Vocabulary (Review)

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Lesson Transcript


Barbara: Good morning!
Braden: Braden here. Offering Your English Condolences. In this lesson, you’ll learn about Modal verbs grammar review, part 2 and Condolences.
Barbara: This conversation takes place in the morning, on the phone.
Braden: And it’s between Daniel Giesbrect and Sarah.
Barbara: Daniel has some bad news for Sarah so they’ll be speaking professionally.
Braden: Let’s listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Daniel Giesbrect: May I please speak with Ms. Sarah Walker?
Sarah: This is she.
Daniel Giesbrect: This is Mr. Daniel Giesbrect. I'm scheduled to be your keynote speaker for your international seminar next month.
Sarah: Yes, Mr. Giesbrect. How may I help you?
Daniel Giesbrect: My father passed away last night and I'm sure I'd better cancel our engagement. I need to travel to Germany to clear up some very complicated family matters. I will not be returning to the United States until April.
Sarah: Our condolences, Mr. Giesbrect. It must have been very difficult for you. We're very sorry to hear about your father.
Daniel Giesbrect: Thank you, Ms. Walker. I appreciate your kindness and the invitation to participate in your seminar. I know it will be difficult to rearrange so many things in my absence, especially at such late notice. However, I look forward to providing my services at some future time.
Sarah: As do we, sir. Have a safe trip.
Daniel Giesbrect: Thank you.
Braden: So, we wanted to talk a little bit about Condolences.
Barbara: The word “condolences” is usually used in the phrase “my condolences to…” Condolences are an expression of sympathy for someone who has experienced extreme grief or sadness. Usually, this phrase is reserved for the death of a loved one or family member.
Braden: In some cultures, at the death of a loved one or family member that is traditional to give gifts such as donating money to the family, to a charity nominated by the person who just died, writing a condolences book, or making meals for the family that has just lost a loved one.
Barbara: In the United States, these things vary greatly according to the culture of the family who has been affected. It is usually best to ask or do a little research about what would be appropriate if you're unsure.
Braden: Just to emphasize the point, condolences are for extreme grief and sadness. If someone were to say lose their car keys, which is a minor loss, or even have their car stolen, which is a much larger loss, neither of these are significant enough to warrant the use of the word "condolences."
Barbara: If you use the word “condolences” in contexts like this it will probably be interpreted as a form of sarcasm.
Braden: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Vocabulary and Phrases
Braden: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
: The first word we shall see is:
Barbara: keynote [natural native speed]
Braden: introductory speech given at the beginning of a conference
Barbara: keynote [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: keynote [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: canceled [natural native speed]
Braden: announce or cause that something not happens
Barbara: canceled [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: canceled [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: engagement [natural native speed]
Braden: an arrangement to do something
Barbara: engagement [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: engagement [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: complicated [natural native speed]
Braden: consisting of many interconnecting parts
Barbara: complicated [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: complicated [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: night [natural native speed]
Braden: a period of darkness after sunset
Barbara: night [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: night [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: kindness [natural native speed]
Braden: the quality of being friendly and considerate
Barbara: kindness [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: kindness [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: condolences [natural native speed]
Braden: an expression of sympathy
Barbara: condolences [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: condolences [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: appreciate [natural native speed]
Braden: recognize the full worth of
Barbara: appreciate [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: appreciate [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: absence [natural native speed]
Braden: the state of being away from a place or person
Barbara: absence [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: absence [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: service [natural native speed]
Braden: work performed by a person or people who serve
Barbara: service [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: service [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: provide [natural native speed]
Braden: equip or supply
Barbara: provide [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: provide [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: rearrange [natural native speed]
Braden: relocate into a more suitable structure
Barbara: rearrange [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: rearrange [natural native speed]
Braden: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Barbara: In the dialogue, we heard the phrase passed away
Braden: This is a phrasal verb that means “died.” It’s a euphemism that can also be said as “passed on” or sometimes “passed to.”
Barbara: The idea refers to the Christian belief of an afterlife. In other words, the person “passes” from this life to the next. The “away” part refers to the idea of going to some place distant.
Braden: Because the death of a family member is often traumatic, there are many words and phrases in English that refer to “death” in respectful or even reverenced ways. Since, for the major part of the history of English, Christianity was the dominant religion, many of the phrases refer to or are connected to those beliefs.
Barbara: For example, “to cross the great divide.” as in the separation between the living and the dead. This presupposes the idea that after a person dies, they go somewhere.
Braden: There are also a few comical phrases such as “kick the bucket,” and “bought the farm.” These are casual phrases and are often inappropriate if the individual is truly suffering. Since this is a business context, a respectful attitude should be maintained.
Barbara: In these situations, the phrase “passed away” is generally the most acceptable.
Braden: Could you break this down?
Barbara: passed away (slowly)
Braden: And one time fast?
Barbara: passed away (fast)
Braden: Our next phrase is complicated family matters. By using this phrase, Daniel is explaining the situation without giving personal details.
Barbara: This is a common practice in the United States because of the preference to avoid mixing personal and work life.
Braden: An indelicate person might ask “What’s wrong with your family that it’s going to take you that long to get it fixed?”
Barbara: Being so direct, especially after the individual avoided giving details is extremely rude and disrespectful in American culture.
Braden: Could you break this down?
Barbara: complicated family matters (slowly)
Braden: And one time fast?
Barbara: complicated family matters (fast)
Braden: Let’s take a look at the grammar point.

Lesson focus

Barbara: The focus of this lesson is modal verbs, Part 2
Braden: In the dialogue, we heard the phrase
Barbara: I’m sure I’d better cancel our engagement.
Braden: Modal verbs grammar can be confusing at times.
Barbara: This lesson takes a look at a number of the more difficult aspects of modal verbs' grammar including many exceptions to the rule.
Braden: First we have Should. “Should” is used to ask for or give advice.
Barbara: For example, “Examples, “Should I see a doctor?” or “He should leave soon if he wants to catch the train.”
Braden: Next we have Should, Ought to, and Had Better. Both 'ought to' and 'had better' express the same idea as 'should.' They can usually be used in place of 'should.'
Barbara: For example, “You should see a dentist.” means the same as “You'd better see a dentist.” and “They should join a team.” means the same as “They ought to join a team.”
Braden: NOTE – 'had better' is a bit more urgent form. It usually indicates that there will be negative consequences if the task isn't performed.
Barbara: Now let’s take a look at Modal + Various Verb Forms. Modal verbs are generally followed by the base form of the verb.
Braden: For example, “She should come with us to the party.” or “They must finish their homework before dinner.” and “I might play tennis after work.”
Barbara: Modal verbs grammar can become especially confusing when taking a look at the verbs which follow the modal verb itself.
Braden: Usually, modal verbs' grammar dictates that modal verbs are followed by the base form of the verb to the present or future moment.
Barbara: However, modal verbs can also be used with other forms of verbs.
Braden: The most common of these modal verbs' grammar forms is the use of the modal plus a perfect form to refer to a past time.
Barbara: For example, “She must have bought that house.” and “Jane could have thought he was late.” and “Tim can't have believed her story.”
Braden: Other forms used include the modal plus the progressive form to refer to what may / should / could be happening at the present moment in time.
Barbara: For example, “He may be studying for his math exam.” and “He must be thinking about the future. “


Braden: That just about does it for today.
Braden: Thanks for listening!
Barbara: See you later!