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Lesson Transcript

Chihiro: Learn English Grammar.
Daniel: Oh no, not grammar!
Chihiro: I’m sure some listeners are having that very same reaction right about now. But we’re here to tell you – there’s nothing to worry about. We’re going to describe to you briefly how the grammar works in English.
Daniel: Many of you may struggle with grammar because you can’t understand when to use what, or you learned it one way but people say a different thing.
Chihiro: Right. Or you may know it in writing, but just can’t get it when speaking.
Daniel: So let’s go back to the basics and try to break things down just a little bit.
Chihiro: First, what we want to do is take a look at the basic word order of English. Daniel, what would that be?
Daniel: SVO
Chihiro: Which stands for?
Daniel: Subject-verb-object. That means that in an English sentence, the subject generally comes first, followed by the verb, and then the object. That’s how English sentences are put together.
Chihiro: Can we have an example?
Daniel: Sure. I drink coffee. I is the subject, or the one doing the action, drink is the verb, or the action taking place. And lastly, coffee is the object that receives the action. I cannot say I coffee drinks, or drinks coffee I.
Chihiro: SVO...
Daniel: He catches the ball, We watch the movie... these are all SVO sentences.
Chihiro: You may speak a language that has a similar word order, which makes English learning a little easier for you. If you come from a language where the word order is completely different, then this word order might seem a bit strange.
Daniel: And English generally keeps the subject, with just a few exceptions.
Chihiro: Right, avoid that temptation to drop the subject, even if the listener knows who or what is being talked about.
Daniel: Okay, let’s talk about tense now. Chihiro, what is tense?
Chihiro: Tense tells you when something happened in time, basically it would be past, present or future. Only in the present tense and for the third person singular in the present tense is the verb adjusted to fit. In other words for he/she/it you need to add an s or es depending on the verb. And of course, remember your irregular verbs. Watch out for a few exceptions like the be-verb or to have.
Daniel: Ok, so can you give us an example first of the present tense?
Chihiro: Sure, how about I eat lunch or in third person, she eats lunch.
Daniel: Simple as that. And one of the past tense?
Chihiro: She brushed her teeth
Daniel: Okay and how about one of the future.
Chihiro: He will buy shoes.
Daniel: Sounds good. Now here’s what makes things a little complex. The aspects.
Chihiro: The aspects are often combined with the tense in textbooks, therefore you may not have heard about it before. But what it does is that it describes the nature of the action.
Daniel: Now, listeners, before you throw up you head phones and say what the heck is she talking about, listen just a little more.
Chihiro: Ok, stay with me now. There are 4 aspects. Simple, perfect, progressive, and perfect progressive. You’ve probably heard about this before.
Daniel: The examples that Chihiro gave of the past, present and future tenses were all in the simple aspect.
Chihiro: Right. Now let’s use the progressive to illustrate what aspect means. If Daniel says,
Daniel: I am brushing my teeth.
Chihiro: With the tense in the present, and the aspect in progressive, then he’s talking about an action that is happening presently, and currently. If he says,
Daniel: I was brushing my teeth
Chihiro: With the tense in the past and the aspect in the progressive, then he’s talking about an action in the past, that was happening over a duration of time.
Daniel: That makes sense. As long as you understand the tense and aspect system, you’ll have a head start in keeping your head clear.
Chihiro: Right, and also keep in mind that English has many irregular verb forms, which you should learn one by one.
Daniel: But the regular verb form rules are easy to remember if you don’t know them already.
Chihiro: Okay good. Let’s talk about something else now... let's see... how about plural forms? The plural form in English is made by generally adding an s to the end of the noun. For example apple becomes apples.
Daniel: Right, but of course we have our irregular plurals, such as person, which becomes people, mouse become mice...
Chihiro: And there are also nouns such as water. I would usually say cups of water, or glasses of water. But those are all eventually acquired one by one as well.
Daniel: Oh but there’s some good news for our listeners, English does not have any gender based determiners, which means that determiners before nouns are all either a, an or the. You can use pronouns such as he and she for things if they do have gender, such as for people or animals, but all other things become it.
Chihiro: There are many other aspects to English that you can learn over time and a lot of practice, but we hope we’ve given you a general idea of what you’re going to study, or what you’ve already been studying.
Daniel: Right, but the key is to stick to it, and you’ll see that English comes along with such an international culture and the language will bend according to the people speaking it.
Chihiro: Ok, so hope to see you in our next lesson, which is about pronunciation.
Daniel: See you all soon.