Dialogue - English

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Vocabulary

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politics the science and art of government and law-making
in terms of referring to, to talk about a specific characteristic
shall we when used with “let’s” a suggestion to do something
previous the one before
Representative Member of the lower house of the US Congress
Senator Member of the upper house of the US Congress
legislative law-making
intimately very closely
to graduate to finish school
dedicated never giving up

Lesson Notes

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Grammar

The Focus of this Lesson is Irregular Adjectives
It wasn't the best in terms of pay but it was better than my other jobs and gave me a good chance to practice writing about something I liked.


 

There are few irregular adjectives in English. Almost all adjectives follow the simple or complicated rules when put in comparative or superlative form. However, there are a few that do not and the example above shows us all of the forms of "good" (good-better-best). The other irregular adjectives are in a chart below. Be careful when you use them in conversation.

Adjective

Comparative

Superlative

good

better

best

bad

worse

worst

many/much/a lot

more

most

little (few)

less

least

far (physical distance)

farther

farthest

far (abstract distance)

further

furthest

old (when talking about people in a family)

elder

eldest

well (healthy)

better

best

Remember that "elder" and "eldest" and only used when describing family members and that "well" in this case is describing someone who is getting healthy. Also, the difference between farther/farthest and further/furthest is a bit difficult. We use "farther" only when we are talking about an actual distance. We use "further" when we are talking about an abstract concept, often it can take the place of "more."

 

Here are some examples of using these irregular adjectives in sentences:

  1. I used to think spinach was the worst vegetable, but now I think carrots are even worse.
  2. My eldest sister is 2 years older than my elder brother.
  3. New York is far from Washington D.C. but California is farther and Hawaii is the farthest.
  4. I've already told you many times, we don't need to discuss that any further.
  5. "Are you feeling well today?" "I'm feeling better, thanks."
  6. Indonesia has a lot of people but India has more and China has the most.

Cultural Insights

Sell Yourself!



 

Interviewing for a job is a stressful occurrence and varies from country to country and even workplace to workplace. Most interviews are in person, but due to distance, it is increasingly common to hold a job interview over the phone or even via the internet using video-chats. Regardless of with whom you are interviewing, you will want to prepare for your interview by trying to guess what kinds of questions they will ask. Always research the position you are applying for, the skills that it requires, and how you are good for it. In the United States, during a job interview, it is considered acceptable to talk about yourself in a very positive light. Other countries may see this as boasting, but emphasizing your skills while remaining honest is important during a job interview. Think about yourself as a salesperson—you are trying to sell yourself to this company and you have to show them how you are a good purchase.

Lesson Transcript

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Jonathan: In this lesson, you'll listen to a job interview and learn a few common questions you can expect during a job interview in English, and about irregular adjectives in comparison.
Dede: The conversation takes place between our new characters, Mark and Sheila. Sheila is a university student about to graduate and Mark is the boss for a job that she is applying to.
Jonathan: They’re speaking together over the phone during a job interview.
Dede: Since the speakers are discussing a business matter, they'll be speaking formally. Ready to go?
Jonathan: Alright, let’s listen to the conversation!
Dede:

