6. Margaret speaks about her first job outside the farm

a. Listen to the next segment and decide if these sentences are true or false:

  • There were not many jobs available near where Margaret lived.
  • She was reluctant to do a job that involved using a photocopier.
  • Her manager was able to help her settle into working life.
  • When researching local folklore, she depended on stories told by her father as well as searching for publicly available information.
  • Margaret implies that there is a difference between education and knowledge.

To see the answers, click here.

b. Match up the phrases on the left with their meanings on the right:

1. I wasn’t exactly a spring chicken.not very much of it
2. Work wasn’t that plentiful in the area.not very straightforward
3. I wouldn’t have any burning ambition to learn how to use them.not very young
4. Entering the work world at 46 isn’t an easy task.not very keen

c. All of these phrases are written here in the negative form. Which of them could be made positive? (You might need to change more than just taking out the “n’t”).

d. Make sentences using these phrases in the negative form. You can share them with your teacher or study partner, or write them below in the comments box.

e. Here are some more idioms relating to age. Which refer to someone (or something) old, and which refer to someone young?

  • She’s not exactly in the first flush of youth.
  • My car is getting rather long in the tooth, but it hasn’t kicked the bucket yet.
  • You’re not over the hill just yet.
  • I’ve known you since you were knee-high to a grasshopper.
  • We’re getting on a bit, so we don’t go out as often as we used to.

Answers: here.


  • Have you known anyone who started work (or changed careers) later in life? What challenges did they face?
  • Is 46 really that old to be looking for a job? Shouldn’t employers be grateful to receive applications from more mature candidates?

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