E024 Heart of the Matter

Welcome to English with Kimberley.

In this episode, I want to talk about the idea that at the heart of all English communication we are just trying to say ‘who’ or ‘what’ – ‘is’, ‘has’ or ‘does’ something to someone.

For example, ‘I am bald’, ‘I have a son’ and ‘I teach English’.

How about a little quiz first, just for fun?

Which of these sentences is different from the others?

a) The Melbourne tram started.

b) Australians like BBQs.

c) Kimberley loves blue cheese.

or d) English students use the Internet to study.

Before I give the answer, let’s have a little chat.

As I mentioned in the introduction, at the heart of all communication we always talk or write about someone or something. To find who or what is doing, being, or having we ask ourselves the following questions:

  1. What is the verb?
  2. Who or what does the verb? and
  3. The verb is what?

Let’s try it with ‘b’ above:

Remember I said, ‘Australians like BBQs”.

So…

What is the verb? Did you get ‘like’?

Who or what does the verb? Did you get ‘Australians’?

Who or what do Australians like? Did you get ‘Australians like BBQs’?

So, let’s get back to our original question and for each sentence ask yourself: ‘What is the verb? ‘Who or what is doing it?’ and ‘The verb is what?’.

So, the question was, which of these sentences is different from the others?

a) The Melbourne tram started.

b) Australians like BBQs.

c) Kimberley loves blue cheese.

or d) English students use the Internet to study.

Well, I guess you’ll need them again, just to check your answers.

So, here we go.

a) The Melbourne tram started.

b) Australians like BBQs.

c) Kimberley loves blue cheese.

or d) English students use the Internet to study.

OK. Now the answer.

Did you get a) ‘The Melbourne tram started’?

Because this sentence doesn’t tell us anything after the verb – it just finishes – it doesn’t give any extra information about the tram that started, does it?

For example, ‘The tram started on its journey’, or ‘The tram started to go very fast’.

I’m thinking you need to go back to the start of this podcast and listen again – but the script is available on iTunes or at www.goaustralia.biz too.

When you listen again or read the script, make a note of the questions, which were:

  1. What is the verb?
  2. Who or what does the verb? and
  3. The verb is what?

You can then practice them with something you’ve read or have written. I’m sure they’ll help you with your reading and writing if you occasional ask them of your work.

If you like English with Kimberley, then tell your friends about it.

You can also leave feedback about this podcast on iTunes.

I hope you have enjoyed this podcast and you’ll join me again.