Lesson 28: Making Excuses



In this lesson, your tutor will help you go over this topic: making excuses. First, read the following dialogue out loud with your tutor, then switch roles and try again. 

Kevin and Dorothy are talking about making excuses.

Dorothy, the other day a student didn’t hand in his homework. He gave me a lame excuse.
What was his reason?
He said his dog ate it. I prefer when people are honest.
I agree. Sometimes I mess up too, and then I start by saying, “I’m terribly sorry, but…”
The other day, my son made an excuse for not cleaning his room. He said, “I ran out of time.”
I wanted to go to the movies the other day with my friend. But she said, “Sorry, I can’t afford to go.”
I asked my boss for a pay raise. He said, “I wish I could, but I can’t now.”
I like when people give a good reason. For example, “I can’t go because I’m sick.”
Someday I will stop making excuses.
I don’t think that’s possible.


Go over the following vocabulary and expressions with your tutor. Read the word/expression and definition out loud, and your tutor will go over anything you do not understand. Practice creating a sentence or two to make sure you know how to use the word/expression properly.

Vocabulary/ Expressions

lame excuse (adj) weak and unsatisfactory excuse
Saying you’re too tired to see me is a lame excuse.
reason (n) the cause of an event or situation
I quit my job for a personal reason.
honest (adj) truthful
Honest people don’t lie.
I’m terribly sorry, but (expression) to start making an excuse
I’m terribly sorry, but I will finish it tomorrow.
ran out (v – phrase) past tense form; not enough
He ran out of money.
Sorry, I can’t afford to go. (complete sentence) when someone doesn’t have enough money to go somewhere
Do you want to go bowling with me? Sorry, I can’t afford to go.
I wish I could, but (expression) to start making an excuse
I wish I could, but I’m sick.
because (conj) to give a reason for something
She doesn’t like to read because it’s boring.
someday (adv) at some time in the future
Someday he will buy a house.
possible (adj) able to happen or be done
Is it possible to learn English in one month?


Practice answering the following questions with your tutors. You can use the sample answers to come up with your own answer. Use the vocabulary you learned above.

  1. How would you give an excuse for being late for work?
    1. I’m terribly sorry, but I missed the bus.
    2. I was late because my car broke down.
    3. Your answer:
  2. How would you give an excuse for not being able to go to the movies with your friend?
    1. I wish I could, but I’m busy studying for a test.
    2. Is it possible for us to go another day?
    3. Your answer:
  3. What is an example of a lame excuse?
    1. I forgot your birthday because I was on vacation.
    2. I don’t want to go outside because it’s too cold.
    3. Your answer:
  4. How would you give an honest excuse?
    1. I’m sorry, but I don’t feel well.
    2. I wish I could go, but I’m busy cleaning the house.
    3. Your answer:
  5. How would you make an excuse for someone else?
    1. She can’t afford to go on vacation because it’s too expensive.
    2. He can’t go because he’s tired.
    3. Your answer:


Use the following questions as a guideline to form an interesting conversation with your tutor. Feel free to diverge from these suggestions if anything interesting comes up.

  1. Tell me about a time you made an excuse.
  2. Why do some people give lame excuses?
  3. What’s a good reason not to go to work?
  4. Are people always honest when they make excuses? Why or why not?
  5. Have you ever made an excuse for someone else? Why or why not?


Go over any new expressions or vocabulary that you learned today.



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