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He had a drinking problem for a while and is now on the wagon



 
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on the wagon | How to use the modal verbs?
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He had a drinking problem for a while and is now on the wagon #1 (permalink) Wed Mar 06, 2013 6:28 am   He had a drinking problem for a while and is now on the wagon
 

English Language Proficiency Tests, Advanced Level

ESL/EFL Test #544 "English Slang Idioms (147)", question 8

"I wouldn't invite Randy. He quit drinking. He had a drinking problem for a while and is now on the .......... He told me that he won't go to bars anymore so I don't think that we should call him," Jessie said to his other roommates.

(a) abstinence
(b) twelve steps
(c) wagon
(d) straight path

English Language Proficiency Tests, Advanced Level

ESL/EFL Test #544 "English Slang Idioms (147)", answer 8

"I wouldn't invite Randy. He quit drinking. He had a drinking problem for a while and is now on the wagon. He told me that he won't go to bars anymore so I don't think that we should call him," Jessie said to his other roommates.

Correct answer: (c) wagon

Your answer was: incorrect
"I wouldn't invite Randy. He quit drinking. He had a drinking problem for a while and is now on the twelve steps. He told me that he won't go to bars anymore so I don't think that we should call him," Jessie said to his other roommates.
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Hi Teachers,

Why "on the twelve steps" is not correct here (I supposed that he began treatment)?

Why "abstinence" is not correct too? Doesn't it mean that he wasn't drinking alcohol?

Thank you,
Vladimir.
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He had a drinking problem for a while and is now on the wagon #2 (permalink) Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:05 am   He had a drinking problem for a while and is now on the wagon
 

'on the wagon' is the set expression relating to abstinence.
We cannot say 'on the abstinence', we would say 'is now abstinent.'
We would not say 'on the twelve steps' without an explanation of what twelve steps we meant: '... is now on the twelve-step abstinence programme'.
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