Learn English Phrases – Out of shape / In good/bad shape

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Hi students, it’s Shayna from EspressoEnglish.net and today I’m going to teach you the expressions out of shape and in bad shape. They seem similar, but there is a slight difference between them.

If a person is out of shape, this means that person is not physically fit. They are weak, not strong; maybe they are fat instead of thin and muscular. A person who doesn’t exercise would be out of shape. The opposite is in shape. If you exercise a lot and you’re strong and you have good endurance, then you are in shape.

Now, in bad shape is a little bit different. In bad shape means in bad condition, but when we use it for people, we often use it in the sense of injuries. For example, my friend Henry had an accident; he fell down the stairs. Afterwards, he was in pretty bad shape; he had a broken rib, broken wrist and bruises all over his body. He had lots of injuries, so this is why we say he is in bad shape; he’s in an injured and bad physical condition.

We can also use the expression in bad shape to talk about when somebody is not in good condition emotionally; when they are very upset or emotionally agitated. For example, my friend Lisa just got divorced. She’s in pretty bad shape, meaning she’s not emotionally healthy right now; she’s crying, she’s angry; she’s upset; she’s emotionally in bad shape.

Now, we use the expression out of shape only to talk about people. But the expression in bad shape can be used for people or for objects. For example, you could say, “I have an old bike that’s been in my garage for 20 years. It’s in pretty bad shape. It needs some repairs.” This means that the bike is in pretty bad condition, probably from staying in the garage for 20 years without being well maintained.

The opposite of in bad shape; meaning in bad condition is, in good shape. So, for example, if you have a car that you’ve taken very good care of, you could say, “I’m selling my car. It’s in very good shape;” meaning it’s in very good condition; it’s well maintained; it’s functioning properly and looks good.

So I guess I’ve taught you three phrases for today: out of shape meaning that a person is not physically fit; in bad shape meaning in bad condition; when used to talk about a person it usually means the person is injured and when used to talk about the object, it means the object needs repair or has not been well maintained; and in good shape, meaning that something has been well maintained and is in good condition.

That’s all for today! Come back tomorrow to learn more English phrases and expressions.

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