Commonly used expressions of surprise and disbelief:

Wow, man! That's awesome! / Wow, that great! All by yourself?
Are you kidding me

Are you kidding me? So soon? / You gotta be kidding me! This is amazing.

You are unbelievable. We had plans for today. / Unbelievable. Your match was more important than our plans? / You're unbelievable, Kate! I need some time for myself too.
I don't believe it

I don't believe it. Really? / I don't believe it, man. That's fantastic.

Surprise or disbelief: (we do not believe what we hear)
instead of "Jesus"

instead of "God"

Good grief!

por amor de dios
Gee whiz!


Colloquial expressions.jpg


Dialogue 1 - Renting a car on the phone:
Listen All | Person A | Person B

A: "Hello, ABC Car Rental. How can I help you?"
B: "Hi, I wanted to make a reservation."
A: "What location would you like to rent from?"
B: "I am flying into Los Angeles Airport. Do you have a booth there?"
A: "Yes we do. What date are you flying in?"
B: "I am arriving on June 22nd."
A: "What time is your arrival time?"
B: "I am scheduled to arrive at 2 pm."
A: "How long would you like to rent the vehicle?"
B: "I will need it for 10 days."
A: "What size car would you like?"
B: "A midsize car please."
A: "Can I get your name?"
B: "Yes. My name is Sang Min Lee."
A: "Can you spell that?"
B: "Last name is L E E. First name is S A N G. Middle initial is M."
A: "Great. Thank you. I have reserved a midsize car for you for June 22nd until July 1st. Is there anything else I can help you with?"
B: "That will be all."
A: "Thank you for calling."
B: "Thank you. Bye."
booth = cabina, caseta, puesto, stand

Dialogue 2:
Listen All | Person A | Person B

A: "How can I help you today?"
B: "I would like to rent a car."
A: "Do you have a reservation?"
B: "No."
A: "That's alright. Let's see what we can find. We have several cars to choose from. What size are you looking for?"
B: "What are my options?"
A: "A compact car, midsize car, and a minivan."
B: "How much are they?"
A: "Compact is $2.1.95 a day, midsize is $27.95 a day, and a minivan is 35.95 a day."
B: "I'll take a midsize car."
A: "How long will you be renting the car?"
B: "One week."
A: "How many people will be driving the car?"
B: "Just myself."
A: "Would you like insurance?"
B: "How much is it?"
A: "It is $14.95 a day and it covers everything regardless of fault."
B: "Yes please."
A: "Can I have your name?"
B: "Last name is Lee. L E E. First name is Sang. S A N G."
A: "You address please?"
B: "I am from Korea. Would you like my address in Korea?"
A: "Just the city name."
B: "Seoul, Korea."
A: "Can I see your driver's license and a credit card?"
B: "Sure. Here it is."
A: "Great. That will be $324.92. Would you like me to charge it on this card?"
B: "Yes. That will be fine."
A: "Please sign here. You can pick up your car downstairs. Your expected time to return the car is June 29th. That is exactly one week. Show the attendant this invoice. When you return the car, bring this invoice with you. Also, the gas tank is full, you should fill up the gas tank before you return it. If you don't want to, we can do it for $3 a gallon. Is there anything else I can do for you?"
B: "That will be all. Thank you."
A: "Thank you. Good bye."

regardless of fault = a pesar de / con independencia de / sin tener en cuenta los desperfectos
invoice = factura

Taken from: http://es.talkenglish.com/LessonPractice.aspx?ALID=401

11 invoice template.gif
a document issued by a seller to a buyer listing the goods or services supplied and stating the sum of money due

Dialogue 3:
Car Rental US Clerk:
Sara Smith
Good morning. How can I help you?
I´d like to rent a car, please.
Okay. What size car would you like? Full-size, mid-size or compact, ma´am?
Full-size, please. How much would that cost?
Full size, let me see. That would be 78 dollars a day with unlimited mileage.
And I´d like to have insurance just in case.
Is there an additional driver?
No, just me.
Well, if you want full coverage insurance, it will be 8 dollars per day. That includes collision damage waiver and personal accident insurance.
That sounds great. I´ll take it.
Here is our brochure, ma´am. Err… full-size… OK. Would you like to choose a model in this section?
How about this one?
No problem. How many days would you like to use it?
Just one day.
Fine. May I see your driver´s license and credit card please?
I have an international driving license. Is that okay?
Yes, that’s fine.
Thank you. Please fill in this form. Could you check this box, and put your initials here, and again here.

