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Describe a story you remember someone told you

Part 2

This episode's vocabulary

  • To recall (verb) - to bring the memory of a past event into your mind, and often to give a description of what you remember.
  • To endure (verb) - to suffer something difficult, unpleasant, or painful.
  • Poignant (adj.) - causing or having a very sharp feeling of sadness.
  • To recount (verb) - to describe how something happened, or to tell a story.
  • Resonant (adj.) - making you think of a similar experience or memory.


Questions and Answers

M: Rory, tell us, everything.

R: Well, I'm a teacher. So people tell me stories every day. The most recent one I heard was in a training session that we had for university. And the presenter was showing us how to do a task that would create a poem based on a memory. And she gave us an example by telling us about a memory from her childhood, and it was specifically of being home with her parents. And she recalled the smell of her mother's handbag and perfume. It sounds unusual, but that's part of the reason why I remembered it. She also described her feelings in the moment and the sounds of sitting in the living room and hearing her mother in the kitchen and her father working in the garden. And of course, she followed up with the sight of both of her parents doing what they were doing, and how that looked to her young eyes. Since children have no concept of chores and why they might be important in the house. She explained that this was a story she had told before at a conference, and someone asked why she focused on that particular memory. And the presenter replied, it was because she wished her parents were still there, as they passed on many years ago. And this was her, well, enduring memory of them. So that was quite a poignant moment. And it was very touching. I think even a few participants were crying as well, or they wept openly. It was quite, well, I was quite touched myself, as it was quite something for a professional to share that with her students, people that she barely knew. And it made me think about my own family, and how I will feel after they are gone. And indeed, how my future family might remember me and what sights, and sounds, and smells they might recount for others. I certainly hope that something is memorable and emotionally resonant is what I experienced in that training session. And I doubt I'll forget it for as long as I live.

M: And do you like stories in general?

R: Oh, yeah, I love stories!

M: Thank you very for your answer!



M: Yeah, so when you describe a story, you remember someone told you. First of all, it's like somebody who told you this story, and you remember it. So what can our listener talk about? So what kind of story? Maybe like, your friend told you some story? And a story could be about anything, right?

R: Oh, yeah. It could be a story from a friend or a relative or someone at work. I don't think it matters as long as it follows the structure of having a beginning, a middle and an end.

M: Hmm. Yeah. Something in the beginning, something in the middle and the end of the story. Yeah, that's my story. Yes, dear listener, so if you now do not have this story, could you think about it? So which story you can talk about here. Alright. And, Rory, how did you start the talk?

R: Well, I didn't start it how people would usually start it by saying a story that I heard was... It was just about context setting. Because if you're a teacher, then people tell you stories all the time. So I was like, well, I'm a teacher. So people tell me stories every day. And, but you could apply this to any job like, well, I work with people. So I hear stories from people every day. And then launching into the story itself, the most recent one I heard, or the most recent one I've heard. You could do either or, it depends. And then setting the background. So what the presenter was doing at the time and why they were telling the story, and then launching into the details. So she recalled, like, that's just saying she told us or she remembered. And then recalling the different parts, the smell, the sights, the sounds. I did it in a slightly different order. But if you mention those things, when you're giving details, then it will be fine. And then explaining why I remembered it. So it was just saying like it was a poignant moment. So it was, there was an emotional attachment there. And then talking about how I felt about it. I was quite touched, and then explaining why I was quite touched.

M: Yeah. And also you've used some useful verbs, right? So she recalled, as you said, she remembered, she explained that, she told me that. So you hear a story, and somebody tells you this story. So but make sure that you say he told me or he said that he explained or she explained. Yeah, and then you used the past forms, right? So Past Simple to talk about this story?

R: Yeah, there's lots of past simple, isn't there? I haven't actually. Was there anything more than past simple in this case that was used?

M: No, I don't think so. Because the task itself. Yeah, describe a story you remember someone told you, right? So somebody told you a story, and then kind of you retell this story?

R: Oh, although there is. There's past perfect. Someone asked why she had focused.

