Free English Lessons

The Boring Man – Listening Lesson (B1)

Maggie is a friendly woman, and she tries her best to start a conversation with Rich at a party, but unfortunately Rich is incredibly boring. Listen to their conversation and learn useful new vocabulary in this free English listening lesson from Oxford Online English. This is an intermediate lesson.

Listen to the dialogue at normal speed here:

or listen to a slower version here:

Woman: Hello! What’s your name?
Man: Oh, hi, I’m Rich.
Woman: Nice to meet you, Rich. I’m Maggie.
Man: Nice to meet you.
Woman: So, are you having a good time?
Man: Yeah, kind of. Actually, to tell the truth, I don’t like parties that much.
Woman: I saw you didn’t look too happy! Why don’t you have a drink?
Man: No thanks. I have an important meeting in the morning.
Woman: So, well, tell me a little bit about yourself.
Man: There’s not much to tell, really. I work in an office, and I like the usual things: reading, watching films, and so on.
Woman: So if you don’t mind my asking, why did you come?
Man: You know James, the host?
Woman: Yes, of course, we’re good friends.
Man: Well, he’s my boss, and I wanted to make an appearance.
Woman: Oh, I see! Anyway, you’re here now, why not talk to some people? Would you like to meet my friends? I’m afraid I’m married, but I have a lot of single friends.
Man: Um, well, I think I’m okay here, thanks all the same.
Woman: So what, you’re just going to stand there like a wallflower all evening?
Man: That’s a bit rude.
Woman: Some people might say that coming to a party and not talking to anyone was rude.
Man: Uh, yeah, maybe… I have to go to the toilet, excuse me for a moment.
Woman: Don’t let me keep you.

The Boring Man – exercise 1
Listening skill: predicting what comes next

Have you ever met someone who joins in with your sentences and finishes them at the same time as you? They can do this because they have guessed what you are going to say. This is easier than you might think!

Before you listen again to the full dialogue, listen to five short sections from it, in which some sentences are cut off before the end. Can you predict the word that has been omitted each time?

The Boring Man – exercise 2
Vocabulary and Grammar: meanings and forms of ‘have’

The verb ‘have’ has many different meanings – and sometimes it doesn’t really mean anything at all, unless you put other words with it to form collocations (common combinations of words).

Listen to five sentences from the dialogue that contain the verb ‘have’. Then match them with the definitions.

The Boring Man – exercise 3
Vocabulary: small talk

‘Small talk’ means the conversation you have when you first meet someone. Sometimes, it can be difficult, particularly if one person doesn’t want to do it, like the boring man in this dialogue.

Look at five sentences containing common small talk phrases that are used in the dialogue, and write one word from the recording in each gap.

The Boring Man – exercise 4
Comprehension: working out meaning from context

The dialogue contains examples of the speakers saying words or phrases that you might know, but the meaning is different from what you have learned, or an unstated message is intended.

Listen to the full dialogue again and pay attention to the words in the left-hand column. When you hear them, choose the expression from the Sort elements that carries the message which the speaker actually means.

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