Taken from: http://eslchatting.wordpress.com/2012/12/16/dialogue-one-renting-a-car/

Dialogue 4:
external image speaker.gif
Rental Car Agent
Hi. How can I help you?
Yeah. I'd like to rent a mid-size car for three days.
Okay. Let me check to see if we have one available. Hmmm. It's doesn't look like we do. We have a couple of economy, compact, and full-size cars available, or a nice minivan.
Well, what is the main difference between these cars?
The main difference is size. The economy car is the smallest, and it seats fewer passengers and can hold less luggage.
How many people are with you?
Just me and my son.
Well, the economy car would work. We have one right out front.
Where? That one? It looks more like a shoebox to me. I'm really tall and trying to squeeze into that thing . . . I don't think so.
Well, if you need more room or comfort, I recommend the full-size car. It also has a nice stereo system, CD player, [Alright] safety rear door locks, and cruise control, and power locks and windows.
Well, I'm not so concerned about how it's equipped. I just want to make sure it is comfortable to drive. And what is the daily rate for that anyway?
Well, let's see here. Oh, yeah. It'll come to fifty-seven ninety-five a day.
Wow, a little expensive. But what's the cost for mileage?
Hey, all of our cars have unlimited miles, but of course, that doesn't include gas.
Yeah, right. I bet that car probably eats up gas, and now that we're in the middle of the vacation season, gas stations are gouging consumers with astronomical prices.
Well, as they say, it comes down to the law of supply an demand.
Well, anyway, can you install a car seat in one of those cars? I have a 3-year-old son with me.
Sure, and that'll only be one dollar extra per day.
I'll go with the full-size car. Wait, uh . . . what does it look like?
Uh, it's right out there in the parking lot.
Which one?
The one over there next to the sidewalk.
Do you mean that old lemon with the missing hubcap? Ahhh.
Sir, excuse me. We take pride in our vehicles. It's just that it's one of the last cars on our lot, but it runs like a dream. Don't let the exterior fool you. Hey, I'll even give you an extra fifteen dollars off the daily rate to show you we are serious about pleasing our customers. Will there be any other drivers?
No, I'm the only driver.
Okay. Would you like to purchase our daily car protection plan?
What's that exactly?
Well, the car protection plan is a complete insurance package covering damage to the vehicle, [Okay] injury or loss of life to you or your passengers [Oh]. It even includes incidental road damage caused by, let's say, a huge boulder rolling down the mountain and crushing your car. [Oh, uh, well . . . ]. However, it won't cover loss of property due to theft. Too much crime in the area anyway.
What? Wh . . . What about this crime? What, what?
Don't worry about it. And the car protection plan is only seventeen ninety-five per day.
But you were saying?....
And the nicest thing about this coverage is that you can rent the car without the worry and hassle of making a complicated claim in case you do have a problem.
But wouldn't my own car insurance cover those problems?
It might, but each insurance policy is different. With our car protection plan, however, you deal directly with us in case there is a problem [Well . . . ], and we handle everything quickly, and you don't have to contact your own insurance company. Okay. Let me just confirm this. A full-size car with a car seat for three days [Yeah], plus the car protection package. Is that right?
That's right.
Okay, I'll have our mechanic, Louie, check the car over and pull it up to the door.
Push it up to the door? I hope this car really runs.
Well, in case it does break down on some out-of-the-way, deserted road, just call the toll-free number for assistance. They'll come to assist you within . . . two business days.
Two business days!!!
Enjoy your trip.

