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Lesson Transcript

Daniel: Daniel here.
Jessi: Jessi here. Beginner series, season one, lesson six. Will you join us for lunch? Hello, and welcome to the Beginner Series Season 1 at EnglishClass101.com, where we study modern English in a fun, educational format!
Daniel: So, brush up on the English you started learning long ago, or start learning today.
Jessi: Thanks for being here with us for this lesson.
Daniel: Jessi, what are we looking at in this lesson?
Jessi: In this lesson you will learn about the simple aspect of verbs and how to talk about unchanging habits and events.
Daniel: This conversation takes place at Innovative University.
Jessi: The conversation is between Mike, Vicky, Oksana, and Yuki
Daniel: The speakers are friends, therefore the speakers will be speaking casually.
Jessi: If you don’t already have one, stop by EnglishClass101.com
Daniel: And sign up for your free, lifetime account. You can sign up in less than 30 seconds.
Jessi: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Vicky and Oksana: Hi, Mike!
Mike: Hi, Vicky! Hi, Oksana!
Oksana: How's it going?
Mike: All right. So, what's up?
Vicky: Oh, not much. We're waiting for Yuki. Do you know her?
Mike: Sure. We have a couple of classes together.
Vicky: Oh, here she comes now. Hey, Yuki!
Yuki: Hi guys! Mike, will you join us for lunch?
Mike: Lunch? With three beautiful women? Of course, I'll join!
Yuki: Cool! Did you study for the test last night?
Mike: Yep. I studied for three hours.
Oksana: Which class are you talking about?
Yuki: Calculus.
Vicky: Calculus. That's a hard class.
Yuki: Tell me about it.
Jessi: So, Daniel, did you have any hard classes in college?
Daniel: Yep. The hardest class I remember taking was "Abstract Math".
Jessi: Abstract math?! What is that?
Daniel: I have no idea. I dropped it after a couple of weeks. How about you, Jessi? Any real hard classes?
Jessi: Hmm, well I've mentioned before that my major was Linguistics, and there were quite a few hard Linguistics classes I had to take.
Daniel: I bet, yeah. Well, in this lesson we are going to look at a very important part of grammar called "aspect". The "simple aspect," for example, was used a few times in today's conversation. Jessi, did you notice any examples of the "simple aspect"?
Jessi: Hmm.. let's see, I remember Vicky asked "Do you know her"? And Mike said "I studied for three hours."
Daniel: That's right, "do you know" and "studied" are both examples of the simple aspect. In the grammar focus for this lesson, we will give a different explanation that most students hear in traditional grammar classes.
Jessi: I can't wait. But first …
Jessi: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
The first word we shall see is:
Daniel: What's up? [natural native speed]
Jessi: What are you doing? / How are you?
Daniel: What's up? [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Daniel: What's up? [natural native speed]
couple [natural native speed]
Jessi: two people or two things, a few
couple [slowly - broken down by syllable] couple [natural native speed]
Daniel: guys [natural native speed]
Jessi: two or more men, two or more people (casual)
Daniel: guys [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Daniel: guys [natural native speed]
join [natural native speed]
Jessi: to go somewhere in order to be with a person or group of people
join [slowly - broken down by syllable] join [natural native speed]
Daniel: to study [natural native speed]
Jessi: to spend time and attention to learn something
Daniel: to study [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Daniel: to study [natural native speed]
test [natural native speed]
Jessi: set of questions or problems designed to measure someone's skill or knowledge
test [slowly - broken down by syllable] test [natural native speed]
Daniel: class [natural native speed]
Jessi: series of meetings at school for a topic of study, course of study
Daniel: class [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Daniel: class [natural native speed]
calculus [natural native speed]
Jessi: advanced type of mathematics
calculus [slowly - broken down by syllable] calculus [natural native speed]
Daniel: hard [natural native speed]
Jessi: difficult, not easy
Daniel: hard [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Daniel: hard [natural native speed]
Tell me about it. [natural native speed]
Jessi: phrase to used to say that you understand what someone is talking about because you have had a similar experience
Tell me about it. [slowly - broken down by syllable] Tell me about it. [natural native speed]
Jessi: Let’s have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Daniel: The first word we’ll look at is "guys". "Guy" in the singular, that is, when you are talking about one person, usually refers to a man or a boy, as in - "The guy by the door is my roommate." However, when you use the plural, as in "guys", you can use this to talk about men or women or a combination of them.
Jessi: The next phrase we’ll look at is "tell me about it". As we heard in the definitions, it is a phrase used to say that you understand what someone is talking about because you have had a similar experience, especially if it was a difficult experience. It is an idiom, so it’s not to be taken literally. We are not actually asking someone to tell is the story again.
Daniel: Yeah, they just told us! When you really feel like you understand the feeling of someone's pain, try this expression. Here's an example…
Jessi: Daniel, I'm having a lot of trouble with my computer.
Daniel: Tell me about it! I had to take mine to the repair shop.
Jessi: Remember that this idiom is casual, so be careful about using it in formal situations.
Daniel: Right, but don't be shy about using it in casual situations. It sounds pretty friendly.
Jessi: All right. Let's move on to the grammar point.

