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Episode 33 - Transcript


Hello, I'm Jacek Olender and this is PoLoop Angielski Podcast. For more materials for learners of English and the transcript of this episode, go to my website,


Agnieszka from Poznań sent me this email the other day in which she expresses her frustration about not being able to use some language structures she's learned in her course, in real life. Especially she says she's got problem with the third conditional. And she says that she has no trouble completing exercises in her grammar book practising this structure. But when it comes to speaking, she very rarely uses it. She hesitates, she makes mistakes, and often avoids using the structure altogether, because she's afraid of making errors. And no matter how much she spends, how much time she spends on doing the exercises, in her grammar book, all this effort doesn't seem to translate into a more confident use of the structure when communicating with others. I think it sounds pretty familiar to all of us. It's a common experience for learners. And very often it's a common experience for those learners who treat the language as a matter of knowledge. You know, speaking, should be considered more of a skill than a knowledge-based activity. And of course, having a solid grasp of grammar and vocabulary is certainly important for effective communication, but speaking fluently and accurately requires the development of complex motor skills. So to put it simply, speaking English is more like dancing or playing sports, rather than simply memorising the rules.


To speak well, you need to develop muscle memory and coordination. And this requires a different kind of practice than doing grammar exercises in a grammar book; it requires the kind of practice dancers or athletes would use to hone their skills. By the way, to hone a skill is another way of saying to improve, develop, or refine a skill through practice, and effort. So how about joining me on the dance floor today, and we'll be working on a challenging routine, also known as the third conditional. We will focus on breaking down our routine into smaller units, smaller steps, practising each component separately, and then gradually putting it all together. This will help us build up our confidence and coordination in using the third conditional in real life conversations.


Alright, let's begin. We'll start by focusing on the if-clause part of the third conditional sentence. I'll give you a prompt to follow along. When you hear me say "I", please respond with "if I had", when I say "you", say "if you'd", and when you hear "sh"e respond with "if she'd".Just a quick note, I want you to use contracted forms such as if he'd instead of if he had the goal here is to practice fluids connected speech. We are learning to dance not just to walk after all. So let's begin.


You - If you'd; she - if she'd; they - if they'd; I - if I'd; he - if he'd; it - if it'd; we - if we'd; I - if I'd; she - if she'd; you - if you'd; It - if it'd; he - if he'd


Yep, please make sure that at the end of these, we will have the sound "d" not "t". if you'd, if she'd, if they'd, if It'd and so on. Okay, so when you find it easy, it's time to move to the next step. This time, I'll give you an infinitive form of the verb. And I'd like you to tell me it's past participle form, the third form of this verb. So, if I say "speak", you'll say "spoken". Try to respond as quickly as you can. Are you ready? Let's go.


know known, study studied,. leave left, ask asked, save saved, hire hired, rain, rained, listen listened, See Seen, book booked, pass passed,be been, give given, go, gone, stay stayed, invest invested, get got, lose lost.


Okay hope you're feeling comfortable with providing me with the past participle form of the verbs. But that's just the warmup. So now it's time to link step one with step two. So this time around, I'll be providing you with two words in a prompt. For instance, if you hear "you" and "save", I want you to reply with "if you'd saved" "if you'd saved". And if I say "she go", your response should be "if she'd gone" "if she'd gone", and so on and so forth. Are you ready to start? Okay, let's begin.


I know, if I had known; you study, if you'd studied; we leave; if we'd left; he as, If he'd asked; she save, If she'd saved; they hire, if they'd hired; It rain, if it'd rained; you listen, if you'd listened; I see, if I'd seen; we book, if we booked


Great job. We are making some excellent progress here. If you still find it challenging, though, please feel free to revisit this section. But if you're finding it easy, let's move on to the next exercise. For this round. I'll provide you with a complete sentence that describes something that didn't happen in the past. Your task will be to respond with an IF-clause that introduces the concept of an alternative hypothetical situation. I know it sounds complicated, but actually is not that complex. Ready? So for example, if I say "I didn't go to the party", your response should be "if I'd gone to the party". Likewise, if I say "she didn't do her homework", your reply should be "if she'd done her homework". Are you ready to get started? Okay, let's dive in.


I didn't know you're coming. If I'd known you were coming. You didn't study harder. If you'd studied harder. We didn't leave early. If we'd left early.He didn't ask for help. If he'd asked for help. She didn't save her money. If she'd saved her money. They didn't hire a professional. If they'd hired a professional. It didn't rain. If it'd rained. You didn't listen to my advice. If you'd listened to my advice. I didn't see the warning signs. If I'd seen the warning signs. We didn't book in advance. If we'd booked in advance.


