Learn New Words FAST with this Lesson’s Vocab Review List

Get this lesson’s key vocab, their translations and pronunciations. Sign up for your Free Lifetime Account Now and get 7 Days of Premium Access including this feature.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Notes

Unlock In-Depth Explanations & Exclusive Takeaways with Printable Lesson Notes

Unlock Lesson Notes and Transcripts for every single lesson. Sign Up for a Free Lifetime Account and Get 7 Days of Premium Access.

Or sign up using Facebook
Already a Member?

Lesson Transcript

Kellie: It’s Time for Some British Team Building!
John: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to make comparisons.
Kellie: The conversation takes place in the office, and is between Lucy and Jessica.
John: They are employer and employee, but are on friendly terms, so they’ll be speaking informally.
Kellie: Let’s listen to the conversation!
Jessica: It’s the May Day bank holiday soon and for the last few years we’ve used it as an opportunity for team building exercises.
Lucy: Oh, team building? What type of exercises?
Jessica: This year we’re planning a couple of days away in the Lake District. We usually schedule some training seminars and also some light hearted activities. Have you ever been to the Lake District?
Lucy: Only as a young kid but I don’t remember much about it. I only remember seeing all of this big, open countryside and thinking how much bigger and more beautiful it was compared to the cramped city I lived in.
Jessica: Yes, it is very relaxed and has a much slower pace than what we’ve become used to here. It’s the perfect place to get away from the office for a few days and build team relations.
Lucy: I like the sound of that. The last few weeks at work have been hectic, a slower pace sounds good right now.
Jessica: I thought you’d say that. A few days of peace and quiet instead of noise and deadlines are just what the doctor ordered!
Lucy: Can we go tomorrow?
Kellie: Ah, so they’re planning a work holiday for the May Day bank holiday.
John: Yeah, I’m not sure how popular that would be in the office. There really aren’t that many public holidays in Britain compared to most other countries.
Kellie: It’s not unusual for some workplaces to remain open on bank holidays though.
John: No, it isn’t. Shops and pubs usually are, and even some offices are beginning to take advantage of the extra day.
Kellie: Staff are usually well rewarded for working the public holiday though.
John: Yes, they are. Either they’ll get a day of in lieu, so they can take the holiday on a different day of their choosing, or they may get extra pay. Double pay if they’re lucky and if not, it’ll just be a few extra percent.
Kellie: The holiday of May Day is pretty traditional, isn’t it?
John: It is! You don’t see many May Day traditions in the cities unfortunately, but out in the countryside in the smaller villages that still keep some traditions, you will see it.
Kellie: Can you tell us about those traditions?
John: Well, there will be a Maypole – that’s a very tall pole that has multi-coloured ribbons attached to it. People take hold of a ribbon and dance around it. They also choose a woman from the village and crown her as the May Queen.
Kellie: There’s a lot of traditional dancing involved with May Day celebrations, isn’t there?
John: There is.
Kellie: Check it out if you can, listeners. And now let’s move onto the vocab.
John: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word we shall see is:
Kellie: bank holiday [natural native speed]
John: the most common name for a British public holiday, so called because the banks close
Kellie: bank holiday [slowly - broken down by syllable] bank holiday [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: team building [natural native speed]
John: an activity with the purpose of making colleagues work together better and become closer friends
Kellie: team building [slowly - broken down by syllable] team building [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: young kid [natural native speed]
John: slang term for a young child
Kellie: young kid [slowly - broken down by syllable] young kid [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: slower pace [natural native speed]
John: more relaxed and calm than normal
Kellie: slower pace [slowly - broken down by syllable] slower pace [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: cramped [natural native speed]
John: something that doesn’t have much room or space
Kellie: cramped [slowly - broken down by syllable] cramped [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: team relations [natural native speed]
John: the relationships and bond between the members of the team
Kellie: team relations [slowly - broken down by syllable] team relations [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: hectic [natural native speed]
John: extremely busy
Kellie: hectic [slowly - broken down by syllable] hectic [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: what the doctor ordered [natural native speed]
