Now, let’s hear how someone might use one of these phrases. Suppose the interrupter briefly walks into a meeting in progress:
Sorry for the interruption, but I have a quick question. What time do the exchange students get here?
They should be here by 2:30.
Great! I’ll have their welcome packets ready by 12.
Note the very small differences in form between “to interrupt” “for the interruption” and “for interrupting.” All are common in American spoken English.
To give a message
In other situations, you may need to give someone a message that cannot wait, such as to inform them about a phone call or other time-sensitive issue. In giving such messages to people while they are speaking, we sometimes start with “Excuse me”:
Excuse me, Bryan. There’s a phone call for you on line 1.
Sorry to interrupt, but you’re needed in the lobby to sign for a package.
Note that the phrase “Pardon me” is another way to say, “Excuse me,” but is less common except in very formal situations.
To join a conversation
And, finally, there are times when you want to join a conversation between two or more people.
Sometimes, this is easy to do because you’re already friendly with the people and they are talking casually about a subject.
Other times, the speakers are so deep in discussion that there are no natural breaks in their speech. But you still want to offer an opinion, make an important point or share some information.
These phrases can help you enter a conversation:
Excuse me, but may I jump in here?
Sorry to butt in, but…
May (or) Can I add something here?
I couldn’t help overhearing…
“I couldn’t help overhearing” means “I couldn’t avoid hearing what you said.” Be careful to use this phrase only with people who would react kindly, such as friends or coworkers.
Listen to a short talk between coworkers:
Did you catch the Golden Globe Awards? I was so happy to see Alfonso Cuarón win best director!
I know! “Roma” was a beautiful film.
I couldn’t help overhearing you talk about “Roma.” I just watched it last night. Wow, what lovely cinematography.
So, you just learned how to politely interrupt other people. But what might you say if someone interrupts you? You can tell us in the comments area.
I’m Alice Bryant.
Alice Bryant wrote this story for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Anna reads the news for the first time. She learns that there is a right way and a wrong way to read the news.
Learn the new words for this lesson in this video. Also, learn the phrasal verb "got it" to show understanding.
This video teaches about shortened forms of object pronouns that begin with a /th/ or /h/ sound. You also learn about two different ways to pronounce the "s" ending on verbs like "talks" and "says."
Anna: Hello, from Washington, D.C.! Today at work I am reading the news for the first time. I am really nervous. But my boss, Ms. Weaver, is here to help me.
Caty: Now, Anna, remember. When we read the news we are always reading facts. We never show our feelings.
Anna: Sure thing, Ms. Weaver.
Caty: Great. Are you ready?
Caty: Okay, let’s try the first story!
Anna: Hello, and welcome to The News.
Anna: A new book is very popular with children and families. This is it.
Anna: It is about a lostduckling. The duck's mother cannot find him.
Caty: Stop! Anna, when you say the words “duck” and “duckling” you look really sad.
Anna: I do?
Caty: Yes. Sad is a feeling.
Anna: Sad is not a fact. Sorry. Let me try again.
Caty: Okay, she’s trying again! And go.
Anna: Hello, and welcome to The News. A new book is very popular with childrenand families. This is it.
Anna: It is about a lost duckling. The duck’s mother can not find ‘im. But a family gives him a home.
Caty: Stop! Anna, you are doing it again.
Anna: This story is very sad.
Caty: I have an idea. Let’s read the second story. She’s reading the second story. And … go!
Anna: Hello , and welcome to The News. In Indiana, a grandmother is the first 80-year-old woman to win The Race Car 500.
Anna: That is awesome!
Caty: Stop! Stop! Anna, please -- no feelings.
Anna: Right. But it is awesome that an 80-year-old grandmother wins a car race.
Caty: Just the facts, Anna.
Anna: Hello, and welcome to The News. In Indiana, a grandmother is the first 80-year-old woman to win The Race Car 500.
Anna: She rarely talks to reporters. But when she does, she often says, “Nothing can stop me now!”
Anna: I am very happy for her!
Caty: Stop, stop, stop!! Anna, you cannot say you are happy.
Anna: But I am happy.
Caty: But you can’t say it.
Caty: This is the News. Happy and sad are feelings. You can’t have them in The News.
Anna: Okay. I got it.
