150.- Skeleton crew

150.-Skeleton crew

 

Transcript  

Feifei
Hello and welcome to The English We Speak with me, Feifei…  

Roy
…and me, Roy. 

Feifei
We may sound a little different – that’s because we are not able to record in our normal studios during the coronavirus outbreak.

In this programme, we have an expression that is used to describe the minimum number of people that are required to run a business. Speaking of which, there are not many people working in the train stations today. 

Roy
No, you’re right. It’s because of the strikes on the trains. 

Feifei
Ahh, so that’s why it was hard to get a train this morning! The train companies decided to run the trains on a skeleton crew! 

Roy
What!? Skeletons driving the trains?! Is this some kind of ghost story? I think I’ll walk home! 

Feifei
No, Roy! ‘Skeleton crew’ refers to the minimum number of people needed to run a business or an organisation. 

Roy
Ahh yes, and it’s usually in times of crisis or during an emergency, for example the coronavirus, that people run businesses with a skeleton crew. 

Feifei
Exactly, let’s listen to these examples… 

Examples
Due to the financial problems of the company, the office will be run with a skeleton crew for the foreseeable future. 

The Covid-19 emergency means that we will run the buses with a skeleton crew until further notice.

A skeleton crew will be needed to keep the park open over the winter months. 

Feifei
This is The English We Speak from BBC Learning English and we’re talking about the expression ‘skeleton crew’, which is used to talk about the minimum number of people needed to run a business or an organisation. 

Roy
I love the expression ‘skeleton crew’. It makes me think of a pirate ship run by skeletons. 

Feifei
We can also use the words ‘skeleton staff’ with the same meaning. 

Roy
Well, one good thing when there’s a skeleton staff at work is there’s no queue for the cafeteria! 

Feifei
Trust you to think about food! 

Roy
Well, I’m just glad there aren’t real skeletons working at the BBC. That’s just in horror stories! 

Feifei
Exactly, you don’t need worry about skeletons walking around. They’re not real! It’s vampires you need to worry about! Ha ha ha! 

Roy
What!? 

Feifei
Bye, Roy. 

Roy
Bye, Feifei.

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