Advanced English Listening Practice – Conversational American English
Learn some useful conversational English so you sound more native!
In this Phrase Builder video from a Master English Conversation lesson set, you’ll learn some useful SPOKEN English – as well as how to pronounce these great words and expressions, so you express yourself more like a native English speaker!
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Here’s the transcript of the video:
Well, hello, and welcome to this month’s Phrase Builder lesson. It is a pleasure to welcome you back if you’ve been with us for a while, and hello if you are new. This month I have another exciting lesson, something different that we haven’t really talked about before. But I thought it would be a lot of fun to sit down with my younger sister, Emily, who has joined us on the program before. And just talk about camping, which she and I both enjoy doing, though I haven’t really done so much of it lately.
Anyway, so we’ll be talking about not only just some interesting camping things, and you’ll see that in the conversation. Uh, but in this lesson, we’ll be talking as usual, uh, just about some of the shorter words and even longer words and then phrases and expressions that you’ll find in the conversation that are not specifically related to camping. But it will prepare you for the conversation. Then, in the Fluency Corner lesson coming up next, we will talk more about that, and I’ll explain more about the specific things, uh, related to camping and outdoors and other things like that. So, let’s get into the lesson.
First, we have upstage. To upstage someone. Now, this is a phrase, or actually a word, excuse me, from the theater. Uh, so if you think about being on a stage, like, being upstage or downstage, how close you are to the audience. So, when you’re upstaging someone, you don’t have to be in an actual play or some theater thing to do this. This just means to take attention away from someone else because your performance is better in some way.
Now again, this idea just comes from the theater. But let’s say you’re in a conversation, or even if you’re at some kind of business meeting and you’re talking with other people around you. Uh, but your boss maybe is supposed to give a presentation, but you, maybe you’re, like, just an employee or, uh, working under your boss in some way. But you give a really good presentation or explain something that your boss couldn’t explain. So, you upstage him. So, you’re taking attention away from him and, usually, doing something better. Uh, although he might be mad at you for doing that or she might be mad at you for doing that, uh, but this is to upstage someone. To take attention away from someone else just like in a conversation. Uh, but typically, it’s when maybe you’re not expected to be doing that. To upstage someone.
Next, to enlighten someone. To enlighten someone. To bring light to someone just means to help them understand something. So, if you want to sound more intelligent, and it’s still a conversational thing you can say as I do use it in an everyday conversation with my sister. Uh, but it’s a more intelligent way of saying, “Oh please, tell me how to do something,” or, “Please explain to me something.” So, instead of doing that, you replace that with the more intelligent sounding enlighten. So, please enlighten me. So, give me light. Kind of, if you think about when you’re not knowing something, you are in the darkness. Like, you are in a cave, and you can’t see. So, you need understanding or light. So, enlighten me. Please enlighten me. Tell me what I’m doing wrong. Enlighten me.
Next, related to this, we have retain. To retain something. Now, the typical thing you can use in a conversation is remember, and this is perfectly fine. But if you want to sound a bit more educated, you can say retain. So, you can say, “I don’t remember much of what I learned in college.” Or, you can sound a bit more educated and say, “I don’t retain much of that.” So, I don’t remember much of that. I don’t really retain that information, or I haven’t retained that information that I learned in college.
Again, it’s the same meaning, just to remember something. Retain also means, in a basic sense, to hold something. So, you might have, uh, like, a river, uh, and you put a dam there. So, that dam might be called a retaining wall. So, you’re stopping the water, and the water starts to pool up and make a little lake. So, when you’re trying to make a dam, that’s what you do. You have a retaining wall to stop something from moving, so you hold that information. To retain.
Next, one of my favorite words, stickler. A stickler. Now, this is a perfect example. I’ll give you one from real life that just happened to me. So, when I come here for my recording studio time, uh, I come here almost every week because I record lots of videos. And when I come here, I have to sign in every time. So, I show the staff, and they know who I am, almost everybody. Uh, but some people they don’t, they don’t make me show my little receipt that says, yes, I have a reservation for today because they have a record of it, and I’m really the only foreigner that’s coming here to do this anyway.
