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Speak English Around Town Lesson 3 Idioms, Proverbs, Expressions MCQ Test

Speak English Around Town Lesson 3 Idioms, Proverbs, Expressions MCQ Test

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LESSON 3 – Negotiating a Purchase


Max is shopping for a used car. He goes to see Jim, who s selling his used Honda. After a test drive, Max negotiates with Jim and gets him to reduce the price by $800.

Jim: Hello. Jim Harris speaking.

Max: Hello, Jim. My name is Max Taylor. I’m shopping for a used car, and I saw your ad for a 2008 Honda Civic.

Jim: The car is still available, but I’m getting lots of calls for it.

Max: How about if I swing by at 5:30?

Jim: Okay. I’m on 433 Main Avenue, across the street from Arroyo High School.

(Max comes over to Jim s house.)

Max: Hi, I’m Max. I’m here to see the car.

Jim: Good to meet you, Max. I’m Jim. Would you like to take a test drive?

Max: Yes, thanks. The last thing I need is another lemon!

Jim: You don’t have to worry about that. This is a great car.

(They return from the drive.)

Max: It does drive well.

Jim: And it’s in mint condition!

Max: You’re asking $8,000 for it?

Jim: Yes, it’s a steal.

Max: It’s a nice car, but it’s a two-door car and I was hoping to buy a four-door.

Jim: A car like this is going to sell quickly. I’d hate for you to miss out.

Max: I’ll give you $7,000.

Jim: Let’s split the difference. If you can make it $7,500, you’ve got a deal.

Max: I’d like to sleep on it. Can I give you a ring in the morning?

Jim: I’d like to reach an agreement now. How about $7,300?

Max: Would you take $7,200?

Jim: I don’t want to haggle.

Max: I’m sorry to nickel and dime you, but money is tight for me right now.

Jim: Okay, let’s close the deal. I’ll take $7,200.


Language Lens: Articles

English has two types of articles: definite (the) and in (a, an).

a/an to refer to something general or any member of a group.
=> Use the to refer to something specific or a particular member of a group. When I say specific, I mean something that is known to both the speaker and the listener.

Compare these two examples from the dialogue:
1. I’m shopping for a used car. (Which used car? The speaker is not being specific).
2. The car is still available. (Both the speaker and the listener know which car. We’re talking about a specific car now).

When to use the article “a” or “an”:

1) Use “a/an” to refer to any member of a group.

◼ I need a bike. (Any bike – it’s not important which one).

◼ If you don’t want to be alone, get a dog. (Any dog – it doesn’t matter which one).

2) Use “a/an” to describe a person’s job, what something is used for, or what type of thing something or somebody is.
◼ Julia is a lawyer.
◼ This car is a two-door.
◼ She’s a nice person.

3) Use “a/an” to speak about the general properties of somebody or something.
◼ An infant requires a lot of attention.
◼ An unpaid parking ticket.can lead to many problems.
◼ A beagle is a friendly dog.

4) Use “a/an” to describe a person in a general sense (if you don’t know who the person is or if his or her individual identity is not important).
◼ A woman came to the door while you were at the store. (Who? What woman? We don’t know).
◼ I’m dating a lawyer.

When to use the article “the”:

1) Use “the” when referring to something particular, specific, or unique.
◼ The moon is bright tonight.
◼ The plane ride to France will take _about 8 hours.
◼ The White House is a must-see if you visit Washington, D.C.

2) Use “the” when your listener knows which person, place, or thing you’re referring to.
◼ Please open the window. (Your listener knows which window – perhaps because you ‘re pointing to it or because it’s the only window in the room).
◼ The radio is still on. (Your listener knows which radio).
◼ What happened to the lawyer you were dating? (You’re referring to a specific lawyer – someone you’ve already been told about).

