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Kellie: A Controversial Topic of English Conversation. In this lesson, you’ll learn more about the present perfect continuous tense.
John: The dialogue takes place in the office, between Lucy and Jessica.
Kellie: Although they are an employer and an employee, they are on friendly terms, so the language will be informal.
John: Let’s listen to the dialogue!
Lucy: Are you catching up on the soaps during work time, Jess? Things really are different at the top, aren’t they?
Jessica: (laughs) Cheeky! No, I’ve been watching last night’s Panaroma programme on BBC iPlayer. They have been discussing the recent report that analysed the benefits of EU membership for Britain and are debunking some of the claims.
Lucy: Oh? Is that the report that said that the EU free trade agreements are a lie and that foreign trade is still frowned upon and taxed when it shouldn’t be?
Jessica: That’s the one. The programme thinks that it was just scaremongering and a propaganda piece commissioned by the Far Right to get the public to demand that we withdraw from Europe. It was written by someone who has an hidden agenda.
Lucy: Does the EU help the banking system?
Jessica: Yes, it does. Having a single currency across most of the continent is a double edged sword though; it makes things easier as everything is in one currency, but it means that both prosperous and struggling countries are EnglishClass101tied to the same value. I’m glad we stuck with the Pound as I’m a bit of a traditionalist at heart!
Lucy: Weren’t you complaining yesterday about having to constantly monitor the Pound to Euro exchange rate?
Jessica: I have been complaining about that for years, but it’s a happy complaint!
Kellie: The main topic of the conversation was the European Union.
John: Yes, it’s a very important topic to any businesses in Europe that want to trade with other countries.
Kellie: Can you tell us a little bit more about the European Union?
John: There are currently 27 countries in the European Union – or EU for short. The EU allows for free movement of goods and people between the countries.
Kellie: Yeah, as a holder of a British passport I can go to, for example, France without the need for a visa, and not be subject to any restrictions on how long I stay.
John: You won’t even get a stamp from immigration!
Kellie: I miss the stamps.
John: Me too! The EU also allows for free trade between the countries so there are no taxes applied, making it a lot easier and cheaper to import from within the EU compared to outside of it.
Kellie: The EU also has its own currency, doesn’t it?
John: The Euro, yes. A lot of EU countries have signed up to this single currency, but the UK never did.
Kellie: We kept our British Pound!
John: We did. It makes it a little more awkward when trading with other EU countries though.
Kellie: As Jessica was complaining about in the dialogue. Jessica was also talking about some criticisms of the EU.
John: Not everybody in the EU loves its existence, and there are a lot of people in the UK who would rather not be a part of it at all. There are even political parties that have leaving the EU as their main aim and policy.
Kellie: I don’t think the EU will be going away anytime soon though.
John: No, neither do I.
Kellie: Ok, 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: soaps [natural native speed]
John: serial dramas shown on TV that are based on the daily lives of the characters
Kellie: soaps [slowly - broken down by syllable] soaps [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: cheeky [natural native speed]
John: to be disrespectful, but in a non-offensive and nice manner
Kellie: cheeky [slowly - broken down by syllable] cheeky [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: to debunk [natural native speed]
John: to expose the lies and falseness of something
Kellie: to debunk [slowly - broken down by syllable] to debunk [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: free trade agreement [natural native speed]
John: an agreement between countries to allow exporting and importing without tax or quotas
Kellie: free trade agreement [slowly - broken down by syllable] free trade agreement [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: to scaremonger [natural native speed]
John: to spread stories that are exaggerated or false to frighten people
Kellie: to scaremonger [slowly - broken down by syllable] to scaremonger [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: propaganda [natural native speed]
John: misleading information intended to influence people who hear it
Kellie: propaganda [slowly - broken down by syllable] propaganda [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: far right [natural native speed]
John: a political allegiance where people believe in the superiority of a specific group or individuals
Kellie: far right [slowly - broken down by syllable] far right [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: double edged sword [natural native speed]
John: something that has both favourable and unfavourable results
Kellie: double edged sword [slowly - broken down by syllable] double edged sword [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 in this lesson is “cheeky”.
John: I love this word! It’s a very colloquial and slang expression, but I think it’s cute! It means somebody who says or does things that can be disrespectful or insubordinate, but there is no malice there.
Kellie: It’s a friendly and positive term, isn’t it?
John: Yeah, it means that the person affected isn’t offended and doesn’t care if it’s disrespectful.
Jessica is laughing when she says it to Lucy and doesn’t take offense at what was said.
Kellie: I was called “cheeky” a lot when I was a child.
John: It’s often used for kids. They are often very cheeky! I love the expression “cheeky monkey” too, which is just an extension of cheeky.
Kellie: Okay, next is “to scaremonger”.
John: This means to spread a story or idea that isn’t complete truth. It can be complete lies or just an exaggeration, but it’s a story that has the result of making people scared, nervous or paranoid.
Kellie: If I said that eating eggs could kill you, that would be scaremongering, right?
John: Unless there was hard scientific fact behind your statement, then yes. In the dialogue, it is suggested that the story has been made up by the Far Right to scare people into believing something that isn’t true - it’s scaremongering.
Kellie: Finally it’s “propaganda”.
John: Again, this is misleading information but it is information spread with the purpose of changing people’s opinions and views. It’s used a lot by politicians and I think the most famous uses of propaganda were during World War II.
Kellie: Yes, the governments spent a lot of time and money on posters and leaflets demonising the enemy, and encouraging the citizens to do their part in the war.
John: Yes, they did.
Kellie :Let’s move onto the grammar.

Lesson focus

Kellie: In this lesson, we’re going to learn about the present perfect continuous form.
John: Okay. Let’s explain what it is first! This is used to describe an action that’s ongoing now, but began before. For example, if it was raining now and had been since yesterday, we could use the present perfect continuous to express that.
Kellie: How do we form sentences using the present perfect continuous?
John: We use “have been” or “has been” and then follow it with the present participle.
Kellie: “It has been raining since yesterday.”
John: Yes! You used “has been” and then the present participle of “rain”, which is “raining.”
Kellie: I also included the specific time – “yesterday.”
John: Yes. Unlike some other tenses, using time expressions does not affect anything. You use the present participle regardless of whether there is a specific time mentioned, a general time, or no time at all.
Kellie: That keeps it simple!
John: It does
Kellie: Let’s hear some more examples.
John: Let’s go back to the dialogue first. Jessica explains that “she has been watching last night’s Panorama programme”. So, she started watching the programme before Lucy spoke to her and is still watching it as she answers Lucy’s question.
Kellie: Let’s hear another.
John: Jessica says “I have been complaining about that for years”. The sentence includes “have been” followed by the present participle of “complain”, and then finished by the time expression “for years”.
Kellie: There is one more from the dialogue – “they have been discussing the recent report”.
John: “Have been” is followed by the present participle of discuss”. There’s no time specified because it isn’t needed and it doesn’t change the sentence at all.
Kellie: Do you have an example with a general time expression?
John: “I have been feeling tired lately”.
Kellie: Is that an example or how you actually feel?
John: A bit of both! Again there is “have been”, then the present participle, and finally the general time expression “lately”. Nothing about the sentence structure changes regardless of whether it is a specific time expression or a general one.
Kellie: I think that we ‘have been’ discussing this grammar point for long enough now.
John: Me too!


Kellie: Alright, that’s all for this lesson.
John: See you next time!
Kellie: Bye!