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Sibling Rivalry
Sibling Rivalry

Learn English with this family English lesson

Date: Feb 12 2020

Themes: Family

Grammar: Contractions and Abbreviations


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If you have any brothers or sisters, you probably spent time competing when you were little. It’s likely that you would argue over who got the bigger cookie, or who got to sit in the best seat in the car. It’s not unusual for children to try to outdo each other. It’s all part of growing up.

This doesn’t change for many people once they’re adults. Workers try to one up each other at the office. Athletes work hard to win games or be best in the world. It’s not necessary to have a sibling, either. You can be an only child and enjoy the challenge of doing your best, and the benefit of everyone’s attention.

Did Lily and Rafael experience sibling rivalry? Find out in the following English lesson.


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





Lily:  So, Rafa, I noticed that you got a call from your brother today. What was that about?

Rafael:  He just wanted to argue with me about something. He and I are always competing.

Lily:  Oh, really?

Rafael:  Yeah. Do you have any brothers or sisters?

Lily:  No, I’m an only child, so I never really had to deal with that. But I kind of always wanted a sibling of some sort. You know, somebody to share things with. That kind of thing?

Rafael:  So, you have no superiority complex? Or no brother insecurity? Anything like that?

Lily:  No. I always thought sibling rivalry was kind of a myth. Is it, like…

Rafael:  It’s definitely not a myth. Trust me. When my brother calls me, he and I argue all the time. We’re really competitive. He’s always trying to one up me.

Lily:  You’re constantly grappling for recognition. That kind of thing?

Rafael:  Anything he does, I want to outdo him. Anything I do, he just wants to put it down.

Lily:  So, are you the younger brother? The older brother? Or what?

Rafael:  I’m the middle child. That’s the worst one to be.

Lily:  Because you don’t really get any attention, do you?

Rafael:  No. Do only children need lots of attention?

Lily:  I think everyone needs attention.


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Rafael’s brother called and Lily wants to know why. He says that his brother called to argue like he always does. They grew up competing with each other, and that has never stopped. Rafael doesn’t sound very excited to have heard from him.

Lily can’t understand Rafael’s experience because she grew up as an only child. In fact, she tells him that she has always wondered if siblings really fight and compete as much as they say they do. Rafael tells Lily that it’s absolutely true, at least for him and his brother!

Were you an only child, or did you grow up with brothers or sisters? Did you and your siblings spend time trying to outdo each other?



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I have heard many times about siblings rivalry and that has always sound  odd to me. i have four siblings  and we have never  had to argue because a brother is outdoing the rest of others  (  as in the case of Rafael ) . Is is not that we never have arguments but they are not related to rivalry, much more, if anybody is succesful we are happy for it. 

02:04 PM Jan 13 2014 |




I’m the only child and has always been a queen. But rivalry is always in your life. You go dancing and always some ladies are trying to push you out. What for? Even if you’re just hanging on the edge. No! it’s not enough for them. They want to be the only ones on the dance floor, with all the partners around them. Rivalry! What can you do! Just smile.

12:58 PM Jan 13 2014 |




I have 4 siblings: 2 brothers and 2 sisters. I’ve never tried to outdo my sisters, but I do have an issue with my brothers.

The oldest (Daniel) is 30, I’m 19 and the youngest (Benhur) is 14. Though Daniel is a doctor and has his own house, I think I’ll never stop trying to one up him. As for my little brother, it’s the same. He’s always trying to be better than me.

Since I’m the middle child (among the men), I have to struggle to get a little bit of attention… The worst thing is when my parents start comparing me with them, like: “_When Daniel was at your age, he [...]” or “_Benhur is only 14 and [...]” .” I hate it!

For those who are only children, no, sibling rivalry is NOT a myth!

12:52 PM Jan 13 2014 |



i am only child,but i have cousin,i always fight with him in our childhood. Today i feel a little sorry for him. sometime something you do it,but you dont know why.

10:58 AM Jan 13 2014 |




I have brothers and sisters, but I didn’t feel anything like competing each other. Perhaps because I’m the youngest and everyone loves me and very protective of me. I’m very lucky when it comes to my family. However, competition is just normal to humans, especially when it comes to work. It is something we can’t avoid.

02:35 AM Jan 13 2014 |

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