Excellent. We are halfway there. Now it's time to move on to the main clause. And we'll break it down into smaller chunks. Once again, for this exercise, I'll give you a pronoun. And your task will be to add either the phrase "would have" or a pronoun and "not", in which case you'll need to respond with the phrase "wouldn't have". For instance, if you hear me say, "I", your response should be "I would have". However, if I say "I not", your reply should be "I wouldn't have". "I wouldn't have". Are you ready? Let's get started.


I - I would have; you - you would have; we not - we wouldn't have; I - I would have; she - she would have; we - we would have; he not - He wouldn't have; it not - it wouldn't have; I not - I wouldn't have; it - It would have; they not - they wouldn't have; they - they would have; she not - she wouldn't have.


Once again, if you still find it hard, repeat this part until it becomes effortless. All right, now it's time to add the verb. In this round. I'll give you a prompt that includes both the pronoun and the verb. For instance, if I say "I go', your response should be "I would have gone". However, if you hear me say "I go not", yYour reply should be "I wouldn't have gone". "I wouldn't have gone". Are you ready to give it a try? Let's go.


I bake.I would have baked. You pass. You would have passed. We be not. We wouldn't have been. We wouldn't have been. You might want to repeat. That's complicated. We wouldn't have been. We wouldn't have been. We wouldn't have been. Please notice we don't say "t" in wouldn't. We say wouldn've been. So one more time. We wouldn't have been. Okay, next one. I give. I would have given. She go. She would have gone. It Be. It would have been. We stay. We would have stayed. You lose not. You wouldn't have lost. I invest not. I wouldn't have invested. We get. We would have got.


Okay, now it's time for complete main clauses, where I'll tell you about something that happened, and you'll respond with information about a hypothetical outcome. For instance, if I say "I didn't go to a party, but ...", your response should be, "I would have gone to the party, If ...". On the other hand, if I say, "I went to the party, but ... ". your reply should be, "I wouldn't have gone to the party, if ..." Are you ready to start? Okay, let's begin.


I didn't bake the cake, but - I would have baked a cake if. You didn't pass the exam, but - You would have passed the exam if. We were stuck in traffic, but - we wouldn't have been stuck in traffic if. I didn't give it to him, but - I would have given it to him if. She didn't go on holiday, but - she would have gone on holiday if. It wasn't done correctly, but - it would have been done correctly if. We didn't stay indoors, but - we would have stayed indoors if. You lost a lot of money, but - you wouldn't have lost a lot of money if. You invested in that company, but - you wouldn't have invested in that company if. We didn't get a lower price for the hotel, but - we would have got a lower price for the hotel if


Wow, you're really impressing everyone with your dance moves. I think we should now get some music playing. So for the final task, I'll describe a situation in the past. And I'd like you to respond with a complete third conditional sentence. Let's get started.


I didn't know you were coming, so I didn't bake a cake. If I'd known you were coming, I would have baked a cake.


You didn't study harder, so you didn't pass the exam. If you'd studied harder, you would have passed the exam.


We didn't leave earlier, so we were stuck in traffic. If we'd left earlier, we wouldn't have been stuck in traffic.


He didn't ask for help, so I didn't give it to him. If he'd asked for help, I would have given it to him.


She didn't save her money, so she didn't go on holidays. If she'd saved the money, she would have gone on holidays.


They didn't hire a professional, so the job wasn't done correctly. If they'd hired a professional, that job would have been done correctly.


It didn't rain, so we didn't stay indoors. If it had rained, we would have stayed indoors.


You didn't listen to my advice, so you lost a lot of money. if you'd listened to my advice, you wouldn't have lost a lot of money.


I didn't see the warning signs, so I invested in that company. If I'd seen the warning signs, I wouldn't have invested in that company.


We didn't book in advance, so we didn't get a lower price for the hotel. If we'd booked in advance, we would have got a lower price for the hotel.


Okay, and that brings us to the end of our practice session on using the third conditional more fluently. I know it wasn't a walk in the park. But as I've mentioned multiple times before in this podcast, mastering a foreign language takes some effort. As the saying goes, no pain, no gain. Agnieszka, and all of you who have been practising with me today, I hope you've learned how to improve your fluency and to refine your ability to use complex English structures in spoken language. You need to break it down and you need to practice. I apologise for the length of this episode, but with Easter coming up next week, I'll be taking a brief break, so you too can take a break from me and PoLoop Angielski podcast. In the meantime, have a wonderful time and enjoy the Easter holiday. Goodbye.

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