Going to a Party 参加聚会

When planning to go to a party, we need to consider two things. 1) Who will we be talking to, and 2) What are some likely topics. In this lesson you will see three sample conversations. Conversation A , Dan is calling Kay to confirm the party's information and accept the invitation. In Conversation B, Dan arrives at the party, greets Kay, the hostess, and offers her some wine he brought. Finally in Conversation C, Dan meets the other guests, then makes "small talk" and future plans with them. Requests are also made and received. Remember, any conversation needs to incorporate clarification strategies to be sure of the information. Many miscommunications have not only resulted in embarrassment, but even disaster. Various clarification strategies are used throughout the three conversations. Please read the notes, which will help you understand the text.

Conversation A
(Dan calls Kay)
Dan: Hello Kay. It's Dan. I just received the invitation to your party.

Kay: Can you make it?

Dan: Well, let's see. It's next Saturday night, 7:00 pm, at 201 Liberty Lane, Champaign. Right?

Kay: That's right. I hope you can come?

Dan: It would be my pleasure. Can I bring anything?

Kay: Just yourself.

Dan: Ok, I'll be there with bells on. I'm looking forward to it. Thanks.

Kay: Bye.

Dan: See you then.

Conversation B
(Dan and Kay upon his arrival.)
Dan: Hello.

Kay: Hi, come in. Glad to see you.

Dan: (inside) Thanks for inviting me. I brought some wine.

Kay: Oh, how nice. Let me take it to the kitchen. Go on into the living room. I think you know most everyone.

Conversation C
(Dan and the other guests.)

Bill: Hi! How are you?

Dan: Fine. How about you?

Bill: Super! Let me introduce you to my niece, Claire.

Claire, this is Dan--he works with me at the office.

Claire: Hello, Dan.

Bill: Dan, this is my brother John's daughter, Claire.

Dan: Pleased to meet you. I didn't know John had a daughter? Where's he been hiding you?

Bill: She's been living out East with his wife's sister. She just moved back.

Dan: What part of the East, Claire?

Claire: Boston, near the harbor.

Dan: It must be quite a change--coming back here?

Claire: It is, but I'm glad to be back and see all my freinds.

Bill: Hey, Dan. Do you still play golf?

Dan: Not as much as I would like.

Bill: Claire plays. Maybe we could all play sometime soon?

Dan: That sounds great. How about tomorrow morning?

B.&C.: Sure, say 7:00, out at Harrison Park?

Dan: Great, 7 A.M. at Harrison. I'll look forward to it.

Kay: (rejoining the group) I see you've met Elizabeth.

Dan: Elizabeth? I thought your name was Claire?

Claire: It is. My aunt just calls me by Elizabeth.

Dan: Well, I've not only met Elizabeth, but the three of us are off to the greens in the morning.

Kay: She'll probably whip the both of you! Ha Ha.

Bill: Dan, could you pass me that newspaper? Let's see what the weather's supposed to be.

Dan: Sure, here you go.

Bill: Thanks.

Claire: How often do you play, Dan?

Dan: Well, this year I've only played twice. How about you?

Claire: I was playing weekly in Boston-- with my aunt, but since I came home I haven't played once.

Bill: The report is a humdinger. I guess the leftovers from hurricane Opal are gone.

Dan: So are you saying it is supposed to be nice tomorrow?

Bill: I sure am. It says it will be sunny and dry--perfect weather.

Kay: Enough about golf. How's your dancing? Hey, Pete. Would you turn up the stereo? We've got a party going on!



"Let's see. It's next Saturday night at 7 at your house and the address is 201 Liberty Lane, Champaign."
This is a clarification strategy used to confirm the understood message. After saying this, Dan can be 100% sure that the message he understood is the same as the message Kay intended. If there was any misunderstanding, it could easily be cleared up at this point. Now that Dan is sure he understands the details, he can accept the invitation.

"I hope you can make it?"

Kay is expressing her hope that Dan can come; while at the same time, she is asking Dan to respond whether he can or not. By asking in this way, Dan can give a number of replies--Yes, No, Maybe, We'll see, Me too, etc. Kay doesn't make Dan feel that he must give her his answer right now--perhaps pressuring him or making him uncomfortable. She is being polite.

"I'll be there with bells on."

He is telling Kay that he will be there, but also he is letting her know he is excited about it and will be there on time. ("with bells on" is an American idiom which means to be excited about the event and will be there exactly on time.)

"Can I bring anything?"

In most informal situations it is considered a common courtesy to ask the hostess this. Often the reply will be "no, but thank you for asking" or "if you like, but it's not necessary". Regardless of the hostess's reply, it is a friendly gesture on your part to take some wine, flowers, candy or even just potato chips--depending on the situation.

