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Dear Teachers,

1. I have an ex-boyfriend who nearly drove me up the wall when we first met.

- What does "drive me up the wall" mean here?

2. By age seven she won skating competitons.

- I think "by the age of seven" is better, right?

3. She likes skating very much, and she works hard on and off the ice.

- What does "she works hard on and off the ice" mean here?

4. Is "rackets" the same meaning with "badminton"? do they have the same way of playing?

5. Is "soccer" the same meaning with "football"? and do they have the same way of playing?

Thanks very much to Teachers,

Stevenukd.
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1. irritated me a lot

2. Both are a bit clumsy. By age seven/by the age of seven she was winning skating competitions.

3) She trains hard at her skating (on the ice) - the off the ice part probably refers to other aspects of skating such as building up fitness, listening to her coach, reading about skating etc) or it could refer to other things entirely, perhaps school work. Hard to say without the full context.

I was a bit confused by the next questions but think you mean

4) Is 'rackets' the same thing as 'badminton'? or Does 'rackets' mean the same as 'badminton?' Are they played in the same way?

5)ditto with soccer and football.

4) Not in British English. Rackets is a game played by very few people (mainly posh private schools and their ex-students) that is a game more similar to squash in that it involves walls! Don't know more than that I'm afraid. Badminton is more commonly played and uses a light 'shuttlecock' instead of a ball. So they are completely different games.

5) this is where it can get confusing. In British English soccer and football are the same thing. In American English soccer is our football (men running round kicking a ball) whereas Football is the game that is a bit like rugby, picking up the ball and running with it as far as you can, only the players wear tons of padding. Everyone else in the world calls that American football to distinguish from normal football.
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1. - What does "drive me up the wall" mean here? -- seriously irritate; drive crazy: up the wall slang : into a state of intense agitation, annoyance, or frustration <the noise drove me up the wall>

2. By age seven she won skating competitons.

- I think "by the age of seven" is better, right? -- The and of are not required, though I would indeed probably use them in formal writing.

3. - What does "she works hard on and off the ice" mean here? -- She works hard at skating and works hard at whatever preparation and practice are done outside of the arena (exercising, etc.)

4. Is "rackets" the same meaning with "badminton"? do they have the same way of playing? -- Rackets sounds more like squash to me: "A game played on a large, netless, four-walled court by two or four players with long-handled rackets and a hard, fast-moving ball 1 inch (2.5 centimeters) in diameter".

5. Is "soccer" the same meaning with "football"? and do they have the same way of playing? -- From Wikipaedia: "Football is the name given to a number of different, but related, team sports . The most popular of these worldwide is Association football , which is known as soccer in some countries. The English language word football is also applied to Rugby football (Rugby union and Rugby league ), American football , Australian rules football , Gaelic football and Canadian football ."
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Looks like we were a little inefficient on that one, Nona.
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
shall we synchronise our watches now?