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IELTS Preparation Series 1, Episode 17: Water and ageing


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Hello and welcome to Study English. I'm Margot Politis.

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Today on Study English, we're going to look at some of the features of formal, written

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English.

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In our clip, we'll hear from a man who believes that drinking water is the key to being healthy

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and living a long time.

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He's going to talk about how he came to his conclusion, and how he tried to get some support

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for his project.

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How does nature do it? What keeps body cells going and how can we improve on that process

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so that we eliminate disease altogether and we live a long and healthy life? I don't think

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death and disease is inevitable.

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We stumbled on the fact that they weren't actually getting rid of carbon dioxide out

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of their bodies, they were neutralising the carbon dioxide in their bodies, and we found

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out it was from the water they were drinking.

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When we looked at these animals and saw what they were doing, it was exactly as we'd hypothesised

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and that was a great feeling, a real feeling of elation.

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I tried and I tried and I tried to be conventional in that sense. I went to one hundred people.

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I wrote one thousand letters. I spoke to the Australian Academy of Science. I spoke to

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the American Academy of Science. I spoke to hospitals. I spoke to professors of medicine,

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because I wanted to do work independently. I couldn't get anywhere, so I had to do it

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other ways.

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This is a food substance, this is something that's been drunk for thousands of years.

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This is probably where the mythology of the fountain of youth came from. There would have

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been natural springs somewhere bubbling out magnesium bicarbonate at an alkaline pH value.

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And people that drank these springs lived longer.

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But I want everybody to have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life, and that's

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been my life's work, and we're getting somewhere, we're getting somewhere.

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One of the most important areas for students to master is the difference between informal

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spoken language and formal written English, including academic language.

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There are many differences between formal and informal English.

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Firstly, in written language, all words must be spelt correctly. There should be no words

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in written English that you can't find in a dictionary.

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Another important difference is that contractions are not used in formal written English. We

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only use contractions in written English if we're trying to represent the way that people

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speak.

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The clip we've heard today is, of course, spoken English. Listen to part of it again

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and see if you can identify the features of informal English.

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But I want everybody to have the opportunity to live a long and healthy life, and that's

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been my life's work, and we're getting somewhere, we're getting somewhere.

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When Dr Beckett is speaking he uses a number of contractions.

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He says, "That's been my life's work", and "We're getting somewhere".

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That's is short for that is, and we're is short for we are.

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So if we were writing these statements, we'd write:

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That has been my life's work.

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We are getting somewhere.

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There are many common contractions. By using them in your spoken language, you will sound

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more natural. But be careful to write them out in full in formal situations. Watch for

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'not' words like:

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couldn't, could not

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wouldn't, would not

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shouldn't, should not

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won't, will not and

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don't, do not

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Another common feature of informal English is the use of phrasal verbs, or two word verbs.

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Phrasal verbs consist of a verb and a preposition. They are commonly used in spoken English,

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and their meanings are idiomatic, giving the verb a special, new meaning.

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Listen for some phrasal verbs in this clip.

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We stumbled on the fact that they weren't actually getting rid of carbon dioxide out

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of their bodies. They were neutralising the carbon dioxide in their bodies, and we found

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out it was from the water they were drinking.

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This is probably where the mythology of the fountain of youth came from.

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He uses the phrasal verbs "stumbled on, get rid of, found out and came from.

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In formal written English, it's best to use single word verbs.

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So instead of saying:

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They weren't getting rid of carbon dioxide,

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we would write:

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They weren't eliminating carbon dioxide,

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and then we'd get rid of the contraction, so it would read:

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They were not eliminating carbon dioxide.

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Instead of saying:

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We found out it was from the water,

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we would write:

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We discovered it was from the water.

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This is probably where the myth came from.

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This is probably where the myth originated.

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Let's look at some other examples of common phrasal verbs.

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Instead of look into, we would write investigate.

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Instead of cut down, we would write reduce.

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Keep on could be continue.

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Point out could be indicate.

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All of these words are more formal than using phrasal verbs.

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Another important part of formal written English, is understanding how to use conjunctions.

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Short sentences are less formal than compound or complex sentences. If you can, it's good

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to try to link short sentences together.

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Listen to this clip, then we'll try to turn it into good formal English using coordinating

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conjunctions.

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I went to one hundred people. I wrote a thousand letters. I spoke to the Australian Academy

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of Science. I spoke to the American Academy of Science. I spoke to hospitals. I spoke

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to professors of Medicine, because I wanted to do work independently. I couldn't get anywhere.

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He uses a number of simple sentences in a row.

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I spoke to the Australian Academy of Science. I spoke to the American Academy of Science.

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I spoke to hospitals. I spoke to professors of Medicine.

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These could become:

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I spoke to the Australian Academy of Science, the American Academy of Science and hospitals.

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I also spoke to professors of Medicine.

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There are some rules to be aware of when you're using conjunctions.

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In formal English, we don't start sentences with coordinating conjunctions.

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Words like 'and' and 'but' are joining words. They are not used to begin sentences.

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Listen to Dr Bechett again. Notice how he uses conjunctions to start his sentences.

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There would have been natural springs somewhere bubbling out magnesium bicarbonate at an alkaline

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pH value. And people that drank these springs lived longer. But I want everybody to have

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the opportunity to live a long and healthy life, and that's been my life's work.

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He uses the word 'and' to begin a sentence.

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If we were writing a formal report or essay, we would have to find other words to replace

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'and'.

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We could begin the sentence with:

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furthermore

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in addition, or

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moreover

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We could replace the word 'but' with the word 'however'.

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You should make lists of these alternative words, so you use a variety of them in your

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written language.

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It's important to avoid repetition in your formal written English.

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Of course repetition can be used to add emphasis in spoken English.

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You might hear people say things like I really, really like that.

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But in formal academic writing, you should find other ways of adding emphasis.

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Listen to the way Russell uses repetition.

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I tried and I tried and I tried to be conventional in that sense. I went to one hundred people.

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I wrote one thousand letters. I spoke to the Australian Academy of Science. I spoke to

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the American Academy of Science. I spoke to hospitals. I spoke to professors of medicine,

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because I wanted to do work independently. I couldn't get anywhere.

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Russell says, "I tried and I tried and I tried".

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To make this sentence more formal, you could either just drop the repeated verb, or use

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an adverb like repeatedly.

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We could just write:

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I tried or,

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I tried repeatedly

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Another way you can make your language more formal is to use the prefix re- to indicate

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a repeated action. This doesn't apply to all verbs.

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Look at this sentence.

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He played and played the song again and again.

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We could write formally:

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He replayed the song repeatedly.

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And why don't you try practising ways of making spoken language more formal, or looking at

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ways that you can take formal, written language, and turn it into conversational English!

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

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