"I'm looking forward to it."

This is a polite conversation close. It says he won't forget, while signalling there is no more to say now.

"Thanks for inviting me. I brought some wine."

These two go together--each complementing the other. He is not only expressing his pleasure with words, but also reinforces the words with a gift. By saying this combination, neither Dan or Kay are left stumbling with who should say what about the wine which is obviously in Dan's arms.

"Let me introduce you to..."

Introductions are politely done in a particular form and with a specific pattern of words. 99% of the time an introduction will go as follows:
"Dan, let me introduce you to Claire."
"Claire, meet Dan."
The names are repeated as such to help the two parties to remember them. This form also implies an equality of the two parties. Often an explanation or connection is given for how the person doing the introducing has come to know the two. In Bill's case, he tells Dan that Claire is his niece and tells Claire that Dan works with him in his office.

"What part of the East, Claire?"

By asking a general question of Claire that follows up on a previous part of the conversation, Dan is showing interest in getting to know Claire better. And by using her name at the end, Dan is not only reinforcing his memory of her name, but also letting Claire know he was interested enough in her to remember her name.

"It must be quite a change --coming back here?"

Dan is again asking Claire a question which shows his interest in her, and also the question is stated in such a way as to now give Claire the opportunity to tell Dan more about herself. If she wishes to let him know more about her she can now do so easily. If she does not, she is not in an awkward position of having to either answer a very specific question or stumble to find a way to avoid it.

"I'm glad to be back and see all of my friends."

Claire chose to answer Dan's question in a very non-revealing way. With these words, Claire is saying "One good thing about being back is seeing my friends," and no more. She isn't forced to reply about any personal reasons for why she came back; however, if she would have liked to, the question would have allowed her to easily do so.

"Do you still play golf?"

Hobbies such as sports are often a way to begin a conversation with someone. When someone plays a particular sport, they are usually glad to talk about it and it is an easy way to make a common interest known. Bill not only asks Dan about a sport he plays, but Bill knows that it is a common interest of the three conversation participants and that they all could feel comfortable talking about it.

"Not as much as I would like."

Dan could have simply answered "Yes" or "No", but by replying this way he also conveys that he would like to play more. This gives Bill the opportunity to come back with a suggestion that they go and play sometime--a suggestion that Dan was probably hoping for when he chose which words to say.

"I see you've met Elizabeth."

This is a very easy way to enter into an already-in-progress conversation. It requires a response and that requires a break in the conversation-in-progress.

"Elizabeth? I thought your name was Claire."

Dan has just been given a very confusing message. He needs to sort it out. The clarification strategy used here is very direct and to the point--this woman in front of him has been called by two different names and he wants to know why.

"Could you pass me that newspaper?"

By beginning with "could" this is asking,"Is it possible?". It is a polite way to make a request. But notice even though it is very polite there is no "please" used. "Please" may have been included, but it is common among close friends to drop it in a casual situation. With it, the request would seem more formal and since "could" was used it was not as formal as a request such as, "Please pass me the newspaper."

"Sure, here you go."

An informal answer to an informal request is appropriate. This answer implies that he doesn't mind at all--helping the requester to not feel uncomfortable asking for the assistance.

"How often do you play, Dan?"

Claire is now showing interest in knowing more about Dan. The question is not personal, but the reply could provide her with some clues into Dan's lifestyle. The theme of golf is used because it has already been seen to be an agreeable topic. You should be careful not to "wear out" a topic, however.

"How about you?"

When someone asks you a "How do you..." type question, 99% of the time the appropriate response is to first answer, then ask "How about you?" or "And you?". By doing this you will show that you are interested in others' choices or opinions.

"Enough about golf! How's your dancing?"

Kay is showing her disinterest in talking about golf and that she wants a change of topic. It is also clear that she does not simply want to know about your dancing. She wants you to actually dance with her. Since party's usually have music and an environment which would be suitable for dancing, this approach is very effective for changing the tone of the conversation as well as for getting a dance partner.

Shopping in America 在美国购物

Conversation A is a typical conversation about shopping in the United States. Masahiro is an international student who has just arrived from Japan, and Anna and Will are introducing him to the shopping scenario in America.

Conversation A

Anna: As I was telling you, Masa, where you shop depends largely on what you need. So, if you want to buy an answering machine or a CD-player, your best bet would probably be an appliance store such as Radio Shack..

Will: Yup! Or Circuit City. I like Best Buy the best, though.

Masahiro: Why?

Will: Coz they usually have the best deals. They have sales on their TVs and CD-players every once in a while.

Anna: Hum. I'll bet they send you their glossy ads loaded with so-called "SALES"!

Masahiro: (laughs)

Anna: Well, I still think the CD-player I bought from them was a rip off.

