This week, a friend of mine in France sent me a message via Facebook asking if I’d got a copy of a new box set that collects together all the LPs by The Pretty Things, one of my very favourite bands of all time. I replied that I’d managed to grab a free one from friends who work for the company that put the compilation out, to which he replied “I see. Well, it’s alright for some, eh?!”
As well as being impressed by his grasp of English, I was also struck by the fact that I don’t think I’ve ever consciously taught what’s actually a very useful chunk. It’s alright for some is basically a friendly way of showing that you’re jealous of something the person you’re talking do has or does. Here are two other examples I’ve encountered recently.
A million-pound bonus? Jesus! It’s alright for some, isn’t it?
You get TEN WEEKS’ holiday a year? God, it’s alright for some, eh?
It’s possible that the chunk might crop up in classroom material you’re using, but more likely that it’d need to fed in consciously either as a response to something students say – or as part of a language-focused round-up after students speaking. Here’s an example of how I could’ve introduced it in a class I recently taught. One of my students works for a big chain of hotels and was telling a couple of other students that she was off to Manchester for the weekend with her boyfriend, and they’d be staying in a give-star hotel for only £30 a night. There was much jealousy and comments like “Oh! So lucky!” were made. At this stage, you could stop the discussion and say “There’s an expression you can use in this kind of situation, where you’re a bit jealous of something a friend is doing” and then write up on the board:
We’ll be staying in this amazing five-star hotel and we’re paying thirty pounds a night.
> Seriously? Wow! It’s alright for some.
You could put students in pairs and ask them to think of five other things friends might say that would cause you to respond with this chunk.
Help out and maybe get two or three of the best ideas on to the board – slightly reworded, if needs be.
One of the lovely things about chunks like this is that there’s a real chance they’ll become part of class banter and get recycled naturally. Obviously, you can facilitate this by consciously using yourself it yourself next time you hear a student mentioning something you feel a slight pang of jealousy about!