Caty: Okay. Let’s try the third story. She’s reading the third story!
Anna: Hello and welcome to The News.
City politicians in Big Town are using city money to have a big party on a cruise ship. They are taking the money for the party from the children’s library.
Anna: What?! That makes me very angry.
Caty: No, no, no! Anna, you cannot say you are angry! This is The News!!!
Anna: What can I do, Ms. Weaver? Take out my feelings and put them here … on the news desk?
Caty: Yes. Yes. That’s right! Now you’ve got it!
Caty: Let’s repeat the first story.
Anna: This is going to be a very long day.
Anna: Until next time!
In this lesson, Anna is nervous because she is reading the news for the first time. How do you feel when you do something for the first time? Write to us to tell us about yourself or a friend doing something at work or school for the first time. Send us an email or write in the Comments section.
Do you take pleasure when someone undeserving of their success has a spot of bad luck? Not even a little pleasure? Well, if you do (like, apparently, most of us) you might like to learn the word 'schadenfreude' and the concept behind it. Rob and Neil talk about this German word also used in English and teach you new vocabulary.
This week's question
False cognates – also called false friends - are words that look the same in two languages but have different meanings. In English we have the word 'rat' but what does that mean in German? Is it...
a) a big mouse
Listen to the programme to find out the answer.
schadenfreude the satisfying feeling you get when something bad happens to someone else
loanword a word from one language that is used in another language without being changed
comeuppance a person's misfortune that is considered to be deserved punishment for something bad that they have done
justice punishment someone receives that is fair for what they have done
hypocrites people who claim to have certain moral beliefs but actually behave in a way that shows they are not sincere
commiserate expressing sympathy to someone about their bad luck
Note: This is not a word for word transcript
Neil Hello and welcome to 6 Minute English, I'm Neil. This is the programme where in just six minutes we discuss an interesting topic and teach some related English vocabulary. And joining me to do this is Rob.
Neil In this programme we're discussing schadenfreude.
Rob Hold on, Neil – schadenfreude – that's a German word.
Neil Schadenfreude is what we can call a loanword - a word from one language that is used in another language without being changed.
Rob So you're right – schadenfreude is used in English and am I right in thinking it describes the satisfying feeling you get when something bad happens to someone else?
Neil You're right, Rob. Imagine you're in a queue at the supermarket and someone pushes in, but when they got to pay, their credit card doesn't work – think of the feeling you might get just seeing their misfortune – another word for bad luck.
Rob Yes, that is a very satisfying feeling – but it's quite a mean feeling too.
Neil It is but we'll be discussing why that feeling could actually be good for us. But first, let's set a question for you, Rob, and our listeners at home, to answer. This is about false cognates – also called false friends - words that look the same in two languages but have different meanings. So in English we have the word 'rat' but what does that mean in German? Is it…
a) a big mouse b) annoyed or c) advice
Rob That's tricky because I don't speak German. So I'll guess and say b) annoyed.
Neil Well, I'll have the answer later on. Now, let's talk more about schadenfreude. Enjoying someone's misfortune can certainly make us feel good.
Rob And studies have shown this feeling is quite normal – particularly when is happens to someone we envy. If we see a wealthy celebrity suffering on a reality TV show, or are exposed for not paying their taxes, we feel good. We say they've had their comeuppance.
Neil That's a good word – meaning a person's bad luck that is considered to be deserved punishment for something bad that they have done.
Rob Let's hear from psychologist Wilco Van Dijk from the University of Leiden, who's been talking about this on the BBC Radio 4 programme, All in the Mind. What have his studies found about our enjoyment of others misfortune?
Wilco Van Dijk, psychologist, University of Leiden People especially feel schadenfreude when they think the misfortune is deserved. Then the question is where this joy arises, is this actually joy experienced towards the misfortune of others or is it also at least partly about a just situation – that this misfortune of another actually appeals to a sense of justice. That's also the reason why we like the misfortune of hypocrites because if they fall down that also is a deserved situation.
Neil OK, so Wilco Van Dijk's studies found we get joy when someone's misfortune is deserved – there is justice – in other words, the punishment someone receives is fair.
Rob And a just situation means a fair situation – it is right. So I guess he's saying we're not just being mean.