Will: I'll admit some of their items are high-priced, but at least the shopper's guaranteed quality. There are very few places that have such a wide selection.

Masahiro: I need to buy disks, at least two disk holders, note cards, transparencies, and that kind of stuff.

Will: For office supplies, I suggest Office Max.

Anna: Or Comp USA. One good thing about living in a campus town, though, is that you can easily get that stuff at any of the bookstores. No doubt they do overcharge. I try to get around that by shopping around.

Masahiro: Shopping around?

Anna: Yes. That simply means you go to different stores, check out the prices of items you need and purchase them from the store(s) with the lowest price or prices.

Masahiro: I see. Sounds very practical.

Will: And time-consuming, too!

Masahiro: Where is Office Max located?

Anna: There's one in the mall, so we can stop by there this afternoon.

Masahiro: Great! Thanks.

Will: Hey, Masa. Just so you know, you can always run to the discount stores whenever you're out of something you need right away. There are several around campus.

Anna: That's right. And they carry pretty much everything a student needs. Pop, pasta, eggs, hair spray . . . you name it!

Will: They don't usually carry milk, though, so you might want to walk down to White Hen (Pantry), Walgreens, or some other convenience stores close by.

Anna: I wouldn't advise you to buy things in bulk from such stores, though. I mean, do your major shopping at the specialized stores. It's much cheaper, and more convenient in the long run.

Masahiro: Good advice!

Will: Sort of like Mom's!

Anna: Hey, watch it!

Will: Just kiddin'!

Masahiro (laughs). Life sounds great in this town! Oh! Before I forget, guys, where can I rent movies? I love watching movies in my spare time.

Anna: Me too! Let's see. There are two video stores close to your apartment. Lucky you! One's Blockbuster, and the other's That's Rentertainment. I believe they both have specials on weekdays, right Will?

Will: Yup. But not for the new releases. It's usually a buck each for the older movies.

Anna: Are you guys ready to go to the mall?

Masahiro & Will: Sure.

Anna: Masa, don't forget to take your shopping list with you.

Masahiro: Thanks for reminding me.

Anna: You're welcome. What are we waiting for? let's go.


New Words and Expression

1 Your best bet is a commonly used idiom which refers to the best possible choice or option available. In Conversation A, it refers to the most suitable store for appliances, in Anna's opinion.

2 The best deals is a frequently used shopping-related expression that refers to items for sale at bargain prices (i.e., cheap). Sometimes, "good deals" or "a real steal/What a steal" are used instead.

3 Glossy ads are colorful advertisement pamphlets or catalogs (on rich/glossy paper) that entice shoppers and usually encourage them to be "smart shoppers" or people who look for "good deals" or "sales."

4 A rip off is another frequently employed shopping-related expression used by shoppers who feel that they have been cheated. It is generally the case that the item purchased was overpriced (i.e., too costly) when it was bought.

5 Items that are high-priced are very expensive.

6 A wide selection refers to a wide array of items (e.g., models of VCRs, TVs, microwaves, walkmans, etc., depending on the store in question).

7 Stuff is a "safe" word that can be used to refer to anything the speaker intends it to refer to. Often, it is used when a speaker cannot recall the names of things s/he wants to refer to, and when s/he wishes to avoid having to mention what may appear to be an endless list.

8 Stores are known to carry items. In other words, they have the items they "carry." However, stores could be "out" of certain items (when their supplies have been exhausted).

9 Convenience stores, as the name suggests, are stores that carry basic necessities such as bread, milk, eggs, soft drinks, tooth paste, newspapers, magazines, and so on. They are usually conveniently located (in small towns, suburbs, and big cities) which also accounts for the name.

10 In bulk is a shopping-related idiom that is used to refer to items purchased in large quantities. Such supplies are cheaper and last longer. Generally, families shop in bulk for items such as sugar, rice, candy, canned products, etc. However, perishable products (such as vegetables) are rarely purchased in bulk. Instead, they are usually purchased on a daily or weekly basis. Specialized stores are stores that sell particular things. In other words, they specialize in the sale of particular products (e.g., grocery stores sell groceries, hardware stores sell hardware products such as nuts and bolts, paint, nails, hammers, etc.)

11 Specials refer to discount deals/prices. In Conversation A, they refer to discount video rental rates.

12 A buck each refers to a dollar per item in question (video tapes in Conversation A)

13 A shopping list is a handy list of items a shopper intends to buy. Most Americans draw up shopping lists before they go shopping. Such a list makes shopping easier, as the shopper consults it while shopping, and that way, does not forget to buy what s/he needs.


Exercise A: Practicing Useful Shopping-Related Expressions
Instructions: Carefully read the following mini-conversations and, for each, construct a sentence that restates the speaker's words, using any of the shopping-related words or expressions used in Conversation A and defined above. Suggested answers are provided at the end of this lesson. However, you are advised not to consult them until you have attempted the exercise.