Lesson focus

Daniel: The focus of this lesson is the Simple Aspect of Verbs.
Jessi: For example, in the dialog we heard, “That’s a hard class.”
Daniel: Warning! Today's grammar point is a little bit long and challenging.
Jessi: Uh oh!
Daniel: But it's also very useful.
Jessi: Well, then it will be worth it!
Daniel: That's right. OK. Traditional grammar textbook teach that there are 12 verb tenses in English. Jessi, can you name the “12”?
Jessi: Hmm…let me see, I think so. There’s simple present, simple past, simple future, present perfect, past perfect, future perfect, present progressive (which is also called continuous), past progressive, future progressive, and present perfect progressive, past perfect progressive, and future perfect progressive.
Daniel: Wow, I’m impressed.
Jessi: That’s a lot! Thank you! As I mentioned, the “progressive” is also sometimes also called “continuous” because the action “continues”.
Daniel: Right. Well, we will look at each of the "12" over time. However, we are going to try a different way than traditional textbooks. I believe with our way you will be able to understand why we use each form and not just memorize rules for each of the "12".
Jessi: Because no one likes just memorizing rules.
Daniel: Tell me about it! Memorizing vocabulary can be fun, but memorizing rules can be a bit boring. Also, when we start with the "12", you will soon notice that there are so many exceptions to the rules. It will seem like the rules are broken all the time. Listen with us and we will show you a better way.
Jessi: Sounds good. Well, if we are not focusing on tenses first, what are we going to look at in this lesson?
Daniel: In this lesson, our focus is on the simple aspect. We will look at its meaning and also how it combines with the present tense, the past tense, and the future tense. In future lessons we will study more deeply the meaning of each tense.
Jessi: I see.
Daniel: Because all of you are probably already familiar with each one, for now let's just say that the present tense is about now, the past tense is about before now, and the future tense is about after now.
Jessi: For example, today is present tense, yesterday is past tense, and tomorrow is future tense.
Daniel: That example is very useful. So the main idea of the simple aspect is that it is used for events we think of as a complete unit. We are talking about the event like there is no change.
Jessi: But that doesn’t mean that the event can’t change though, right?
Daniel: That’s right. The event could change, but that’s not how we are talking about it. How about an example?
Jessi: Sure. When I say “I live in Los Angeles”, there is no suggestion that I will move soon. The event, I live in Los Angeles, is an unchanging event.
Daniel: Good example. Let's consider how the simple aspect is different from the progressive aspect. How could you give the same information using the progressive form?
Jessi: Using the progressive, I would I say “I am living in Los Angeles”.
Daniel: You are talking about the same event, but, in the second sentence it sounds like the event may change.
Jessi: Yeah, kind of like “I'm living in Los Angeles now, but I am planning to move to New York soon.”
Daniel: OK, good, now let's combine the simple aspect with the verb tenses and see how they work out. As we said before, the present tense is used to talk about now. When combined with the simple aspect, it can be used to talk about habits. So, can we have an example?
Jessi: Sure. For example, “I ride the train to school every day.” It’s a habit because it is something I normally do.
Daniel: Exactly. The simple present can also used to talk about truths that don't change. So do you have another example?
Jessi: “It's cold in January in New York.” This is something that is generally true and doesn’t change.
