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stretchy limo hummers
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Hi there and welcome to this podcast from Adept English. Learning English is easier once you know how to. English speaking follows being able to understand English well. And that comes through listening. So here we are, Adept English, providing you with lots of free podcasts to listen to, so that you can improve your English. If you want to learn English more quickly, then our Seven Rules Course will show you how to. English speaking is easier, if you know these secrets of language learning. You can sign up for this course today – and save yourself valuable time as you’ll improve your spoken English more quickly, if you’ve done this free course. How to speak English fluently and how to speak English fluently without hesitation? Find the answers in our Seven Rules Course. Simple secrets to instantly improve your English.
So one of the challenging things about learning English, is of course, the number of words in the language. However, it’s not just that – it’s that words often have a lot of different meanings. So one word will mean a lot of different things. So I’m going to talk through a normal average word today – and go through its different meanings, different contexts. There’s nothing special about this word – it’s a typical English word, but it will show you the range of meanings that just one word can have. So in one sense, this podcast is only covering one word, but actually there are hundreds of words in this podcast (I’ll tell you more accurately at the end!) – so by listening, you’re learning rather more than this one word!
So the word for today is ‘stretch’, that’s S-T-R-E-T-C-H. So it’s a typical English word, in that it’s both a noun – you can ‘have a stretch’ and a verb ‘to stretch’. It’s also slightly challenging perhaps in its pronunciation, because there are three consonants at the beginning, S-T-R, ‘str-’, vowel ‘e’, and then another three consonants,’-tch’, -T-C-H, ‘-tch’ sound. ‘Stretch’.
So let’s start with the verb – to stretch - it has fewer meanings, so that’s easier. ‘To stretch’ is what you might do when you wake up in the morning. You make your arms and legs very long, you put your hands in the air and you pull the muscles in your arms and legs – and ‘Uhhhh’, it feels nice. That’s ‘a stretch’, or ‘to stretch’. If you watch cats or dogs, they do a lot of stretching. And if cats do it, then it’s probably good for you. Before you do exercise, it’s a good idea to stretch – so that you don’t damage your muscles. There’s a slightly different use too. If you ‘stretch something out’, it means you intentionally make it longer. You might ‘stretch out’ your holiday, by going to visit family members on the way home. Or you might ‘stretch’ dinner, by adding more potatoes to your casserole, or by putting more bread onto the table, because more people are eating with you than you thought.
You might ‘stretch’ your budget, your money to buy something that’s expensive that you want. You might stretch elastic or stretch someone’s patience. That means they have patience, but then you use it up and then they get angry with you. So the verb really means to make something longer than its normal length, whether that’s your arms, when you stretch in the morning, or your clothes stretching, because you’ve put on weight over Christmas! Or you might stretch up to reach something, like a book which is on a high shelf. You can also use ‘to stretch’ about fabric or clothes – so ‘My jumper has stretched in the washing machine!’, for example.
What about the noun – ‘a stretch’ or ‘the stretch’? Well, its simplest meaning is the same as the verb. If you ‘have a stretch’ - that’s the same as ‘to stretch’ or ‘stretching’. You lengthen your arms, legs or body, because it feels nice for your muscles. But you might also talk about a stretch of a journey. A length of road, or motorway is ‘a stretch’, as in ‘I don’t like this stretch of the journey, it’s dark and not well-lit’. Or ‘I think this stretch of road is dangerous’. You might also talk about the ‘home stretch’. That would be the stretch or the section of a journey where you’re nearly home, nearly back at your house – or nearly back at the start, if it’s a race of some kind. You might be running, having a race and you’re ‘on the home stretch’.
Where ‘stretch’ has more of an abstract meaning as a noun, you might say ‘It’s a bit of a stretch this month – we can’t really afford it, we haven’t really got enough money for that.’ Or ‘It would be too much of a stretch to expect the garage to clean my car outside, as well as inside’. So ‘a stretch’ in this context, means something which goes beyond a reasonable expectation, goes beyond what you might expect.
‘Stretch’ may also refer to the elasticity of something. ‘Elasticity’, E-L-A-S-T-I-C-I-T-Y. That means ‘how stretchy something is’. So in clothes sometimes you want ‘stretch’. You want elasticity in your tights or your underwear, so that it’s comfortable. Stretchy clothes can feel nice to wear and are useful for if you’re exercising. You want stretchy jogging pants, perhaps.
A ‘stretch’ can also mean a length of time. ‘Oh, I did a stretch teaching IT in a college’ - that’s true, actually, for me. Or ‘There was a stretch of time, where I didn’t get on with my parents’. If you hear somebody talking about ‘doing a stretch’ or ‘to do a stretch’, this is colloquial, this is slang. And it means ‘a term of imprisonment’. So ‘he’s done a stretch’ means ‘he went to prison for a length of time’. Prison, P-R-I-S-O-N is where criminals go, to be punished, to be held against their will. They lose their freedom and they go to live in a prison. So ‘doing a stretch’ means ‘going to prison’.
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Description: A photograph of a prison tower with barbed wire and guards. Used to help explain English vocabulary stretch and it's many contextual uses.
And lastly, again, as it said ‘stretchy’ before, when I was talking about ‘elasticity’, we do use the word ‘stretch’ or ‘stretchy’ as an adjective. So you might talk about a ‘stretch limousine’. A limousine, L-I-M-O-U-S-I-N-E or a limo, L-I-M-O – it’s a fancy car. It’s the type of car that people hire for a special occasion, like a wedding or a prom. And a ‘stretch limo’, or a ‘stretch limousine’ – it means one of those super long cars. It’s been extended – there are extra seats and possibly a bar inside! You can also get stretch Hummers and other types of vehicle now too.
So there you are – lots of meanings for just one word, ‘stretch’. But during this podcast from Adept English, you’ve not just learned about the word ‘stretch’. You’ve heard and understood over 1,100 English words. I bet you didn’t realise that, did you? Learning English is easier once you know how to.
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English speaking comes, once you’ve done a lot of English listening, and not until. How to speak English easily – or more easily. Remember, as always, you can download the how to speak English pdf of the words in this podcast, or you can listen on YouTube – and see the words come up on the screen as you go.
Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.