1. Tom: If I had shopped around first before I bought my VCR, perhaps I wouldn't have been cheated.
2. Nancy: Jewel's got a buy-one-get-one-free sale on Florida oranges and cantaloupes. Isn't that great? We need to stock up.

3. Greg: Don't you think the prices at Saks Fifth Avenue are somewhat unreasonable? Imagine buying an ordinary T-shirt for 50 bucks! I'd prefer to keep it at a museum.

4. Anna: I always buy my cheese at Strawberry fields. You can find any kind of cheese there. Yup. You name it and it's there.

5. Kim: I'll go in and ask them whether they have milk in the store.

6. Shiho: It's time to go shopping, Dan. Don't forget the list on which you wrote what you'd like to buy.

Exercise B: What Kind of Store?

Instructions: Read each mini-dialog and specify where it is taking place. In other words, is it in a department store, a bookstore, a supermarket or grocery store, an appliance store, a shoe store, a drive-in fast food restaurant, or a movie theater box office?
1. Sean: Two for A Walk in the Clouds, please.
Agent: Eleven dollars. Okay. Here are your tickets, and here's your change.

Sean: Thank you.

2.Cashier: Can I take your order?

John: Yes, please. Could I have a cheese burger, a small order of fries, and a large Diet Pepsi.

Cashier: Will that be all, Sir?

John: Actually, make that a large order of fries.

Cashier: Okay, coming right up. Anything else?

John: No. Thanks.

Cashier: Ketchup?

John: Yes, please.

Cashier: That will be $ 5:30. Your order will be ready at the next window.

John: Thanks.

3. Anna: Excuse me, please. I'd like to know whether a book that I'd ordered has come in.

Agent: One moment please. Let me move over to a computer. What's your last name?

Anna: Brown.

Agent: Okay. Yes, it's in. It arrived this morning, and it should be on the shelf, under Psychology. That's in aisle 10 downstairs.

Anna: Thanks.

Agent: You're welcome. All books with red dots on them are on sale today.

Anna: Great! Perhaps I'll buy some.

Agent: do so. We don't have such sales that often.

4. Salesperson: How are you today, Ma'am?

Lydia: Fine, thank you. I'm looking for a pair of white shoes. Do you have any others apart from those on display?

Salesperson: Let me check? In what size?

Lydia: Seven and a half, please.

Salesperson: I'll be right back.

Lydia: Thanks.

5. Mark: Excuse me, please. Just a quick question. Where's the men's department?

Salesperson: On the fourth floor, Sir.

Mark: And Customer Service?

Salesperson: In the basement.

Mark: Thank you.

6. Cashier: Hello. I'll ring these up for you in a minute. I just need to do a quick price check on the Pepperidge crackers.

Bella: It's a buy-one-get-one free sale but I don't remember the exact price.

Cashier: We'll know soon. Ah! Here comes Rich.

Rich: They're two-for-one at $2:50.

Cashier: Thanks, Rich. How would you like to pay for these Ma'am? Cash, check, or charge?

Bella: I'll use my Discover card.

Cashier: Okay. Would you like a cash advance?

Anna: What's that?

Cashier: Well, it simply allows you to withdraw money, like an ATM card, except that you don't have to pay any interest for it.

Cashier: Could you please hit the green button once you agree with the total price.

Anna: Okay,

Rich:How would you like them bagged, Ma'am? Plastic or paper ?

Anna: Paper, please. The paper bags make handy trash bags.

Cashier: That's right! Sign next to the "X", please.

Anna: Thanks.


Conversation B (At the mall)

Anna: Here we are, guys, I'm going to stop by Bergner's first. I might just get lucky today. Who knows, some of their dresses might be on SALE.

Will: It's a fairly well-known department store. Sort of like Penny's. They've got some quality stuff. Wanna check it out?

Masahiro: Why not.

Anna: I need to get something for Lisa's birthday. She's into name brands. Any suggestions?

Will: A Gucci handbag or Calvin Klein T-shirt might be nice. Designer perfume is another option. Which reminds me! I have a 15% discount coupon for Lerner's and Penny's. I hardly ever shop at Lerner's, as I'm not that big on women's clothing. And I rarely shop at Penny's, so go ahead and use the coupons if you can. Here they are (handing them over).

Anna: Thanks a lot, Will. That's really very thoughtful of you.

Will: My pleasure, Ma'am!

Anna: Oh no! I was supposed to give Liz a buzz an hour ago! Hope I have a quarter (checks her purse).

Will: Need a nickle?

Anna: Actually, I don't have anything but pennies in change. Does any of you have a dollar in change?

