Feifei: Hello and welcome to The English
We Speak. I’m Feifei.
Neil: And I’m Neil. Hi everyone.
Feifei: Is everything OK, Neil? You sound
a bit annoyed this morning!
Neil: Yeh, I’m OK, I’m just a bit frustrated.
I spent a few hours organising all of the
books on my bookshelves last weekend,
but then my wife decided
to clean the shelves
and put the books back in a mess.
They’re all out of order again now!
Feifei: Oh, that is totally out of order!
Neil: Yeah, they are now totally
out of order.
Feifei: I’m talking about your wife,
not the books.
Feifei: What I meant is that
it wasn’t fair that all your hard work
went to waste – she
should have been more considerate.
Neil: Ohhh, I see. You mean ‘out of order’
in a different sense! My books are out of
order because they’re disorganised,
but my wife was out of order
because she was inconsiderate.
Feifei: That’s exactly right! Let’s listen
to some other examples of how you could
use this alternate meaning.
The referee in Saturday’s football match
was totally out of order!
I couldn’t believe he sent off
our best player – he was obviously biased!
A passenger on the train this morning
started shouting at me. She said
I pushed her! I thought
she was really out of order! I couldn’t help
it. The train stopped abruptly.
Who took my pen from my desk?
It’s the fourth time this week –
this is out of order!
Feifei: This is The English We Speak
from BBC Learning English and
we’re talking about
the phrase ‘out of order’. This phrase
often means that something
is disorganised or in the wrong order,
but it is also used in spoken English to
say that someone has been unfair
or inconsiderate. Could you give us
another example of this, Neil?
Neil: Well, I wrote a script last week which
you said was rubbish! I thought that was
a bit out of order!
Feifei: Oh dear! I’m sorry if I offended you,
Neil, but I think you might
have misunderstood what I meant!
When you printed it out and gave it to me,
I couldn’t read anything – there
was ink all over it. Perhaps
the printer was out of order?
Neil: And that’s a third meaning
of ‘out of order’.
Feifei: Yes. ‘Out of order’ also means
broken! Well, that’s all we have…
Neil: Oh dear, it seems Feifei’s mic
is out of order! What she was
trying to say was that’s all we have
time for this week, so join us again next
week for more The English We Speak.