5-minute listening: It’s just not fair

  • Practise your English with our short listening exercises: play the audio linked below; answer the questions; and check the answers at the bottom of the page
  • In this week’s podcast, Taylor tells her best friend, Soo-joo, about something that has been bothering her
John Millen |

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It’s nice to have friends you can rant to. Photo: Shutterstock

Click here for the audio file.

Play a Kahoot! game about this story as a class or with your friends by clicking on the link here.

Or play on your own below to test your understanding:


1. Who is Taylor upset with?

Photo: Shutterstock

2. How do you feel about someone if they are “getting on your nerves”?
A. dissatisfied
B. discouraged
C. irritated
D. uncomfortable

3. What did Taylor’s brother get on his birthday?
A. $200
B. $2,000
C. two $50 notes
D. an undisclosed sum of money

4. Which word has the opposite meaning to “generous”?
A. unfair
B. unreasonable
C. biased
D. stingy

5. How many grandchildren does Taylor’s grandmother have?
A. two
B. five
C. six
D. nine

6. If you are “favouring” someone, you are treating them ________ than you treat others.
A. more unkindly
B. better
C. worse
D. none of the above

7. What did Taylor think when she saw that her grandmother was only cooking her brother’s favourite dishes?
A. that her grandmother was playing favourites
B. that her grandmother preferred Taylor to her brother
C. that her grandmother was treating them equally
D. that her grandmother did not like her grandchildren

8. What birthday gift was Taylor expecting to receive from her grandmother?
A. clothing
B. books
C. money
D. nothing

9. What colour does Taylor detest most?
A. black
B. red
C. pink
D. information not given

10. How did Taylor celebrate her birthday with her family?
A. They went to the beach.
B. They went on a holiday.
C. They went to the cinema.
D. They went to a restaurant.

11. How did Taylor feel when she opened her present?
A. elated
B. furious
C. alarmed
D. indifferent

12. If you are “holding back your tears”, you are …
A. telling someone else to stop crying
B. crying uncontrollably
C. pretending to be sad
D. trying to stop yourself from crying

13. How did Taylor react after seeing the birthday gift?
A. She hid her real feelings.
B. She broke down in tears.
C. She lost her temper.
D. She caused a scene.

14. What did Taylor’s brother do to make her feel better?
A. He bought Taylor a birthday gift.
B. He spoke to their grandmother.
C. He offered to share his birthday gift.
D. He took her out for a good meal.

15. What happens when someone “feigns ignorance”?
A. They think they are very clever.
B. They pretend to not know something.
C. They try to solve a problem.
D. They refuse to speak to others.

It sucks to feel like you’re being treated unfairly. Photo: Shutterstock


1. D
2. C
3. B
4. D
5. A
6. B
7. A
8. C
9. C
10. D
11. B
12. D
13. A
14. C
15. B


Taylor: It’s just not fair!

Soo-joo: What’s the matter? What’s happened?

Taylor: It’s my grandma again! She’s really getting on my nerves.

Soo-joo: Oh dear. What did she do?

Taylor: Well, you know it was my birthday last week?

Soo-joo: Of course I do. I sent you that card with the funny dog picture, remember?

Taylor: Well, listen to this, and then tell me what you think. My grandma gave my brother $2,000 for his birthday two months ago.

Soo-joo: Oh ... very nice. I wish my grandma would be as generous. So, how much did you get for your birthday?

Taylor: That’s what I’m upset about. Nothing! Seriously, my brother and I are the only two grandchildren she has, but she has recently been favouring my brother over me. It started with her only cooking his favourite dishes every time we visited, and now this. She should treat us both equally.

Soo-joo: Yeah, that’s not fair.

Taylor: Exactly. Even my mum agrees.

Soo-joo: So, what did you get for your birthday?

Taylor: Well, we went out for my birthday dinner, and she gave me a parcel wrapped in fancy paper as soon as she arrived. She even asked me not to open it until we all sat down, and I was really excited.

Soo-joo: I would have felt the same. So what was inside?

Taylor: A birthday card, four pairs of socks and a t-shirt! And they are pink – the colour I hate most! Can you imagine? I felt miserable as I saw the gifts. My face turned so red, and I was trying so hard to hold back my tears.

Soo-joo: No way!

Taylor: I’m not kidding! You should have seen the faces my mum, dad and brother made. They were all scared stiff that I was going to burst out crying or say something mean and end up upsetting her. But I kept my mouth shut and didn’t show my disappointment. I said thank you and gave her a kiss.

Soo-joo: Wow! I don’t think I would have been able to do that. I would have just stormed off.

Taylor: Well, I wasn’t going to let her see what I was really thinking. But my brother knew, and he said he would share his birthday money with me when we got home. But I just can’t stop thinking about the unfair treatment I’ve been getting. What do you think? I don’t want to be rude, but should I say something to my grandmother or continue to keep quiet and feign ignorance?

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