Key Vocabulary
rear = atrás, parte posterior
hubcap = tapa
lot = estacionamiento
break down = venirse abajo
  • eat up (phrasal verb): use or consume a lot of something like fuel or electricity
    - My parents sold their truck because it ate up so much gas that is was no longer affordable to drive.
  • gouge (verb): make people pay a lot for something (sacar los ojos)
    - During natural disasters, some stores tend to gouge consumers by charging high prices for everyday goods.
  • lemon (noun): a poor-quality car that is useless
    - My brother knows nothing about cars, and he bought a used car, but it turned out to be a real lemon because it broke down only two hours after he bought it.
  • like a dream (verb): very well
    - The minivan runs like a dream; it handles smoothly, and you feel like you are driving a luxury car.
  • incidental (adjective): unplanned or unexpected
    - You should budget enough money for maintaining your car because there are often incidental expenses you don't anticipate, like repairing a cracked windshield or fixing a flat tire.
  • boulder (noun): a large rock (roca, peña, canto rodado)
    - The road was closed for two hours because road crews had to remove several large boulders that tumbled into the road as a result of a major rock slide.
  • hassle (noun): trouble, difficulty, or bother (confusión, lío)
    - It was such a hassle to drive my dad's truck because there was always something wrong with it.
  • out-of-the-way (adjective): far away from people or cities that is not traveled much (fuera del paso)
    - I really enjoy driving to out-of-the-way places because I can get away from large crowds.

Taken from: http://www.esl-lab.com/rentcar/rentcarsc1.htm

Dialogue 5:
external image dialogue.gif
My car broke down: Kevin didn't show up for class because his car broke down....


Why didn't you show up for class this morning?
external image speaker.gif
I don't even want to talk about it. My car broke down.
external image speaker.gif
What happened?
external image speaker.gif
The engine seems to be busted. It's driving me crazy!
external image speaker.gif
Wow. Have you thought about getting a new car?
external image speaker.gif
Yeah, I've thought about that, but I can't afford a new car. I'm broke.
external image speaker.gif
Maybe you can lease a car. It doesn't cost much. I know Toyota is running a promotion.
external image speaker.gif
Really? How much is it?
external image speaker.gif
Zero down and $219 per month.
external image speaker.gif
That's a good deal. I might wanna consider it.

Taken from: http://www.focusenglish.com/dialogues/traffic/breakdown.html

Possible questions to ask about cars and driving:
  • How old were you when you first learned to drive?
    • Was there anything difficult about learning to drive?
  • Can you drive a car?
  • Can you drive a manual shift car?
  • Do you have a car?
  • If so, what kind of car do you have?
    • Is it a standard (manual shift) or automatic shift?
    • Which do you like best, a standard or automatic shift car?
  • What are the advantages of owning a car?
  • What are the disadvantages of owning a car?
  • Are you a good driver?
  • Have you ever been in a car accident?
  • Have you ever been pulled over by the police?
    • What happened?
  • Have you ever driven a car in a foreign country?
    • If yes, which side of the road did they drive on?
    • Were the road signs different?
  • Are the drivers in your area where you live good drivers?
  • Do you know anything about repairing or maintaining a car?
    • What do you know how to do?
    • Where did you learn how to do this?
  • Do you enjoy repairing cars?
    • What are some things you do to maintain your car?
  • Do you prefer driving or riding public transportation?
  • What kind of car do you prefer?
  • Do you like drive at night?
  • Do you think cars should be banned from city centers?
  • What side of the road do you drive in your country?
  • Is drunk driving a problem in your country?
  • What kind of laws does your country have about drunk driving?
  • What is the penalty for drunk driving in your country?
  • Have you ever been (or) do you know anyone who has been in an accident related to drunk driving?
  • Is jaywalking legal in your country?
  • Do people often jaywalk in your country?
  • Who taught you to drive?
  • How long did it take you to learn to drive?
  • What is the longest trip you have ever taken by car?
  • Have you ever broken down and been stranded on the side of the road?
    • Who helped you?
  • How do American drivers compare to drivers in your country?
  • What are the speed limits in your country?
  • On what occasions do you honk your car horn?
  • Is it acceptable to honk in your country
  • Are men better drivers than women?
  • Are women better drivers than men?
  • At what age can you get a licence in your country?
  • Do you think the age for driving should be raised or lowered?
  • Do you think driving lessons should be provided by high schools?
  • Should new drivers have a period of accompanied driving?
    • Or some kind of trial period?
  • Do you have a GPS (Global Position System)?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a GPS?
  • Does the type of car a person drives tell us about the person who drives it?
  • What can we tell or imagine about a person by looking at the car they drive?
  • What are the laws about seat belts in your country?
    • How are they different to this country?
  • Is your car air conditioned?
    • What are the advantages and disadvantages of air conditioning?
  • Do you have a GPS?
    • If yes, when do you use it? If no, would you like one? Why or why not?
  • What is the price of gasoline in your country?
    • Is it cheaper or more expensive than in this country?
  • Do you allow passengers to eat inside your car?
  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of buying a second-hand car?
  • Do you wash your car yourself or do you have it washed?
  • Do you think that there is a relation between global warming and cars?
  • Have you ever seen a "hybrid" car?
  • What do you know about "hybrid" cars?
  • Do you really think that car manufacturers are interested in global warming?
  • How often do you need to get your car repaired?
  • On what occasions do you honk your car horn?
    • Is it acceptable to honk in your country?
  • Do you like to drive or be driven?
  • Have you ever bribed a policeman in your country after he pulled you over?
  • Is it common for traffic cops to accept bribes?
  • How are the traffic laws in your country?
    • Are they strict or lax?
  • Do most people follow the rules of the road?
  • Is it easy to find parking?
  • Is parking expensive?
  • What should be done in order to prevent traffic congestion in your city?
  • Is there any kind of rules to avoid traffic congestions?
  • How do you feel about spending time in your car during rush hour?
  • Is car theft a big problem in your country?
  • Have you had your car stolen?
  • Have you had your radio stolen?
  • Is road side assistance common in your country?
  • Can you change a flat tire?
  • Do you know anything about fixing a car?
  • Who taught you to drive?
    • Was it pleasant or unpleasant?
  • Have you ever broken down and been stuck on the side of the road?
    • Who helped you?
  • What do you think of international car-free days?
  • Can you recall any memorable car drive in your life?
  • What are the most frequent driving offenses?
  • What factors are responsible for railway crossing accidents?
  • According to insurance statistics women are better driver than men.
    • Do you agree?
  • What do you think of car pooling?