Masahiro: Sorry, I don't, but I do have 35 cents on me. Will that be okay for the phone call?

Anna: Great! I really appreciate it. I'll make it quick. Do you guys want to go ahead?

Masahiro: We'll wait.

Will: Just don't forget us.

Anna: I won't. Why don't we just meet here in 30 minutes?

Will: Sounds good. I guess I'll just look around.

Salesperson: Can I help you, Sir?

Will: No thanks, I'm just looking. Well, just out of curiosity, how much is that necklace?

Salesperson: Twenty-nine, ninty nine.

Will: Really! My sister's birthday is tomorrow. She loves jewellry. I just wasn't sure I could afford it.

Saleperson: You'll find that a lot of our stuff is amazingly affordable.

Will: Well, that's certainly nice to know. I'll take it.

Saleperson: It's a good choice. I'm sure she'll love it.

Will: Let's hope so.

Salesperson: Cash or charge, Sir?

Will: Charge, please. Do you accept Discover?

Salesperson: Yes, we do.

Will: Great.

Salesperson: That comes to thirty one, ninty-nine with tax (handing him the charge sheet). Please sign next to the "X."

[Meanwhile, in another section of the store]

Salesperson: Do you need some help, Sir?

Masahiro: Well, I'm looking for . . . let's see. I've forgotten the name again! It's used to make fresh coffee.

Salesperson: A coffee maker?

Masahiro: That's right.

Salesperson: Well, we have a few in kitchenware, which is upstairs.

Masahiro: Thank you.

Salesperson: You're welcome.

[minutes later]

Anna: Oh, there you are, Masa! What did you get?

Masahiro: Just a simple coffee maker.

Anna: Good choice. And you, Will? Find anything interesting?

Will: A necklace for Stephanie's birthday.

Anna: Lucky her!

Will: Did you get anything?

Anna: Just a couple of silly earrings that I liked. I hope I wear 'em! I did a lot of window shopping.

Will: That can't hurt.

Anna: True. Well, do you guys need anything else from this place?

Masa: One last thing. Oh no! I've forgotten what you call it?

Will: Just describe it and we'll probably figure out what it's called.

Masa: It's a crystal container for flowers with long stems. I need to get one for my Mom.

Anna: Oh! A VASE!

Masa: That's it!

Anna: They should have a bunch in giftware.

Will: Let's go get one.

Anna: I'm going to have to stop by Jewel on my way home. Is that okay with you guys? I'm almost completely out of groceries.

Will: No problems. I could pick up a couple of things, too.


New Words and Expressions

1. Items that are "on SALE" are sold at discount prices. In other wirds, thay are cheaper than they were originally. Usually, they are available at a percentage off the original price.

2. Name brands refer to well-known, designer items such as Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren products. They are usually expensive, because they are associated with both quality and name.

3. To be big on something means that you really like the item in question.

4. A dollar in change is a commonly used expression that literally refers to coins (quarters, dimes, and/or nickels) that together, make up a dollar.

5.I'm just looking is a very common shopping-related expression, which indicates a shopper's desire to be left alone (i.e., not bothered by salespersons) to merely look around, and not necessarily for anything in particular.

6. Just out of curiosity is another frequently used expression which literally means that the shopper is just interested in knowing something specific about an item, such as its price, make, etc., before s/he decides whether or not to purchase it.

7. An item that is affordable can be bought.

8. "Cash or charge?" is a question commonly asked by cashiers when they wish to know whether the customer wishes to pay with cash, or a credit card.

9. Discover is a well-known credit card.

10. In most states in America, a sales tax (8 to 10%) is added to the price of every item purchased. In the state of Illinois, the sales tax is anywhere from 7.25% to 8%. Take a look at the receipt provided below. The sales tax is underlined on the receipt. A receipt is a small sheet of paper that spells out the details of a monetary transaction (e.g., the price of each individual item, purchased with or without a coupon, the sales tax imposed, and the total amount paid by the buyer). It is a good idea to keep all receipts in a safe place, so that if you'd like to return an item, you can do so. Most Department stores in America allow shoppers to return items (except for food items) within a period of 30 days after the date of purchase. During this time, you have the option of either exchanging an item for another similar or similarly priced item or returning it altogether and getting your money back. States in which no sales tax is imposed on purchases include New York and Oregon. Such states are therefore said to be good for major shopping (i.e., large scale shopping).

11. Find anything interesting? is a commonly asked informal question (in which the subject is understood from the shopping context). Through this question, the speaker inquires whether the hearer/ addressee bought anything from the store or liked something in particular (even if s/he did not purchase it).

12. Window shopping refers to the idea of looking at display items and other items without specifically intending to buy anything right away.

