Bad Designs, part 3, answers

The phrases for expressing dislike are shown in bold:

  • Shops where the cash desk is hidden at the back get on my nerves.
  • Showers where you’ve got nowhere to put the soap really annoy me.
  • I can’t stand people who don’t queue properly.
  • I’ve got no time for drivers who follow my car too closely.
  • I can’t tolerate companies that let you buy their product or service online but make you wait on the phone for hours if there’s any problem or if you want to cancel.

The strongest phrases (in my opinion) are:

  • I can’t stand…
  • I can’t tolerate…

To make phrases stronger, you can use an adverb or adverbial phrase, like really (which I used in the second example). Really is quite a strong word, but even stronger ones are totally, absolutely, at all. So we could say:

  • totally get on my nerves
  • I absolutely can’t stand…
  • I’ve got absolutely no time at all for…
  • I absolutely can’t tolerate…

Note that absolutely tends to go with negative phrases, ‘I absolutely can’t…’, ‘Absolutely not‘. Really can go with positives or negatives.

At all is used only with negative phrases, and goes at the end of the phrase or sentence. If it’s not at the end of the sentence, it’s followed by a preposition phrase (starting with in/ on/ after/ until, etc). For example:

  • I can’t tolerate him at all.
  • I don’t eat meat or fish at all.
  • They don’t have any furniture at all in their house.
  • Grandma didn’t use the internet at all until last year.

Exercise 4a: Can you make complete sentences using the phrases from part 2 of this lesson?

For example:
– I really can’t stand adaptors that are too big to fit into your electricity socket.

Here are the phrases again:
– adaptors that are too big to fit into your electricity socket
– biscuit packaging where each one has an individual packet
– sinks that always splash
– juice cartons that don’t pour smoothly
– double-decker trains where you can’t avoid using the steps

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