Season 2 Episode 3

Hello and welcome to season 2, episode three of Ethos English, the podcast for advanced English learners and the people who teach them. If you want to build your vocabulary, refine your study strategies and improve your critical thinking you’re in the right place. You can find the show notes with extra resources including my monthly newsletter and free study materials at

Some of you got in touch this week to let me know that you missed having a full transcription of the show. That is the text version of the recording, so I’m now including it in the show notes. Keep in mind that is remember that this transcription is done using software and there may be the occasional mistake. I do proofread it, that is, go through it and to identify incorrect mistakes, but there may still be a few that I’ve missed.

As I mentioned, the purpose of this show is threefold. Firstly, to help you increase the size of your vocabulary, especially formal and academic vocabulary. Secondly, to refine your study strategies and thirdly to improve your critical thinking. In this podcast, I help you learn vocabulary in a few different ways. One technique I make use of is paraphrasing. That is, I pause now and then after using. Specific words or groups of words. That we call chunks. In fact, I just use paraphrasing to explain what paraphrasing means.

What’s more, at the end of the show, I read out a list of the most important vocabulary from the episode and give extra examples and definitions. Finally, at the end of every month, I send out a newsletter with a Quizlet flash card set to help you learn this vocabulary by heart and use it spontaneously when speaking because vocabulary review is part and parcel of effective language learning.

As for study strategies, I explore ways of becoming more perceptive about language. That is, I help you notice things that learners of English don’t tend to pay attention to. And to illustrate this last week, I explained simple ways of resetting our attentional filter so that the next time you listen to a regular podcast in English or read a newspaper article in English, you’ll start taking notice of and remembering words, and especially chunks that you wouldn’t have identified. What I’ve just said comes with a caveat that is a warning to consider something before taking any more action. My caveat is this. If you want to improve by leaps and bounds, that is improve dramatically, you have to make a concerted effort to become a different kind of learner.

Every week I give you tips on learning how to learn that you can apply when listening or reading in English. Let me repeat that I help you learn how to learn. It’s not just the content, it’s not just the vocabulary, it’s actually helping you think differently so that you can actually be receptive to information that you are ignoring in your environment. Now 2 weeks ago in episode one, I focused on delexicalized verbs, or what we sometimes call empty verbs. Like get go take, make, do have give put set. No, you as a learning it doesn’t matter that you know they’re called deexicalized – delexicalized comes from the word lexicon – vocabulary – so something which has been delexicalized. It means the meaning has been taken out of it. That’s why we sometimes refer to them as empty verbs.

Why do we call them empty verbs? Because on their own they don’t have a lot of. Meaning that often these short. Highly frequent verbs in English. Their meaning comes from the chunk – the group of words that they’re part of. And the problem is that learners don’t notice that these empty verb are parts of larger structures that are some of the most important chunks, the most important building blocks in English. In the first. Episode of this season. I talked about how a very simple yet effective study technique is to go through a text and identify all of the chunks that contain these verbs or even choose one of these verbs.

So before we move on, I want to ask you, have you tried this out? This technique of going through a text, a newspaper article, for instance. And identifying the chunks containing the lexicalized verbs. I’m guessing that you haven’t. And I just want to remind you this is a friendly reminder that. If you listen to this podcast, but make no attempt to practise the tips I discuss. You won’t see the improvements you want.

Okay, so I want you to think of this podcast not so much as a passive experience of you listening. Think of it more as a course, OK? And so when I ask you to do something to put into practise the tips I’m giving you take that suggestion seriously. If you are serious about making. Uh, real improvements so. In order to make sure that you do use these tips, we’re going to do a little experiment. You’re going to re listen to this first part of the show from the beginning and identify all of the possible chunks that contain the verbs make and take. Not all of these empty verbs, these delexicalized verbs – just two that I have chosen. Make and take.

Now, Are you ready to check? Have you re listened? Once you’ve done so, you can carry on listening. I’m going to tell you now what the chunks are that contain, make and take that I’ve used up until now so. Here they are.

Make use of

take notice of

take action

make a concerted effort

make no attempt to do something

make sure to do something

While it’s perfectly fine to, say, use and notice, it is quite common for proficient speakers of English to say make use of something rather than use something and take notice of something rather than notice something, especially in more formal contexts. And these chunks are precisely the sort of thing that are tested in transformation exercises in Cambridge exams. That is, the suite of exams we’ve got at B2 we’ve got. The first certificates, then C1. The CAE and C2 Proficiency. So, in short, these tips will pay off not just in terms of your fluency, but also in terms of your exam scores.

In last week’s show, I introduced the concept or category of binomials. That is, words usually joined by and some of the examples from last week, so were sick and tired, tried and trusted by and large. And binomials can also consist of words joined by or as in sooner or later. Take it or leave it or by preposition bit, uh, by such as bit by bit, little by little. And this is a really important category of chunk in English.

So, to help you reset your attentional filter so that you’re more likely to notice binomials as a distinct category of chunk, I’ve included four of them, four binomials throughout this episode, and I have not identified them explicitly as such. So I want you to think of this as a sort of scavenger hunt. This is a game that often children play at birthday parties, so a scavenger hunt is a game which requires you to find things which have been hidden. And you are given usually some kind of clue to help you along the way to find these hidden items.

So, your clue is that you’re looking for binomials. You know that there are four of them, and they’re in this episode, So what you’re going to do, if you’re feeling motivated, which I hope you are, you’re going to listen a second time. And see if you can spot them. If you can identify. Buy them. And then. To check you can go to and click on this episode season 2 episode 3 to see the list of binomials with their meanings.

Now, hopefully after these first three episodes, my message has come through loud and clear that learning to identify and notice different categories of chunks in English will make you a far more effective language learner. Let’s go over today’s vocabulary.

Keep something in mind. Bear something in mind. Yeah, I just wanted to remind you. That you should keep in mind that sometimes people say bear something in mind. It means the same thing. So, if you tell someone to keep something in mind, you were telling them to remember or consider something. As in, keep in mind that learning tips without putting them into practise is a waste of time.

Proofread a document. Find and correct mistakes in a text before it’s printed or put online.

Fold a suffix added to a number to show that something has the stated number of parts, or multiplied by the stated number as in the following two examples. The problems are twofold. Firstly, economic and secondly political. In the last 50 years, there’s been a 33 fold increase in the amount of pesticide used in farming.

As for. Used to begin talking about another subject which has been mentioned before. As for the money, we’ll talk about that later.

A caveat. A warning to consider something before taking any more action or a statement that limits a more general statement. Bear in mind that this is rather formal. He agreed to the interview with the caveat that he could approve the final article.

Pay off if something you’ve done pays off, it is successful. All her hard work paid off in the end and she finally passed the exam.

Thanks for listening. If you like the show, why not follow me on Instagram? My account is EthosEnglishWithSean. SEAN, that’s how you spell my name. II post daily vocabulary and videos. If you want the monthly Quizlet set, sign up to my newsletter at and click on this episode. Next week I’ll be back with a show on a different kind of category, namely cognitive biases and how our awareness of them helps us think more clearly.

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