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Session 20

Listen to find out how to use an everyday English expression.
መዓልታዊ ኣጠቓቕማ ኢንግሊሽ ንምፍላጥ ነዚ ዝስዕብ ንስማዕ።

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Take a back seat

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

  • seat
  • responsibility
  • in charge

Listen to Rob and Feifei explaining the expression 'take the back seat'. As you listen, answer these questions:

1. Is Rob driving?

2. Where is he sitting?

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

Show transcript Hide transcript

ሰላም! እንቋዕ ናብዚ ብቋንቋ እንግሊዝኛ ሓሳባትኩም ንምግላጽ ዝሕግዘኩም መደብ English Expressions ብደሓን መጻእኩም። ሎሚ 'take a back seat' ዝብል መግለጺ-ሓሳብ ክንርኢይ ኢና። ቃል ብቓሉ 'ብድሕሪት ኮፍ ምባል' ማለት'ዩ። እቲ ልክዕ ትርጉሙ ግን እንታይ ክኸውን ይኽእል ትብሉ? ትርጉሙ ንምፍላጥ እምበኣር ሓቢርና ንከታተል። ንዕላል ሮብን ፌይፌይን ጽን ኢልና ንስማዕ። ኣበይ'ዮም ዘለዉ? መኖም'ዩ ካብ ክልቲኦም ዝበዘሐ ስራሕ ዝዓምም ዘሎ - ሮብ'ዶ ዋላ'ሲ ፌይፌይ? ንምዃኑ፡ ሮብ ኣበይ'ዩ ኮፍ ኢሉ ዘሎ? ስለምንታይ'ከ?

Feifei, keep your eyes on the road! Look where you're going.


OK, OK! Rob is making me drive around while we present today's programme. Rob, why exactly am I driving my car?

Well, I really wanted you to understand the phrase we're going to learn today. But I'm going to leave it all to you.

ሮብን ፌይፌይን ኣብ ናይ ፌይፌይ ማኪና እዮም ዘለዉ። ፌይፌይ ትዝውር ኣላ - ሮብ ድማ 'leave it all to her' ኩሉ ናብኣ ገዲፉዎ'ሎ።

So what are you going to do then?

Oh nothing. I'm just going to a take a back seat today. You carry on, I'll watch.

Take a back seat? Hmmm – so you're going to let me take control – do all the work – while you sit there and watch?

Yes – look, I'm just sitting here – on the back seat.

Oh I get it! 'To take a back seat' is an idiom that means to give up control and let someone else take responsibility.

That's it Feifei. 

ሮብ 'taking a back seat' ይገብር ኣሎ ኢሉ - ትርጉሙ ኣብ ማኪና ብድሕሪት ኮፍ ከም ምባል ማለት'ዩ። 'taking a back seat' ንገብር ኣለና ክንብል እንከለና፡ ካልኦት ሰባት ምእንቲ ከነበርትዕ፡ እቲ ሓላፍነት ንኻልኦት ከነረክቦ እንከለና ማለት'ዩ። ኣብ ናይ ድሕሪት ኮፍ መበሊ ማኪና back seat' ብምዃን፡ ካላእ ሰብ ንኽዝዉር ክትገድፎ እንከለኻ ከም ማለት'ዩ። እዚ መግለጺ ሓሳብ ግን ምስ ምዝዋርን ኣብ ማኪና ምህላውን ጥራሕ ኣይኮናን ንጥቀመሉ። 'back seat' ዝብል ሓረግ ንጽል ስለዝኾነ፡ ኣመልካቲ ስም 'a' ከምኡ'ውን 'take' ዝብል ግስ ምስ'ዚ ሓረግ ንጥቀም።ቀጺልና እምበኣር፡ ካልኦት ተወሰኽቲ ኣብነታት ክንሰምዕ ኢና፡

Honey, I'm going to take a back seat this year and let you decide where we go on holiday. I always choose and I want you to be more involved in our decisions.

Now he's getting older he's decided to take a back seat in running the company and has handed things over to his son.

Mary was happy to take a back seat and let Jim run the meeting. It was his turn to be responsible for the team's decision.

Colin took a backseat in planning the wedding because Emily had lots of good ideas.

So, to take a backseat means to choose not to take control and let someone else be in charge. Rob, does this mean you're just being lazy?  

Of course not, Feifei. It just means I'm letting you have a turn at being in charge – I trust you – although… What are you doing?!

Letting you take the back seat while I show you how to really drive!

Feifei! Watch out for the roundabout… and that traffic light… aren't you driving a bit fast?

Rob – don't be such a back-seat-driver!

A what?

A back-seat-driver – someone who offers unwanted advice – someone who tells the driver how to drive. But we'll leave that expression for another day!

OK, OK – but you are going really fast – can I take the front seat now?

Stay where you are!

Oh, ok.

ሮብ 'taking a back seat' ብምግባር፡ ኩሉ ንፌይፌይ ክሓድገላ ሕጉስ ዝኾነ ኣይመስልን'ዩ ዘሎ። ፌይፌይ መቸም 'take a back seat' ክትገብር ኣይተደልን'ያ ዘላ። ንስኻትኩም'ከ፡ 'taking a back seat' ክትገብሩ ሕጉሳት ዲኹም ዋላ'ሲ ሓላፍነት ምውሳድ ኢኹም ትመርጹ? 'taking a back seat' ምግባር ዝምረጸሉ እዋናት ይህሉ'ዶ ይኸውን? ንምዃኑ እንታይ ጸገማት ከስዕብ ይኽእል ትብሉ? ኣብ ዝመጽእ መደብ 'English Expressions' ክሳብ ንራኸብ፡ ሰሰናዩ። 


1) Rob isn't driving.

2) He is sitting in the back seat of the car.

How do I use it?

'Take a back seat' means to let someone else take control of a situation. We often use it to say that we are giving up responsibility for something.

This is your project, so I am going to take a back seat in this meeting.

took a back seat at Christmas - my children did all the cooking!

You've done lots of work on this. Why don't you take a back seat for a while?

Take a back seat

3 Questions

Choose the correct answer.
ቅኑዕ መልሲ ምረጹ።

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Over to you!

Have you ever taken a back seat on something? When was it? Why did you do it? 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.
ኣብ ዝቕጽል መደብ ኣጠቓቕማ እንግሊሽ የራኽበና፤ ሽዑ ንቋንቛ ሓገዝቲ ዝኾኑን ናይ ምስማዕ ክእለትኩም ዘማዕብሉን ነገራት ክንመሃር ኢና።

Session Vocabulary

  • seat


    take turns

    in charge