John: something that will make people feel better or be good for their health
Kellie: what the doctor ordered [slowly - broken down by syllable] what the doctor ordered [natural native speed]
Kellie: Our first vocab item is a phrase that I think has become very important in the business world over the last few years – “team building”.
John: Yeah. A lot of employers are spending time and money on activities that their staff can do together in order to build inter-team relationships and friendships.
Kellie: What kind of activities?
John: It can be anything. An office I used to work in gave us all paper, sellotape and straws and challenged us to see who could build the strongest bridge. It was completely unrelated to the work we did, but made us communicate and work together.
Kellie: Was your bridge strong?
John: No. It fell apart when the first weight was put on it! Some companies will take their staff out for scavenger hunts or orienteering exercises, as Jessica suggests in the dialogue. Anything the team can do together.
Kellie: Next we have “slower pace”.
John: That’s a common term for something that’s more relaxed and more easygoing than what you have currently. It’s used a lot to describe lifestyles. People can say that they are leaving the city to live in the countryside as they want to live a slower pace of life.
Kellie: But we can use the phrase for anything, right? Even things such as TV programmes can be described as slower paced.
John: That’s right.
Kellie: Finally we have the idiom “what the doctor ordered”.
John: This is anything that makes you feel better or more relaxed. Of course, it can be used to refer to what a doctor would actually recommend such as a nice holiday if you’re stressed, but it can also be used for things that a doctor wouldn’t recommend.
Kellie: Yeah, a nice cold pint after a hard days’ work probably isn’t what a doctor would recommend but we can say that it’s “just what the doctor ordered”.
John: If it makes you feel better, then yes you can! Jessica thinks the break in the countryside, away from the office is what the doctor would order.
Kellie: Right. Let’s move onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Kellie: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to make comparisons.
John: Yes. There are two main systems for comparison, and it’s important to know which one to use, as it involves conjugating adjectives.
Kellie: Let’s start with the conjugations.
John: Okay. To compare using some adjectives we change the end of the word – the suffix. If we want to say something is a little more than we use the suffix “-er”, such as in “bigger” or “smaller”. If we want to say it is the most, we use the suffix “-est”, such as in “biggest” or “smallest”.
Kellie: Any examples from the dialogue of this in use?
John: Lucy is comparing the countryside to the city and she says “how much bigger” it is. She changed the adjective “big” into its comparative form of “bigger”. I’ll give you another example - “this flower is prettier”.
Kellie: But you can’t do that with every adjective, can you? We can’t do that for an adjective such as “intelligent” for instance.
John: No. We need to use the second system for some adjectives. The rule is that adjectives with one syllable, like “big” and “small” use the suffix “er”. If the adjective has three or more syllables we use the particle “more”. In this case, the adjective stays as it is, so we’d say “more intelligent”. “She is more intelligent than me.”
Kellie: “This report is more difficult to research than the last one.”
John: That’s it!
Kellie: And if it’s two syllables?
John: It can be either a suffix or a particle. You just have to learn the difference!
Kellie: Okay I’m sure you have a dialogue example for us for a three-or-more-syllable adjective.
John: Of course! Again, Lucy is comparing the city to the countryside and says the countryside is “more beautiful”. She uses “more” as she can’t change the suffix of beautiful.
Kellie: So we have two systems that serve the same purpose. Is there a trick to knowing which to use?
John: The general rule is that it depends on how many syllables the adjective has. One-syllable adjectives such as “big” or “tall” use the suffix system.
Kellie: How about words with more syllables?
John: If they have three or more, such as “beautiful” and “intelligent” then it’s “more” and “most”.
Kellie: And two syllables?
John: They can be either. That’s just a case of learning which is which, unfortunately!
Kellie: Yeah, unfortunately. I think English can be more complicated than it needs to be sometimes.
John: Good use of a comparative adjective there.
Kellie: Thanks! I do try. Can you give us another example?
John: “The sales are higher this month than last month”. The adjective “high” has one syllable so it becomes “higher”.


Kellie: Okay. Thanks for the explanation. That’s all for this lesson, so see you all next time.
John: Bye!