Daniel: That’s right. Now, was there an example from the dialog?
Jessi: Yes, Vicky said, “That's a hard class”, which is another example of a truth that doesn't change.
Daniel: Calculus never stops being hard.
Jessi: Yeah, tell me about it.
Daniel: So another way the simple present can be used is to talk about states or conditions. What’s an example of this usage?
Jessi: For example, in the dialog, Vicky said, “Do you know her?”, which is a question about a state, the state of knowing Yuki.
Daniel: Also, believe it or not, the simple present can be used to talk about future events as in “I have a meeting tomorrow.”
Jessi: Right, and it can also be used to talk about past events in a story, such as “The detective walks into the room and finds a murder weapon.”
Daniel: Sounds like an interesting story.
Jessi: Doesn’t it?
Daniel: As you can see, the present tense can be used to talk about future and past events also.
Jessi: So, what about the past tense.
Daniel: Let’s take a look. For now we will say that the past tense is used to talk about events that happened before now.
Jessi: OK. For example, when we talk about yesterday, we use the past tense.
Daniel: That’s right. And, we said earlier that the simple aspect is used to talk about an event as a complete unit. So, if an event is before now and also complete, we use the simple past form of the verb. How was the simple past used in the dialog?
Jessi: Well, In the dialog, Mike said “I studied for three hours.” He was talking about last night, so this means that his studying was complete, or that it finished last night. How does the simple aspect work with the future tense?
Daniel: Well, again, as we said earlier, for now we will say the future tense is used to talk about events that have not happened yet or may happen after now.
Jessi: Right, so when we talk about tomorrow or next year, we use the future tense.
Daniel: That’s right. If the future used with the simple aspect, we are talking about an event in a complete sense that may happen after now. What example do we have from the dialog?
Jessi: In the dialog, when Yuki asks Mike if he will join them for lunch, he says, “Of course, I'll join.”
Daniel: That’s right. that was a lot of information!
Jessi: Yes it was!
Daniel: But we think that if you master the aspect and tense
system, your grammar knowledge will multiply!
Jessi: Multiply?! Well, that sounds great. Also, we will review the simple aspect when we talk about each verb tense in future lessons.
Daniel: Exactly. In future lessons we will look at the present tense, past tense, and future tense more carefully. But before we go, I want to share a language tip with our listeners. Jessi
Jessi: Of course! It’s really important.
Daniel: But, it is not the only important part of learning a language. Equally important is NOTICING the form of language. Aspect is not something we can really practice by itself. Opportunities for practice will come when we look at the verb tenses. So if you are aware of the simple aspect, your ability to notice how verbs are used will improve. You will be able to start using new grammar forms and also to catch your own mistakes quicker and to use the correct forms.
Jessi: Wow, that’s a really nice tip! And here’s another tip. Please visit the website and download the PDF for this lesson. There is a full write up of the grammar point there. Well, that just about does it for today.


Daniel: Ready to test what you’ve just learned?
Jessi: Make this lesson’s vocabulary stick by using lesson-specific flashcards in the learning center.
Daniel: There’s a reason why everyone uses flashcards.
Jessi: They work!
Daniel: They really do help memorization.
Jessi: You can get the flashcards for this lesson at
Daniel: EnglishClass101.com
Jessi: OK, well see you next time.
Daniel: Later.


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