Safety inside and outside home:
  • Do you wear seat belts?
  • Do you put your child in a car seat?
  • Do you lock the doors when you get inside your car?
  • Do you check the backseat before getting into the car?
  • Do you park near a lighted area at night?
  • What do you do if someone grabs your purse or backpack?
  • What do you do if someone asks you for money?
  • How will you get out of your house if it starts to burn?
  • What measures do you take when you walk at night?
  • What do you think about keeping a gun in the house?
  • How can you make a house safe for children to live in?
  • What are some safety concerns in the winter when you drive your car?
  • How can you make the outside area around your house safer after it snows?
  • What kind of safety helmets do you use in your life?
  • What are some poisons around the house and how do you store them safely?
  • Do you know the local phone number for Poison Control?
  • Where could you write the Poison Control number so it is in plain view during a case of an emergency?
  • How many emergency numbers do you know for the area you live in?
  • How many emergency numbers do you know for your home country?
  • What is the telephone number for the police in your country?

Traffic accidents:
  • Have you ever seen a traffic accident?
  • Have you been involved in a traffic accident?
  • Do you know someone who has been involved in a traffic accident?
  • Have you been injured in a traffic accident?
  • Do you think talking on cell phones can help cause traffic accidents?
  • Do you think a motorcycle rider should be required to wear a helmet?
  • Do you think a person should be required to wear a seat belt?
  • What kind of insurance do you have on your car?
  • Have you ever hit an animal at night when you were driving your car?
  • What kind of safety features in a car would help you if you had a traffic accident?
  • Are traffic accidents a major cause of death in your country?
  • Who dies in traffic accidents more? Young? Old? Children? Boys? Girls?
  • How can traffic accidents be prevented?
  • What are people not doing that they should to prevent deaths in traffic accidents?
  • What are you not doing that you should to prevent deaths in traffic accidents?
  • What should be done in order to prevent traffic congestion in your city?
  • How do you feel about spending time in rush hours?