M: Yeah, yeah. True. And like she explained that this was a story she had told before. And yeah, so past, past perfect. Yeah, poignant moment. That's a nice one. It was quite a poignant moment, as you said. It's like it was connected with emotion. So poignant in a nice way. Yeah?

R: Yeah.

M: Like a very touching.

R: Oh, on the subject of grammar, though. We had she wished. Like, I wish someone were still here for talking about regrets.

M: Nice one. Yeah. Like she wished her parents were still here. Yeah. And then, yeah, I was quite touched myself. So I was deeply touched by the story, or I was impressed. It was surprising for me. Yeah, so make sure that you throw in some feelings that you might have with the story.

R: Yes, I was thinking about the vocabulary connected to it as well. So like, for example, followed up, like a phrasal verb for adding, well, or moving on further with the story.

M: Yeah, like she started talking about blah, blah, blah. And then she followed up with the details about... Yeah, nice one.

R: Like an enduring memory, one that lasts for a long time. To weep openly. So obviously crying. And then emotionally resonant. I like that one. But that just means it gives you strong emotions.

M: Yeah, like so it was a poignant moment. Emotionally resonant. And also you can say, memorable, so that's a memorable story. So make sure to use some adjectives to describe the story. It's maybe touching, memorable, it's about some poignant moments. Or if it is about some moments.

R: I suppose we should also just underline that it's important when you're talking about the story, just to not use as much time as possible, but to use it as productively as possible to talk about the different aspects like what you saw, what you heard, and what you smelled.

M: Yeah, true. But then if this somebody didn't tell you about the smells and the sounds, so what do you do then?

R: You make it up.

M: Oh, yeah. Absolutely, you make it up.

R: Or you take our negative approach, like you say what they didn't do. Like, they didn't talk about the sights and the smells, because that's also showing that you're able to discuss these aspects. It's just unfortunate that they weren't there.

M: Yeah, true. You can say, okay, I am going to tell you a story. My friends told me about their holiday in, I don't know, Athens. And then you tell the story your friend told you. And oh, he didn't tell me about the sounds and the smells, but I think that... Or while he was telling the story, I imagined this and that. Yeah. How can you paraphrase a story? So you said like, she told us about a memoryy. Yeah? From her childhood.

R: Yeah, so a memory a presentation. A tail.

M: A recollection?

R: Oh, recollection's good.

M: Yeah. Cause like she recalled the smell, right? So like she remembered. And also, she told us about a recollection, a memory. Yeah? And then you can say, oh, like my friend told me a story based on real life, or it was a real life story. So what would do we say to make sure that the examiner understands it's a real story from real life?

R: It's a true story.

M: Yeah, it's a true story. Yeah, it's like films. Yeah, like based on a true story. I'm going to tell you a story based on a true story.

R: Yeah.

M: Yeah. Dear listener, if you have no idea what story you can talk about here, you can always talk about how Rory ate dog. Yes, I'm not joking. He told us a story once when he was... Where were you? Somewhere in the middle of nowhere. In Ghana? In Africa?

R: I was in Ghana. Yeah. Ghana is not in the middle of nowhere. It's in the west coast of Africa.

M: Yes, in the west coast of Africa. And Rory ate dog there. Yeah, that's a nice story. Yum, yum, yum.

R: Well, it's certainly an unusual story. And I have. Look, we actually... Do you know what, to be honest. This is so easy for a lot of people because I've told a lot of stories for part two, and in general. So frankly speaking, if you don't have a good story from your own life, then by all means steal some of mine.

M: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, true.

R: You could even say like, I was listening to a story that someone described when they were talking about their part two task.

M: Yeah. So here, makes sure that you are using the past, right, because the story was in the past. And also because we kind of retelling the story. So we should always say, like, she said that, she recalled that, then she followed out with something she also described. Right? She also talked about, and make sure to use past perfect. So she said that she had never seen it before. Right? Or she said that they had been there. So kind of, yeah, kind of reported speech, right? Because you kind of you report events from your friend's mouth. Yeah? So to say.

R: Yeah, from the horse's mouth, as it were.

M: From the horse's mouth. Yes, dear listener, so thank you very much for listening! And we'll see you in the next episode, when we're going to be talking about telling stories in general!

R: Absolutely! Bye!


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