Getting Ready

A mishap is a small accident. Match each mishap on the left with the solution on the right. Have any of these mishaps happened to you? Compare answers with a partner.



1   You spill something on your clothes.

2   Your phones falls in a puddle.

3   You get lost going to an appointment.

4   You break a friend’s vase.

5   Your sink drain gets clogged.

6   You get locked out of the house.

7   Your car won’t start.

8   You forgot about an appointment.

 call a tow truck

b   apologize and reschedule

 call a locksmith

d   call for directions

 offer to buy a new one

 go to the store and exchange it

 go to the drycleaner

h   call a plumber


1 g   2 f   3 d   4 e   5 h   6 c   7 a   8 b

Listening 1

People are talking about mishaps. Listen and number the pictures.

Answer & Transcript

A 5   B 4   C 1   D 3   E 2   F 6



A:   I just walked in and there’s water everywhere!

B:   Calm down. What seems to be the problem?

A:   I don’t know. I’ve been out all day, and now there’s water everywhere.

B:   Did you leave the sink running?

A:   No. Oh, wait a minute. I think it’s the dishwasher. It must be broken. I turned it on this morning before I left, and now the kitchen is flooded.


A:   Hello, Amy? It’s Mark.

B:   Hi, Mark! Are you on your way?

A:   Yes, but I’m calling because I’m going to be late.

B:   Did you get lost?

A:   No, but I missed the 6 o’clock train. I’ll have to catch the next one.

B:   That’s okay. Thanks for calling.


A:   Oh, no, the entire bathroom is flooded!

B:   Did you leave the water running or something?

A:   No, I never do that, I don’t know what happened. Wait a minute… do you feel that?

B:   Yes, there’s water dripping from the ceiling. Look!

A:   I guess the upstairs neighbors left the water running in their bathroom. Now, ours is flooded! We better call the manager, quick!


A:   Hey, can you help me? I’ve got a 10 o’clock appointment, and I think I’m going to be a little late.

B:   Did you get lost?

A:   I’m afraid so.

B:   Where are you?

A:   I’m just opposite the new train station. According to my map, there’s a street that goes right through it!

B:   Yes, there used to be. Now, you have to go down to Main Street and take a right, and then another right.

A:   Oh, okay. Thanks. I’ll be there in a little while.


A:   Hello. This is Robert Baldwin.

B:   Yes, Robert, what can I do for you?

A:   I’m calling because I’m going to be late.

B:   Did you get lost?

A:   No. I’ve got a flat tire. I’m going to have to call a tow truck.

B:   Well, why don’t we just reschedule the appointment?

A:   Okay, I guess we’ll have to.


A:   Hi, Sue. This is Eric.

B:   Hi Eric. What’s up?

A:   I’m afraid I’m going to be a little late for work today.

B:   Did you miss the train?

A:   No. But I was sitting in a cafe this morning, having coffee. The server walked by with someone else’s coffee. She tripped and spilled it all over me! Now I have to go home and change my shirt.

B:   No problem. Thanks for calling.

Listening 2

Task 1

People are discussing mishaps. Listen and circle the correct answer.

1   a   He spilled tomato sauce on the floor.

     b   He spilled tomato sauce on the rug.

2   a   He broke a teapot.

     b   He spilled tea on her clothes.

3   a   He has an ink stain on his shirt.

     b   He has a food stain on his shirt.

4   a   She lost her jacket.

     b   She spilled coffee on her jacket.

5   a   He lost his keys.

     b   He lost his wallet.

6   a   There’s something wrong with the car.

     b   They’re lost.


1 b   2 a   3 a   4 b   5 a   6 b

Task 2

Listen again. Are these statements true or false? Check (✓) the correct answer.




1   The woman suggests pouring water on the stain.

2   The man thinks an apology is a good solution.

3   The man doesn’t agree with the woman’s solution.

4   The woman is going to buy a new jacket.

5   The man is going to call a locksmith.

6   The man is going to call the restaurant for directions.

Answer & Transcript

1 False   2 False   3 True   4 False   5 True   6 True



A:   Uh-oh, I just spilled some tomato sauce on the rug.