So, most people know who I am, but one guy, in particular, he was saying, “Hey, can you please, you know, show me your receipt.” And I said, “Really, you guys are pretty strict today.” And he’s like, “Well, you know, it’s a rule.” So, I showed him the receipt, and it’s not a big deal to show the receipt. But I was just saying, “Well, you guys know who I am, right?” I mean, I’m, I’m the same guy coming every week. There’s no confusion here.
Uh, and just like at a restaurant or something, you would expect maybe they know you, and they give you maybe slightly better treatment. Or, you know, they don’t make you follow the rules as closely.
Anyway, a person who is a stickler is someone that always follows the rules even if they don’t really have to. So, this guy is a stickler. A stickler. So, he’s sticking to the rules in that way. A stickler. A stickler.
Next, solitude, another ‘s’ word. Solitude. You’ve probably heard this before, but listen carefully for it in the conversation. The solitude of nature and solitude just means you are alone like solo. Solitude. So, solo, meaning by itself, and we have solitude from this same idea. So, solitude. I like to enjoy solitude. Right now, in my recording studio, I have solitude. So, I have, uh, it’s very peaceful. No one else is here. I can just enjoy having a conversation with you and enjoy my solitude. Solitude.
Next, accessible. Accessible. Now, you probably know this word already. To access something means to enter it or to get it in some way. So, you might have access to a building, or I might have, uh, access to certain information on a computer. If I’m working at a company, you might have different levels of access like top-level access or something.
But you can say something is X accessible like wheelchair accessible if you’re talking about you’re able to use a wheelchair for this. So, there might be a ramp to get into some buildings. So, that building becomes wheelchair accessible. So, listen for this, accessible, in the conversation. So, Emily is talking about when we go into a park, there are some places that are not accessible for, for people driving in cars. So, it’s not car accessible. It’s only accessible by walking.
Next, dedicated. Dedicated. Listen carefully to the pronunciation. Dedicated. Dedicated. Dedicated just means you care a lot about doing something, and you’re very focused on that, and you want to make sure you complete that object. So, I’m very dedicated to helping people learn. That’s why we’ve been doing this for over six years now. We have over, I can’t believe it, over six years of lesson sets that we’ve been producing. So, I’m very dedicated. Every month I’m continuing to help you improve. And the learners that follow the lessons each month as well, those dedicated learners, the people dedicated to improving their English are the ones who get fluent. Dedicated.
Next, we have a couple of words related to each other. In the conversation, I’m speaking with my sister about what I think is the quality of camping equipment that is maybe different from what we had when I was a kid. So, we’re talking about, uh, the ways we describe different materials. And so, we talk about durable, sturdy and flimsy. Durable, sturdy and flimsy. So, we’ll talk about all three of these things.
Durable means it lasts for a long time. So, if I buy something, like a new car, it’s going to last me, you know, many, many years. Now, a lot of companies are producing things that are not very durable. And this means that they’re producing something with the hope that it breaks or breaks down quickly, so that you have to buy a new version of that thing. So, it becomes, uh, less, uh, well, it’s basically just less, less valuable and less durable. So, you can’t use it as long over time.
And the business term for that, although you don’t need to remember this, is planned obsolescence. Planned obsolescence. So, it just means businesses are intentionally trying to produce something that’s not very good quality, so that it breaks and then you have to get a new version of that thing. To keep spending, keep buying more things.
So, next, we are talking about flimsy. So, we have durable, and now flimsy. Flimsy means it’s kind of bendable. It doesn’t really, um, kind of stay in the same shape that it should be. You can move it easily or bend it or flex it. And typically, when something is flimsy, we talk about that as being not very good quality.
So, if we want something sturdy, which is the opposite of that, we want something strong like this. I have a sturdy chair, and not, like, a flimsy one that can bend like this. So, if you take a credit card, you can bend it. Uh, if that card is really thin, then it’s usually very flimsy like a piece of paper. It can move around easily, and it’s not very sturdy. So, durable, sturdy and flimsy.
