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IELTS Preparation Series 1, Episode 4: Rising Dollar


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

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Today we're going to be making comparisons, and looking at some tricky prepositions of

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time.

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But first, let's listen to an academic talking about the Australian economy and the Australian

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dollar. See if you can hear him use some comparative adjectives.

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It couldn't have come at a worse time, in the sense that with business investment weakening,

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and with the housing market, at least in activity terms, having turned, that's where the timing

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is unfortunate for us.

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The stronger the value of the Australian dollar and the longer it stays strong, the weaker

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our economic activity will be next year.

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I think growth in 2004 will be comparatively weak. My own prediction is that throughout

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the year growth will be around about 2 per cent.

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Being around the Reserve Bank's board table at this time I think would not be a comfortable

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place to be. The bank is probably in a bigger dilemma over what to do with interest rates

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with monetary policy than at any time that I can remember.

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Dr Ian Harper is discussing the value of the Australian dollar, and the growth of the Australian

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economy, including interest rates.

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He describes all these factors by comparing information. Listen to him talk about the

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value of the dollar.

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The stronger the value of the Australian dollar and the longer it stays strong, the weaker

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our economic activity will be next year.

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The stronger the value of the dollar, and the longer it stays strong, the weaker our

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economic activity.

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The adjectives used in the clip are strong, weak and long.

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The Australian dollar is strong. It is stronger than it used to be.

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It has been strong for a long time. It is making economic activity weak.

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The longer it stays strong, the weaker the economic activity.

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Let's look at comparative adjectives a bit more closely.

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With single syllable words, we add -er: strong stronger

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long longer weak weaker

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big bigger

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But not all adjectives follow this simple pattern. Some are irregular.

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It couldn't have come at a worse time.

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It couldn't have come at a worse time.

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Worse.

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Worse comes from the adjective bad:

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bad, worse.

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Irregular adjectives are often best learnt with the superlative or 'most' form:

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bad, worse, worst

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and

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good, better, best.

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When comparing, there are 2 ways to do it.

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To say 2 things are the same, we use as ______ as.

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Growth is as slow as it was last year.

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When saying one thing is more than the other, we use the comparative form. We usually use

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the word 'than' when comparing.

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Growth is slower than last year.

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The superlative form, the 'most' or -est form, is used with the word 'the':

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Growth is the slowest it's ever been.

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Notice that we usually use 'more' and 'most' with adjectives that have more than 2 syllables.

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So we have: slow, slower, slowest,

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but

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beautiful, more beautiful, most beautiful.

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OK, now we're going to look at some prepositions of time.

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Listen for one in this clip.

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I think growth in 2004 will be comparatively weak.

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He says 'in 2004'. In is a preposition of time.

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The prepositions of time are: at, on and in.

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Let's look at how they're all used.

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At is used for times. For example:

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The lecture is at 7 o'clock.

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On is used for days and dates:

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The lecture is on Thursday.

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The lecture is on the 27th of October.

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In is for periods of time, and for months, years and seasons:

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The lecture is in the morning, in June, in 2004, in winter.

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So we'd say:

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The lecture is at 7 o'clock, in the morning, on Thursday, on the 27th October, in 2004.

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Notice that we say: in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening,

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but we say: at night.

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Now let's test you on these prepositions

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I saw her _ _ _ _ _ Tuesday, _ _ _ _ _ 3 o'clock _ _ _ _ _ the afternoon.

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We've got the choice of in, at, or on.

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I saw her on Tuesday, at 3 o'clock, in the afternoon.

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Here's another one.

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They went shopping _ _ _ _ _ night _ _ _ _ _ Friday last week. Shops are open late _

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_ _ _ _ summer.

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They went shopping at night, on Friday last week. Shops are open late in summer.

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OK, now let's listen to the whole clip again. See if you can hear how much he thinks the

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Australian economy will grow.

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It couldn't have come at a worse time, in the sense that with business investment weakening,

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and with the housing market, at least in activity terms, having turned, that's where the timing

6:40

is unfortunate for us.

6:41

The stronger the value of the Australian dollar and the longer it stays strong, the weaker

6:47

our economic activity will be next year.

6:49

I think growth in 2004 will be comparatively weak.

6:52

My own prediction is that throughout the year growth will be around about 2 per cent.

6:57

Being around the Reserve Bank's board table at this time I think would not be a comfortable

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place to be. The bank is probably in a bigger dilemma over what to do with interest rates

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with monetary policy than at any time that I can remember.

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His prediction is for growth to be about 2 percent.

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We write 2 percent like this: 2%

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Percent comes from the Latin phrase per centum, by the hundred or in every hundred.

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It's used to express proportions out of a hundred, including rates of interest.

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Percent is always used with a number.

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So we say: Twenty percent of students attended the lecture.

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That means: 20 out of every hundred students attended.

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Or: 'She got 90 percent in the test,' means she got 90 out of every hundred questions

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right.

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Or: Growth will be around 2 per cent.

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We also have the word percentage. Percentage is a noun. It means the portion or amount

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of something.

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So we say:

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What was the percentage of students who attended the lecture?

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20 percent of students attended the lecture.

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She got 90% in her test. That is a high percentage.

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OK. Now let's test you using percent or percentage.

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The _ _ _ _ _ of high school students that go to university is about twenty _ _ _ _ _.

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The percentage of high school students that go to university is about twenty percent.

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The bank has raised the interest rate by two _ _ _ _ _.

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The bank has raised the interest rate by two percent.

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The _ _ _ _ _ of married women in the workforce rose from 50 to 60 _ _ _ _ _.

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The percentage of married women in the workforce rose from 50 to 60 percent.

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If his answers are all correct, he'll get 100 _ _ _ _ _ on the test.

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If his answers are all correct, he'll get 100 percent on the test.

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So you should notice that the signal for using percent is that there's always a number first.

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And of course, you can always use the percent sign instead of writing out the words.

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And that's all we've got time for today.

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I'll see you next time on Study English!

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