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Last updated at 11:38 GMT, Tuesday, 08 November 2011



Neil tells Li about his plan to live in luxury after giving up his job. Find out more about how he will pay for his expense in this week's programme.

A glamorous life

A sponger enjoys life without working.

The script for this programme

Neil: Hello and welcome to The English We Speak, I'm Neil.

Li: And I'm Li. Neil, is that a new watch?

Neil: Yes I got it from my parents.

Li: Oh that's nice.

Neil: Did I tell you I'm going on holiday soon?

Li: No, where?

Neil: To Hawaii.

Li: Wow, how can you afford a holiday to Hawaii?

Neil: My in-laws paid for it. We told them it was too expensive but, you know, we just need a holiday.

Li: Hmm… so your in-laws have paid for your holiday too…

Neil: I'm thinking of giving up work actually, Li.

Li: Giving up work? What about the cost of living?

Neil: Oh my wife can work. You know what, Li? I really need to move into a bigger house in a nicer part of London.

Li: But you just said you're going to give up work! How can you afford a new house if you have no job?

Neil: My grandparents will give me some money. They always do.

Li: Neil, there's a word for people like you. You're a sponger!

Neil: A sponger!? How rude!


A: When I was at university I had no money at all. I had to buy second-hand clothes and I could never afford to go out for a meal even though I had a part-time job.
B: Yeah me too, but there were all these other students with cars and designer labels eating in expensive restaurants all paid for by Daddy.
A: What a bunch of spongers.
B: Yeah.

Li: A sponger is a person who gets money, food and other things from other people without paying. Often it's used very negatively to describe people who live off state benefits.

Neil: Just like a sponge.

Li: Yes, a sponge.

Neil: A sponge soaks up the water all around it. A sponger soaks up gifts, food and money without working. And it can also be used as a verb – to sponge off someone.

Li: It's also a verb 'to sponge off someone.' Be careful to use the word 'off' with this verb.

Neil: Whether it's a verb or a noun, it's still not a nice thing to say about someone, Li.

Li: Well I'm sorry to be rude, but it's true – you are a sponger.

Neil: You're right. I'm a sponger but I'm proud of it. Do you fancy taking me out for dinner? There's a fantastic restaurant I've been meaning to go to. It's very expensive, but you can afford it Li.

Li: He's trying to sponge a meal off me! What a sponger…


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