Next, you’ll hear Emily talking about specialized gear. Now, gear is just a term for any tools or equipment that you might be using. But this is one of those things where you sound much more native if you’re asking about instead of equipment, you talk about gear. So, you can say, “Hey, I bought some new camping gear.” Or, “I bought some new gear for my band,” you know, maybe some microphones or electronic cables or something like that. But it’s, it, it’s the exact same thing as tools or equipment, but you’re just talking about it in a more casual and conversational way. Gear, gear.
Next, massive. Massive. If you think about mass as maybe having some kind of space or size. We’re talking about the weight of something. How much pressure there is to that thing. Lots of different ideas connected with mass. Uh, but if you want to talk about massive, it just means something that’s really big. So, I might have a big problem, but I can sound even more native and conversational, or I just wanted to say the problem is really big by just saying it’s massive. We have a massive problem at the office. We’re losing sales, and customers are really angry at us because we did something stupid. And so now it’s a big problem. Massive, massive.
Next, another word you’ve probably heard before, but I recommend you use it, is spectacular. Spectacular. There are really interesting ways of improving your language and very small ways. You can do this just by changing a few words. And instead of using something like good or great, you can start using a bit more interesting language like wonderful. Or, something that’s not as frequently used, spectacular. So, something that’s wow, it’s amazing.
You’ll often see this for movies or a Broadway musical. Something that has a lot of dancing, and it’s just an amazing thing to see. So, more than great or amazing, you can say spectacular. That’s just an amazing thing that you saw. Wow, that thing was spectacular. And my sister is talking about this as the great views she sees when she goes camping and is in places like Yosemite National Park. And so, this is a place, wow, it’s just spectacular views and beautiful mountains and flowers and all of those things. Spectacular.
Next, to startle something. To startle something. If you just think of the idea of start like moving very quickly. So, you’re beginning something, you’re starting something. So, to startle something is to get that thing moving quickly. So, if I’m walking in the woods, and I startle a bear. So, a bear is maybe sleeping next to the path I’m walking on, and the bear wakes up. I startled the bear. Or, if I walk into an office, uh, and someone is standing there, and I don’t notice them and then they say, “Hello.” I say, “Oh, you startled me.” You startled someone. So, you, to startle someone, again, just means to maybe get them excited. They notice, and usually, they move in almost a fearful way. To startle someone.
Next, impenetrable. Impenetrable. Now, this is another longer word that you can look at the pieces of it. So, ‘im’ meaning the opposite of being able to do something. And then we have ‘penetrate,’ to go into something. So, the opposite of being able to enter something. Something is impenetrable. Impenetrable. So, you cannot penetrate that thing. You cannot enter that thing in some way. So, you might have a castle that has, uh, like, the, the walls are really well protected, and no army can get into that castle. So, that castle is impenetrable. Impenetrable.
And you’ll hear my sister talking about this as maybe a bit more… She’s using this as an exaggeration. So, she’s saying, “Well, some of the parts of a forest are impenetrable.” Now, you probably could get in there if you had, you know, some saws and knives and other things to cut through the plants. Uh, but in general, we can just describe this as impenetrable. Impenetrable.
Next, an enthusiast. Enthusiast. Now, to be enthusiastic about something just means to be excited about it. I’m very enthusiastic about teaching. So, I’m always excited when I get into the studio and can record these lessons. So, I am a teaching enthusiast. And an, an enthusiast, enthusiast. So, you can be a baseball enthusiast or a soccer enthusiast or a jazz music enthusiast. It just means someone who appreciates or likes or really likes even a particular thing. Enthusiast. Enthusiast.
Next, to activate. To activate something. This is another word you’ve probably heard before, but again, it’s a way of making you sound a bit more… Well, it’s, it helps you sound more native and natural but also more educated. So, instead of saying to turn on something, you can talk about activating it. But, just be careful. Activate was usually used for more technical kind of things, like, you have to activate a machine. Uh, but in a casual conversational way, you can just say turn on the machine.
