Dialogue

Vocabulary

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Lesson Transcript

Intro

Barbara: Good morning!
Braden: Braden here. Would you Rather Buy Biofuels in the US? In this lesson, you’ll learn about Would rather and Biofuels.
Barbara: This conversation takes place in the morning, at a workshop for the seminar.
Braden: And it’s between Alexi and a woman from the audience.
Barbara: Alexi and the woman don’t know each other and it's just after his first workshop. Alexi will be speaking professionally but the woman will not.
Braden: Let’s listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Alexi: I don't quite follow your question. What exactly are you asking?
Woman: I was asking, sir. If you wouldn't rather specify exactly how much involvement you've had in Syria.
Alexi: Well, I lived in Syria and most of the nearby countries. Through the years, I've been involved in many aspects of the culture, economics, and politics of each country. I don't think we have enough time to detail every project I've participated in.
Woman: I would rather have some more details about your political involvement.
Alexi: Okay. Since you asked about Syria, I was mainly involved in the agricultural department of the Syrian government. I had very little decision-making power and mostly built reports about biofuel capacities in different regions of the country.
Woman: Could you be a little more specific?
Alexi: Well, I helped build a system for future development of biofuels in Syria. You see, Syria is a petroleum producing country. The government requested the biofuel reports in order to evaluate the possibility of including it in their exports.
Woman: Has any progress been made through your research into Syrian biofuels?
Alexi: Not that I know of. Syria occupies a relatively small geographic area so, as I pointed out to them in my report, the practicality of investing in biofuels was very low.
POST CONVERSATION BANTER
Braden: So, we wanted to talk a little bit about Biofuels
Barbara: A biofuel is defined as a type of fuel whose energy is derived from biological sources. Biofuels typically require a considerable amount of processing for them to be used in current internal combustion engines.
Braden: Currently, there are many types of competing biofuels in the energy market. For example, bio ethanol, bio diesel, vegetable oil, biogas, corn ethanol, just to name a few.
Barbara: In 2010, the United States and Brazil were the world's largest producers of ethanol.
Braden: It is still unknown whether or not biofuels will be able to place traditional petroleum products in the energy market.
Barbara: However, they are becoming more and more common and are often used with traditional petroleum products to reduce climate damaging emissions.
Vocabulary and Phrases
Braden: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
: The first word we shall see is:
Barbara: would [natural native speed]
Braden: expresses a condition
Barbara: would [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: would [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: rather [natural native speed]
Braden: used to indicate a preference
Barbara: rather [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: rather [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: involvement [natural native speed]
Braden: the fact or condition of being involved with or participating in something
Barbara: involvement [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: involvement [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: middle east [natural native speed]
Braden: large area of southwestern Asia and North Africa
Barbara: middle east [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: middle east [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: around [natural native speed]
Braden: situated on every side
Barbara: around [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: around [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: aspects [natural native speed]
Braden: a particular part or feature
Barbara: aspects [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: aspects [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: culture [natural native speed]
Braden: the customs of a particular social group
Barbara: culture [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: culture [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: economic [natural native speed]
Braden: of or relating to economics or the economy
Barbara: economic [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: economic [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: politics [natural native speed]
Braden: the science and art of government and law-making
Barbara: politics [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: politics [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: specific [natural native speed]
Braden: particular
Barbara: specific [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: specific [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: political [natural native speed]
Braden: relating to politics
Barbara: political [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: political [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: government [natural native speed]
Braden: the governing body of a social group
Barbara: government [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: government [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: dealt [natural native speed]
Braden: past participle of “deal”
Barbara: dealt [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: dealt [natural native speed]
: Next:
Barbara: agriculture [natural native speed]
Braden: the practice of soil cultivation
Barbara: agriculture [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Barbara: agriculture [natural native speed]
KEY VOCABULARY AND PHRASES
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 political involvement
Braden: Literally, this phrase means, “involvement in politics.” However, there is always a connotation of power or authority and usually a suggestion of political parties.
Barbara: That’s right. Depending on how you phrase the question, you could easily ask about a person’s political ideology and affiliation by using the term political involvement.
Braden: The lady’s question could be rephrased “How much political power do you have in Syria?” or “How much political influence do you have in Syria?”
Barbara: This is why Alexi responds the way he does, separating his involvement in politics (agriculture, reports, research) and why he specifically points out that he didn’t have any decision making power.
Braden: Could you break this down for us?
Barbara: political involvement (slowly)
Braden: And one time fast?
Barbara: political involvement (fast)
Braden: Which brings us to our next phrase.
Barbara: Yes. In the dialogue, we heard the phrase decision making power
Braden: Literally, decision making power is the power to make decisions. In politics, this could be the most important power of all.
Barbara: For example, the president has decision making power. Within certain limits he can decide to act in a certain way without anyone’s approval.
Braden: Within politics, many positions have decision making power and the people who occupy these positions are often targets for bribes, threats, and other illegal activities.
Barbara: This is one of the reasons he says he didn’t have any decision making power. He doesn’t want anyone to think he could have changed or influenced the current situation in Syria.
Braden: Especially since he’s really trying to talk about energy, not politics. The lady seems to have missed that part.
Braden: Could you break this down?
Barbara: decision making power (slowly)
Braden: And one time fast?
Barbara: decision making power (fast)
Braden: Let’s take a look at the grammar point.

