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Lord Lucan cannot cope


    Today I am going to tell you about Lord Lucan. But first we need to talk about the verb “to cope”.

    Helen has three children. They are all less than five years old, which means that none of them is yet at school. Her husband often has to travel for his job, so he cannot help to look after the children. Helen’s mother lives in the next road, and Helen often has to go to visit her, and cook food for her, and clean her house. So, as you can see, Helen has some big difficulties in her life. She is under a lot of pressure. But Helen never lets her three children and her elderly mother get her down. She is always cheerful and smiling.

    Often her friends ask her “How do you cope? How do you cope with three small children, a husband who is away, and an elderly mother?” “To cope” means to deal successfully with some big difficulties and pressures. We use the word “with” with “cope” – Helen copes with three small children and an elderly mother.

    Here are some more examples. One of Kevin’s colleagues at work, Jack, is ill. So Kevin has to cope with 20 or 30 telephone calls every day which Jack would normally deal with. “I can’t cope”, Kevin says. “The telephone is always ringing and I don’t understand what they are talking about. I have no time to do my own work.” His boss however understands his problem. “You are coping fine,” he says. “It is only for a short time until Jack is back at work. I will ask someone else to do some of your work to help you to cope.”

    Another example. Rosie has just gone to university. It is all very strange and new to her. She finds the work difficult, and she does not like some of her fellow students. She misses her parents and her home. She has a lot to cope with. Some students find that they cannot cope with life at university, and they leave and return home. What will Rosie do? Will she be able to cope or not?


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