This episode's vocabulary
- Natter (noun) - a friendly conversation without any particular purpose, or an example of this.
- Competent (adj.) - having the skills or knowledge to do something well enough to meet a basic standard.
- Thrilled (adj.) - extremely happy about something.
- Hold out (phrasal verb) - to continue in a situation that is dangerous or difficult.
- Contingent on/upon sth - depending on something else in the future in order to happen.
- To exploit (verb) - to use someone or something unfairly for your own advantage.
- Head out (phrasal verb) - to go in a particular direction.
- Comparatively (adj.) - as compared to something else.
- To reminisce (verb) - to talk or write about past experiences that you remember with pleasure.
- Anecdote (noun) - a short, often funny story, especially about something someone has done.
- To cooperate (verb) - to act or work together for a particular purpose, or to be helpful by doing what someone asks you to do. (B2)
- Instance (noun) - a particular situation, event, or fact, especially an example of something that happens generally.
- To collaborate (verb) - to work with someone else for a special purpose. (C1)
Questions and Answers
M: Do you like talking to people?
R: I love a good natter, doesn't everyone? Especially if it's about something I'm into, or if people have lots of questions about something I can help them out with. I suppose there has to be some sort of constructive point to it. But generally, yes, I do like talking to people.
M: Do you like being around other people?
R: Usually. Particularly if they're, I don't know, competent or interesting to be around. I doubt anyone's thrilled by being with those who complain about, well, everything and don't hold out any chance of finding a solution. It's just a waste of time that sort of sucks the energy out of the room, doesn't it?
M: Would you prefer to stay alone or with other people?
R: Well, that's contingent on what I'm doing. If I have an essay to write, then I prefer to be by myself. However, I'll be the first to admit that it's better if other people are around, in general, you can share ideas and have a good time, and you probably get more done.
M: Do you like to spend time with friends?
R: Well, doesn't everyone? I don't see the point in having friends if you don't want to hang out with them? Even if it's online, you would ideally still want to be around them. I mean, I can't think of any other circumstance when you wouldn't want to have friends unless it's, I don't know, to exploit them for some sort of purpose. But then they're not really your friends, are they?
M: What do you and your friends do together?
R: Typically for Scotland, and if it's a weekend, then we pretty much head out to a bar or a club. If it's a school night, I suppose it's comparatively team and we'd sit and watch movies, and reminisce, and tell jokes and anecdotes.
M: Do you remember a time when you needed to cooperate with others?
R: Well, I have to cooperate with people all the time since we live in a society, though, if you want a specific instance, then my tutor group at university collaborates on when to have meetings and how to structure our ideas and tasks every week.
M: Thank you, Rory, for spending this time with me answering these deep
R: Philosophical question.
M: Philosophical questions. Yeah. Like, do you like to spend time with your friends? What do you do together with your friends?
R: What a ridiculous question. You should actually, what a great, what a great fixed expression for whenever you get a stupid question like that in your IELTS exam, just say, what a ridiculous question. Of course I do.
R: Who doesn't like spending time with their friends
R: Who hired you? And just go nuts at the examiner.
M: Year, dear listener, an examiner is a person or is like a human being, so sometimes they do understand that some questions are ridiculous. So be natural and react to such ridiculous questions. Like, do you like talking to people? And usually kind of we are okay, talking to people. So, well, yes, you know... But then you can make a joke. You can say like, no, I hate everybody. I'm joking. Yeah, it's fine in the exam, because speaking is natural, speaking is an informal part. So crack jokes. Be natural. Be yourself. Make the examiner laugh. Yeah. So. And if you have some ridiculous questions, like silly questions, do you look to speak down with your friends? Have a laugh together with the examiner.
R: These questions are silly.
M: Yeah, they're very silly. But now they are out there in the IELTS land. So if you take IELTS before January 2022, you can be asked questions about spending time with others. So yeah, that's why we're doing it for you. The question was, do you like talking to people? And you said, I love a good natter, doesn't everyone?