B:   What? You spilled tomato juice on the floor?

A:   No. On the rug. Tomato sauce. Now there’s a stain.

B:   Oh, I have the best solution for that.

A:   Really?

B:   Just pour soda on it.

A:   Soda? That sounds crazy!

B:   I’m serious. Pour plain soda on it.

A:   Don’t you think plain water will work?

B:   Trust me. Soda is the best thing. I’ve seen it work.

A:   Okay. I’ll try it.


A:   I need your advice.

B:   What’s the matter?

A:   Lisa invited me over for tea yesterday. When we finished, I was carrying this heavy teapot on a tray and I slipped…

B:   Oh, no! Did you spill tea on your clothes?

A:   No. Worse. I dropped the tray, and Lisa’s teapot broke into little pieces. It was her favorite teapot, and it looked expensive.

. .

B:   Well, if I were you, I would offer to buy her a new one.

A:   You don’t think an apology is enough?

B:   No, you should at least offer to buy her a new one.

A:   You’re right. That’s the best thing to do.


A:   Oh, no. I’ve got a stain on my new shirt. What should I do?

B:   Is it a food stain?

A:   No, unfortunately, it’s ink.

B:   Ink? That’s very tricky.

A:   Should I just put some water on it?

B:   Hmm… Let me look it up on the Internet. Here it is: For ink, use plain soda. It will lift the stain right out.

A:   That doesn’t sound right to me.

B:   I’m sure this is right. Let’s cry it.

A:   No way! I’m not going to do an experiment on my best shirt. I’m going to take it to the drycleaner.


A:   Remember that jacket my aunt gave me for my birthday?

B:   Sure. The one you lost at the theater?

A:   No, the one I spilled coffee all over.

B:   Oh, yeah… It was ruined…

A:   Yes. Anyway, she’s invited me to dinner. I’m afraid if I don’t wear the jacket, her feelings will be hurt.

B:   You should just buy a new one exactly like it.

A:   Gee, I don’t know… That sounds expensive.

B:   But you don’t want to offend your aunt, do you?

A:   No, but she’s very understanding. I’ll just show up without it. If she says anything, I’ll tell her the truth. The truth is always the best!


A:   Uh-oh.

B:   What happened?

A:   I can’t find my wallet. Whenever I sit in a theater, things fall out of my pockets. Oh, wait a minute… there it is. But my keys are missing!

B:   Oh, great! How will we get back into the house?

A:   Well, we could go back to the theater and try to find them.

B:   But the theater is closed. It’s past midnight!

A:   Well, I guess we’ll have to call a locksmith.

B:   Is there such a thing as a 24-hour locksmith?

A:   I’m sure there is. I’ll look one up on my phone.


A:   Why are you stopping? Is there something wrong with the car?

B:   No, the car is fine, but we’re lost!

A:   What should we do?

B:   I don’t know. I’ve got it. You wait here.

A:   What are you doing?

B:   I’m going to ask someone for directions.

A:   But there’s no one around here. It’s completely deserted. In fact, it looks kind of dangerous.

B:   Do you have a better idea?

A:   Yes. Let’s just call the restaurant and ask them how to get there.

B:   That makes sense.

Listening 3

Task 1

Four people are describing mishaps. Listen and check (✓) the correct information.

1   Katie



What is the mishap?

She missed the bus.

She dropped her cell phone.

When did it happen?

this morning

this afternoon

What was the solution?

get a new battery

dry it out

Did it work?



2   Joe



What is the mishap?

He lost his keys.

He lost his phone.

When did it happen?

last night

at lunchtime

What was the solution?

go back to the store

call the manager

Did it work?



3   Hannah



What is the mishap?

She spilled coffee.

She broke a picture.

When did it happen?

this morning

at the end of the day

What was the solution?


a rug cleaner

Did it work?



4   Eric



What is the mishap?

