Session 3

Listen to find out how to use an everyday English expression.
የለት ተለት እንግሊዘኛ አገላለፆችን ለማወቅ ይህን ያድምጡ።

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Treading on eggshells

Look at the Session Vocabulary – make sure you know what these words mean:

  • groceries
  • shopkeeper
  • sensitive
  • offend
  • awkward

Listen to two friends Rob and Li talking about a visit to the shops. As you listen, think about these questions:

  • What had happened to the shopkeeper?
  • Why didn’t Li want to ask him about it?

Listen to find out the answers. Then check them on the transcript below.

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ጤና ይስጥልን፤ እንኳን አዳዲስ የእንግሊዝኛ አገላለፆችን እንዲሚሩ ወደምናግዝበት ክፍለ-ጊዜ English Expressions በደህና መጡ።
ሐናእባላለሁ። ዛሬ ‘treading on eggshells’ በዕንቁላል ቅርፊት ላይ መረማመድ የተባለውን የእንግሊዝኛ አገላለጽ መጠቀምን እንማራለን። ምን ማለት ይመስልዎታል?. . . እርግጠኛ አይደሉም? እሽ፥ መስማትዎን ይቀጥሉ።
ሊ የሚበሉና የሚጠጡ ነገሮችን ለመግዛት ወደመሸጫ መደብር ሄዳ ነበር። በመደብሩ ውስጥ የነበረው ሁኔታ ‘tricky’ ትንሽ አስቸጋሪ ነበር ትላለች። ምኑ ‘tricky’ አስቸጋሪ እንደነበር እንስማ እስኪ።

Hi Li. Hey, it looks like you've been really busy.

I've just picked up some groceries from the local shop, you know - milk, eggs, bread, flour – I'm going to make a cake.

Make a cake? Oh good. So how was Mr Brown, the shopkeeper? Hasn't he just split up with his wife?

He has. It was tricky in the shop. I didn't want to say anything to him just in case I mentioned his wife. I only said: "Good morning" and he said: "Is it?"

የመደብሩ ባለቤት አቶ ብራውን ከሚስታቸው ጋር ‘split up’ ተለያይተዋል፤ ስለዚህም ሊ የሚስታቸውን ስም ለማንሳት አልፈለገችም። ሊ ‘good morning’ እንዴት አደሩ ስትል፥ የሱቁ ባለቤት ‘is it? ጥዋት ነው እንዴ? ብለው መለሱላት። ስለዚህ አቶ ብራውን ጥሩ ማለዳ ያሳለፉ ይመስልዎታል? በዚህ አዳጋች ሁኔታ ‘sensitive situation’ ውስጥ በጣም ጥንቃቄ ማድረግ ያለባት ይመስላል። ማድመጣችንን እንቀጥል።

Hmm, it sounds like you've been treading on eggshells.

Oh no, the shop was very clean, nothing on the floor – I don't really think he's the sort of person to throw food around!

No Li – I mean you were trying very hard not to upset him – that's what treading on eggshells means.

Oh! So it's about being nice - it's about being sensitive to the situation?


Well, I was very sensitive. But what have eggshells got to do with it?

Well, if there were eggshells on the floor literally you would have to be very careful where you put your feet!  
ሮብ እንደሚለው ሊ ባለመደብሩ አቶ ብራውንን ላለማስቀየም መጠንቀቅ ስለነበረባት ንግግሯ በዕንቁላል ቅርፊት በተሞላ ቦታ የመራመድን ያህል ጥንቃቄ የተሞላበት ‘treading on eggshells’ ነበር።
እስኪ ሌሎች ምሳሌዎችንም እናድምጥ።

I had to be so careful with what I said to my ex-girlfriend. The smallest thing made her angry: it was like treading on eggshells.

Ever since my argument with my neighbour about parking, I feel like I've been treading on eggshells.

Since my friend's father died, I don't know what to say to him: it's like treading on eggshells.

So, treading on eggshells can be awkward because you don't know what to say and you don't want to offend someone. So Rob, what should I have said to Mr Brown?

Ok, well, you could have said 'plenty more fish in the sea!'


Or, I didn’t like her much anyway.

Rob, I think that's the opposite of treading on eggshells.

Really? Anyway let me help you with your shopping… here you go… oops (Rob drops the eggs!).

Rob! You have dropped all the eggs on my kitchen floor.

Oh no! Now you really will be walking on eggshells!

That's not funny.

Well, I didn't like your cakes much anyway.

ውይ፥ ሮብ የሊ ማዕዽ ቤት ውስጥ እንቁላሎቹን ጥሎ ወለሉን ሞላው። አሁን የዕውነትም በዕንቁላል ቅርፊት ላይ መራመድ ሊኖርባቸው ነው። ነገር ግን ያስታውሱ፥ በዕንቁላልቅ ቅርፊት ላይ መረማመድ ማለት ቃላትና ድርጊታችሁ ሌሎች ሰዎችን እንዳያስቀይሙ ከፍተኛ ጥንቃቄ ማድረግ ማለት ነው፤ በተለይም ደግሞ ክፉኛ የሚረብሿቸው ሁኔታዎች በሚኖሩባቸው ወቅቶች። በእንቁላል ቅርፊት ላይ የመራመድን ያህል ቃላታችሁን እና ድርጊታችሁን በጥንቃቄ ያከናወናችሁበትን ጊዜ ታስታውሳላችሁ? ለተጨማሪ English Expressions እንግሊዝና አገላለፆች በሚቀጥለው ክፍል ይጠብቁን። See you next time!


• The shopkeeper’s wife has left him.
• She didn’t want to upset the shopkeeper.

How do I use it?

‘Treading on eggshells’, uses the verb ‘tread’. In this episode the verb is being used in two ways.


Verbs can be used like nouns by adding -ing. This is called a gerund.

That’s what treading on eggshells means.

Treading on eggshells can be awkward.

Continuous aspect

Verbs can take the continuous aspect by adding -ing. This is used in tenses such as the present continuous, or the present perfect continuous.

I'm treading on eggshells around my boss at the moment, as I made a big mistake recently.

I feel like I have been treading on eggshells.

The continuous aspect is used for an activity in progress, rather than a completed action.

Treading on eggshells

3 Questions

Choose the correct answer.
ትክክለኛውን መልስ ምረጡ።

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Over to you!

Can you remember a time when you had to ‘tread on eggshells’? What did you have to do? What happened? Come and tell us on our Facebook group.

Join us for our next episode of English Expressions, when we will learn more useful language and practise your listening skills.
ይበልጥ ጠቃሚ የሆኑ እንግሊዘኛ አገላለፆችንና የመስማት ክህሎትን የምንማርበትን ቀጣይ ክፍለ ጊዜ ይከታተሉ።

Session Vocabulary

  • groceries


    የእንቁላል ቅርፊቶች


    ሱቅ ጠባቂ



    ግራ አጋቢ