13. Giftware refers to that section of a Department store that carries gift items. The names of virtually every section or department of a Department store generally end in the suffix -ware which simply refers to a sale item. Therefore, kitchenware refers to that section of a Department store that carries crockery and other items typically found in the kitchen. Now it should be easy for you to figure out what (wares) different sections of a store carry. Visit the Department store nearest you and see for yourself!

14. Jewel is a well known grocery store.

15. Pick up is a commonly used shopping related expression which simply refers to the idea of getting/ buying something from the store (e.g., Will: Let's go pick up some milk from the corner store).

Conversation C. Complaining about Some Purchases

[Three weeks after Anna, Will, and Masahiro went to the mall]

Anna: Hi Masahiro! How's it going?

Masahiro: Fine, I guess. How about you?

Anna: Busy. Guess who's coming our way?

Will: Hi guys! What's up?

Anna: Nothing much. We just ran into each other.

Will: That's nice. So Masahiro, how's the coffee maker working?

Masahiro: Actually, it doesn't work well. It was a waste of money. I guess I should have shopped around for a good one.

Anna: Why don't you take it back?

Masahiro: I'd like to, but I've misplaced the receipt.

Will: Well, if it's any consolation, my shopping wasn't all that great either. I wish I'd never bought Stephanie a necklace. Just last night she was telling me how she wished she had Liz Taylor's new perfume.

Anna: That makes three displeased shoppers. Guess what? The camera I bought and shipped to Mike just this morning is now on sale! It's a pity that I bought it then. Then again, I guess I shouldn't complain. It was a good buy, even though I didn't get the best deal on it. Anyway, Masahiro, I suggest you look for that receipt and just go to the Complaints Department and say "I'd like to exchange this, please." It's as simple as that. And Will, it's not too late for you to ask for a refund.


New Words and Expressions

1. I regret buying. . . is a very frequently employed shopping-related expression used to refer to purchases a shopper is not happy with.

2. Why don't you take it back? is a commonly asked question that usually serves as a suggestive response to a shopper's complaint about a purchase. By asking this question, the speaker urges the hearer to return the item s/he is clearly not satisfied with.

3. I wish I'd never bought . . . is another commonly used expression of complaint.

4. A good buy is used to refer to a purchase that the shopper is very pleased with--usually a great/discount deal.

5. The best deal refers to the cheapest and most satisfying purchase price.

6. The Complaints Department, as the name suggests, is the section of the store that takes Customer complaints and grants requests for refunds, requests to exchange items, and so on.

7. A refund simply refers to the money paid for an item returned to a store. This money is given back to the shopper.

A Visit to the Advisor 拜访指导老师

In this conversation, an international student has been asked to see her advisor. The advisor has something very important to discuss with the student.


Student: You wanted to see me?

Advisor: That's right. We need to have a serious talk.

Student: About what?

Advisor: Your attendance--or rather, lack of it.

Student: OK, so I've ditched class a few times . . .

Advisor: A few times? I've been told you've missed six out of eight times in two different classes! That's really setting yourself up to fail.

Student: Oh, come on. Those classes are really boring!

Advisor: But they're also required, so that doesn't matter. You're about to be in big trouble.

Student: What's the big deal about missing some classes?

Advisor: The big deal is that you're here on a student visa.

Student: So?

Advisor: So if you don't attend class regularly, you won't be a full-time student--which your visa requires. You'll be out of status.

Student: What are you gonna do? Turn me in to the Immigration Police?

Advisor: Oh, of course I'll have to report you if you continue missing your class, but I'm going to do something else first.

Student: Like what?

Advisor: Like faxing your father.


Notes on Vocabulary

1. ditched class: intentionally missed class
2. setting yourself up to fail: doing (yourself) what is necessary to cause failure

3. . . . so that doesn't matter: . . . so that isn't important.

4. What's the big deal about missing some classes?: What's so important about missing some classes?

5. out of status: not meeting the requirements to keep your visa status

Notes on Usage

1. You wanted to see me?
The student changes a statement to a question by using question (rising) intonation, not by using an auxiliary verb (did).

People often use this kind of question in conversational language to suggest that they think a statement may not be true or accurate. (The student means something like "Is it true that you wanted to see me?" By using this kind of question, the student also suggests that she thinks there's no real reason for the advisor to want to see her.)

2. About what?

"Reduced" questions are also very common in conversational language. The full form would be something like "What do we need to have a serious talk about?" or "About what do we need to have a serious talk?"

3. Your attendance--or rather lack of it

"Reduced" answers are much more common than full answers in conversational language. The advisor means "We need to have a serious talk about your attendance--or rather, your lack of attendance."

4. OK, so . . .

Both OK and so are used very frequently in conversational language. Here, the student uses "OK, so . . ." to show that she admits that she's missed class a few times.

