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Lesson Transcript

Kellie: Hello everyone! I’m your host, Kellie. How Did You Do on Your British University Exams?
John: Hey, I’m John and in this series, we’ll learn about British culture and have some fun at the same time.
Kellie: In this lesson, you’ll learn about using ‘of’ as a possessive and also a little bit about the British university system.
John: This conversation takes place between our main character, Lucy, a business student and her best friend Craig.
Kellie: They’re in Craig’s flat and are best friends so they’ll be speaking casually.
John: Let’s listen to the conversation!
Lucy: Have you checked your exam results yet?
Craig: Yeah. I logged onto the portal of the University just before you arrived and found out my results.
Lucy: And?? I know you needed a good mark in the last exam to get the 2;1 you needed for the postgraduate course. Did you get it, or did those nights in the student union catch up with you?
Craig: No, I just missed it. I’ve been thinking the last few days and I don’t think I want to enrol on that course anyway; I’ve had enough of studying and think it’s time to start earning some money, like you’re planning on doing.
Lucy: You could always resit it? You’d graduate a year later, but you should be able to pick up the extra marks.
Craig: Nah. Time to face the real world and be a proper adult. Get a job, a mortgage… all of those boring responsibilities.
Lucy: You’re going to spend the next few years on the dole, aren’t you?
Craig: Probably. Were your results good?
Lucy: They’re enough for the graduate schemes I’ve been
looking at. Do you want to go to the pub to celebrate the end of our school life?
Craig: Sure! It’ll be good practise for my future years of doing nothing, and your years starting at the bottom for minimum wage.
Kellie: It seems that the British university system is quite different to the rest of the world.
John: Yeah, it is, although a few countries with close links to Britain use similar systems too.
Kellie: So, if I want the best jobs with the best companies and want to earn lots of money, I need to graduate with a First?
John: That’s correct! You’d better work hard though as only around 15% of students achieve a first. That percentage changes from degree to degree. Law has the lowest percentage of firsts.
Kellie: I never wanted to be a lawyer anyway! Maybe I’ll choose an easier degree.
John: A two-one is often good enough to be accepted onto most postgraduate, specialist degrees though, so don’t think that your world has ended if you don’t get that first.
Kellie: I think I might follow Craig’s advice and study in the student union.
John: That’s the easiest way to get a third! Although it’s a pass and you will still graduate with honours, it won’t be enough for most postgrad degrees.
Kellie: Okay. In that case, I think we’d better study some more, so let’s move onto the vocabulary.
John: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word we shall see is:
Kellie: portal [natural native speed]
John: website to check personal information
Kellie: portal [slowly - broken down by syllable] portal [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: student union [natural native speed]
John: informal name for the student bar
Kellie: student union [slowly - broken down by syllable] student union [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: to miss [natural native speed]
John: to not get the result needed
Kellie: to miss [slowly - broken down by syllable] to miss [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: to enrol [natural native speed]
John: to enter a school course
Kellie: to enrol [slowly - broken down by syllable] to enrol [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: had enough [natural native speed]
John: frustrated with the situation, reached the limit
Kellie: had enough [slowly - broken down by syllable] had enough [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: to resit [natural native speed]
John: to take an exam for a second time
Kellie: to resit [slowly - broken down by syllable] to resit [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: real world [natural native speed]
John: informal term for life outside of the school system
Kellie: real world [slowly - broken down by syllable] real world [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: mortgage [natural native speed]
John: the loan used to buy a house
Kellie: mortgage [slowly - broken down by syllable] mortgage [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: on the dole [natural native speed]
John: informal term for being unemployed
Kellie: on the dole [slowly - broken down by syllable] on the dole [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: minimum wage [natural native speed]
John: amount employers must pay their employees – now
£6.19 per hour
Kellie: minimum wage [slowly - broken down by syllable] minimum wage [natural native speed]
Kellie: Let’s start with the ‘real world’.
John: The ‘real world’ is that place where all of those boring adult things such as jobs, mortgages and responsibilities live. If you’re a student you can still have all of those things of course, but it’s university life that takes up the majority of your time. Being a student and living in the real world are two separate things, as Craig states when he says it’s time to stop being a student and head out into the real world instead.
Kellie: Would being ‘on the dole’ be considered part of the real world? That’s another of this
lesson’s phrases.
John: Yes, it would. Britain has a generous benefit system to help people out of work, and
calling it the dole, or saying that you are ‘on the dole’ is a very colloquial way of saying
that you’re unemployed.
Kellie: So it’s slang?
John: Yeah. You’d use it between friends or in more informal situations. It implies not only
being unemployed, but also taking benefits so it can be used in a negative way sometimes if the speaker does not agree with unemployment benefits. Lucy uses it in that manner, slightly, as she feels that Craig could do a lot more with himself than being on the dole.
Kellie: Sounds like a tricky phrase to use.
John: It relies a lot on context and tone, as does a lot of English!
Kellie: Can you give us some examples?
John: Sure! If you say “I’m on the dole” to refer to yourself, then it simply means that you’re
unemployed and claiming unemployment benefits. You’d say that to friends or people in a casual setting such as a pub. If you say “he’s on the dole” to refer to someone else it does mean the same, but if it’s said with a tone of disapproval then it’s a criticism as well as a statement.
Kellie: Ah, I understand! Right, let’s see this lesson’s grammar.