R: Yeah. So there's a lot going on here. From the lexical perspective, if we focus on the vocabulary, a natter. Natter is just like a chat for a prolonged period of time, nattering away.
M: Hmm. So I love a good chat, or I love a good natter.
R: Natter. You're just nattering away. Although natter is like meaningless conversation. It's just like, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Yeah. And then we follow up with a question tag, doesn't everyone. You can't see it, but I'm moving my eyebrows.
M: And it's everyone doesn't, doesn't everyone. Strange. Very strange. Don't we say don't everyone?
R: No. Because it's one. It's like every individual person. So if we're addressing every individual person it's like doesn't he, doesn't she. Oh, although you've missed something, after everyone and then I moved on to into more detail because you can't just like give a short answer to a question for part three, you have to extend it, and so you extend it by saying, especially and then you give a specific example.
R: And we often say like, especially if it's about something I'm into, like, I'm into video games, I'm into reading.
M: I'm into chatting to people, talking to people. I like being around people. So the question was about being around other people. And Rory said, I doubt anyone is thrilled by being with those who complain all the time.
R: Yeah. Although if you want to use the extended version, it's like I doubt anyone is thrilled by the prospect of being with those who complain all the time. So usually, you're thrilled by the prospect. But this is a shorter way of saying it.
M: You can also say that being around people who complain all the time sucks the energy out of the room or out of you, out of somebody else, out of a person. Yeah. So to suck the energy out of something just like it takes your energy.
R: Yeah. How you feel when people complain all the time. How do you feel when you talk to people who complain all the time? And you have a concrete example because I complain all the time.
M: No, you don't.
R: Oh, yes I do.
M: If you do complain, no, if you do complain, it's kind of it's in a nice way. I like it.
R: When? What? Give an example.
M: Oh, yeah, the documents, for example. The visa application. You tell me about a situation, you are not happy about it. But you do it in a kind of like a stylish way. I don't know.
R: Oh, when I complained about... Come, come into our country and do what you like, live here for free.
M: When you complain about a situation, you kind of make it funny, and you crack jokes, and it kind of like makes me laugh, you know? So you're kind of, you're not a negative person you see, Rory.
R: I'm positive, but that is not true.
M: Well, but kind of you have this air about you that you are like positive and you just like, yeah, you accept the situation, and you just have a laugh about it. So that's what I like. So...
R: Oh, what else is there to do? Anyway, let's move on, shall we? Because we've talked about what we're not thrilled by, and that is people sucking the energy out of the room. Oh, we skipped over something, though. In the previous answer, I said, and this relates back to what we were talking about previously, there's got to be some sort of constructive point to it. Now, if you're speaking constructively, or giving constructive criticism, or complaining constructively, it means that you are complaining, but you are doing it to help people or you are seeing it in a way that is designed to find the solution. You're not just saying, well, this is rubbish, and that's all.
M: Yeah. Would you prefer to stay alone or with others? It depends on what I'm doing, or that's contingent. Contingent on what I'm doing. Jesus, this is so strange. Like that depends on what I'm doing.
R: I got bored of saying it depends on.
M: That's contingent. Isn't it a bit formal? I think it's like so formal that you can't really say it in a speaking exam?
R: Why not?
M: I don't know.
R: I said in the speaking exam.
M: Alright. That's contingent on what I'm doing. Sometimes. I prefer to be by myself, to be by myself or on my own.
R: Well, here, look, because some people have problems with saying, like, you know, how you kind of depend or it depends, but she depends. I depend, for example. But it's always that or whatever is contingent on something. So it's a way to around this problem of third person present simple "s".
M: Yeah, that's contingent on what I'm doing. Yeah. Yeah, and then like, if I have an essay to write I prefer to be on my own.
R: Oh, conditional. First conditional?
M: If bla bla bla. Yeah. First condition.
