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Kellie: Does Class Affect Your Job Prospects in Britain? In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use infinitives.
John: The conversation takes place in the office, and is between Lucy and Jessica.
Kellie: They are an employer and employee, but they are on friendly terms, so they’ll be speaking informally.
John: Let’s listen to the conversation.
Lucy: It’s been a year since we graduated from university and my best friend still has yet to find a job.
Jessica: What’s the problem? Is he failing at the interview stage?
Lucy: He’s completely unmotivated and isn’t even applying for jobs. When I ask him about it, he gives a list of excuses. His latest excuse is that because he’s working class, nobody will employ him.
Jessica: (pause) I don’t think that’s relevant. An employer isn’t going to know purely by looking at an applicant whether they’re working class or not and anyway, it’s not an employment criteria.
Lucy: That’s what I said. Everyone in our neighbourhood is working class as it’s a working class area. And most people have jobs and are working hard, myself included!
Jessica: The founder of our bank came from a working class family. He started at the bottom as a cashier at a bigger company, worked his way up the ranks and then left to start his own bank. You need to tell your friend that.
Lucy: I won’t hesitate to tell him!
Jessica: I may have had more opportunities and support because I was middle class, but I still had to work hard to get where I am. It’s not a golden ticket to success.
Lucy: It doesn’t matter how many opportunities someone has if they’re as chronically lazy as he is. If he had a golden ticket to success he’d be too lazy to cash it in.
Kellie: The dialogue touched upon something that is a significant and distinctly British thing, I think.
John: Yes, British society has always been divided by class. It really isn’t as evident as it was in years gone by, but it still lingers and causes problems.
Kellie: Let’s explain the classes a little.
John: There are no set definitions of the classes, and it’s possible to drift between them or even consider yourself to belong to more than one. The middle classes are especially hard to pin down. Probably the easiest to define is “working class”.
Kellie: This is literally the class of workers, right?
John: Yes, but a specific type of worker. Mainly unskilled and semi-skilled workers that do manual jobs. They don’t usually have much higher education but work hard and keep the country running.
Kellie: Okay. And the next class?
John: The middle class are those with more skilled jobs, such as management or IT. They live in the suburbs and may have some investments too.
Kellie: That leaves us with upper class, right?
John: That’s right. This is the class with immense wealth or hereditary titles. It’s a very small class, and most people in the UK will either be working class or middle class.
Kellie: The type you’d find in a Jane Austen novel.
John: Pretty much!
Kellie: Thanks for the explanation. Now let’s move on to the vocab.
John: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. The first word we shall see is:
Kellie: interview stage [natural native speed]
John: part of the job application process
Kellie: interview stage [slowly - broken down by syllable] interview stage [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: relevant [natural native speed]
John: connected or appropriate to the matter at hand
Kellie: relevant [slowly - broken down by syllable] relevant [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: working class [natural native speed]
John: describes those who work in lower tier jobs, measured by skill, education and lower incomes (often in manual or industrial work)
Kellie: working class [slowly - broken down by syllable] working class [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: middle class [natural native speed]
John: in-between the working and upper classes, usually living a comfortable but not excessive lifestyle
Kellie: middle class [slowly - broken down by syllable] middle class [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: employment criteria [natural native speed]
John: the qualities employers look for when choosing an employee
Kellie: employment criteria [slowly - broken down by syllable] employment criteria [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: chronically [natural native speed]
John: lasting for a long period of time, or a habit or behaviour that happens for a long period of time
Kellie: chronically [slowly - broken down by syllable] chronically [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: golden ticket [natural native speed]
John: a quick and easy way to achieve something
Kellie: golden ticket [slowly - broken down by syllable] golden ticket [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: to cash in [natural native speed]
John: to exchange something such as a ticket or voucher for something else, usually more substantial
Kellie: to cash in [slowly - broken down by syllable] to cash in [natural native speed]
John: Let's have a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson.
Kellie: Our first new vocab item is “interview stage”
John: The process for employing new staff is becoming more complicated, and with bigger companies, it can involve several stages before an offer of employment is given. There can be paper applications, telephone interviews, and assessment centres to check skills. The interview stage refers to the actual face-to-face interview.
Kellie: The scariest stage of the process!
John: Oh, interviews aren’t that bad. They can be difficult for some people though, which is probably why Jessica asks if that’s where Craig is having problems. I prefer interviews to assessment centres anyway!
Kellie: While we’re on the subject of employing new staff, our next item is “employment criteria.”
John: These are the qualities employers look for when they employ new staff. Maybe they need somebody with certain experience or qualifications – if people don’t meet the criteria of that experience and qualifications, then they probably won’t get the job. As Jessica says, something such as social class shouldn’t be an employment criteria. It’s more skills and experience.
Kellie: The first step to getting employed is being the kind of employee they want.
John: Exactly.
Kellie: And finally we have “golden ticket.”
John: This idiom refers to an easy and quick way to achieve something that is otherwise impossible or very difficult to achieve. Success takes a lot of hard work to achieve, so “a golden ticket to it”, as Lucy refers to, would be very nice!
Kellie: It comes from the book ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’, doesn’t it?
John: It does. The chocolate factory run by Willy Wonka had been closed to the general public for decades, but Wonka ran a competition where he hid golden tickets in chocolate bars. Anyone who found one would be able to visit the factory. The golden ticket allowed them do something they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do.
Kellie: Thanks. Let’s move onto the grammar now.

