This is another extract from the book, “The Infatuations” by Javier Marias. In a few words, it helps you understand the meaning of OVERHEAR. It happens so often, doesn’t it, that without wanting you hear what other people are saying – on the train or bus, queuing up to pay at the supermarket, sitting patiently waiting for your turn at the clinic. In my country, it’s even easier to overhear conversations because we are a very loud people. I’m sitting on my terrace and I know exactly what is being said across the street.

There are times, though, when we want to know what someone is saying, even if we aren’t part of the conversation. Haven’t you ever put your ear to the door to hear what your neighbour outside is saying? Or moved closer to the wall when the couple next door were having a very loud argument? Of course not! We are not the sort of people to EAVESDROP, are we?

On a more serious note, eavesdropping has been in the news a lot recently in connection with the Americans listening in to mobile calls made by some world leaders, including Germany’s Angela Merkel.

Use the language

Since no-one is curious enough to eavesdrop, you can instead share with fellow NOGGERS (those who follow this blog, Not Only Grammar) an interesting conversation you overheard:

  • Where were you?
  • What were you doing at the time?
  • Who was speaking?
  • What were they talking about?

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