★☆☆Words and Their Stories: Get Your Act Together

2013年03月14日 ★☆☆, 2013年6月以前の記事, Education, VOA.

Read and understand the article. If you may have any difficult words to pronounce and words you cannot understand, always ask your teacher.

*Teachers will divide the article into 2-3 paragraphs to help you understand and check the pronunciation of the difficult words.


*Read the words carefully.

  1. calm /ˈkɑ:m/ (adj.) not showing or feeling anger,nervousness, or other emotions
  2. probable /ˈprɑ:bəbəl/ (adj.) likely to happen or to be true but not certain
  3. fall /ˈfɑ:l/ (vb.) when someone’s body or mind passes from one condition or state to another
  4. naturally /ˈnætʃɚrəli/ (adv.) used to describe something that happens or exists by itself without being controlled or changed by someone
  5. on foot /ˈɑ:nˈfʊt/ (idiom.) walking or running


Words and Their Stories: Get Your Act Together

* Read the text below

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(1)A woman from Japan was telling a friend about her trip to the United States. The woman had visited major businesses and investment companies in New York City and Chicago.

(2)“I studied English before I left home,” she said. “But I still was not sure that people were speaking English.”

(3)Her problem is easy to understand. Americans in business are like people who are in business anywhere. They have a language of their own. Some of the words and expressions deal with the special areas of their work. Other expressions are borrowed from different kinds of work such as the theater and movie industry.

(4)One such saying is get your act together.

(5)When things go wrong in a business, an employer may get angry. He may shout, “Stop making mistakes. Get your act together.”

(6)Or, if the employer is calmer, he may say, “Let us get our act together.”

(7)Either way, the meaning is the same. Getting your act together is getting organized. In business, it usually means to develop a calm and orderly plan of action.

(8)It is difficult to tell exactly where the saying began. But, it is probable that it was in the theater or movie industry. Perhaps one of the actors was nervous and made a lot of mistakes. The director may have said, “Calm down, now. Get your act together.”

(9)Word expert James Rogers says the expression was common by the late nineteen seventies. Mister Rogers says the Manchester Guardian newspaper used it in nineteen seventy-eight. The newspaper said a reform policy required that the British government get its act together.

(10)Now, this expression is heard often when officials of a company meet. One company even called its yearly report, “Getting Our Act Together.”

(11)The Japanese visitor was confused by another expression used by American business people. It is cut to the chase.

(12)She heard that expression when she attended an important meeting of one company. One official was giving a very long report. It was not very interesting. In fact, some people at the meeting were falling asleep.

(13)Finally, the president of the company said, “Cut to the chase.”

(14)Cut to the chase means to stop spending so much time on details or unimportant material. Hurry and get to the good part.

(15)Naturally, this saying was started by people who make movies. Hollywood movie producers believe that most Americans want to see action movies. Many of their movies show scenes in which the actors chase each other in cars, or in airplanes or on foot.

(16)Cut is the director’s word for stop. The director means to stop filming, leave out some material, and get to the chase scene now.

(17)So, if your employer tells you to cut to the chase, be sure to get to the main point of your story quickly.


*Let’s talk about the article base on the questions below

  1. How do you plan and organize your work?
  2. How do you manage your time effectively? What are some of the strategies that you used to balance the demands of time for your work/studies, and leisure, and time to earn money?
  3. What are some of the expressions/phrases that you usually use when you’re telling someone to develop an orderly plan of actions? Or telling someone to get into the main point of the story?


English Compositions

*Let’s make English compositions using the words from the article.

(1) probable

EX) But, it is probable that it was in the theater or movie industry.

(2) fall

EX) It was not very interesting. In fact, some people at the meeting were falling asleep.