So, we don’t say for the lights in a room, we don’t activate the lights. Uh, you might activate lights if you’re working at a studio. Like, if you have, uh, some equipment or you’re at a theatre, and you have lots of different lights and there’s more power. We might call that activating. But really, you’re still just turning something on. To activate something. Activate.
Next, your itinerary. Itinerary. And itinerary is what you have, it’s just a more complicated way of saying a schedule or a list of things you have to do. So, we’re on a trip, and I say, “What’s our itinerary?” So, what are the things we’re planning to do today? I’m going on a trip to Brazil, and our itinerary is we are going to go to Rio de Janeiro. And we’re going to go to Sao Paolo and, like, other places like that. Uh, and I don’t really know much about Brazil. I’ve actually never been there, but that’s why I need an itinerary. So, I need someone to explain to me what exactly we’re doing. Itinerary. Itinerary.
Next, a temptation. Temptation. Now, listen carefully because the ‘p’ is in this word. We can say temptation. Temptation. But people typically know what this word is, so we just say temtation. Temtation. The ‘p’ is basically silent. Temptation. A temptation is something that is pulling you towards it. It is tempting you. Like, maybe you have a, uh, love of chocolate or other sweet things, and you see something. Wow, that looks really delicious. It is tempting you. So, it’s pulling you here. It’s trying to get your attention and say, “Please eat me. Please eat me.” And, in this way, this becomes a temptation. So, a temptation. Anything, maybe you’re on a diet, and you’ve got some delicious food at your house. But oh, I don’t want to eat that. I, I know I shouldn’t, but I really want to. That food is a temptation. So, if you’re on a diet, it’s best to remove those temptations from your house. Temptation.
Next, admirable. Admirable. Admirable means you can admire something about someone. So, if I say, “Wow, that person is a really brave soldier.” Or, “That’s a, like, a really smart businessman that’s very hard working.” These are all admirable qualities. So, things you can admire about someone. That’s admirable.
Or, you can also talk about when someone does something good, and you’ll see this in the conversation. Like, maybe it’s not perfect, but it’s admirable. So, you appreciate what they’re trying to do even if they don’t succeed at something. Or, you just want to support someone or encourage someone. Yeah, that’s very admirable. So, maybe you, uh, like, you do something bad. You lied about something, but then you confessed, and you told the truth. So, you’re still in trouble, but you still confessed. So, that’s admirable. Admirable.
And the last of our individual words is metaphorical. Metaphorical. Now, listen carefully. Again, the pronunciation of this, we don’t say metaphorical, at least not in American English. We say medaphorical. The ‘t’ becomes more of a ‘d’ sound. Medaphorical, medaphorical. Now, a metaphor is just a comparison between two things. You’re trying to say that one thing is like something else.
And in the conversation, I’m talking about, uh, having Emily climb a physical mountain. So, the metaphor of that is the mountains that she might climb in her career. So, you might have, like, instead of a physical mountain, you might want to, like, if you’re a professional athlete. The mountain you’re trying to climb is winning the championship for your sport, whatever that is. So, that’s a, uh, metaphorical mountain. It’s a metaphor.
Now, another word that’s connected with this that you don’t hear in the conversation is simile. Simile. Now, a simile is a connection with something, again in the same way, but using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’. So, if I say, “He was as fast as lightning.” I’m making a connection, a comparison, between saying, “Wow, that person was really fast like lightning.” Or, “He was as big as a tree.” So, this is a simile. I’m connecting something. It’s like a metaphor, but I’m just specifically using the words ‘like’ or ‘as’.
Now, let’s move onto the longer phrases and expressions for this month. There are quite a lot of them, so I hope you enjoy this part of the lesson. The first one is camera shy. Camera shy. Now, I am not camera shy right now. I really enjoy being in front of the camera, and it’s a lot of fun, uh, in the same way that I enjoy teaching people live when I actually have some students I can work with personally. But when I began, I was quite camera shy. And if you go back to the YouTube videos I created a few years ago, uh, the original YouTube videos did not have me in them. It was just information on a screen because I was camera shy. Camera shy.
