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IELTS Preparation Series 2, Episode 7: Mars


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

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Today on Study English, we're going to practise using the words 'some' and any'. We'll also

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build up our vocabulary with some words about 'space' and 'astronomy'.

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But first, we're going to meet a planetary geologist who is fascinated by the planet

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Mars.

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Mars is still a fascinating place. In the solar system, it's one of the most interesting

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places where there may be life, apart from the Earth.

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We want there to be Martians with spaceships, ET, flying saucers, UFOs. We want all of these

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things.

0:58

It's frozen to a depth of about 7 kilometres at the equator, maybe 20 kilometres at the

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pole caps, so there is a very thick, frozen layer on Mars. The people who talk about cold

1:16

the planet is.

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These scientists are hoping to find out about life on Mars. They're looking closely at the

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landscape, and similar landscapes, to try to understand everything they can about the

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planet.

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Listen to Dr Hoffman talking about how the landscape of Mars was formed. Pay special

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attention to how he uses the words 'some' and 'any'.

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Well, if we look at the picture here, cutting down through each of these gullies is a little

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black channel that's bulldozed its way through the snow, carved its way down and pushed the

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snow aside and each springtime, part of the snow collapses as it warms in the sun. It

2:00

doesn't go through a liquid phase, it goes directly from solid to vapour, boils away,

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and falls down the slope and then you have this tumbling mass, a little avalanche of

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some snow, some rock, some sand, some dust, all churning up together.

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What I have shown with this work is that the structures that we see in Antarctica are a

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good place for life to be, if there is life on Mars. It would be very primitive microbes.

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There wouldn't be any sort of multi-cellular life there.

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In English, we use the words 'some' and 'any' to talk about 'how much' or 'how many' of

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something.

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'Some' and 'any' are called determiners.

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They tell us something about the quantity or amount we're discussing.

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Listen to how Dr Hoffman uses the word 'some'.

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It doesn't go through a liquid phase, it goes directly from solid to vapour, boils away,

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and falls down the slope and then you have this tumbling mass, a little avalanche of

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some snow, some rock, some sand, some dust all churning up together.

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He says 'some sand, some dust'.

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The word 'some' suggests an indefinite number or amount. It's not specific.

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We use it when it isn't important exactly how much or how many we mean.

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So, you might say:

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I'd like some milk.

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Or:

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Would you like some tea?

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'Some' is usually used in affirmative clauses, like this:

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There are some letters for you at the post office.

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And we also use 'some' in questions that expect a 'yes' answer.

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For example:

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Would you like some help? Yes please.

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However, in negative constructions, 'any' is more commonly used.

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Here's Dr Hoffman talking about his work again. Listen to how he uses the word 'any'.

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What I have shown with this work is that the structures that we see in Antarctica are a

4:15

good place for life to be, if there is life on Mars. It would be very primitive microbes.

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There wouldn't be any sort of multicellular life there.

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He says:

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There wouldn't be 'any' sort of multicellular life there.

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'Any' is common in negative sentences like this.

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For example:

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I don't have any money.

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So while 'some' is most common in affirmative statements, 'any' is most common in questions

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and in negative statements.

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After words with a negative meaning, we use 'any'.

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Like this:

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You never have any money.

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There's hardly any food left in the fridge.

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When we use 'some' to talk about a restricted or limited amount of something, we put the

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stress on the word 'some'.

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For example:

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I like some Chinese food, but not spicy dishes.

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Or:

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I can eat prawns, but there is some shellfish I don't like.

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When the word 'any' is stressed, this tells us that we're talking about an unrestricted

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quantity or unlimited choice.

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For example:

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You can borrow any book from the library.

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I don't like any films made in Hollywood.

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Astronomy is an important and popular science.

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Building your science vocabulary, especially your vocabulary about astronomy, can help

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you to appreciate science fiction films and books as well as media stories about space

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exploration and new discoveries.

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But there are so many science words. Where do we even start?

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It's important to learn how to organise new words logically and to develop strategies

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to help remember these new words.

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Listen to Dr Hoffman talking about the possibility of life on Mars.

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Mars is still a fascinating place. In the solar system, it's one of the most interesting

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places where there may be life, apart from the Earth.

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Dr Hoffman talks about Mars, the solar system and Earth.

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Of course, our planet is called Earth. There are nine planets in our solar system.

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They are:

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Mercury

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Venus

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Earth

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Mars

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Jupiter

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Saturn

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Uranus

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Neptune

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Pluto

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It's important to learn all those names in English.

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Here's another clip. See if you can hear a word that is developed from one of the planet

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names.

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We want there to be Martians with spaceships, ET, flying saucers, UFOs. We want all of these

7:27

things.

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He talks about 'Martians'.

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We form the word 'Martians' from the noun 'Mars'.

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'Martians' are creatures from the planet 'Mars'.

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We can extend our vocabulary about astronomy by looking outside our 'solar system', to

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our 'galaxy', the Milky Way. We can also include words like:

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comets

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asteroids

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stars

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moons

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black holes

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Let's watch that clip again. Listen for some other words related to space and space travel.

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We want there to be Martians with spaceships, ET, flying saucers, UFOs. We want all of these

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things.

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We heard:

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Martians

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spaceships

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ET

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flying saucers and

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UFOs

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'ET' stands for extra terrestrial - another name for creatures from space.

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'UFOs' stands for Unidentified Flying Objects - things from outer space that fly through

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the sky. They can also be called 'flying saucers'.

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You'll notice that in the story, the term 'UFOs' is pronounced 'yufos' /jufoʊz/. We

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usually say 'U-F-O' /juɛfoʊ/.

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That's all for Study English today.

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Let's quickly review the topics we've looked at.

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First, we talked about using the determiners 'some' and 'any'. We learned which one to

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use, and how to use stress to change meaning.

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Then, we talked about how to increase your vocabulary by learning groups of words.

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Today we looked at space words.

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Don't forget to visit our website. You'll find more tips and exercises to help you improve

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your English skills. It's at abcasiapacific.com/studyenglish.

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And I'll see you next time for more. Bye bye.

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#II22Ieltsprepseries2

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