R: Hooray, first conditional.
M: Oh, maybe zero conditional. No, no, it's zero.
R: Is it?
M: Zero conditional. Present and present. Yeah. If I have an essay to write, I prefer to be on my own. Yeah. So zero conditional.
R: Oh, God. Now you're just making up conditionals.
M: Yes. Okay. You can share ideas with other people. You can get things done. You chat to other people. You strike up conversations with other people.
R: Oh, but you get things done. And that's important because first of all, get, causative get. Yes? To get more done. And also, things are done. You don't get things made, you get things done. Let's get this done.
M: Do things. Yeah. You hang out with other people.
R: And I talked about hanging out with my friends.
M: Yeah, that's another way of paraphrasing spend time. Okay, dear listener, even if you don't have friends, yeah. Or if you have very few friends, that's fine. That's okay. You say like, okay, I don't have many friends. But again, a friend in English is just a friend, a friend could be anybody. We have like an acquaintance, a person who is not your close friend. But a friend could be like, any person you know well, and then your best friend, friends or your close friends. Okay, then, what do you do with your friends? In Scotland you head out to a bar or a club.
R: You could just say you head out.
M: Head out to a bar. Head out and go out. Right? Then reminisce. Reminisce.
R: Yeah, you think about times past and enjoy the memory.
M: You remember things, yeah. You watch movies. You binge-watch Netflix, reminisce, tell jokes. anecdotes. Tell anecdotes means like, tell a story.
R: Usually a funny story or a shocking story. There are not many of those in Dundee, to be honest with you.
M: Yeah. So have some activities that you usually do with your friends, if you want to use some cool language. So head out to a bar or binge-watch Netflix TV shows, Netflix series.
R: Do people actually watch TV shows with their friends. Like do they pass comment as they're watching the TV show?
M: Oh, I have no idea. That's a good question.
R: And actually there's an expression for that, like to give a running commentary.
M: As you're watching, yeah. To give a running commentary.
R: I like doing that with my friends. And just like making snide remarks that how awful the actors are, or how terrible the plot is.
M: Yeah, people do it when they watch football. Like you watch a match. And then you make running commentary. Like you're shouting at the football players and the goalkeeper like, no, what are you doing? All these things. Anyway, then Rory, you said that we live in a society.
R: We do live in a society. That's a meme. Have you seen this meme?
M: So here we should use an article. No.
R: We live in a society. Oh, google it.
M: No, shall I Google it now?
R: Yeah, just type in. We live in a society meme. We live in a society.
M: Oh, with Donald Trump dressed as a joker?
R: Well, the whole meme is about living in a society and how crazy it is.
M: All right, anyway. Moving on. Yeah, here an article is okay. So we live in a society we live in a society. And then the question was about cooperating with others. You can also say collaborate with others.
R: You can. Although what's the difference between to cooperate with others and collaborate? Cooperating is working together on a shared goal, whereas collaborating is working together on a goal that isn't really one that you originally had.
M: Oh, the difference, the difference. There we go. Cooperate is B2 level. So collaborate is advanced. Yeah. So that's why in the question, they use cooperate. Yeah, you see, and then in the answer, you go, Oh, I usually collaborate with my tutors or with my colleagues. I have to collaborate.
R: Oh, collaborate with my colleagues, definitely.
R: Well, none of us would be working together if we hadn't been told to. That's not because that I don't like the people in my tutor group. But there are hundreds of people on my course. So you can't work with everybody. Can you?
M: Yep. So cooperate with people, collaborate on a project. I usually collaborate with somebody on something. Okay, wow, what an episode. What an episode. Dear listener, hopefully, you spent a lovely time with us on this hungry episode. And check out our writing podcast. Yeah, we will have Success with writing now, where Rory and I are writing graphs and essays on the spot. So click on the link in the description and do check out our writing podcast. Have some quality time with yourself or with others and with us.
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