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Last updated at 13:35 BST, Tuesday, 23 April 2013

On the up

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Jennifer and Jean are eager to get to the bar after work, but the lift is broken. Will the day improve? Find out in The English We Speak.

Hot air balloons

Why is Jean's day 'on the up'?

The script for this programme

(Jennifer and Jean are finishing work for the day.)

Jennifer: Jean, look at the time! It's 5 o'clock. Time to go home. Are you coming out for a drink after work?

Jean: Sure, shall we go to the bar on the ground floor?

Jennifer: Great idea, I love it there. It's very handy working six floors above one of the best bars in London!

Jean: I know. Let's go. Shall we take the stairs? I know six floors is a long way down, but the lift is always broken.

Jennifer: I think it's been fixed now... let's see...

(Pushes button, lift doors open)

Jean: It has been fixed. Great!

Jennifer: Things are on the up in this place!

Jean: Up? That's not right, we need to go down. The bar is on the ground floor, we are on the sixth, so we definitely shouldn't be going up...

Jennifer: No, that's not what I mean. In English, the phrase 'on the up' is used to describe something that is improving, or getting better. Things are 'on the up' here – they are getting better because the lift has been fixed.

Jean: I see!

Jennifer: Let's hear some more examples of this phrase.

  • My sister has just got a new job. The company has given her a house and a car as part of the deal – things are on the up for her!
  • The economy is on the up now that the new government is in power. They've already helped to create thousands of new jobs!

Jean: On the up. Great phrase!

(Lift bell rings)

Jennifer: Well, here we are, I'll get the drinks in. What would you like?

Jean: I think I'll go for a cocktail, please, a Cosmopolitan maybe?

Jennifer: No problem, I'll get one too. Two Cosmopolitans, please.

Barman: It's your lucky day! All cocktails are half price today!

Jean: Brilliant, things are on the up because the price has gone down!

Jennifer: Very good!

Jean: Cheers! (Clinking glasses)

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