Lesson conversation

Mark: Hello, may I ask who's calling?
Sheila: Hello, this is Sheila, I have a phone interview with this office scheduled for now. Can I please speak with Mr. Mark Cantor?
Mark: Ah, of course. Hello Sheila, this is Mark, it's nice to meet you. Thanks for calling.
Sheila: It's my pleasure.
Mark: All right then, let's get started, shall we? Can you tell me about why you are interested in working at our office?
Sheila: Well, I've been studying politics at university and am graduating this May, I'm looking for a job that has me intimately involved with the legislative process. I'd like to do research, write speeches, and interact with Congressional Members. Working in politics and getting to talk with Senators and Representatives sounds really exciting to me.
Mark: Great, and can you tell me a little about your previous experiences?
Sheila: Well, my most recent job was working at the school's newspaper as a politics columnist. It wasn't the best in terms of pay but it was better than my other jobs and gave me a good chance to practice writing about something I liked.
Mark: Fair enough. What can you say about your strengths and weaknesses?
Sheila: I think that my best trait is that I am very dedicated and driven. However, at the same time, this can be my worst characteristic—sometimes I have a hard time knowing when to quit.
English Host: Let’s hear the conversation one time slowly.
Mark: Hello, may I ask who's calling?
Sheila: Hello, this is Sheila, I have a phone interview with this office scheduled for now. Can I please speak with Mr. Mark Cantor?
Mark: Ah, of course. Hello Sheila, this is Mark, it's nice to meet you. Thanks for calling.
Sheila: It's my pleasure.
Mark: All right then, let's get started, shall we? Can you tell me about why you are interested in working at our office?
Sheila: Well, I've been studying politics at university and am graduating this May, I'm looking for a job that has me intimately involved with the legislative process. I'd like to do research, write speeches, and interact with Congressional Members. Working in politics and getting to talk with Senators and Representatives sounds really exciting to me.
Mark: Great, and can you tell me a little about your previous experiences?
Sheila: Well, my most recent job was working at the school's newspaper as a politics columnist. It wasn't the best in terms of pay but it was better than my other jobs and gave me a good chance to practice writing about something I liked.
Mark: Fair enough. What can you say about your strengths and weaknesses?
Sheila: I think that my best trait is that I am very dedicated and driven. However, at the same time, this can be my worst characteristic—sometimes I have a hard time knowing when to quit.
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Jonathan: Wow, are those the kind of questions that you get during a job interview in the States?
Dede: A lot of the time, yes. These kinds of questions about why you want to apply, your experience, and your strengths and weaknesses are very common for job interviews in the US.
Jonathan: It really sounds like she’s boasting about her skills though.
Dede: Yeah, a lot of people who hear job interviews in the United States feel the same way. In general, it’s perfectly acceptable to talk about your experiences and accomplishments in as positive a way as possible. In a job interview, you are essentially a salesperson; you are selling yourself so you have to convince the company to buy you!
Jonathan: Hmm, I see. And it’s not considered rude to talk about yourself in such positive terms?
Dede: Not at all. But you have to be honest about what you have done and what your skills are. You must never lie about your experiences and skills during an interview.
Jonathan: I certainly wouldn’t want to do that!
Dede: Ready to move onto the vocab?
Jonathan: Sure thing!
Vocabulary and Phrases
Dede: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
: The first word we shall see is:
Jonathan: politics [natural native speed]
Dede: the science and art of government and law-making
Jonathan: politics [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: politics [natural native speed]
: Next:
Jonathan: to graduate [natural native speed]
Dede: to finish school
Jonathan: to graduate [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: to graduate [natural native speed]
: Next:
Jonathan: intimately [natural native speed]
Dede: very closely
Jonathan: intimately [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: intimately [natural native speed]
: Next:
Jonathan: legislative [natural native speed]
Dede: law-making
Jonathan: legislative [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: legislative [natural native speed]
: Next:
Jonathan: Senator [natural native speed]
Dede: Member of the upper house of the US Congress
Jonathan: Senator [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: Senator [natural native speed]
: Next:
Jonathan: Representative [natural native speed]
Dede: Member of the lower house of the US Congress
Jonathan: Representative [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: Representative [natural native speed]
: Next:
Jonathan: previous [natural native speed]
Dede: the one before
Jonathan: previous [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: previous [natural native speed]
: Next:
Jonathan: shall we [natural native speed]
Dede: when used with “let’s” a suggestion to do something
Jonathan: shall we [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: shall we [natural native speed]
: Next:
Jonathan: in terms of [natural native speed]
Dede: referring to, to talk about a specific characteristic
Jonathan: in terms of [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: in terms of [natural native speed]
: Next:
Jonathan: dedicated [natural native speed]
Dede: never giving up
Jonathan: dedicated [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: dedicated [natural native speed]
KEY VOCABULARY AND PHRASES
Dede: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Jonathan: The first word/phrase we’ll look at is....
Jonathan: That’s all of our vocab for this lesson. Let’s take a closer look at some of the phrases from the dialogue.
Dede: Sure thing. The first phrase we'll look at is…
Jonathan: “It wasn't the best in terms of pay”
Dede: Sheila says this about her first job. We can use “in terms of” in order to talk about a specific aspect of something even if it’s not true about the whole. Here Sheila is saying that her job, while interesting, did not pay very well.
Jonathan: Hmm, so in terms of fun while learning a language, EnglishClass101 is the best!
Dede: That’s right! What’s our next phrase?
Jonathan: Mark says “Alright then, let's get started, shall we?”
Dede: Sometimes we can say “shall we?” at the end of a sentence as a way to transition to a new action or topic. We often use it with “Let’s” and then “shall we” comes at the end. We can use it as a very polite imperative.
Jonathan: Let’s continue on to the grammar point then, shall we?
Dede: Sure!

Lesson focus

Jonathan: The focus of this lesson is using irregular adjectives in comparison.
Dede: Now, you probably already know how to use most adjectives, most either follow the “big, bigger, biggest” pattern if they are short or the “beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful” is they are complex.
Jonathan: Right, but there are a few adjectives that don’t follow these rules.
Dede: Sheila says “It wasn't the best in terms of pay but it was better than my other jobs and gave me a good chance to write about politics and government.”
Jonathan: Can you find any irregular adjectives in this sentence? Let’s listen again.
Dede: “It wasn't the best in terms of pay but it was better than my other jobs and gave me a good chance to write about politics and government.”
Jonathan: Did you guess “good, better, or best”? If so, congratulations! You found a very important irregular adjective.
Dede: That’s right, most irregular adjectives are ones that you probably already know- like good, better, best or many, more, most. If you want to review these adjectives, check out the lesson notes for this lesson.
Jonathan: What about less common irregular adjectives?
Dede: There aren’t very many, but one important one is “far”.
Jonathan: Oh yeah… Far… farther… farthest?
Dede: Yup! When we are talking about physical distance we use farther, or farthest.
Jonathan: Hmm, so let’s take the examples of Hawaii, California, New York and Washington, D.C. to illustrate this.
Dede: OK! New York is far from Washington D.C., but California is farther, and Hawaii is the farthest.
Jonathan: I see.
Dede: We have to be careful though when we are talking about non-physical distances or abstract concepts with “far”
Jonathan: Ok… how so?
Dede: Well, in that case, we don’t use farther and farthest, we use “further” and “furthest”
Jonathan: Oh – like how?
Dede: let’s say I’m falling behind in my Math class, then I can say I’m falling “further and further” behind the rest of the class. It’s the same idea as farther, but because it’s not physical distance, we use “further”
Jonathan: OK, that’s a bit complicated but I think I understand.
Dede: Don’t worry too much about it – even many native speakers don’t know the difference between farther and further.
Jonathan: Phew! What about other irregular adjectives?
Dede: Well, this one is easy, when I have a sister who is older than me, what’s she called?
Jonathan: Uhh… Your elder sister.
Dede: Exactly! When we talk about family members, we don’t say older or oldest, we say elder or eldest!
Jonathan: Oh yeah!
Dede: There are a few more irregular adjectives but we don’t have time to talk about them right now. If you are interested in studying them… further… check out the lesson notes!
Jonathan: Haha, thanks for listening and we hope you can join us soon for Lesson 2!
Dede: Take care!
Jonathan: See you soon!