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IELTS Preparation Series 2, Episode 9: Whale Sharks


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0:13

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

0:19

Today, we're going to look at the use of contractions in spoken English. A contraction is like a

0:25

short form in speech.

0:28

I've just used three examples:

0:30

I'm for 'I am',

0:32

we're for 'we are',

0:35

and I've for 'I have'

0:38

English speakers often use contractions, so mastering them will help your speech improve.

0:43

Our story today is about tourists helping scientists study whale sharks off the coast

0:51

of Western Australia.

0:53

Listen to this conversation, and try to identify the contractions.

0:58

So what sort of information are you recording in your log?

1:00

The latitude and longitude, the depth, the time, the sex and any sort of interaction

1:07

that the swimmers have with it. The whale sharks don't actually seem to mind the interaction

1:12

with them and certainly if it wasn't for them being out here we wouldn't have the amount

1:16

of knowledge we do about them.

1:18

The difference is, I suppose, with scientific research, you might have a research team here

1:22

for a week, two weeks, and then they leave. They might come here once every few years.

1:27

But when you've got, well, six or seven whale shark boats here, three or four in Coral Bay,

1:32

running for three or four months then their contribution to research is awesome. They're

1:38

out here every day.

1:41

Did you hear the contractions? The first speaker used three of them.

1:46

Simon said: don't, wasn't and wouldn't.

1:51

Listen again.

1:54

The whale sharks don't actually seem to mind the interaction with them and certainly if

1:58

it wasn't for them being out here we wouldn't have the amount of knowledge we do about them.

2:03

Don't is a contraction of do not.

2:07

Wasn't is a contraction of was not.

2:10

Wouldn't is a contraction of would not.

2:15

These are all examples of a very common style of contraction - a verb and the negative,

2:21

not.

2:22

Now listen to a tour guide, Steve Gibson, talking about the tourists who help study

2:28

the whale sharks. He uses another type of contraction. Can you identify it?

2:34

The difference is, I suppose, with scientific research, you might have a research team here

2:38

for a week, two weeks, and then they leave. They might come here once every few years.

2:43

But when you've got, well, six or seven whale shark boats here, three or four in Coral Bay,

2:49

running for three or four months then their contribution to research is awesome. They're

2:54

out here every day.

2:55

Steve says: 'you've got' and 'they're out'.

3:02

These are contractions of pronouns with the verbs to have and to be.

3:07

You've is a contraction of you have.

3:11

They're is a contraction of they are.

3:17

We can also make contractions with nouns and other words. Let's look at a few.

3:23

My brother's studying.

3:26

Brother's is a contraction of brother is.

3:30

Who's going out tonight?

3:31

Who's is a contraction of who is.

3:37

There's our bus.

3:40

There's is a contraction of there is.

3:44

When writing informally, for example in notes or postcards, it's fine to use contractions,

3:51

because they represent spoken language. However, if you are writing formally, do not use contractions.

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Remember that in formal writing, words that are not in the dictionary should not be used.

4:07

Finally, let's consider the pronunciation of contractions. Some are stressed, and others

4:13

are not.

4:14

But just remember, the rules for stressing words can change according to context.

4:20

Here's a guide.

4:23

Contractions are 'stressed' when they're formed from nouns, main verbs and negatives.

4:32

For example:

4:33

my brother's studying

4:35

if it wasn't for them

4:38

we wouldn't have

4:42

Contractions are 'not' stressed when they're formed from pronouns and auxiliary words.

4:48

For example, Steve says:

4:52

when you've got boats here

4:55

they're out here every day

4:57

Notice that contractions cannot occur at the end of a sentence, except for the contraction

5:03

of a verb and 'not'.

5:06

For example,

5:07

He's sick Yes, I know he is. We cannot say, Yes I know

5:13

he's.

5:14

But we can say:

5:16

I'm hurt. No, you aren't.

5:22

OK. Now we're going to watch the story again. This time, listen for the use of nouns.

5:32

So what sort of information are you recording in your log?

5:34

The latitude and longitude, the depth, the time, the sex and any sort of interaction

5:41

that the swimmers have with it. The whale sharks don't actually seem to mind the interaction

5:46

with them and certainly if it wasn't for them being out here we wouldn't have the amount

5:49

of knowledge we do about them.

5:51

The difference is, I suppose, with scientific research, you might have a research team here

5:55

for a week, two weeks, and then they leave. They might come here once every few years.

6:00

But when you've got, well, six or seven whale shark boats here, three or four in Coral Bay,

6:06

running for three or four months then their contribution to research is awesome. They're

6:11

out here every day.

6:14

All the speakers use a number of nouns.

6:17

In English nouns are either countable or uncountable - that is, we can either count them or we

6:25

can't.

6:26

Let's look at countable nouns.

6:28

Countable nouns are generally things like:

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people - a teacher, a cook, a swimmer

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animals - a dog, a cat, a whale shark

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plants - a lily, a bush, a tree

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objects - a chair, a table, a boat

6:52

units of measurement - a litre, dollar, a cup

6:58

Uncountable nouns are generally more abstract, and include things such as:

7:04

languages - Chinese, Japanese, German

7:09

emotions - happiness, sadness, anger

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ideas - intelligence, luck, knowledge

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substances or materials - like air, oil or rice

7:24

Countable nouns have two forms. They can be 'singular' or 'plural'.

7:30

But uncountable nouns have only one form, and cannot form a plural.

7:35

Let's have a look at that.

7:38

Chair can be singular or plural, chairs. It is a specific, concrete thing, so it is a

7:47

countable noun.

7:48

We can say:

7:49

I would like to buy three chairs.

7:52

However, furniture is an abstract noun. It has only one form, and cannot be made into

7:59

a plural.

8:01

It is an uncountable noun.

8:04

We can say:

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I would like to buy all that furniture.

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Using a word like 'all' indicates quantity or amount.

8:13

Listen to how Simon Stevens measures knowledge in this clip.

8:19

The whale sharks don't actually seem to mind the interaction with them and certainly if

8:23

it wasn't for them being out here we wouldn't have the amount of knowledge we do about them.

8:28

He says an amount of knowledge.

8:32

Knowledge is an uncountable noun. It can't be counted. We haven't got a specific number

8:38

we can apply to define a 'quantity of knowledge'. We use 'quantity words' or 'measure words'

8:46

with uncountable nouns, instead of numbers.

8:49

We say:

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an amount of knowledge

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a cup of tea

8:53

a loaf of bread

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a degree of happiness

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a measure of luck, or

9:01

a gust of wind

9:02

OK, so today we've looked at different types of contractions and how they are stressed

9:08

in phrases, and we looked at countable and uncountable nouns.

9:14

If you would like to watch today's story again, look at some study notes or do some exercises,

9:21

you can go to our website anytime. It's at abcasiapacific.com/studyenglish.

9:24

That's all for today. I'll see you next time on Study English. Bye bye.

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