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IELTS Preparation Series 2, Episode 11: Mangroves


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Hello. I'm Margot Politis. Welcome to Study English, IELTS preparation.

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On Study English today, we'll talk about the language of speculation and take a look at

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identifying the future tense. Speculating about the future is a very important language

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skill for the IELTS speaking test.

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But first, let's watch today's story. We'll visit a mangrove forest where we'll meet one

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of the more interesting animals that calls the forest home - the goanna, and a new animal

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- the cane toad - that might be threatening the mangrove goanna.

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Possibly because it's very hard to get into the mangroves all year round, especially in

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the wet season when there's a lot of water. This site's one of the only spots where you

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can get in without a boat all year round so that's why we chose it.

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Are cane toads likely to come into mangrove mud flats like this?

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It's probable that they'll come in small numbers, but from radio tracking these goannas it looks

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like the mangrove goannas will head out onto the flood plain and they do seem to eat frogs

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so it's possible that when the cane toads arrive here on the flood plain in big numbers

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the goannas will eat them. So it's possible there'll be an impact.

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We expect that most of the goannas are going to eat a cane toad and die, but we're just

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hoping that some of them, even a small proportion, won't be interested in eating a toad and they're

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the ones that will be living to pass on their genes and hopefully bring numbers of goannas

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back up, eventually.

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So the scientists aren't sure what will happen in the future.

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When we're trying to 'predict the future' - or speculate about what might happen - we

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have several language choices.

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Let's put together a list of our options.

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First, we have verbs. We could use verbs like:

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guess

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suppose

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imagine

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think

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suspect or hope

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Second, we can use modal verbs.

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For example:

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may

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will

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would

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might or

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could

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Or, we can use conditionals like if:

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For example:

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If I pass the exam I will buy myself a new DVD.

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Other conditionals use similar constructions like this:

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If, I might, or

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If, I could

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We might also use discourse markers to speculate about the future.

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Some examples are:

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perhaps

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maybe

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hopefully

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possibly

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or even: you never know

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And, finally, we can use adjectives.

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It's likely that

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it's unlikely that, or

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it's possible that

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So here's our list of choices:

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We can talk about the future using:

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verbs

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modal verbs

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conditionals

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discourse markers or

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adjectives

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Now, let's hear some of these in practice.

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Listen to James Smith talking about what might happen to the cane toads and goannas.

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It's probable that they'll come in small numbers, but from radio tracking these goannas it looks

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like the mangrove goannas will head out onto the flood plain and they do seem to eat frogs

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so it's possible that when the cane toads arrive here on the flood plain in big numbers

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the goannas will eat them. So it's possible there'll be an impact.

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He says, 'it looks like' the mangrove goannas will head out.

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When discussing the future, there are many verbs we can use. For example:

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it looks like

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it seems

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I expect

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I hope

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I imagine or

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I suspect.

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These verbs are followed by future tense constructions.

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In our example James says:

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It looks like the mangrove goannas will head out.

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He uses the future tense, 'will', to say what the goannas will do in the future.

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Let's hear more from James:

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We expect that most of the goannas are going to eat a cane toad and die, but we're just

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hoping that some of them, even a small proportion, won't be interested in eating a toad and they're

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the ones that will be living to pass on their genes and hopefully bring numbers of goannas

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back up, eventually.

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James says:

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We expect that most of the goannas are going to eat a cane toad.

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Expect is the verb.

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And are going to eat uses the future tense to predict what will happen.

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James also uses discourse markers.

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He says that if goannas don't eat toads then this will hopefully bring numbers of goannas

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back up.

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Discourse markers like hopefully, maybe, possibly or probably can all be used to speculate about

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the future.

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They can also give us an idea about what the speaker thinks. James hopes the goannas will

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survive.

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The final item on our list was adjectives. Listen to how James uses adjectives to speculate

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about the future.

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It's probable that they'll come in small numbers, but from radio tracking these goannas it looks

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like the mangrove goannas will head out onto the flood plain and they do seem to eat frogs

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so it's possible that when the cane toads arrive here on the flood plain in big numbers

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the goannas will eat them. So it's possible there'll be an impact.

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James says:

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It's probable, and

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It's possible

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These are examples of using adjectives to show that the speaker is talking about something

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that 'might' happen in the future. James is speculating about things that 'might' happen.

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In English, we can also say it's likely.

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So we can have:

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It's probable the cane toads will come.

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It's possible the cane toads will come.

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or,

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It's likely the cane toads will come.

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In each of these cases, we use the future tense - will come.

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In English we have to decide which tense to use when referring to things that might happen

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in the future.

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English uses three verb forms when referring to future actions - the simple future, the

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present continuous and the future continuous.

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We can use the simple future - that's will plus a verb - there will be.

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We can also use 2 forms of the present continuous - either the auxiliary verb to be plus the

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present participle, or the auxiliary verb going to with a main verb.

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Finally we can use the future continuous - will plus the auxiliary verb to be plus the present

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participle.

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Listen for the future tenses in this clip:

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We expect that most of the goannas are going to eat a cane toad and die, but we're just

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hoping that some of them, even a small proportion, won't be interested in eating a toad and they're

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the ones that will be living to pass on their genes and hopefully bring numbers of goannas

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back up, eventually.

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There were three examples in that clip.

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Are going to

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Wont' be and

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Will be

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Did you hear them? Listen again.

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We expect that most of the goannas are going to eat a cane toad and die, but we're just

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hoping that some of them, even a small proportion, won't be interested in eating a toad and they're

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the ones that will be living to pass on their genes and hopefully bring numbers of goannas

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back up, eventually.

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He says: Some cane toads 'will be living' to pass on their genes.

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Will be living uses the future continuous tense.

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He also says: Are going to eat. That uses the present continuous tense.

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The present continuous tense is used to describe actions in the immediate future that are definite

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or planned.

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A good example of the present continuous tense is:

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What are you doing tonight?

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I'm going to see a film.

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And that's all for Study English today.

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Let's take a look back at the things we've talked about.

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First, we looked at the language of speculation - the language you use to talk about things

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that might happen in the future.

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We saw examples of Verbs

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Modal verbs

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Conditionals

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Discourse markers and Adjectives

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Then, we looked at examples of future tenses - the simple future tense, the present continuous

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tense and the future continuous tense.

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And if sometime in the future, you need some help with your English - why not visit our

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Study English website. You will probably find everything you need.

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And that's all for today. I'll see you next time for more Study English. Bye bye.

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