Books and Reading wrap up

Good evening!

Every week on Sunday at 2pm, Monday at 3pm, and Tuesday at 8pm we have a one-hour group discussion on a different topic.   These classes are open to any and all students, but the Sunday and Monday classes are recommended for intermediate and advanced students.  The Tuesday class is for high beginner to intermediate.  We have 2-4 students in each class. The teacher asks questions and discusses the answers with the students, and students can ask questions to each other (and the teacher, too!). You are welcome to bring a dictionary or ask the teacher if you need help. One lesson is 1500-2500 yen, depending on how many tickets you buy. If you are interested, please check out the website or contact me directly. If you are not available on the scheduled days, but would like to join, please tell me your available days and times and I will be happy to set up another class for you!  We are still looking for students interested in a Friday night and Saturday afternoon class.

So here’s what came up during the lesson!

New Vocabulary
  • Countless/Innumerable: 無数の

– incapable of being counted; both countless and innumerable are basically the same.

Example: He has countless old records at home.  I think he’s a collector!

Careful!  This does not mean that it hasn’t been counted before, but that the number is so high that it cannot be counted.

  • Deceased: 死亡した

– Dead, passed away (very formal)

Example: My favorite author is J.R.R. Tolkien.  Unfortunately, he’s deceased now.

New Expressions
  • a “how-to” book: 実用書

– A book that explains or teaches the reader how to do something.

Example: Did that how-to book you bought help you learn how to fix the sink?

  • broadcast media: 電波媒体

– TV and radio

  • print media: 印刷媒体

– Newspapers and magazines

Example: Where do you get your news from, broadcast media or print media?

  • Cut (#) part(s) from s/t何か から[#つの]部分をカットする

Example: I didn’t like the movie.  They cut out too many parts from the book.

Currently vs. now

Currently and now are often interchangeable.  The most noticeable difference is that currently is much more formal than now; now is standard.

However, there are some other grammatical differences.  The most common one is that now can be used for single events, but currently can only be used for states or continuing events.

For example:

  • I just arrived now. O
  • I just arrived currently. X
  • I’m going to leave now. O
  • I’m going to leave currently. X

As you can see, these events only happened or will happen once, so currently would be inappropriate.  On the other hand, they are both appropriate for ongoing events or states:

  • He’s working currently. O
  • He’s working now. O
  • He’s not in the office currently. O
  • He’s not in the office now.

While all the above expressions are correct, the ones with currently sound overly formal and not very natural.  Currently is often used with external events (like the weather or news) rather than to describe the states or actions of people.

Extinct vs. Obsolete

Both extinct and obsolete basically mean “gone”, but with one key difference:

Extinct means gone because it doesn’t exist any more.

Obsolete means gone because it isn’t used any more.

So in fact, something obsolete may not be gone at all; it may be in a museum to look at or someone may collect it (but not use it).  For instance, because of computers typewriters are now obsolete, but many people still have them.

In that regard, only living things can become extinct, while (generally speaking) only non-living things become obsolete.  So the sabertooth tiger is extinct, but rotary phones are obsolete.

Communication Challenges

Very often you will miss or forget what someone said before.  This is a very common problem, but can be hard to deal with.  What do you do when you want to ask someone about something they said before?  Well, if it was immediately before, or just now, that’s pretty easy:

  • What did you say?
  • Say that again (please).
  • Repeat that (please).
  • One more time (please).

And there are many other questions or statements you could use.  But what if you want to ask about something that wasn’t said immediately before?  What if it was two or more sentences ago?

If it wasn’t too far back, the solution is simple.  If they do not repeat what you wanted them to, just use the expression “No, before that.” Like this:

A: What do you like about novels?

B: Oh, I like mysteries.

A: Mysteries?  What do you mean? (confused)

B: Hmm?  You asked me what do you like, right?

A: No, I didn’t.

B: Really?  Sorry, what did you say?

A: I said “No, I didn’t.”

B: No, before that.

A: Oh, before that… I asked “what do you like about novels?”

B: Oh!  What do I like about novels!  I see.  I like the stories and the creativity.

However, sometimes you can be very deep into a conversation before you realize that both people are misunderstanding each other, and the conversation has become very confusing!  In this case, it’s best to start at the beginning.  For this, just remember this very simple phrasal verb: start over.

A: What do you like about novels?

B: I like mysteries.

A: Mysteries?  What do you mean? (confused)

B: Hmm?  I mean mysteries are my favorite genre.

A: Yes, I understand that, but I don’t understand why you said that.

B: Really?  What should I say?

A: You should answer my question.

B: Hmm?  Didn’t I answer your question?

A: No, you said something random.

B: Random?  No, mysteries are not random, I like them.

A: What??  (very confused)

B: Sorry, I think I misunderstood.  What did you say?

A: I said “What?” (more confused)

B: No, before that.

A: Before that??  I said “you said something random”…

B: (Very confused) Hmm… Can we start over?

A: Sure.  What do you like about novels?

B: Oh!!  What do I like about novels!  I see.

Other ways to use it:

  • Can we start over?
  • Is it ok if we start over?
  • Please start over.
  • Let’s start over.

That’s all!  Please try to use these tips next time you have a conversation in English!  Also, feel free to ask me any questions if you didn’t understand something or want to know more about something!  See you all next week!

Take care!



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