5. A few times?

A "reduced" answer; the advisor means something like "What do you mean by a few times?" By using "a few times," the student suggests that she hasn't missed class enough times to cause a problem. By questioning "a few times" (shown by the advisor's emphasis on "few"), the advisor is saying that there have been many absences, not just a few.

6. Oh, come on.

This expression is used to show that what has just been said is unreasonable or illogical. The student doesn't understand why missing some boring classes is setting herself up to fail.

7. So?

This one-word question is used when one doesn't understand the relationship or consequence that follows from what has just been said. (The student means she doesn't understand the relationship between missing classes and her student visa.)

8. gonna

There are many "relaxed" pronunciations of commonly used phrases (for example, "hasta" or "hafta" for has to or have to, "wanna" for want to, "woulda/coulda/shoulda/mighta" for would've/could've/should've/might've). These forms are very common in spoken English, but they're not acceptable in most written work.

9. Turn me in to . . . ?

A "reduced" question: "Are you going to turn me in to . . . ?"

10. Like what?

A "reduced" question: "What will the 'something else' be like?" ("What kind of thing are you going to do?"

11. Like faxing your father

A "reduced" answer: "[I'm going to do something] like faxing your father." (The advisor plans to send a fax to the student's father to tell the father that the student hasn't been attending class.)

Asking for the Way 问路

Visitor: Can you tell me how to reach the bank please?

Policeman: Which bank? There are two: the Allied Irish Bank and the Bank of Ireland.

Visitor: I have an AIB pass card and I want to withdraw money from the bank.

Policeman: You need to go to the Allied Irish Bank which is near the local shopping centre, Dunnes Stores.

Visitor: How do I get there. I have no knowledge of this area.

Policeman: Cross the road and turn left at the other side. Walk along the footpath until you reach the traffic lights. You will see a shopping centre on the right hand side. Walk across the road and turn right after the shopping centre. Keep going straight for about 100m and the bank is to your left.

Visitor: It sounds very complicated. How far is it from here?

Policeman: It's not so complicated. It's about five minutes walk from here. I can draw a map for you if you wish.

Visitor:Oh, I would really appreciate that . By the way will I be going North or South ?

Policeman: You will be going northwards. You are now in the the Western part of the city and the Allied Irish Bank is situated in the North East. Here's a rough sketch of the area.

At the Library 图书馆

Librarian: Can I help you?

Natalie: Yes. I am a bit confused. My sociology class is supposed to read a chapter in a book called Sociology and the Modern Age. According to the syllabus, the book is in the library, but I haven't been able to find it.

Librarian: Do you have your syllabus with you? May I see it?

Natalie: Yes, uh....I put it in the front of my sociology notebook. Oh, here it is.

Librarian: Let me see. Oh yes. Your professor has placed this book on reserve. That means you cannot find it on the shelves in its usual place. You need to go to a special room called the reserve room. It's down the hall and to the right.

Natalie: I'm sorry - I still don't understand what you mean by on reserve.

Librarian: You see, your professor wants every one in the class to read the chapter. If one student removes the book from the library, it is likely that none of the other students will have the opportunity to read it. So, your professor has insured that all students have the opportunity to read it by placing it on reserve.

Natalie: So, will I be able to find this book?

Librarian: Yes, when a book is on reserve, a student can go to the reserve room and ask the reserve librarian for the book. The student can have the book for a few hours, and he or she MUST read it in the library during that time. That way, the book stays in the library, and all students have a chance to read it.

Natalie: Okay. Thank you. I understand now.

Librarian: Will there be anything else?

Natalie: No! I am on my way to the reserve room. Thanks again!


Words and Expression 单词和表达

1.syllabus 课程大纲
Usually, an instructor hands out the syllabus on the first day of class.

If you are not sure when an assignment is due, check the syllabus.

I need to buy all the books the instructor has listed on the syllabus.

According to the syllabus, we have a quiz next week.

2.on reserve 保留,不出借

All the library's books by M. Douglas White are on reserve for students in Chemistry 341.

Prof: I'd like to place these books on reserve for my physics class.

Librarian: Certainly. Fill out this form, and I'll inform the librarian in the reserve room.

I need to spend a few hours in the library to read a textbook my instructor has placed on reserve.

I'm sorry. You are not allowed to take this book from the library. It is on reserve, so you must read it here.

3.to be) on one's way (to) 在去...的路上

The incredible acting of Maya Thurston in her last three movies has caught the attention of movie lovers everywhere. Maya is on her way to becoming a star.

I saw Rita on her way to school. It was raining and she was carrying an umbrella.

Wife: Henry, if you don't leave now you'll be late for the train.

HUSBAND: Don't worry, hon. I'm on my way!