Lesson focus

Barbara: The focus of this lesson is the phrase Would rather
Braden: In the dialogue, we heard the phrase
Barbara: I was asking, sir, if you wouldn’t rather specify exactly how much involvement you’ve had in Syria.
Braden: Would rather is used to express a preference in English. Would rather is the same in meaning as would prefer.
Barbara: These two phrases are used interchangeably to express a preference when making a choice. Here are some examples of short conversations that use would rather to either state or ask for a preference.
Braden: Let’s take a look at the Would rather structure.
Barbara: The form would rather is a little strange because 'rather' is not a verb but is part of an expression that means 'would prefer to'.
Braden: 'Rather' is usually immediately followed by a verb in base form (verb without 'to'). It's common to use would rather in the shortened rather form in positive statements.
Barbara: All subjects take 'would rather'. Would rather can be used to refer to the present moment or a future moment in time.
Braden: In the Positive sense, The structure would be - Subject + would rather ('d rather) + base form of a verb
Barbara: For example, “I would rather learn Brazilian Portuguese than study math.”
Braden: If you were making a question, The structure would be - Would + subject + rather + base form of a verb
Barbara: For example, “Would you rather stay at home?”
Braden: Another related phrase is Would Rather - Than.
Barbara: Would rather is often used with 'than' with two verbs or objects when making a choice between two specific actions.
Braden: For example, “Would you rather work for Tom than for Mary?”
Barbara: Next we’ll look at Would Rather in the sense of Other People.
Braden: Would rather is also used to express what one person prefers another person to do. The structure is unusual because it takes the past for the preferred action. Here are some examples
Barbara: For example, “Tom would rather Mary bought an SUV.”
Braden: In positive structures, the construction is
Subject + would rather ('d rather) + object + past tense
Barbara: For example, “I would rather my son worked in finance.”
Braden: In question structures, construction would be like this - Would + subject + rather + object + past tense
Barbara: For example, “Would she rather her sister flew home tomorrow?”
Braden: In negative sentences, construction would be like this. - Subject + would rather ('d rather) + object + negative past tense
Barbara: For example, “I'd rather she didn't come with us today.”
Braden: Just a quick tip. You can use Wouldn't rather as a (Question).
Barbara: The structure would be Wouldn't + subject + rather + verb
Braden: For example, “Wouldn't you rather go to the party?” which means the same as “Don't you want to go to the party?”

Outro

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

7 Comments

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EnglishClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 06:30 PM
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Would you rather listen to this lesson or another lesson on EnglishClass101.com? :-)

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Monday at 12:50 PM
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Hi Lorna,


Thanks for your question!


It would depend on context and the rest of your choices in words, but in general I would say 'rather' and 'prefer' are rather formal.


I hope this is helpful to you :)


I'm happy to know you're finding EnglishClass101 so useful, and I wish you the best in your studies.


Cheers,

Éva

Team EnglishClass101.com

Lorna
Thursday at 02:41 AM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello 101 team:


As you mentioned, the woman in the seminar wasn't speaking formally; my question would be: Are both RATHER or PREFER informal or formal? which should I use in a meeting?


Thanks in advance

EnglishClass101.com
Friday at 08:04 PM
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Hello Susie,


Thank you for your comment.


In this conversation, "would rather" means "would prefer". So, if you add "if" to a sentence like, "If you would rather go to this restaurant, then we can go.", you're being polite and giving the other speaker the choice to make the decision.


I hope this is helpful! Please let us know if you have any other questions.


Cheers,

Maryssa

Team EnglishClass101.com

Susie
Thursday at 03:55 PM
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I still don't understand "would rather" 😞

I know when "would rather" in example sentence, but with "if" I can't translate.



Englishclass101.com Verified
Tuesday at 12:10 AM
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Hi AungZW,


Thank you for posting.


In case of any questions, please feel free to contact us.


Sincerely

Cristiane

Team Englishclass101.com

AungZW
Wednesday at 01:59 PM
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