Lesson focus

Kellie: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use ‘of’ as a possessive.
John: Craig said “the portal of the University”, meaning that the portal belongs to the Uni. It functions in a similar way to using an apostrophe ‘s’, as in ‘Harry’s football’ or ‘the school’s results’. It indicates that something belongs to someone, or something else.
Kellie: But ‘of’ and ‘s’ aren’t interchangeable, are they?
John: No, they aren’t. You can say ‘over there is Harry’s football’ but ‘over there is the football of Harry’ sounds weird and is grammatically wrong.
Kellie: Could you say “the parents were happy with the school’s results” as well as “the parents were happy with the results of the school?”
John: Yeah, that example is fine.
Kellie: What’s the difference? Why was your example wrong and mine right?
John: Because it depends on whether the owner is animate or inanimate. Whether it is a living thing such as a person, or a non-living thing such as a school or a building.
Kellie: So we can never use ‘of’ with animate, living owners?
John: You can’t use ‘of’ to describe animate things, so you can’t say that “you like the pretty eyes of Lisa”.
Kellie: I’d have to say that “I like Lisa’s pretty eyes”?
John: You got it! You also couldn’t use it to say what belongs to Lisa. “This is the CD of Lisa” sounds more like it’s a CD that Lisa has made, as if she’s a recording artist, than something she owns.
Kellie: “This is Lisa’s CD” would be correct?
John: Yep.
Kellie: So we never use ‘of’ with animate, living things. Got it.
John: Ahh, but this is the English language we’re talking about so you know that there has to be an exception to the rule.
Kellie: I was hoping there wouldn’t be this time.
John: You can use it to describe a person’s action. It sounds slightly more formal than using an ‘s’, but it’s perfectly fine.
Kellie: Ok. Give us an example.
John: It was my friend’s birthday last week and we went to a restaurant that she chose. So, I can say that “where we ate was Stacey’s decision”. But, I can also say that “where we ate was the decision of Stacey.” Both are fine.
Kellie: Ah, because ‘to decide’ is an action, a verb, we can use either ‘of’ or ‘s’?
John: Yep. The lesson notes have more examples so be sure to check them out.


Kellie: Okay, that’s all for this lesson so be sure to come back next time for Lesson 2. Until then!
John: Bye, everyone!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Thursday at 06:30 PM
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Hi listeners! Have you ever thought about studying in a British University?

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Sunday at 01:47 PM
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Hello Diya,

Thanks for taking the time to comment. 👍

I have to be honest, I'm not sure but I have heard you would need an IELTS score to enter a UK university if you are a non-native English speaker.

Please feel free to ask us any questions you have here or direct to your teacher in the ‘MyTeacher’ feature.



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Saturday at 06:49 PM
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Is it required to take IELTS, TOEFL,CAE, CPE,etc tests to apply in a UK University from India? English is the official Language of India.

EnglishClass101.com Verified
Friday at 09:10 AM
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Hello Monika,

Thanks for writing to us.

This lesson is in the 'Upper Intermediate' level so you should find plenty of lessons at Level 3, and some specifically for 'British English.'

I hope you're enjoying your studies with us and I hope we can help you to achieve your goals.



Team EnglishClass101.com

Monday at 12:25 AM
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I can't find Level 3 British English...

should be here?

thank you for answer,


EnglishClass101.com Verified
Wednesday at 08:49 AM
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Hello Dylan and Guy,

Thanks for taking the time to post and share. 👍

@Dylan - It depends on the test they are taking.

We’re very happy to have you both here.

If you ever have any questions, please let us know! 😉



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Sunday at 02:15 PM
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Is it difficult for a graduate to get a job if he/she get marks below 2:1 in British?

Sunday at 06:10 AM
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My assesments weren't very good I prefer to work on level4


Tuesday at 12:53 AM
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Hi Mikiko,

Thank you for your message.

Regarding the background music, we’ll consider your feedback for our future development.

Please let us know if you have any questions.



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Sunday at 07:15 PM
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BGM is noisy to me. It bothers concentration to study.

Wednesday at 06:28 AM
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Hi Sanjeev,

Thank you for your comment. We are always working on improving our materials, and your opinion is highly valuable!

If you have any questions, please let us know!



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