Neil Yes. And he also mentioned the type of people whose misfortune is just and deserved, are hypocrites – people who claim to have certain moral beliefs but actually behave in a way that shows they are not sincere.
Rob The All in the Mind programme also heard from another expert on the subject – author and historian of emotions, Dr Tiffany Watt-Smith. She talked about how schadenfreude is a subjective thing – based on our feelings – and it's not as simple as deciding what is right or wrong. What word does she use that means to express sympathy to someone about someone's bad luck?
Dr Tiffany Watt-Smith, author and historian of emotions We don't really experience emotions, you know, as either-or things, it's not black or white. I think it's perfectly reasonable that we could genuinely commiserate with someone else's misfortune at the same time as a terrible sly smile spreading across our lips because, you know, something we've envied about them has turned out not to work out so well or whatever it is. You know, we have a much deeper ability to hold contradictory emotions in mind, much more so than your average moral philosopher would allow.
Neil Interesting stuff. She says when something goes wrong for someone, we have the ability to commiserate with them – that's the word for expressing sympathy to someone about their bad luck.
Rob So overall, Tiffany Watt-Smith thinks we have a range of emotions when we experience schadenfreude – but these are contradictory emotions – different and opposite emotions. Maybe, Neil, we should just be nicer people?
Neil No way! I loved seeing Germany getting knocked out of last year's World Cup – not really! Talking of Germany, earlier we mentioned false friends and I asked in English we have the word 'rat' but what does that mean in German? Is it… a) a big mouse b) annoyed c) advice And, Rob, you said…
Rob I said b) annoyed.
Neil And that is the wrong answer, I'm afraid. The right answer is c) advice. Well done if you knew that at home. Now on to the vocabulary we looked at in this programme.
Rob So today we've been talking about schadenfreude – that describes the satisfying feeling you get when something bad happens to someone else.
Neil And that's an example of a loanword - a word from one language that is used in another language without being changed. In this case German.
Rob We mentioned comeuppance which describes a person's misfortune that is considered to be deserved punishment for something bad that they've done.
Neil Next we mentioned justice – that's the punishment someone receives that is fair for what they've done. And the word just describes something that is fair and right.
Rob Hypocrites are people who claim to have certain moral beliefs but actually behave in a way that shows they are not sincere.
Neil And finally commiserate is a word that means expressing sympathy to someone about their bad luck. That's the verb. The noun form is commiseration.
Rob Well commiserations, Neil. We've run out of time for this programme. See you soon, goodbye.
Medical price control plan looms over private hospitals
national January 11, 2019 01:00
By CHULARAT SAENGPASSA THE NATION
SHARE PRICES TAKE A HIT AS MEASURE GOES TO CABINET WHILE CONSUMERS BREATHE SIGH OF RELIEF
A CABINET meeting on January 22 will consider a plan to control the prices of medical supplies and services.
The proposed move could have a far-reaching impact on the country’s healthcare sector. While the news has brought joy to consumers, the share prices of private hospitals dived yesterday. On Wednesday, the Committee on Product and Service Prices passed a resolution to control the prices of medical supplies and services.
“At present, we have only controlled the prices of medicines,” Commerce Minister Sontirat Sontijirawong said about the committee’s latest decision.
The committee made the plan after complaints from various non-governmental organisations about what they perceive as overcharging by some private hospitals.
“There are many complaints about medical-service fees. In one extreme case, the bill exceeded Bt23 million. A surgeon, for example, charges about Bt170,000 per operation,” Foundation for Consumers secretary-general Saree Ongsomwang said.
Akom Pradittasuwan, who heads the Bureau of Sanatofium and Healing Arts, admitted that most complaints filed against private hospitals related to high fees.
Last November, some consumer protection networks even threatened to sue the Commerce Ministry in the Administrative Court if it continued to ignore their call for controls on the prices of medical supplies and services.
Preeyanan Lorsermwattana, who heads the Network of Medical Malpractice Victims, yesterday welcomed the committee’s decision and demanded concrete results.
“I believe to ensure the controls apply in practice, a committee should be set up to monitor implementation too,” she said.
She suggested that the panel should serve as a central agency for handling complaints about perceived overcharging.
“Consumers usually give up after they are required to contact various agencies such as the Office of Consumer Protection Board, the Food and Drug Administration, the Internal Trade Department, the Health Service Support Department and the Medical Council. The process is also time-consuming,” Preeyanan said.
