Lesson Transcript

Hi, everybody and welcome back to Top Words. My name is Alisha and today, we're going to talk about 10 patterns to help you level up your speech. Let's go!
1. If I were.. I would…
The first pattern is "If I were... I would…" So this is a sentence pattern that you can use to express if you were a different person or if you were in a different situation, what you would do, what would you do if you were in a different situation.
So, examples…
"If I were rich, I would buy my parents a house."
"If I were you, I would try to find a new job."
So, we can use this example sentence, this example pattern to give recommendations to people, like "If I were you, I would…" That's a very common pattern. But in general, this sort of grammar is used to show that the situation is not the current situation, but if it were the current situation, this is what I would do. So, this can be a very useful pattern for talking about future potential. "If I were… I would…"
In this example sentence…
"If I were you, I would look for a new apartment."
2. I shouldn't have…
I shouldn't have… I shouldn't have… I should not have something, something, something. So, this is usually used to express regret, to express unhappiness, to express a negative feeling about a past action which you did. In this case, in my example I have, I shouldn't have blah, blah, blah, but of course, you can change the subject; you shouldn't have, they shouldn't have. So shouldn't have means it's showing that in your opinion, this past action should not have happened. It would be better, it would have been better if that action had not happened.
So, let's talk about some examples like…
I shouldn't have… let's see, "I shouldn't have spent so much money last month."
"I shouldn't have stayed up so late last night."
"I shouldn't have procrastinated so much on my project."
Or let's see, to change the subject a little bit…
"You shouldn't have gone out drinking with your friends."
"You shouldn't have talked to that girl."
"They shouldn't have bought that apartment. It's too expensive for them."
Or "Oh my gosh! We shouldn't have invited so many people to this barbecue."
So, there are a lot of ways that we can use these examples, this pattern to express regret. But, you'll notice in each example or, hopefully, in each example sentence that I just talked about, I said shouldn't have plus I've used the past participle form of the verb.
"I shouldn't have gone to that party."
"We shouldn't have invited so many people."
It's the past participle form here, shouldn't have, yeah? Shouldn't have blah, blah, blah. Your verb should be in the past participle form there. So, if you're practicing the present perfect tense, for example, it's the same verb form. So, shouldn't have plus an action which you regret or which you think another person should regret.
So, in one more example sentence…
"I shouldn't have had so much to drink last night."
Ah! So many of us are familiar with that feeling, okay.
3. I would have… but I had to…
The next pattern expresses a desire, a past desire to do something, but an inability to do that thing.
So, for example…
"I would have helped you with your homework, but I was working at the office."
"I would have taken the dog for a walk, but I fell asleep."
Or, to change the subject line…
Well, he would have taken you out for dinner, but he had to take care of his kids, for example.
They would have given me money for my project, but they had to use it for an emergency situation, for example.
So, a desire to do one thing, they would have… he would have… you would have… is at the beginning of the sentence, but some other things had to happen. There's the nuance of responsibility here at the end of the sentence. Wanted to do something, could not because (reason). So, this is the pattern here that's happening in this sentence.
To give one more example...
"I would have joined you for pizza, but I had to study."
4. Where were you…?
You can use this with... with friends and family members. I would be very careful using this with your co-workers and colleagues in business relationships, but this is very good, a past tense question. If you are expecting someone to be at a certain place and they are not there, the next time you see that person, you can ask them this question.
So, for example…
"Where were you last night?"
"Where were you last week?"
"Where were you at the meeting?"
Where were you at the office? I didn't see you, for example.
So you can use this past tense phrase like…
"Where were you last night? I thought I was going to see you?"
"Where were you last week? I thought you were coming to the barbecue."
This is a question that's asking for information from the listener, "Where were you?" It means you expected to see the other person, but you didn't meet them, really. So, you can you use this, I suppose, at like a large like networking event, for example, like, "Where were you at the networking event? I didn't see you there." But you're asking for some information about where that person was, meaning you expected to see them, you didn't see them, and you want a reason for that. So be careful, this can sound a little bit aggressive, especially in, like, relationship situations like romantic relationship situations. If you say, like "Where were you last night?" It sounds really like aggressive, but that's a very natural expression to use if you're angry or upset or you want to know where another person was. "Where were you last night?" is a very clear and is the correct sentence, the correct question to use.
So, one more example...
"Where were you on Saturday night? We thought we were going to see you."
5. I might…
I might… I might… So this might seem, this may seem like a very obvious pattern, but when you're talking about your future plans, it's best if you're not 100% sure, if you're going, I don't know, should I use will, should I use going to. If you haven't decided yet and you don't want to use will and you don't want to use going to, use might. it's a very simple and easy to use pattern, but I think many people forget this.
Just say…
"I might go to the party later."
"I might go for a drink after work."
"I might meet some friends this weekend."
"He might take me on a date this Sunday."
"She might go to the beach with her friends on the weekend."
"They might give me a new dog, whatever."
Anyway, so might expresses maybe. Might expresses that we don't know for sure. It's a very simple and very obvious phrase, but a lot of people forget it, like I said. So try to use "I might…"
Of course, we can use the negative form here too; I might not… you might not… he might not… So, this expresses negative possibility, so a decreased chance of something happening, like…
"They might not come to the movies with us later."
"My boss might not give me a raise."
"I might not make dinner tonight."
So these express a decreased level of possibility, might not, but to express, perhaps, a chance of something happening, please use might. Very simple sentence, but just a reminder. This is a very natural way to express plans you are not sure about.
