4B. Perception & Judgement____Good years or bad?____[Informal]

Rewrite the text, avoiding PHRASAL VERBS in the underlined sections:

Every time a young person is found guilty of a terrible crime, many social observers look for explanations for the decline in moral standards. Some newspaper editors come down on today's parents for failing to teach their children the difference between right and wrong. They argue that it is very difficult for young people to make out what constitutes good or bad behaviour if these values are passed over by the older generation.

Looking into these arguments more closely, we find that different generations of parents are being got at. As far as I can make out, supporters of the Conservative Party look on parents who were teenagers during the 1960s as the original sinners. These were the years when respect for authority gave way to the permissive society - the years dominated by Labour Governments.

However, left-wing commentators put bad parenting down to the 1980s, which have come to be known as "the Thatcher years". Without going into the criticisms of Thatcherism in any great depth, it is sufficient to quote the famous speech in which she says: "there is no such thing as society." If we take the trouble to look up the precise context of this remark, we will probably find that she was not encouraging people to behave badly.

It is difficult to make up one's mind whether to blame Labour or Conservative governments for falling moral standards since we can easily come across examples of similar social problems throughout the affluent world regardless of political philosophies. A lot of different factors therefore have to be taken in.


Look for

Overlook, ignore

pass over


go into

Leave unconsidered

pass over

Examine, investigate

Look into

Reprimand, criticize strongly

come down on


Make out


get at


Take in

Judge by

go by

Find, discover

Come across

Regard a person as

look on

Attribute to

put down to

Verify (facts)

look up


Make out


Make up (mind)