live with: meaning and explanation

The phrasal verb to live with something means to accept a bad or difficult situation, usually because you have no other option. e.g. It’s the worst haircut I’ve ever had, but I suppose I’ll just have to live with it.

This phrasal verb is often used with the verb ‘learn’ – you learn to live with something. This communicates the idea that sometimes you have to adapt to negative situations because you can’t change them. e.g. “Joe generally only gets one or two hours of sleep a night. It’s awful, but he’s learned to live with it”.

Synonyms: to tolerate something, to bear something, to accept something.

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Micro-listening #1

Accent: Ireland

There’s complaining wallpaper and you’ll to it.

About the sentence

…there’s no point complaining now…

If there is no point (in) doing something, then doing it is useless, and will not achieve anything. e.g. There’s no point crying about it, you can’t change the fact that you lost.

Micro-listening #2

Accent: England (RP)

If I like that don’t think I .

About the sentence

…If I had let everyone down like that…

The phrasal verb to let someone down means to fail someone or to disappoint them. If people were relying on you to do something and you didn’t do it, then you let them down. e.g. Sorry to let you down at the last minute, but I’m not going to be able to pick you up from the airport after all.

Micro-listening #3

Accent: Wales

aches and pains are you learn you get older.

About the sentence

…These kinds of aches and pains…

Aches and pains is a fixed expression, and is used to describe low level physical discomfort or pain. e.g. Experiencing various aches and pains is normal when you first take up running, but be careful not to overtrain.

Extra practice

Here are some questions/links to help you learn the new vocabulary:

  • Is there anything that is bad or difficult in your life, but which you have learned to live with?

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