One more example…
"I might go home after work. I don't feel so good."
6. I thought…
The next one is I thought… I thought.... Again, it seems so simple, but a lot of people I think forget to conjugate the verb "think" into past tense. So sometimes, people will say, "I think… I think… I think…" But, they're talking about a past-tense idea, past-tense thought. In those cases, you need to use the past tense, I thought blah, blah, blah.
"I thought the party was on Saturday."
"I thought we were going to the beach today."
"I thought you were leaving at 9:30."
Or to change the subject of the sentence…
"He thought we were going out for dinner tonight."
"My boss thought I was coming to the meeting."
"They thought I had a nice house, but I don't."
So, using a thought in the past tense shows a past idea which is no longer true, right? So showing that, it implies that you have changed or sorry… So, using past tense here implies that the situation has changed, your knowledge has changed, like...
"I thought you were coming over later."
I thought you were coming over tonight, for example.
Shows there's been some change in the information, so please use the past tense here. It can communicate a lot very, very effectively.
To give one more example sentence…
"I thought the barbecue was on Saturday, not Sunday."
7. I was ____ing when...
I was blah, blah, blah, -ing when... All right, this is a pattern that you can use to talk about an action that is continuing and then something happens here, and this initial action stops.
So, for example…
"I was shopping when I ran into an old friend."
"I was making a video for this YouTube channel when my phone rang."
So something, a continuing action, we use the progressive form of the verb, this -ing form…
"I was making a video."
"I was shopping."
That -ing form of the verb, the action is continuing, when… So, when shows that the action stops; when I got a phone call, when the camera suddenly shut off, for example. So, there's some change or some new thing happening here. When marks that change, when marks when that occurs.
So, for example…
"I was making this video when my phone gave me notification."
That's true right now.
Okay, another example like…
"I was making dinner when an earthquake hit."
"He was studying for his test when his dog ran into the room."
Or another example, let's see…
"We were jogging when we saw a bear."
That could happen, I guess, but in anyway, there's a continuing action, something stops marked by when and some new information, something new is occurring. This is an interesting pattern you can use to describe interruptions.
Okay, one more example…
"I was out shopping when I ran into a friend."
8. What are you up to on…?
I think we've spoken about this before. I think we've talked about this in another video perhaps, I don't know. Anyway, it's an invitation phrase, an invitation phrase.
"What are you up to on (day)?"
"What are you up to on Saturday?"
"What are you up to on Friday night?"
"What are you up to on Sunday morning?"
What are you up to… sounds very casual and friendly. What are you up to... sounds like we have a close relationship. If you want to sound a little bit closer to your friends, try using what are you up to…?
In this example, I've used what are you up to on a day; Saturday night, Friday evening, Sunday morning, but if you remove "on," what are you up to tonight, what are you up to tomorrow, what are you up to this weekend, you can change this around a little bit. Usually, we use this expression only for short-term plans, like within about a week or maybe two weeks. "What are you up to next week?" If you say, "What are you up to next month?" it sounds kind of strange. What are you up to sounds like just a very short-term thing. So, try using this to make plans with your friends and maybe your family members. It's maybe not so good for your co-workers or your colleagues. You could try if you have a close relationship with them, but generally, this is a good expression for friends.
Okay, one more example sentence…
"What are you up to on Friday night? Wanna grab dinner?"
9. How did you...?
The next expression is how did you blah, blah, blah? So this is an expression you can use when you want someone to teach you something. So for example, you're using the computer at work, your co-worker does something you don't know how to do, you've seen your co-worker do something amazing or something new and you want to know that skill. What did your co-worker do? If you want your co-worker to teach you that thing, use this expression, "How did you do that? How did you do that?" Maybe you don't know how to describe it. How did you do that? I just saw you do something, something, something. How did you do that? So, "How did you do that?" means the action you just did, please teach me. That's what this expression means, how did you do that? How did you do that?
So, we can use this for a magician, for example like…
"How did he do that?"
"How did she do that?"
We could use it here or you can be more specific like…
"How did you create that effect in that software?"
"How did you make this dish? It's delicious."
"How did you book your tickets for your next vacation?"
"How did you find your hairdresser?"
I don't know. If you want someone to teach you information, use the expression, "How did you…?" Past tense, did, "How did you do something?"
Okay, in one more example…
"How did you create that digital effect? Can you show me?"
10. How much do I owe (you) for…?
Another good one that's very good I think for maintaining good relationships, if you go out for drinks, for dinner, for food, maybe a movie, an event, festival, whatever with your friends, and everybody needs to pay money, everybody needs to give money for the food, for whatever activity you've done and you would like to confirm how much money to pay, use this expression. The expression is, how much do I owe you for blah, blah, blah? Or how much do I owe for blah, blah, blah?
So if you're at dinner, "How much do I owe you for dinner?"
"How much do I owe you for drinks?"
"How much do I owe you for movie tickets?"
"How much do I owe you for our skydiving trip?"
So, how much do I owe for the activity name here. So, this shows you want to pay, you just need to know how much. So this can be a very good phrase to make sure you keep good relationships with people you are doing activities with.
One more sentence…
"How much do I owe you for my coffee?"
So, that's the end. Those are 10 patterns to help you level up your speech. These are just a few examples that I've noticed, so I hope that these are useful for you. If you have any questions or comments, please be sure to let us know in the description. Thanks very much for watching! Check us out on EnglishClass101.com for more good stuff and we will see you again soon. Bye!