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With over 40 years of teaching between us, Reza and Craig will help you improve your English and take it to the next level.
In this episode: Your questions answered: How to start and finish emails, the English ‘subjuntivo’, the difference between ‘avoid’ and ‘prevent’ and more of your questions and comments.
Thanks to our good friend Javier for the olive oil.
How to start and finish emails
Reza responds to emails using a similar level of formality (or informality) as the person who sends the email.
Beginning a formal email:
Dear John, Mr. Smith (Mrs/Miss/Ms) – Yours Sincerely,
miss – single
ms – single or married
Dear Sir/Madam – Yours Faithfully,
Hi, Good morning/afternoon/evening (Reza would not choose these greetings for formal emails unless the other person used them first)
Reza is a bit of a stickler (stickler – rigorista, insistente)
Ending a formal email:
Best wishes, All the best, Warm regards, Best regards, Kind regards,
I look forward to/I’m looking forward to + (verb) + ing (Reza would choose not to use contractions, like “I’m”, in a formal email).
Reza and Craig both agree that it’s better to be more formal in exam emails and letters.
It’s always better to be more formal than to risk offending someone by being too informal.
Beginning an informal email:
Hi, Hello, How’s it going? What’s up? Hey there! G’day (Australian greeting)
Ending an informal email:
Love, Lots of love, hugs, Cheers! kisses, see you soon!
Thanks,See you Tuesday,
Feedback: Javier from Burgos
Javier found us around episode 44 and went back to Nº1. Now he needs more than one episode per week because he’s listened to all of them!
I’m used to listening to a daily podcast of you (must be true, he said “listening TO”!), If I were the President of the Government I would declare your podcasts “of national interest”
and I would enact a law forcing you to release a podcast every day. Poor Craig and Reza!
A doubt I sometimes have is trouble translating our Spanish “subjuntivo” into English.
Certain expressions are clear to me, such as the typical “verb + pronoun + to inf” (I told you to come earlier), and some others such as using certain verbs with the bare infinitive (recommend, suggest):
I recommend that you study more /It is recommended that you study more.
My doubt is with other examples apart from the aforementioned, such as: “No creo que vaya a la fiesta” = I don’t think I go / will go to the party. Which one is correct? Both?
Besides, concerning the examples with the bare infinitive, I think that with some verbs there is only that possibility, I mean: “I recommend that you go the party” is OK but you can’t say “I recommend you to go to the party”.
But with other verbs, are both possibilities allowed?. For instance: “I asked that Mark submit his assignment” MAYBE YOU ASKED MARK’S TUTOR TO ASK MARK TO SUBMIT IT and “I asked Mark to submit his assignment”. YOU ASKED MARK DIRECTLY
So, my enquiry is: which verbs are only used with the bare infinitive and which verbs can be used with both structures?.
Best regards from Burgos,
Nobody really agrees what the subjunctive is and when it should be used. Many grammar books and English teachers disagree.
The past subjunctive is the same as the past indicative. The exception is the verb TO BE: I were, you were, he/sh/it were (for example, as used in the second conditional “If I WERE you, I would…..”)
The present subjunctive is the same as the past subjunctive, except for the 3rd person ‘s’ which is sometimes (but not always) removed: “I recommend he TRAVEL without any luggage.”
The present subjunctive is more common in American English than British English.
The present subjunctive of the verb TO BE is ‘BE’ for all forms of the verb (I BE, you BE, he/she/it BE etc).
Example, “If there be any reason why this man and woman should not be married…..”
Some verbs which can take the subjunctive include:
advise – “Passengers are advised that the 5:15 train to Swindon has been cancelled.” / “I advise that he NOT go there.” (negative subjunctive)
ask – “I ask that he accompany us.” / I ask that you put the gun down on the floor, sir.”
demand – “I demand that you give back the money.”
insist – “We insist that all passengers check in before 6pm.”
propose – “I propose we meet after dinner for a cocktail.”
recommend – “I recommend that students not write on their question paper.”
request – “We request that all guests remove their muddy boots before entering the lobby.”
suggest – “I suggest that we have a break for coffee after this podcast.”
Some expressions sometimes go with, or use, the subjunctive:
It’s a good idea……. – “It’s a good idea that she stay (subjunctive) / stays (indictative) behind.”
“God save the Queen.” / “Long live the Queen.”
Audio feedback: Antonio Prieto from Cadiz (thank you for your podcast) – XI’ve been hearing youX – listening to you.
Here’s some audio feedback from Antonio Prieto.
Another question we have been asked, and I’m sorry, I can’t remember who asked us this, but it’s about the two verbs ‘avoid’ and ‘prevent’.
What’s the difference between to avoid (evitar, esquivar) and to prevent (prevenir, evitar)?
To prevent is to take action to stop something before it starts. To avoid is to just stay away from something. (more active / engagement/deployment to stop something happening)
“My dad prevented me from going to the rave.” (prevent someone FROM doing something)
Example: Getting the flu shot would be prevention, hiding in your home and not having contact with anyone until the end of flu season would be avoidance.
“I avoided speaking to John” – (avoid + gerund)
Listener Feedback: Javier G from the Basque country – audio feedback – not because he says how much he likes the podcast, but because he is practising his English.
(listen TO you, Good use of present perfect ‘I’ve downloaded all your podcasts’, ‘I’ve learned a lot of English with you.’ and ‘do sport’ (not Xpractise sportX)
Paloma from Segovia
Good morning Craig and Reza,
My name is Paloma and I live in Segovia.
I listened to your podcast just a month ago when I luckily came across them looking for some listenings and I must say you two are doing a wonderful work (a wonderful job) which I am very grateful for.
Now, making profit of your kindness (taking advantage of), I wonder if you could clarify this sentence: “I hope you don’t mind my asking”, which I believe is correct, instead of “I hope you don’t mind me asking” or “I hope you don’t mind if I ask”, ….
I am not sure which one is best, I always use the first one though, and when and how to use it.
Thank you in advance.
P.S. If (OR- NOT BOTH-) whenever you happen to come to Segovia, please let me know. I will be delighted to show you my little but beautiful town.
Audio Feedback Maria Jose – Past Perfuct Continuous – episode 91 with Mike:
Emilia – Email
Me podrian aclarar unas dudas por favor?
Cómo es correcto decir:
1.”I turn 16 this Sunday.” or “I am turning 16 this Sunday.” (Present simple is better – (used here for timetabled events and schedules in the future. Another example; “The train leaves at 6pm” – fixed future time).
(“I will turn…” is also possible. Future simple for a future fact)
2.”The festival starts in the evening.” (Present simple – fixed future time) or “The festival is starting in the evening.” (Present continuous – Future plan/arrangement)
Both are correct. Also, “The festival is going to start…” (to be going to+INFIN. – Future intention is also possible)
For our 100th episode please send us your ‘wins’. How has English helped you. “Because of my English………….”. Send us a voice message: https://www.speakpipe.com/inglespodcast
Send us an email with a comment or question to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. On next week’s episode: Commonly mispronounced words
The music in this podcast is by Pitx. The track is called ‘See You Later’