If you are on your way to the grocery store, could you stop at the pharmacy next door and buy some aspirin?

Apartment Hunting 租房

Bill is looking for a new apartment. He just moved to a new city in order to start studying at a university. He is at a Rental Agency in the new city. 
比尔在找一个新公寓,他才来到一个新城市读大学,这是他在一家租房中介的对话 。
Agent: Hi! Welcome to Rental Property Management. How may I help you?
Bill: Hi, yes. I'm interested in renting a two-bedroom apartment.
Agent: Okay. If you have a seat, one of our rental agents will be with you in a moment.
Bill: Thank you.
Associate: Hi, my name is Ann Smith.
Bill: Hi, I'm Bill Harrington.
Ann: Hi, Mr. Harrington. So that we will be able to match your needs better, I would like to ask you a few questions before I show you what we have available. First, what price range were you interested in?
Bill: Somewhere between $400-$450 a month.
Ann: Okay. Did you have a specific location in mind?
Bill: Well, I would like to live somewhere near the university. Or at least on a bus line.
Ann: And when would you like to move in?
Bill: On the first of the month.
Ann: Okay. Are there any other amenities which you would like to have? For example, a dishwasher, a balcony, a swimming pool or central air conditioning?
Bill: I would definitely like to have a dishwasher, and with summers like these, central air! A balcony is not that important. Oh, yes, and two bathrooms would be nice.
Ann: Okay. Here are photos of the apartments we have available which fit your preferences.
Bill: Thank you. This one on Broadway Avenue looks nice. I would like to see that one. And the one on Main Street.
Ann: Sure. Let me get the keys and we will go look at them. If you choose to rent one of them, we will need a damage deposit of $250. You will be responsible for all the utilities. You can sign a lease today, if you like.
Bill: Great! Thank you.

Making friends 结识朋友

When making new friends, there are usually three parts to the conversation you will have with your new friend. The first is the greeting. In this part, you and your new friend will greet each other and tell each other your names. The second part is the conversation. Sometimes the conversation is small talk and some times the conversation is about important matters, such as business. "Small talk" is an American slang term. It means that the conversation is about matters that are not very important. When conversing with your new friend, it is customary to give information about your family, your work, or you will talk about any matter that is important to you and your new friend. The third part of the conversation is the leave-taking. In this part, you tell your new friend that you are happy to meet him and that you must end the conversation.
结识新朋友时,你和新朋友的谈话一般分为三个部分:第一部分是问候,你和你的新朋友要互相问候并告诉对方彼此的姓名。第二部分是交谈,有时候谈话是简单的聊天,有时候是谈论一些重要的问题比如商务。“small talk”是一个美式俚语,意思是关于一些不太重要的问题的闲聊。当你和新朋友交谈时,通常会聊一些关于你的家庭、工作的情况,或谈一些对你和你的新朋友比较重要的事情。第三部分是告别,这里你要告诉你的新朋友很高兴认识他并且你不得不结束谈话了。

In this conversation, Thinh will introduce himself and his wife to Jim, their new neighbor.
下面这段对话,Thinh 将要向他的新邻居Jim介绍自己和妻子。
Thinh: Hello.
Jim: Oh, hi there!
Thinh: Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Thinh Nguyen and this is my wife, Lan Quong.
Jim: Pleased to meet you. My name is Jim Peters. Did you just move in next door?
Lan: Yes, we did. Have you lived here long?
Jim: Me? I guess so. I've lived here for about 6 years now. Have you lived in America very long?
Thinh: No. Not really. When we left Vietnam and came to America we lived with a cousin in Dallas for 2 years. Where do you work, Jim?
Jim: I teach mathematics at Willow Springs community college. What do you do?
Thinh: I am a mechanic at Allied Diesel. I repair truck engines.
Jim: What about you, Lan?
Lan: I am a nurse's assistant at Whitfield County hospital.
Jim: Well, Thinh and Lan, it was good to meet you. I have to go now. I'm teaching a class this evening and I need to get to the college.
Thinh: It was good to meet you, too, Jim.
Lan: Yes, it was good to meet you.
Jim: See you around!
Thinh and Lan: Good-bye, Jim!

New words and Expressions
1. "Allow me to introduce myself.
" - This phrase is used when you want to tell your new friend that you are going to tell him your name.
2. "Pleased to meet you."
- This phrase is used after you and your new friend have told each other your names.
3. "Did you just move in next door?", "Where do you work?", "Have you lived here long?"
- These are some phrases that people use to make "small talk." These phrases are used when you ask your friend for basic information about himself. These phrases help new friends to get to know about each other's lives.
4. "It was good to meet you."
- This phrase is usually used when you are ending the conversation. A person who uses this phrase will be considered polite by his new friend.