Next, nothing wrong with that. Now, listen to this pronunciation and the way I’m, the, the intonation I use for this. Nothing wrong with that. Nothing wrong with that. You can also say there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s nothing wrong with that. Now, this is a way of almost agreeing with someone, or yeah, it’s, it’s basically agreeing with someone. Uh, or you’re saying maybe a person is describing something. They’re saying, yeah, I, I, like, I went and, you know, got a job doing this thing. And maybe it’s not as great as I wanted it to be, but you’re like, yeah, that’s, that’s, that sounds, that sounds good. There’s nothing wrong with that.
So, I’m saying it’s okay that you can do something. I’m agreeing with that person, or I’m just giving my support for that person. So, wow, there’s nothing wrong with that. And again, there’s nothing wrong with that is typically used for something that’s average and okay. So, in the example I just gave about a person, maybe they’re 50 years old and they think, wow, I wish I had a better career. But they had a pretty good one. I can say, wow, there’s nothing wrong with that.
Or, I can use that as almost a joking way for maybe a friend of mine says, “Hey, I just married a model.” Like, a famous model, and I say, “Wow, there’s nothing wrong with that.” So, I’m, he knows I mean, like, wow, that was an amazing thing. But I’m almost using it in a joking way. There’s nothing wrong with that because it’s so obvious that, wow, he, he made a good decision because he married a model or, you know, did something else that was amazing. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Next, on occasion. On occasion. Now, this is a more intelligent and educated way of saying sometimes. Now, you could use the word sometimes, and that’s perfectly fine for conversations. But if you want to take your language to the next level, it’s all these little things. Again, you’re changing one word here, one word there, and that, wow. Not only does it make you sound more native, but it also makes you just sound more intelligent. And really, that’s going to be more impressive to other people you’re speaking with.
So, on occasion, I like to go to the zoo. Or, on occasion, at work, I will be doing something. So, occasionally is the same thing, but it’s, uh, on occasion is a little bit more, maybe a little bit more educated, a little bit more advanced than just saying occasionally. So, again it’s basically the same thing as sometimes, or occasionally, but it just sounds a bit stronger, a bit more impressive when you’re speaking. On occasion. On occasion.
Next, that’s an exaggeration. That’s an exaggeration. Now, I mentioned the word exaggerate earlier. I’m talking about to exaggerate something. Meaning, like, wow, like, he was as big as a house. Now, I don’t actually mean the person was as big as a house. So, I’m exaggerating, but I’m saying that, you know, the guy was pretty big, and I’m trying to paint a more interesting picture for you. So, if you’re talking about exaggerating or you can say, “Well, that’s an exaggeration.”
You’ll hear this in the conversation, and you will hear this often maybe in movies or raver, uh, regular, everyday conversations when people are speaking. And they’ll say, they’ll explain something, and they’ll say, “Wow, it was, like, we… There was so much rain, and there was almost a flood.” And then they say, “Well, that’s an exaggeration, but…” something. And typically we use this if we, if we actually want to communicate some important information or, or want people to know the truth. So, I begin, I’m excited telling a story. Say, “Wow, there was so much rain. There was almost a flood.” And people are listening, like, “Wow. Is everyone okay?” I say, “Well that, that’s an exaggeration, but there was still a lot of rain.”
So, this is a phrase you can use if you begin, you kind of get people interested in a story. But maybe you get excited, you get carried away. This is another great phrasal verb where you’re talking about being pulled by a story. Like, wow, I’m getting carried away. I’m telling this story about this amazing thing that happened. But, I think I’m getting it, I’m getting excited. I’m exaggerating. So, that’s an exaggeration, but… And then you begin explaining maybe a more kind of simple, or the accurate thing, what really happened. That’s an exaggeration.
