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That’ll teach you! : The English We Speak

Neil: Hello, and welcome to The English
We Speak with me, Neil and errr… where’s
Feifei: … sorry I’m late. Hello!
Neil: Goodness, it’s not like you to be late.
You’re always so punctual and… smartly
dressed. But today you look a mess – If
you don’t mind me saying.
Feifei: I do mind you saying, Neil. It’s been
a very stressful morning. I didn’t have
time to shower, iron my clothes or even
have breakfast.
Neil: Hmm. Did you get up late by any
Feifei: Yes, you’re right. I forgot to set my
alarm last night. So I overslept!
Neil: Has this got anything to do with you
going out last night? I suppose you’re
going to tell me you had such a great
time, you stayed
out later than expected?
Feifei: Yes, how did you guess? I had one
of the best nights out for a long time –
but I’m regretting it now!
Neil: Ah well, that’ll teach you for staying
out late – enjoying yourself!
Feifei: ‘That’ll teach me’? I’m not going to
school – nobody is going to ‘teach me’ not
to stay out late.
Neil: It’s just a saying, Feifei. You might
say it to someone to suggest that they
should learn the bad effects of doing
something and not repeat it in the future.
In other words, your stress this morning is
a suitable punishment for staying out late
last night – you won’t do it again.
Feifei: You sound like my parents!
Neil: These examples might explain the
phrase better…
You lent some money to Dan and he didn’t
pay you back – that’ll teach you!
My brother got a speeding ticket for
driving too fast down the High Street –
that’ll teach him!
The footballer got a red card for his bad
tackle and now he’ll miss playing in the
final – that’ll teach him!
Feifei: This is The English We Speak from
BBC Learning English and we’re hearing
about the phrase ‘that’ll teach you’ which
is said to someone to mean they should
learn from the bad effects of what they’ve
done. I guess we could also say
‘it serves you right!’?
Neil: Yes, it’s a very informal but blunt way
of saying ‘your suffering is your own fault’.
And for you it’s true.
Feifei: But do you know what, Neil –
despite my suffering,
I had a really good night out.
Neil: Oh did you? And who did you have
this ‘great night out’ with?
Feifei: Everyone from the office. We all
went to the pub and then onto a
nightclub. That’ll teach you for leaving the
office early, Neil. You left too early
and you missed out!
Neil: Hmm. That’s enough teaching for
one day. I’m off.
Feifei: Bye!
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