When to use “the” and when to use no article:

1) Do not use “the” when talking about generalizations with plural or non-count nouns ( for more on non-count nouns, see Lesson 17).
◼ I like coffee in the mornings. (NOT: the coffee)
◼ Russian is a difficult language. (NOT: the Russian)
◼ Creativity is hard to teach. (NOT: the creativity)
◼ Pandas are popular animals. (NOT: the pandas)
Note: When the noun is singular and you’re talking about generalizations, you will often use “the.”
Example: The panda is a much studied animal.

2) Most countries do not take “the”: France, Australia, South Africa. Some countries do take “the” – especially those countries consisting of more than one word.
Examples: the United States, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic

3) States, cities, and towns do not take “the” except for “The Hague” and for a few towns in the United States.
Examples: California, Paris, Westport, New Haven

4) The names of most lakes, mountains, volcanoes, and islands do not take “the.”
Examples: Lake Superior, Mount St. Helens, Mount Everest

5) Many expressions do not require “the.” They include:
◼ at night (but: in the morning, in the afternoon)
◼ at/to college, school, work
◼ Transportation: by car, by foot, by plane, by train
◼ Days of the week and months of the year used with on or in: on Monday, on Tuesday, in December

DO use “the” in these cases:

1) For points of the globe.
Examples: the South Pole, the Equator

2) For most geographical regions.
Examples: the Midwest, the South, the Middle East

3) For names of oceans, seas, canals, and rivers.
Examples: the Mississippi River, the Atlantic Ocean, the Black Sea

4) For forests, deserts, gulfs and peninsulas.
Examples: the Gulf of Mexico, the Black Forest, the Arabian Peninsula


  • (to) close the deal

 to reach an agreement during a negotiation

Example: If you can take $5,000 off the price of the house, we can close the deal now.

  • (to) give someone a ring

 to call someone on the telephone

Example: I’ll give you a ring in the morning so we can make plans for tomorrow night.

  • (to) haggle

 to argue over a price

Example: Greg haggled with the eBay seller and ended up saving $15 off the price of the guitar.

  • in mint condition

 in excellent condition; like new

Example: David has a large collection of old comic books in mint condition.

  • lemon

 a car that doesn’t work well

Example: Molly’s car is in the repair shop every month. What a lemon!

  • (to) miss out (on)

 to lose an opportunity; to not experience

Example: Sara submitted her application too late and missed out on the opportunity to spend the semester in Paris.

  • money is tight

 to not have a lot of money

Example: Money is tight for Paul and Wendy right now, with two kids in college.

  • (to) nickel and dime someone

 two definitions: 1) to argue with someone over a small amount of money. 2) to annoy someone by charging for every small thing.

Example 1: Mepstein Industries has a reputation for being cheap. People say they nickel and dime their suppliers.

Example 2: Fred complained that the hotel nickel and dimed him by charging for local phone calls, Internet, and a pass for the gym.

  • (to) reach an agreement

 to make an agreement

Example: We negotiated for several days before finally reaching an agreement.

  • (to) sleep on it

 to take a day to think about a decision

Example: I can’t give you an answer now regarding the job offer. I need to sleep on it.

  • (to) split the difference

 to share a difference in cost 50-50

Example: You asked for a salary of $60,000, and we said the position paid $52,000. Let’s split the difference and say $56,000.

  • (a) steal

 a very good price

Example: You bought a new computer for $199? What a steal!

  • (to) swing by

 to visit someone or a place for a short period of time; to make a quick visit

Example: I forgot my jacket at your house last night. Let me swing by after work and pick it up.

  • (to) take for a test drive

 to drive a car to see how it runs

Example: Before he bought his new BMW, Jim took it for a test drive.

  • The last thing I need is

 I definitely don’t need; I really don’t want

Example: I hope Rick and Jenny are planning to stay at a hotel when they visit town. The last thing I need is more houseguests!

  • you’ve got a deal

 I agree; I agree to your terms

Example: You want $99 for that dining room table? You’ve got a deal!

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