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Lesson Transcript

Jonathan: Jonathan here.
Dede: And I’m Dede! Are you Running Late in the United States?
Jonathan: In this lesson, we’ll listen to a conversation between Mark and Sheila in a conference room at the office.
Dede: Sheila has shown up late to an important meeting and Mark is not too happy about it.
Jonathan: Because it is a serious topic, Sheila especially will be speaking very formally.
Dede: Let’s give it a listen!
Jonathan: Indeed!
Mark: So nice of you to finally join us. Please sit down
Sheila: I’m sorry! The bus was late and I didn’t make it to the Metro station in time.
Mark: Please don’t let it happen again.
Sheila: It won’t. I promise.
Mark: I hope you at least have that memo that I asked you to prepare.
Sheila: Of course. It’s right here. [pause] Oh my goodness! My roommate was sick this morning and I was distracted. I must have left my briefcase at home.
Mark: Save the excuses, we’re fortunate this time because we had someone else researching it that can write it quickly, but please be more vigilant in the future.
Sheila: I’m so sorry, sir. I’m such an idiot.
Mark: It’s OK. To err is human. Just try and be more careful next time.
Sheila: Of course.
Dede: Yikes, Mark sounds pretty angry at Sheila… Of course, Sheila did make two mistakes so I guess I understand.
Jonathan: That’s true, it’s important to remember how to act and what to say in English when you have made a mistake or if someone has made a mistake by you.
Dede: Right. Even though he was a bit angry, Mark then was kind of soft towards Sheila.
Jonathan: Exactly. Usually in the United States, simply apologizing and stating a reason for your mistake is enough to be forgiven.
Dede: Hmm… So if I’m 5 minutes late?
Jonathan: Yeah, you just need to say something like “Oh sorry I’m late, my train was delayed.”
Dede: And that’s enough of an apology?
Jonathan: Usually it is. But for something bigger, it is often a good idea to try and explain what steps you will take to ensure that it will not happen again.
Dede: Ah, so if I have been late to a meeting twice in a row because I over-slept, what could I say?
Jonathan: Haha, well I hope that doesn’t happen! But if it does, it would be good to give a plan to show how you will avoid it in the future, like getting a new alarm clock, or going to sleep earlier the night before.
Dede: I see! I know, let’s do a quick role-play to show one more example of what you could say when apologizing.
Jonathan: Okay!
Dede: Hey Jonathan! Here’s your coffee..... oh no! [insert sound of cup being knocked over]
Jonathan: Hey, you spilled it all over me...
Dede: I’m sorry, I knocked the cup over by accident.
Jonathan: Hmm…
Dede: I promise I’ll be more careful next time.
Jonathan: That’s OK. We all make mistakes.
Dede: Speaking of which…
Jonathan: Let’s move onto the vocab!
Jonathan: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
Dede: The first word we shall see is:
Jonathan: memo [natural native speed]
Dede: a memorandum, a short document informing recipients on a specific topic
Jonathan: memo [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: memo [natural native speed]
Next is:
Jonathan: to prepare [natural native speed]
Dede: to write (when talking about a document)
Jonathan: prepare [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: prepare [natural native speed]
Next we have:
Jonathan: briefcase [natural native speed]
Dede: a professional bag used to carry documents
Jonathan: briefcase [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: briefcase [natural native speed]
Next is:
Jonathan: distracted [natural native speed]
Dede: not focused, not paying attention
Jonathan: distracted [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: distracted [natural native speed]
Next we have:
Jonathan: vigilant [natural native speed]
Dede: aware, careful, paying attention
Jonathan: vigilant [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: vigilant [natural native speed]
Next is:
Jonathan: to err [natural native speed]
Dede: to make a mistake
Jonathan: err [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: err [natural native speed]
Next we have:
Jonathan: idiot [natural native speed]
Dede: a stupid person, a fool
Jonathan: idiot [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: idiot [natural native speed]
Next is:
Jonathan: excuse [natural native speed]
Dede: explanation for mistakes or bad behavior
Jonathan: excuse [slowly - broken down by syllable]
Jonathan: excuse [natural native speed]
Jonathan: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Dede: The first word/phrase we’ll look at is....
Dede: “Save the excuses”
Jonathan: This is a somewhat harsh comment for Sheila. Mark is telling her that he does not want to hear the reasons why she failed at her task. We can say “Save the something” to tell someone not to tell us things we don’t need or want to hear. Again, this can be considered kind of rude, so never use it for a superior and be careful when using it so you do not offend someone.
Dede: Got it. So ready to move onto the next phrase?
Jonathan: Well, first, what do you think about this weather today?
Dede: Hey, Jonathan, save the small talk, let’s hear the next phrase.
Jonathan: (laughing) OK, OK! The last one we’ll talk about is…
Dede: to err
Jonathan: to make a mistake
Dede: In the dialogue, Mark tells Sheila “To err is human.” after she made a mistake.
Jonathan: This is a much softer comment by Mark after being harsh with Sheila earlier. A common idiom in English is “To err is human, to forgive divine,” meaning that everybody occasionally makes mistakes, but it is good for us to forgive others when they make errors. By saying even just the first part of this saying, Mark shows that he forgives Sheila for her mistakes.
Dede: That makes sense. I think I will have to use that a lot with you…
Jonathan: Probably. Want to move on to the grammar?
Dede: OK!

Lesson focus

Jonathan: The focus of this lesson is explaining reasons without using conjunctions.
Dede: That’s right, Sheila says “I’m sorry! The bus was late and I didn’t make it to the Metro station in time.”
Jonathan: Often when we are constructing excuses, reasons, or arguments, we use connecting words like “because”, “on account of”, or “As a result of”. However, these types of words are not always needed.
Dede: This is especially true of spoken English, when simply listing your reasons in a logical order is sufficient to explain. Like Sheila did.
Jonathan: Sometimes, this makes your verbal statement clearer and more logical. Here are some examples of excuses using connecting words, and then the same ideas without them.
Dede: Instead of saying…
Jonathan: On account of the bus being late, I missed my flight.
Dede: We could say…
Jonathan: The bus was late and I missed my flight.
Dede: Or instead of saying…
Jonathan: Because we didn’t have enough time and the budget was too small we couldn’t finish the project.
Dede: It would be better to say…
Jonathan: We couldn’t finish the project. The budget was too small and we didn’t have enough time.
Dede: Sometimes, using a conjunction like because can make us seem like we are trying to make excuses for our behavior. By not using a conjunction it is more clearly just a rational statement of reason.
Jonathan: This kind of direct and logical speech is useful in a business environment.
Dede: We often use this when we are apologizing for a mistake. It’s very appropriate to use this structure when apologizing. Let’s think about a situation where you are working on a project but the costs of your materials rose so you won’t be able to finish with the original amount of money.
Jonathan: In this situation, we could report the problem by saying…
Dede: I’m sorry, we won’t be able to finish the project with the current budget. Material costs rose and we can’t afford it with the old amount.
Jonathan: Or if you have an important meeting with a client but one of your co-workers can’t come because he’s sick, we could say…
Dede: Unfortunately, James won’t be coming in today. He’s out sick with the flu.
Jonathan: This is a pretty easy thing to do with your sentences. Just separate your apology and reasons into clear, direct statements for maximum effect.
Dede: Good luck using this structure!


Jonathan: Well that wraps it up for this lesson. As always, thanks and we’ll see you soon.
Dede: Take care!