 2010 |



United States

Show me mentally healthy person who doesn’t like to slack off ? ))))))))) all the people slack off, even if sometimes they know that all the work is still not done, and even if you know what it has to be done just by you. And i say, yes , sometimes i’m a slacker, who takes many breaks if the work is boring, but i’m also quite productive when i need to.

12:41 AM Aug 19 2010 |




I really like to slack off a little and who doesn't like it? hihihi But if I have to do my stuff,I do sure!

07:35 PM Aug 18 2010 |




We all sould do things we really like. Our society sould have workers who love what they do, of course, for that, the focus should be in enjoying, and not in having material things. Just then, wont be slackers…

07:24 PM Aug 18 2010 |



it was very good lesson but some words was not cleared to me

02:35 PM Aug 18 2010 |


Viet Nam

slacking off is common especially for the people who dislike their jobs or don't satisfy of something in the working environment. of cause, lazy people also be always slacking off. that's why we need some acts and rules to the relationship of employer and employee.

as we know, they are different between taking breaks and slacking off. i don't like to slacking off. but i don't like my boss being too strict as well. that'll make me sick. 

11:44 AM Aug 18 2010 |



Viet Nam

I dislike slacking off but sometimes I did because we are human but not a machine to operate continuously. We also need to take breaks to chill out and have more energy to complete our works. When I am tired or stressful, I mean I am not in fit state to work efficiently, I also become a slacker.

09:20 AM Aug 18 2010 |



could you talk a lil slowly Plz Ella ?!! 

03:49 AM Aug 18 2010 |




to rebel Lee:

you are an ideal man and i do believe you will succeed.

03:08 AM Aug 18 2010 |




why can't i revert at someone's comment?

03:03 AM Aug 18 2010 |

miss blue

miss blue


slacking off !!!!!

 sometimes it happened in studying because of boring


i think regularly breaks are perfect to avoid slacking off! 

11:56 PM Aug 17 2010 |

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