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Intro There’s a saying in English, “With friends like these, who needs enemies?” You say it when your friends do something that isn’t very friendly. We like to think of friends as people who support us and want us to do well. But not all friends are like that. Some friends are actually frenemies. A frenemy is a slang term for someone who is supposed to be your friend, but always tries to cut you down. Why do we keep these people in our lives? Listen to Vanessa tell Jason about a frenemy of hers in this English lesson about friendship. Dialogue Vanessa: A girl I knew in high school recently got in touch with me on Facebook and I’m trying to figure out whether to accept her friend request. We always knew the same people in high school and we did a lot of the same activities, so I guess you could say we were friends. But sometimes I felt like she wasn’t very nice to me. Jason: Really? What kind of things would she do? Vanessa: When I ran for senior class president, she ran for senior class president against me. And I know that she didn’t even want to be class president! She was just doing it to run against me. Jason: Oh, that’s weird. She just did it to spite you. Vanessa: Yeah! Jason: That’s not very friendly! Vanessa: No! Jason: Was it healthy competition though? Like, you just wanted to push each other? Vanessa: No, we never joked about it or anything. Jason: You guys don’t really sound much like friends to me. You sound more like frenemies.

Vanessa: That is the perfect way to describe it! We were always nice to each other on the surface, but underneath it all there was a lot of competitiveness. And it wasn’t always very pleasant. For example, I put my name in to be prom queen, even though I knew it meant a lot to her, and I ended up winning. Jason: Oh. Well, maybe you should accept her friend request then, and be sure you post lots of pictures of yourself as prom queen. Discussion An old friend from high school wants to be friends with Vanessa on Facebook. Vanessa isn’t sure if she should accept because the friend was mean to her sometimes. Vanessa says she and her friend weren’t trying to push each other to be better. This wasn’t healthy competition. It was just plain not nice. Jason says it sounds more like they were frenemies than friends. Vanessa thinks this term, which combines the words “friend” and “enemy,” perfectly describes the relationship. Do you have any frenemies? Why do we keep these people in our lives? Do you think Vanessa should reconnect with her frenemy? Grammar Point Imperative Form When Jason says, “Be sure you post lots of pictures of yourself as prom queen,” he is using the imperative form to give advice. You can also use the imperative form to give an order or a warning. You can form one and two-word sentences using the imperative form, such as “Stop!” or “Look out!” To form the imperative, use the infinitive form of the verb without “to.” To make a negative imperative, put “do not” or “don’t” in front of the verb, as in, “Don’t touch that!” The imperative is formed the same way for all subjects (you, he, we, they), but you can include yourself in the imperative by adding “Let’s,” as in, “Let’s go for a swim.” If you want to be more polite when using an imperative, just add “please.” For example, “Please leave me alone. I’m trying to learn English!”



short story about a slang term commonly used for teenagers and children. this reading has been adapted to intermediate language learners.