Hard: Going through the motions
Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time. We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms.
Learn more football vocabulary with Premier Skills English. Each lesson in our Premier Vocabulary section looks at one football word or phrase. This lesson looks at the phrase to go through the motions.
You can find more lessons on the side of this page.
Rich: Hello my name’s Rich and welcome to Premier Skills English - Premier Vocabulary.
Jack: Hi there! I’m Jack. We’re here to help you with your football English. Premier Vocabulary is a mini-podcast for you to learn football English one word at a time.
Rich: We have three different levels for you: easy, medium and hard.
Jack: This episode is hard so we’re looking at more difficult football phrases and idioms.
Rich: The phrase we are looking at in this episode is: to go through the motions.
Jack: The phrase is used to describe someone who is doing the things they usually do but is not very excited about doing it and doesn’t make too much effort.
Rich: A person who is planning on leaving their job soon might just be going through the motions.
Jack: They will probably still arrive on time and do their usual tasks but they might not do them with much enthusiasm and will probably not do more than they need to.
Rich: It’s not just individuals that go through the motions. We might hear about governments going through the motions of having talks with different groups of people.
Jack: If we hear this phrase being used it means that governments are holding the talks but there is unlikely to be any change.
Rich: So when you go through the motions of something you don’t have very much interest in your usual tasks even though you continue doing them.
Jack: The phrase to go through the motions is sometimes used in football and other sports.
Rich: When there are only a few matches of a season left there are some teams at the top battling to win the title and some teams at the bottom battling to avoid relegation.
Jack: These teams are playing to their maximum.
Rich: Then there are some teams in the middle that can’t win the title and can’t be relegated. Fans sometimes worry that these teams might just be going through the motions because they have nothing to play for.
Jack: If a team in the middle of the table loses easily at this point of the season, commentators often use the phrase they are on the beach already or are thinking of their holidays.
Rich: This is another way of saying that a team is just going through the motions.
Jack: But a team that has nothing to play for is often more relaxed and plays with more freedom and gets better results than usual.
Rich: Yes, teams that are already relegated often get good results and the other day I saw mid-table Southampton get an injury-time equaliser at Old Trafford.
Jack: That’s what I love about the Premier League. I don’t think you can ever accuse a team of just going through the motions.
Rich: There is the final whistle!
Jack: We’ll be back soon with more Premier Vocabulary from Premier Skills English.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football.
Have you ever just gone through the motions?