Next, every something counts. Now, this is a really great thing you can use in conversations, or you’re talking about in a professional setting where, uh, as an example I could say, “Every, like, every dollar we earn counts.” So, we shouldn’t be thinking about, like, it’s, it’s important to focus only on sales from over here. We don’t really care about sales from this department or something. Every sale counts. So, to count means it’s important. It matters. There’s a reason for it, and because of that, like, it’s a thing that we should be thinking about. So, every little bit counts or every little bit helps or every little bit makes a difference.
So, if I’m going out and I’m getting, maybe, money from some people. If I’m asking for donations, you’ll hear this a lot. Um, so if, if, if people are coming to me and they say, “I’m sorry. I only have 25 cents,” or something which is not very much money. And they say, “I only have 25 cents.” I say, “That’s fantastic. Every little bit counts.” So, every little bit helps. Every little bit is important. It doesn’t matter if it’s $10,000 or 25 cents. We want all of that, so we can help, you know, for our cause or whatever we’re getting donations for. Every little bit helps. So, every X helps, or every X counts.
Next, here’s a really fantastic phrase, in my X days. So, in my camping days, in my baseball playing days, in my, my youth, uh, but you’re talking about specific days as when I was doing a particular thing. So, when I was in college, like, in my college days or in my college years. You can use that as well. Uh, but this sounds a bit more interesting and educated and really just more poetic. And this is what I’m trying to help you do. Not only learn to communicate fluently as basic speech, but how you can sound more interesting and colorful and impressive when you speak, so that you can really just, again, you’re impressing people. And you’re actually communicating in a more interesting way, uh, that really captures people’s attention.
So, when you’re just saying, “I went to the store yesterday.” That’s perfectly fine, but if you can say, uh, like, “I went to this really interesting thing.” And you can describe it in detail and use similes and metaphors and all of that. So, that’s why you could say, “When I was in school.” That’s perfectly fine in a conversation. But you sound more educated and impressive and you can say, “In my school days.” Or, in my baseball playing days, or in the conversation you’ll hear, “In my camping days,” like, when I was camping. So, that’s something again you do. Uh, you maybe don’t do now, but you did, uh, many years ago, uh, or just some time in the past. But you’re describing that as in my working days or my camping days. Or, you can say days or years even.
Next, I want to explain something that’s important for casual conversational speech, but maybe you shouldn’t use it very often, but again, it’s better than using, uh, something in your native language. Like, a filler word, like, ‘um’ or ‘uh’ in English is better than using a filler word in your native language. Uh, so this is if I’m trying to explain something, you’ll often hear native speakers, especially Americans, use the word ‘like’. And they’re saying, like, when I did this. And they’re not using it as the actual formal definition of like. It’s a filler word. It’s a placeholder.
So, I’m, I can’t think of something. So, when I was, like, in school, you don’t really want to speak like that. But again, it’s better than using filler words in your native language. If you can stop using yourself like that, uh, or stop, uh, using that in your conversations, then that’s ideal. But you will hear it a lot, and so I want to prepare you for that in conversations because a lot of people do speak like that. And you will hear me, and my sister as well, uh, using the word like in this way.
So, you can say, like, how when something. So, people will hear, you’ll hear a couple different words like this. Listen for this in the conversation. If I’m explaining something, uh, you can use it correctly when you say, “You know how when you do something.” You know how, like, when, or you know how, like, how. You’ll hear people use these different combinations of, you know. Uh, so, ya know, or you know how when I’m trying to explain someone. Like, you know, like, you know what I’m talking about because I can’t quite explain it well. I’m looking for a connection with someone, like, “Ah! I can’t quite explain it, but you know what I’m talking about.” You know what I’m talking about.
And you’ll see this in conversations when people are, they’re trying to make a connection with someone. They’re trying to explain something but can’t quite find the words. And I know this is a problem for a lot of learners, but it’s something that happens in native speakers all the time. So, you can say, you know how when you’re doing something. So, I give an example. You know how when you’re, you’re out riding your bike, and, uh, maybe you’re not paying attention and a car almost hits you. So, you, you give an example of that. You’ll see this in standup comedy in America and other countries as well when people say, “You know how when you’re doing something?” They’re, they’re trying to get you to connect with, uh, a particular experience without really having to explain that. So, you know how when or you know how, like, you’re doing something.
