Sunday, 1 January 2012

Objective Proficiency p 93. A Pound of Flesh. Extra Listening

Listen to BBC Learning English: Shakespeare Speaks: a pound of flesh

A pound of flesh

Modern English speakers use the phrase a pound of flesh when someone says they want justice, but the punishment they're asking for is so severe that it seems more like revenge.
Example sentence
 I apologised and paid for the repairs after I crashed his car, but it isn't enough for him. He wants his pound of flesh. I think he's going to call the police…
 In modern day usage, we can also use a pound of flesh to talk about something which is owed, but will be hurtful or difficult to provide.
Example sentence
 My boss is making me work so hard at the moment, he really wants his pound of flesh.

When using the phrase a pound of flesh, the article a can be replaced with a pronoun:
  • Society demands its pound of flesh
  • She got her pound of flesh
The phrase a pound of flesh is often used with the verbs give, demand, get, take and want:
  • They took their pound of flesh
  • You have to give a pound of flesh
  • Society wants its pound of flesh


Extra vocabulary

lend give something to someone with the understanding that it will be returned
borrow receive something from someone with the understanding that it will be returned
 the soft part of the human body
something that you do to hurt or punish someone because they have hurt you or someone else
justice ​fairness in the way ​people are ​dealt with

seek revenge
 plan to take revenge
 a formal, legal meeting where decisions are made about a crime
revenge is a dish best served cold
it's more satisfying to wait until the time is right to get revenge
don't get mad, get even
get revenge instead of getting angry about something
get my / your / his / her own back
get revenge
it's payback time it's time to get revenge
revenge is sweet it feels good to get revenge
forgive and forget don't try to get revenge, forget and forgive people's mistakes instead
price-fix scandal companies agree between themselves to keep prices high

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