She said once a central panel was in place, it would get many complaints and it could see the overall picture.
“Then, it should be able to provide practical solutions,” she said.
Preeyanan pointed out that sometimes items listed on medical bills used technical terms and were in English, making it hard for many consumers to understand.
“That’s why we need an authority to help,” she said.
Preeyanan added that authorities should also make clear how to punish those who do not comply with the controls.
At present, her network has already gathered more than 50,000 signatures to propose a bill on auditing medical-service fees.
Dr Aurchat Kanjanapitak, a former president of the Private Hospital Association, said he does not agree with the resolution on controlling the prices of medical services at private facilities, as their patients had the choice of seeking free treatment.
“All Thais are entitled to free medical treatment in one of the country’s major healthcare schemes such as the universal healthcare scheme,” he said
He added that in life-threatening emergency cases, they could also get free treatment for 72 hours at any medical facility in the country. He said in such a situation, it was clear that patients were going to a private hospital voluntarily, possibly because they liked the services there.
“Private hospitals offer alternatives to people,” he said.
According to him, people make about 250 million medical visits to private hospitals each year.
Aurchart said he would fully support price controls if there were no free-treatment options for Thais.
“Given that services by private hospitals are now an alternative service, we should focus on improving such alternatives. Do not make any move that will only destroy people’s choices,” he said.
He pointed out that private hospitals needed profits to stay afloat and improve services in line with the principle of free enterprise.
Aurchart denied that private hospitals were becoming too profitable, pointing out that medical services providers listed on the stock market had an average profit rate of between 9 and 12 per cent only.
“Those outside the market have a lower profit rate,” he said.
According to him, medical service fees are usually higher when patients seek higher quality options.
Public Health Minister Dr Piyasakol Sakolsatayadorn said relevant parties should have discussions on the control-price plan.
“We understand that each hospital has different costs and expenses,” he said.
24 year old Sophie Wilson, who has broken her neck in an accident, remains in a Chiang Mai hospital and has to pay £60,000 for hospital bills and to fly back to the UK.
inews.co.uk reports that Sophie was injured after diving into a swimming pool and misjudging the depth. She was fished out of the water on December 1 by a fellow traveller. She was then rushed to hospital, unable to move or feel her legs.
Her head wound was stitched up at a local hospital and then was transported to another hospital “in agony” without any pain relief, she claimed.
Her family say it was “touch and go’” whether she would survive. Her parents, John and Jane, flew to Thailand immediately. When they arrived they were told that Sophie would likely never walk again.
The former UK coffee shop manager has now had two successful surgeries and is making progress. She is now able to move one arm and is breathing on her own, but she still cannot move her legs.
Sophie’s medical bills have so far come to 1,556,000 baht (£37,600). Adding the cost of flying her home with medical support will come to around £60,000.
Her family have launched a GoFundMe appeal in a desperate bid to raise the amount and get her back home.
She had taken out travel insurance but she said the firm has refused to pay out because they deemed her injuries were a result of “a reckless act”.
“It is heartbreaking as I previously led a very active life style and the doubt of whether I will be able to walk again is hard to take, “ said Sophie from her hospital bed.
“But I believe that being negative will only make things harder. I’m lucky to still be here.”
“Initially I was in shock, I never had any reason to believe the pool to have been so shallow as people were jumping and diving in before me. I never lost consciousness. I couldn’t feel my body, just excruciating pain in my neck. I remember saying that I couldn’t feel my legs.”
When she was moved to the Chiang Mai Ram Hospital, Sophie’s friends claim the hospital would not perform surgery until Sophie’s family had guaranteed payment.
The Wilson family were able to arrange the guarantee and Sophie had two operations that took a total of 10 hours, which are said to have maximised her chances of recovery.
“I had no idea I was in a private hospital until around five days into being here,” said Sophie, who explained it’s hard to understand her doctors because of the language barrier.
“Insure and Go (the insurers) sent an investigator to my hospital bed and then told me they wouldn’t pay because my diving was a reckless act.
Sophie’s sister Georgina, a 25 year old PE teacher, who set up the fundraising page, told I that her sister was “the bravest” person she knows.
“She’s is so happy and bubbly and still smiling despite what’s happened to her.”