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Learn English 108 Article
Here Are 3 Brilliant Ways For You To Say Yes In English
This is the learn English 108 podcast transcript that accompanies the Monday audio podcast. Use this transcript to support your English learning.
Let’s talk today about an expression in English, which is very common, but which you may not know from your language lessons. And that expression is ‘Of course’.
Hi there, I’m Hilary and welcome to this latest podcast from Adept English. If you are looking to improve your understanding of spoken English, then it’s really helpful to listen to someone native English-speaking like this. Just listening will improve your English, but also I try to give you an explanation. I explain any difficult words, so that you don’t need to use a dictionary so much. Check out our courses at adeptenglish.com – they work in exactly the same way.
Let’s talk today about an expression in English, which is very common, but which you may not know from your language lessons. And that expression is ‘Of course’. This is something which English speakers say all the time, but it’s one of those little expressions, those things we say, whose meaning is not necessarily obvious.
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It Seems Very English To Make 'yes' Much More Complicated Than It Needs To Be
Let’s give some examples of it being used first of all.
"Can you help me lift my bag?" "Of course."
"May I use your phone?" "Of course you can."
“Can I sit here?” “Yes, of course”
So in all these examples, ‘Of course’ really means the same as ‘Yes’. But, it’s a bit more than yes. It means not just yes, but it means that the person answering is really very happy about it, they really want to help or at least seem that way. It’s very polite – and therefore typically British.
So “Can you help me lift my bag?” - you can imagine someone on a train with a heavy bag. And the reply “Of course” means “I would be very pleased to lift your bag for you”. And “May I use your phone?” - here “Of course” means yes, but also that I’m very happy for you to use my phone! So here “of course” exactly the same as Yes, but is being used to show that the person is willing. “Can I sit here?” and the other person “Of course!”. It’s polite, because they may not really be quite so happy about it underneath – but it’s seen as polite to make people feel comfortable.
The English Language Often Gives Many Meanings To The Same Word
The word ‘course’ in English, C-O-U-R-S-E is one of those words which has a lot of different meanings in the dictionary, lots of different definitions. It’s used to mean a ‘course of learning’ - like an Adept English course - something a student would follow. But also if you were talking about a race, if it was a running race or a bike race, there would be ‘a course’. And here course would mean the route, the path, the way, the direction that everyone will go. We might also talk about water ‘finding its course’ - so water will run along the route that is easiest. So ‘of course’ really means ‘naturally’, ‘if things take the natural direction, if things happen as you would expect’ - “of course”.
Another example of its use, which is just slightly different. “Have you done your homework?” “Of course”. You can imagine the mother asking her children. This is something which I find myself asking a lot. And the reply “Of course, I finished it yesterday” - means “Yes, I finished it yesterday” – but it also has an additional meaning – it’s like they’re saying “Why do you doubt me? Of course, I am the type of child who always does my homework on time, every time! It’s obvious that I would have done my homework yesterday.” So “of course” here means that you don’t really need to ask – it would happen just the same, even if you didn’t worry about it.
A Slightly Sarcastic 'Yes'
Another way of using this expression, you might hear something like
“The First World War began, of course, in 1914”
Here “of course” means that this is something you already know – most people know when the First World War started. “Of course, the clocks move forward in March” - means “The clocks move forward in March, as you already know”. Or “Of course, exercise is good for you” means “Exercise is good for you, and you already know that”. So “of course” can be used like this to show that this is a piece of information that the speaker expects you to know already. It’s another way of saying “It’s obvious. Everyone knows that”.
The All Knowing 'Yes'
A slightly different meaning again, is when “of course” is used to talk about a consequence. It’s used to talk about something that happened ‘as a result’, so it’s ‘what you’d expect’. Examples of this would be:-
“We arrived late at the train station, so of course, we had missed the train” or “We arrived late at the theatre, so of course, the performance had already started”. Or “I forgot to get some bread, so of course, the bakery had run out”.
It can be also used in the negative. Someone might say:-
“Do you mind if I sit here?” and the other person “Of course not”.
“Did you use my toothbrush?” “Of course not”.
“Did you eat my Easter Egg?” “Of course not – I wouldn’t do such a thing”.
I hope that makes this expression clearer – and it is something we say all the time.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.
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