Next, a close call. A close call. You can also call this a close encounter, or a close shave. So, if I’m shaving really close, it just means I get the hair as close as possible to my skin. It’s a close shave or a close call.
Now, this is something and related to this we also have in a more serious way, a life or death experience. It was a life or death experience. Like, uh, like, almost, uh, like a life-changing experience because I almost died. Like, a near-death experience. A near-death experience.
And in these ways, all of these things are describing where maybe something almost happened to you. There was almost some problem. You almost got attacked by a bear or bit by a snake or something, but you were saved. So, maybe, uh, some lightning struck, like, three feet from me. And I thought, wow! I was almost struck by lightning, but I actually wasn’t. So, I was safe, but almost. So, it was a, it was a close shave. It was, uh, uh, almost, uh, a near-death experience. So, I thought I was going to die, or I thought there was going to be some problem, but I was safe.
Next, a great phrasal verb, to go down. And to go down is a more conversational way of saying that something happens. So, if I ask someone, “Hey, what happened at the party?” I could say in a more casual and conversational way, “What went down at the party?” Or “What went down at the office?”
Now, typically this is not a professional way of describing this, but even at an office when you’re talking with someone in a casual conversational way, you can say, “Oh, what went down at the meeting yesterday?” So, I’m talking with a friend of mine, he’s a colleague at work, and we can communicate in a casual conversational way. But maybe my boss, I wouldn’t talk about that. Or, if I’m giving a presentation or selling something, unless it’s a casual situation, I probably wouldn’t do that. But it’s a great way of de, describing something happening in a casual way. What went down, or what’s going down tomorrow.
Next, to have your wits about you. Now, we, you can talk about something being around you or about you. It just means near you in some way, uh, and this just means we’re taking a physical idea of having something near you or about you or around you. But we’re talking about your wits. And having your wits about you just means you’re, you’re smart and you’re ready to, to think and to react to something if there is a problem.
So, if I’m camping and I’m walking around, I’m listening to music. Uh, I’m maybe going out traveling in the woods, and I, I, I’m not really paying attention. I’m not paying attention to what’s happening around me. I don’t have my wits about me. So, maybe a bear can jump and grab me, and then, oh no! I, I, I had no idea because I wasn’t listening for the bear. To have your wits about you. To have your wits about you.
Next, who can say? Who can say? Now, who can say is a great response you can give someone when they say, “Well…” Maybe something happened, or we don’t really know or we’re guessing about something. Like, which do you think would better? Like, we’re, like, who would win in a fight? Like, Superman, or, you know, some other superhero or something. And maybe you don’t really know. You know, their powers are pretty similar, and there really is no answer for it. You could say, “Well, who can say?” It just means, well, I don’t know, or maybe we can guess about something. But we don’t really know. Who can say? Who can say?
Next, when you’re talking about groups of people, especially when you’re camping or you’re going to a restaurant, you can talk about a party of something. So, a party of two, a party of three, a party of four, and again, it just means a group, but it’s a more elegant way, a more advanced way of describing that group.
So, when you go to a restaurant, uh, usually at a, at maybe, like, you know, like, an, an everyday restaurant that’s not very expensive, they would just say, “How many people in your group?” or “How many people?” “How many?” even. You walk in, they say, “How many?” And they, they’re meaning how many people are in your group. And you say, “Oh, you know, just me.” Or, you know, there’s two of us or something.
But at a more fancy restaurant, so a nicer place, a fancier restaurant they would say, “How many in your party?” How many in your party? And again, it just means, like, you’re not having an actual party. They just mean how many in your group. And it’s the same thing with camping. So, there’s a party of 20 people traveling, you know, somewhere. So, on the news, you’ll see this sometimes if people are, are camping somewhere and there’s a disaster. Like, uh, there’s an avalanche, and all the snow falls down and covers the people and they need to rescue them. On the news, you’ll hear there was a party of 20 people, and they were doing something. So, there was a party of people, but it means the same thing as a group.
