English at Work

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The open window

Episode 161109 / 09 Nov 2016

How do you explain if there's been a mix-up? Paul, the boss, leaves a message. He wants ideas for a new marketing strategy for their new laser-curved fruit range. Anna gets straight down to work but when Paul turns up, Tom gets all the credit. There's a big mix-up and it's time for Anna to learn some language that explains there has been a misunderstanding.

Language for explaining a misunderstanding

This episode focuses on politely saying there has been a misunderstanding.

Phrases from the programme:

  • I think there's been a misunderstanding.
  • There's been a bit of a mix-up.
  • Let me explain what happened.

Listening Challenge

Tom found one of his certificates on the floor. What was it for?

The answer is at the bottom of the transcript below:

Transcript

Narrator
Hello, it's a chilly start to the day at Tip Top Trading.

Anna
Hi Denise!

Denise
Good morning Anna.

Anna
Brrr... it's so cold in here.

Denise
The window was left open overnight.

Anna
My papers have been blown everywhere.

Denise
Mine too! Tom was the last one here last night – it must've been him who left the window open.

Anna
Brrr.... Right then, to work! Oh, there's a note from Paul, it must've fallen off my desk: 'I would like your ideas on our stock management system for our new laser-curve fruit range, so we know we can keep up with demand. Please write me a couple of pages of suggestions and leave it on my desk. I'll be back this afternoon.' Wow! I have to come up with ideas for a stock management system! Gosh, where do I begin?!

Tom
Good morning.

Anna
Morning!

Tom
Hey, my certificate for Plastic Pear Salesman of the Year is on the floor!

Anna
Right... stock management systems... stock-up on your laser-curved lemons … My first idea is to calculate the total….

Narrator
Well, Anna has finished her report and left it on Paul's desk, but things aren't that simple. Er, Anna, there's going to be a problem.

Anna
Oh? A problem, bbbbut…

Narrator
Let me teach you some phrases you might need to explain that there's been a mistake:
I think there's been a misunderstanding.
Or:
There's been a bit of a mix-up.
Anna: But what misunderstanding? What mix-up?
Narrator: You could also use:
Let me explain what happened...

Anna
But-

Paul
Ah, good afternoon everyone.

All
Hello.

Paul
Tom, this is an excellent piece of work!

Tom
Sorry?

Paul
These are by far the best ideas you've ever had.

Tom
I don't understand.

PaulOur stock management system!

Tom
Can I see? … Oh, that's not mine.

Paul
Eh?

Anna
I think there's been a misunderstanding. I did it.

Paul & Tom
You?

Anna
I got your note Paul, here.

Paul
No, no, that note was for Tom.

Anna
Oh, then there's been a bit of a mix-up.

Tom
Did you take that note from my desk?

Anna
No, no!

Tom
I suppose you threw my pear salesman certificate on the floor at the same time too!

Anna
I didn’t! Let me explain. The wind must have blown the note for Tom under my desk.

Denise
Tom left the window open overnight. Our papers were blown all over the place.

Paul
I see, well, golly gosh. In that case, well done, Anna! Excellent work, even though you weren't meant to do it. And Tom, your ideas are still welcome of course. Thanks.

Anna
Sorry Tom.

Tom
What? Oh, I'm not bothered. I've still got some great ideas in my head anyway.

Narrator
Yeah, right! Let's leave Tom to get on with his 'great ideas' and listen again those phrases Anna used to explain the misunderstanding:

  • I think there's been a misunderstanding.
  • There's been a bit of a mix-up.
  • Let me explain what happened.

Well, the mix-up gave Anna a chance to shine – Paul certainly seemed impressed with her work. Maybe it will bring her new opportunities. Until next time, bye!

Listening Challenge - Answer

Tom found one of his certificates on the floor. What was it for?
Plastic Pear Salesman of the Year

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