He got ink on his shirt.

He got food on his shirt.

When did it happen?

last week


What was the solution?

take it to the drycleaner

pour soda on it

Did it work?




 Mishap: dropped her cell phone

     When: this morning

     Solution: dry it out

     Did it work? No

 Mishap: lost his keys

     When: last night

     Solution: call the manager

     Did it work? Yes

 Mishap: spilled coffee

     When: this morning

     Solution: soda

     Did it work? Yes

 Mishap: got ink on his shirt

     When: yesterday

     Solution: pour soda on it

     Did it work? No

Task 2

Listen again. What phrase completes each statement? Write the correct letter.

 Katie ……

 Joe’s manager ……

 Hannah ……

 Eric ……

 charges a fee to unlock a door.

 was running to catch the bus.

 called his friend for a solution.

 knocked some things off her boss’s desk.

Answer & Transcript

1 b   2 a   3 d   4 c



I had the worst thing happen to me this morning! I was running to catch the bus, and I was talking on my cell phone at the same time. Anyway, it was raining hard, and just as I got to the bus stop, I dropped my phone in a gigantic puddle! Some nice man helped me find it. It was completely soaked. The man told me to take the battery out and let all the parts dry out during the day. It sounded like a good idea, so I tried it. I put the battery back this afternoon and tried to make a call, but it doesn’t work at all. Now I’ll have to go to the phone store and get a new one.


I had quite a mishap last night. I got home from my office really late – about 11 p.m. I reached in my pocket for my keys. My phone was there, but no keys! I was locked out of my apartment. Then I remembered that I left my keys on the checkout counter at the grocery store at lunchtime! But it was too late to go back there. My apartment manager has an emergency number, but she charges a fee if you get locked out at night. I decided to call anyway. She came over and let me in. She was pretty nice about it, but as soon as I get my key back, I’m going to make a copy and give it to a neighbor.


I had a little problem this morning. I was in my boss’s office. As I was heading back to my own office, I accidentally knocked some things off her desk onto the floor. I was horrified! She had a picture of her kids on her desk. I was afraid that I broke it. Actually, the picture was fine, but I knocked her coffee cup over. There was coffee on her rug. She said not to worry about it. She was going to call someone to clean the rug at the end of the day. But I ran into the kitchen and got some plain soda. It worked perfectly! The stain is completely gone! Now my boss doesn’t have to call a rug cleaner.


I got some ink on my new shirt at work yesterday. At first, I thought it was just some food I spilled at lunchtime, but then I realized it was ink from a leaky pen. I just bought that shirt last week. Anyway, I called my friend, Lisa. She told me to put some plain soda on it, and then wash it in cold water. I thought I should take it to the drycleaner, but she said this would work. It sounded like a cheaper solution, too. So I poured some soda on it and threw it in the washing machine. When I took it out, the stain was still there. In fact, it looked worse! Now I’m going to have to buy a new shirt!

Conversation Corner: Describing a mishap

Task 1

Listen to the conversation. Write the missing words.

A:   I heard you had a terrible ……………. ……………. . What happened?

B:   I slipped on the steps. I dropped my phone and my cup of coffee!

A:   Wow! ……………. ……………. ……………. your phone?

B:   Yes, but I got a new one.

A:   What happened to the coffee? ……………. ……………. ……………. it?

B:   Yes. Now I have a stain on my new pants.

A:   Did you take them to the dry cleaners?

B:   Yes. I hope ……………. ……………. comes out!

Task 2

Practice the conversation with a partner. Be sure to reduce did you.

Answer & Transcript

A:   I heard you had a terrible mishap yesterday. What happened?

B:   I slipped on the steps. I dropped my phone and my cup of coffee!

A:   Wow! Did you break your phone?

B:   Yes, but I got a new one.

A:   What happened to the coffee? Did you spill it?

B:   Yes. Now I have a stain on my new pants.

A:   Did you take them to the dry cleaners?

B:   Yes. I hope the stain comes out!

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