Lesson focus

Kellie: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use infinitives.
John: Infinitives are a wonderful thing. Like gerunds, they allow you to use a verb as if it was a noun, so that it can become the subject or object of a sentence.
Kellie: What form do infinitives take?
John: They are the verb in its pure, dictionary form. They often include the particle “to”, so “to walk”, “to talk”, “to drink” are all examples of infinitives.
Kellie: Do you have examples of them being used as nouns?
John: Of course! In the dialogue, Jessica says “you need to tell your friend that”. In that sentence, “to tell” is the object of “need”. There is also “I won’t hesitate to tell him!” where again, “to tell” is the object.”
Kellie: We learnt about gerunds in a previous lesson. They can also be used as nouns, right?
John: They can. Sometimes gerunds and infinitives can both be used with a bit of sentence restructuring, but there are a few occasions where infinitives are preferred.
Kellie: Tell us about them.
John: Let’s go back to the second example from the dialogue – “I won’t hesitate to tell him”. With a verb such as “hesitate”, it should always be an infinitive that follows, not a gerund. There are a few other verbs such as “offer”, “promise” and “want” that also need an infinitive. “I want sleeping” makes no sense, whereas “I want to sleep” makes perfect sense.
Kellie: “I promise to listen to your advice” versus “I promise listening to your advice.”
John: Yes, the infinitive is correct.
Kellie: Any other instances?
John: When answering “why” questions, infinitives sound better. When answering “why did you come early?” it’s best to answer with “To get here first” rather than “getting here first”.
Kellie: What about “Why did you stop?”
John: I could answer with “looking at the pretty scenery”, but doesn’t that sound wrong?
Kellie: Yeah, the gerund definitely sounds wrong there. It should be “to look at the pretty scenery”.
John: Yes, it should. “Why did you come here?”
Kellie: “Because I wanted to get here first”.
John: Yes. That sounds a lot better than “because I wanted getting here first.”
Kellie: Let’s hear some more infinitives.
John: “Offer” is one of those verbs that needs an infinitive to follow it. “I offered to go instead of her” is correct, but “I offered going instead of her” is incorrect.


Kellie: Ok, I think that’s all we have time for this lesson. Make sure you check the lesson notes, and we’ll see you next time!
John: Bye!


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Friday at 06:30 PM
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Hi listeners! What's the job you always wanted to do?

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Thursday at 07:35 PM
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Thursday at 07:33 PM
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