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Learn 10 Separable Phrasal Verbs

Welcome back to Everyday Grammar from VOA Learning English. Today we return to a very common verb form in English – phrasal verbs. You will find one phrasal verb in every 192 words of written English. They will make your English sound more natural once you begin using them correctly. In an earlier program, we explained how and why English speakers use them. Today we look at some often-used phrasal verbs. This type of phrasal verb allows a direct object to come between the verb and the preposition or adverb. As you will hear, there is a special rule that learners should know about when using these 10 phrasal verbs.

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You Can Use the Simple Past Tense to Make Polite Offers

magine you are at a café in the United States. The server walks toward you and asks the following question: Did you want cream for your coffee? You might ask yourself how you should answer. What is the server talking about? Why did the server use a past tense construction, "Did you want?" Why did the server not say "Do you want cream for your coffee?" In today's Everyday Grammar, we will try to solve a mystery: why do some Americans use the past tense when they are talking about the present?

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Disagreements in Everyday Conversation

Imagine that you are walking down the street in an American city. You might hear short conversations as you pass people. One such short conversation might sound like this: A: Should we try that restaurant? I hear the food is cheap! B: Their food is supposed to be bad, though.* There's a reason the food is cheap! A: Yeah but I need to save money for my Mom's Christmas gift! The point of this conversation is not to teach you that America has a lot of bad restaurants. In fact, America does have some very good restaurants! The point of this conversation is to show you how some Americans disagree with each other in everyday conversation. These friendly disagreements, for example, might be between friends who are trying to decide what they want to do.

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Disagreements in Everyday Conversation, Part Two

Imagine you are at a business meeting in the United States. The meeting is held one day after a major sporting event, like the Super Bowl. You might hear comments like this: A: Did you see that terrible call the referee made? B: Yes, but it didn't matter. Our team would have lost the game anyway. C: So, anyway, do you think the budget details are correct or not? Why were two of the speakers talking about a football game at a business meeting? How did they use grammar to show disagreement?

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Commonly Used Nouns

Imagine you hear a mother or father talking to a child. The parent wants the child to do well in school, but the child does not like to read books. The exchange might sound something like this: A: To get a good grade, the first thing you have to do is read books. B: Why do people always tell me to read books? I don't think books are fun. A: Lots of people don't read books – that's why they do badly in school. The last thing you want is a bad grade!

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Be supposed to

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Noun Clauses in Everyday Speech

Almost every American has seen or heard of the movie "Forrest Gump." The film is a touching story about the life of a man who faces many challenges. One of the most famous quotes from “Forrest Gump” is this: My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get. These lines might interest you for two reasons. First, if you mention them to an American, they will probably know what you are talking about. Second, if you study the lines carefully, you can learn how complex grammar is used in everyday speech. Today on Everyday Grammar, we are going to explore how Americans use noun clauses in speech.

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Different Meanings of 'Have' in Everyday Speech

"There Will Be Blood" is a film about Daniel Plainview, an American oil man in the early part of the 20th century. The film's story is dark. Plainview builds his oil business slowly by using cruel, sometimes painful actions. The world he lives in is not a happy one. A famous line from the 2007 movie sounds like this: "I have two others [oil wells] drilling and I have 16 [oil wells] producing at Antelope. So, ladies and gentlemen, if I say I'm an oil man, you will agree. Now, you have a great chance here, but bear in mind you can lose it all if you're not careful."

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Different Meanings of 'Make' in Everyday Speech

Imagine you are watching the 1991 American film City Slickers. It tells the story of an unhappy man and two of his friends. The men agree they need a short break from their day-to-day problems. So they decide to go on a trip to the southwestern United States. In the movie, you hear the following lines: "When you're a teenager, you think you can do anything – and you do. Your twenties are a blur. Thirties, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, 'What happened to my twenties?"

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Getting to Know the Verb 'Get'

So, Alice, what did you do last night? Well, I was at home, getting ready to go to the movies. I was getting my shoes on when I got a feeling that something strange was going to happen. I've gotten those feelings, too. Then, I left the house, and got a cab, and got to the movies as fast as I could. Did you get there on time? Yes! But as soon as I got into the theater, I got a phone call from someone whose voice I didn’t recognize. That’s when things started to get weird…

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