The English We Speak – A sticky situation

A sticky situation is difficult, awkward or sensitive, a situation that is difficult to get out of.

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The English We Speak from BBC Learning English
Feifei: Welcome to The English We Speak with me Feifei and.. Rob.. Rob? Where’s Rob?
Rob: (Door opens) Oh hi Feifei.. you couldn’t lend me £10, could you?
Feifei: Rob! You’re supposed to be presenting this programme. Anyway, what do you need £10 for? And what’s that.. stuff all over your clothes?
Rob: Well, I was running to get to the studio and I bumped into a woman.
Feifei: Right.. So, what do you need £10 for?
Rob: Well, you see, she dropped a big box she was carrying and said I would have to pay for the damage – and if I didn’t, her daughter would be really upset!
Feifei: Oh! Rob, you are in ‘a sticky situation’.
Rob: A sticky situation. Yes, that’s true. You mean I’m in a situation that is difficult to get out of?
Feifei: Exactly! Rob, here’s £10 – now you can go and un-stick the situation!
Rob: Thanks Feifei. I think we should hear some examples of this phrase while I go and pay the woman..
I’m in a sticky situation: I said I’d go to the cinema with Pete but I’ve also promised to go for a drink with John.
It was a sticky situation – neither side would agree on who caused the accident.
We’re in a sticky situation – we’ve got to catch the train but we haven’t got enough money to buy a ticket.
Feifei: So a sticky situation is a difficult, awkward or sensitive situation. (Door opens again) Ah, Rob, you’re back..
Rob: ..yes. She’s happy now and is going back to the bakery again.
Feifei: The bakery? Why? What was in that box she was carrying?
Rob: It was a big birthday cake for her daughter.
Feifei: Oh no – you were in a sticky situation in more ways than one!
Rob: I suppose I was.
Both: Bye.


BBC The English We Speak

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