Next, to turn up. To turn up. Now, this is the exact same thing as just to appear, uh, but you’ll hear this as a phrasal verb in a more casual and conversational way. If you think about a card, like, right now I have, maybe this is a table in front of me, and I turn the card over like this. You can also call this turning a card up. So, you’re showing the face of the card and not the back of the card. So, I’m turning the card up, and you can say, “What turned up?” So, it just means you found something or something appeared, or you could see something that you could not see before. So, when something turns up.
So, I was out looking for my keys, or maybe I lost something and a friend of mine says, “Hey, did your keys turn up?” Did your keys turn up, or did something turn up? It just means were they visible. And it just means could you find that thing. To turn up. To turn up.
Next, legit. Legit. This is something I’ve covered on the conversation before, but it does appear a lot in conversations, and it’s quite casual. So, you wouldn’t really use it at an office. But legit just means it’s legitimate. So, that’s the longer word. So, legit is the shorter version, and this just means if it’s accurate or true or real. Maybe if I go out to a store and I don’t really know is this a real Rolex watch? Is this watch legit, or is this a fake? So, I can’t really tell. So, I’m asking someone is this a legit watch. Is this a real one or a fake? Legit. Legit.
Next, no joke. No joke. Now, this is another one where you’re saying you’re not messing around with something. And to mess around, that’s another great phrasal verb, where you’re joking in some way or you’re not being serious. You’re not doing what you should be doing, so you’re messing around or you’re playing around. And I say, well, something is no joke. It just means you have to treat that thing with care and respect.
Like, if I am maybe carrying some expensive vase for some reason, and a friend of mine says, “Hey, don’t drop that. That’s no joke.” If you drop that thing, there’s going to be, you’ll have to pay a lot of money or something. So, I’m, okay, I’m very serious. And I want to make sure I don’t drop that thing. No joke. No joke.
And the last of our words and expressions for today is multifaceted. You also hear this as multifaceted. When you hear the word multi, multi means many. Like, you have a multiple, or you want to multiply something. But you can hear it as multi or multi. It doesn’t really matter, but you will hear that as both. So, having a facet, a facet just means, like, a face of something. So, maybe you look at the facets of a diamond, what the different faces are on that diamond. Uh, but the facets of something, it could mean the physical faces of that thing or the, the different sides of it in a more metaphorical kind of way.
So, you could describe a person as being multifaceted or multifaceted, or an experience as being multifaceted. Like, you can go camping, but you learn lots of different skills like survival skills and physical fitness things and mental training. And you learn lots of whatever, but, like, the training is multifaceted.
Or, a person is multifaceted, so that person has maybe some interesting hobbies, or they like doing lots of things. Maybe they do business, but they also maybe they do children’s birthday parties as a clown or something, you know, whatever. Uh, but you’re talking about someone being multifaceted like they have many faces. And that just means, again, they can do many different things, or they have an interesting collection of different par, personality traits or something like that. Multifaceted or multifaceted.
Well, that’s it for the Phrase Builder lesson. I hope you have enjoyed it. Do go back, as always, and remember there are a lot of lessons in each lesson set. So, you can focus on just a few things if you like. Maybe you prefer the Phrase Builder to something else, and you can get through the Grammar Focus lesson very quickly. That’s perfectly fine. You don’t have to go through the, the schedule strictly. You don’t have to be a stickler. I know a lot of people like to. They want to follow the system, but really, I want you to design the system, so it works for you. So, we give you as many lessons as you need. But again, if you can go through something and you master a grammar point very quickly, then move on to the next thing. And focus on things that you need more time with, especially this vocabulary. So, that way you can prepare yourself for the Master Class lesson.
Well, I will see you in the Fluency Corner lesson coming up next. I hope you have a fantastic day. Go back and practice, and I’ll see you then. Bye bye.