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Lesson Transcript

Kellie: Describing Your First Day on the Job in English.
John: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use passive voice to describe events in the past.
Kellie: The conversation takes place in the office, and is between Lucy and Jessica.
John: They are employer and employee, but have a friendly relationship, so they’ll be speaking informally.
Kellie: Let’s listen to the conversation!
Jessica: So, how was your first day, Lucy? Did everyone take care of you?
Lucy: Yes, thank you. Everyone has been so nice!
Jessica: What did you do today? Tell me.
Lucy: I was shown around the building in more detail. Unfortunately, I don’t think I can remember where anything is yet but I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it shortly! I was taken to the staff canteen. Everyone told me to avoid the fish at all costs.
Jessica: It’s okay if you like some fish with your salt! The cook can be a little heavy handed with the salt sometimes so yes, it’s best to avoid it, especially if you’re on a diet.
Lucy: I was given my desk and ID card this afternoon. The photo on my ID card is horrid though. I don’t want to show it to anyone!
Jessica: (laughs) They always are! It’s like passport photos; I think there’s some unwritten law somewhere that everyone has to look like a drunk zombie in all ID photos.
Lucy: Probably (laughs). Bad ID photo aside, I’ve really enjoyed today and I think that I’m going to enjoy working here.
Kellie: So, this is Lucy’s first day in her new job.
John: Yeah. I bet she must have been nervous! I think the first day can be more nerve wracking than the interview sometimes.
Kellie: Why’s that?
John: Well, you get to know more about the company you’re working for. You’ll be introduced to your colleagues and bosses and it’s important to make a good first impression.
Kellie: Is there much work on the first day?
John: Not usually! As well as meeting the other employees, you need to be shown around the building. If it’s a big office, that could take some time!
Kellie: Lucy mentioned in the dialogue that she was given her ID pass. I think it really is true that all identity photos are horrible and make you look ill. My passport looks like a different person.
John: Mine too! As there is a photo on her ID pass and she may have needed to sign it, they couldn’t have done that in advance. She may have been given security passes as well.
Kellie: And her desk!
John: The desk is most important. If she’s lucky, the office will let her personalise her desk and she can put a photo of John on there, if she wants! I think that when you have your own desk, you start to feel like you are part of the team.
Kellie: It’s your space, right?
John: Yeah, it’s the place where everyone knows where to find you. Lucy’s next few days on the job will probably be training days where she learns the tasks she needs to do. It’s often a stressful but exciting time as you’re learning new things all of the time.
Kellie: I hope she does well! Let’s move onto the vocab now.
John: Let's take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson.
The first word we shall see is:
Kellie: take care of [natural native speed]
John: to look after, to support
Kellie: take care of [slowly - broken down by syllable] take care of [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: get the hang of [natural native speed]
John: to get used to doing something after practise
Kellie: get the hang of [slowly - broken down by syllable] get the hang of [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: staff canteen [natural native speed]
John: the food hall for employees to eat. Also known as a cafeteria.
Kellie: staff canteen [slowly - broken down by syllable] staff canteen [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: to avoid [natural native speed]
John: to not come into contact with, to stay away from
Kellie: to avoid [slowly - broken down by syllable] to avoid [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: heavy handed [natural native speed]
John: clumsy, awkward
Kellie: heavy handed [slowly - broken down by syllable] heavy handed [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: ID card [natural native speed]
John: a piece of identification that usually shows photo, name etc
Kellie: ID card [slowly - broken down by syllable] ID card [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: horrid [natural native speed]
John: awful, terrible, something very bad
Kellie: horrid [slowly - broken down by syllable] horrid [natural native speed]
John: Next
Kellie: unwritten law [natural native speed]
John: a social custom that everyone understands and accepts
Kellie: unwritten law [slowly - broken down by syllable] unwritten law [natural native speed]
Kellie: First we have “to get the hang of”.
John: This is an informal but common phrase. It means to be able to do something well after practising it. Starting a new job, as Lucy has, is a perfect example.
Kellie: Because she wouldn’t know the procedures of what’s expected of her yet, right?
John: Right. She’ll be trained in those first few days, but she’ll probably still be unsure and slow at the job in the beginning. Then, after doing the job for awhile she’ll become more comfortable and able to do it. She’ll “get the hang of” it.
Kellie: Is the practice part of the definition important?
John: Yes. There has to be an aspect of not being able to do the task to begin with. If someone is struggling with something new, we can tell them that they will “get the hang of it”. In this scenario, it’s an encouragement and we’re saying that we believe the person will be able to do whatever they are struggling with.
Kellie: Okay, let’s move onto “heavy handed”.
John: This has a few similar but different definitions depending on the circumstances. In the dialogue, it refers to the chef being “heavy handed” when salting the food. In this case, it means that the chef is being clumsy and putting in too much salt.
Kellie: That’s not good for a chef!
John: No, it isn’t! If someone often breaks things we can call them “heavy handed” too.
Kellie Finally, we have “unwritten law”.
John: Again this has a few different meanings, but in casual conversation it refers to something that always happens and is expected. It’s something so frequent and unusual that there may as well be a law that makes it happen.
Kellie: The example in the dialogue refers to the bad ID photos.
John: Yes. Have you ever seen a good ID photo?
Kellie: No, I haven’t. They’re always terrible and I think everyone expects that.
John: Exactly! It always happens that they’re bad and everyone knows that – it’s an unwritten law.
Kellie: Right. Now it’s time for the grammar.

Lesson focus

Kellie: In this lesson, you’ll learn how to use the passive voice to describe past events. Hmm, I always thought that it was best to avoid the passive voice.
John: It’s best not to over rely on it, but it certainly has its uses! Take the dialogue in this lesson for example – Lucy was telling Jessica about what she’d done that day so she had to use past tense, as it was actions that had already happened. She chose to use passive sentences instead of active ones, because they didn’t need to be active. The emphasis was on the actions, not who had completed them.
Kellie: Can you give us an example?
John: Sure! Lucy says “I was shown around the building in more detail”. It’s not important who showed Lucy around the building so she was able to use the passive voice. It’s a big office that Lucy works in so Jessica may not even know the people that showed Lucy around. Using their names is irrelevant here.
Kellie: I guess that if Jessica doesn’t know them it could confuse matters.
John: It could. The important thing to remember with the passive voice though, is that we do not use the past tense of the verb. It’s the past participle. Lucy couldn’t have said “I was showed around the building” as that uses the past tense and would be incorrect.
Kellie: Is the past participle always different to the past tense?
John: No, in a lot of cases it’s the same. “I stopped the car” is active and “the car was stopped” is passive but they both use “stopped” as the past tense and past participle of “stop” is the same.
Kellie: Can you give us another example where the past tense and past participle are different?
John: Okay. How about “I drew the picture”?
Kellie: That’s active, using the past tense “drew”.
John: Yes, the past tense of draw is drew. So, how about “the picture was drawn”.
Kellie: Ah, that’s passive, so the past participle of “draw” is “drawn”.
John: That’s correct! Always remember that passive is past participle.
Kellie: I’ll do my best!


Kellie: Ok, that’s all for this lesson, see you next time, everyone.
John: Bye!