  • At what age does the average person obtain a driver's license?
  • Can you ride a motorcycle?
  • Do you drive a car often?
  • Have you ever gotten a parking ticket?
  • Are there speed limits in your country? If so, what is the average speed limit?
  • Do you have a bicycle?
    • If so, when did you get it?
    • How much did it cost?
    • How often do you ride it?
    • What color is it?
  • Do you have a car?
    • If not, does your family have a car?
  • Do you have a driver's license? If so, when did you get it?
  • Do you often ride public transportation during rush hour?
  • Do you often use public transportation?
  • Do you ride a bicycle more than once a week?
  • Do you always wear a seat belt?
    • Even if you are riding in the rear seat?
    • How about on a bus?
  • Does your mother have a driver's license?
  • Have you ever been in a traffic accident?
  • Have you ever been stopped for speeding?
    • (Have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?)
  • Have you ever missed your last train or bus home? If so, how did you get home that night?
  • Have you ever ridden a horse? How about a motorcycle?
  • Have you every carpooled?
  • How do you get to school?
    • How long does it take?
    • How much is the bus fare or the train fare?
  • How do you think countries can reduce congestion on the roads?
  • How many times have you traveled by airplane?
  • How much does gasoline cost is your country?
  • Is parking a problem in your country? (shopping malls, etc)
  • Is there any environmentally-friendly transportation in your area?
  • What are the most annoying bad driving habits of other drivers in your country (/or this country /or compared to this country)?
  • What do you have to do to get a driver's license in your country? Do you think it's a good test?
  • What do you need to do in your country to get a driver's license?
  • What do you think is the most dangerous form of transportation? Why?
  • What do you think is the safest form of transportation? Why?
  • What do you usually do when riding a train or bus?
    • Do you read?
    • Do you sleep?
  • What is the penalty for speeding in your country?
  • What is your favorite kind of car? Why?
  • What is your favorite make of car? Why?
  • What kind of car do you have?
  • What kind of things annoy you about other people's driving?
  • What kind of transportation do you use most often?
  • What's the most readily available form of public transportation where you live?
  • What's your favorite color for a car?
  • What's your favorite form of transportation?
  • When was the last time you rode a bus?
  • Where is a good place to go for a drive?
  • Would you like to go on a cruise? Why or why not?
  • Do you sometimes take a taxi (cab)?
  • How do you "call" a taxi in your country from the side of the road? (ex. raise your hand in the air, etc.)
    • Is it expensive to take a taxi in your country?
    • Are there seat-belts in the taxis?
    • Is it common to give the cab driver a tip? If so, about how much do you give?
    • Does the cab driver open the door for you, or do you open it yourself?
    • Is it more appropriate to sit in the front or back of the taxi?
  • How important do you think it is to use public transportation?
  • Do you think that governments should encourage public transportation more?
  • Do you think city governments should discourage use of privately driven cars within city limits?
  • Do you have good public transportation where you live?
  • How could public transportation in your city be improved?
  • Do you think that we ought to be obligated to drive electrical and solar powered vehicles?
  • Is the public transportation in your city efficient?
  • Is public transportation in your city too expensive?
  • If public transportation were free, would you use it more?
  • Do you think that your city government maintains the public transportation well? In other words, are the buses and trains kept clean?
  • Do you feel safe when you use public transportation?
  • Do you feel safe going into the subway/metro/underground at all hours?

Dialogue 6 - YOUR TURN
You are going to collect a car you have booked online - a 5-door hatchback. You are travelling with your partner (who might do some of the driving) and your 5-year-old daughter (who hates being in cars).
The car rental assistant may try to sell you some extras. Ask about them and decide if you want them or not.
Think of three other questions you will need to ask.
Take a car and drive it. After some time driving the car you will have a car incident (or accident). Call the car rental shop and tell them what happened. Ask for assistance and ask if the damage is included in the insurance.
You work at a car rental shop. Decide if you have any special offers this week. Point out that the car runs on diesel - not petrol.
Try to sell some extras. You get 15% commission if you do!
Decide how much to charge for the following extras:
- Additional insurance to cover for damage on tyres and windscreen.
- Comprehensive insurance to cover damage to the vehicle, injury or loss of life, theft of property, etc.
- A baby seat (for children under 2) or a booster seat (for children from 2 to 8).
- Cover for any additional drivers.
The customer will finally take a car. He/She will drive it and after some hours you will receive a call from him/her telling you he/she has just had a car incident (or accident). He/she will ask for assistance, try to give him/her an answer. Ask what the damages are exactly and say if they are included or not in the insurance.

comprehensive = completo, amplio
booster = silla de seguridad para bebés

María Ángeles A.