Practical verbs: part 1/12

Welcome to one more episode of “I Hope I’m Not Wasting My Time Clicking On This Link”. Language will be easy, and the topic at hand is basic communication. Seriously, though. Coming from Brazil, I know many people don’t spend a lot of time studying foreign language because they think they should focus on practical life. And well, as an English teacher, I understand. But I also know people like to listen to music and watch stuff, so that makes me think what I do is actually relevant. You can’t learn with no contact, and the contact is entertainment, or maybe call it culture. But that’s changing with possibilities in social media. TL;DR: people are rude. Maybe. Be positive. Let’s look at the basic stuff I was talking about.

“I’m Brazilian”

Everybody knows how to use the verb to be. English classes are part of the educational curriculum, and though some schools lack materials, we’re definitely not unaware of what this sentence means – if you look at the younger generations of students. No, it’s not terrible: if you don’t know how to say you’re Brazilian in English, you’re still Brazilian. But just in case you hit some hashtag on Instagram and you wanna start a conversation with someone from another country who shares the same interests as you (the big question is how the hell would you know, but alright), you can say hi. By the way, some people encourage that. But let’s move on. When you say you’re Brazilian, people will react, just like any other nationality, and then you’ll see what else you have to talk about. Sometimes, not much. But hey, at least something cool happened, cause you met someone. Right? Well, anyway. “I am”, “you are”, if it’s third person you say “he is”, or “she is”. The verb to be is irregular. Let’s look at another common verb, also irregular (stick around, we’ll be right back when we figure out why Portuguese is so difficult).

I have a book about this

Well, not all of your friends have a shelf with titles and titles to show in their videocalls and lives. That’s something you can think about. I don’t know what you think about impressions on social media. We could talk about this for a long time. If I need a new fridge, maybe I could ask a friend to replace it with a used one. Food is important, the book I wanna read can wait (especially cause I can read stuff online). Yeah, I know it’s complicated. But I just wanted to say what you already know, I think: “have” is a word people use a lot. No, I’m not saying you’re dumb. And let’s try to use this word less, maybe? I’m just saying that when you talk about the things you have, people think about the things they don’t have. It’s basic. Next?

“I do what I can”

I feel you. Life is not easy. We all do what we can. Of course it’s important to learn how to say what you do for a living in a second language, because in that case you’ll be thinking about the exchange, and maybe your professional future. But this is just one possible question. And… it’s not very polite, in case you were wondering. I don’t think anyone would ask about your profession randomly. Because we put that on Facebook, if we want to, and our bios. Maybe it’s more important to talk about what you do than to describe yourself the best way you can, cause people wanna get to know you without making personality assumptions based on your public profile. Just a tip. Instead of saying “I’m fun and here’s my snap”, you can say “I work with this and here’s my portfolio”. But who knows. Maybe you just wanna meet someone and not talk about work. That is completely normal.

That wraps it up. Do you have any experience talking to people in another language? How was it? Did you want more of that contact in your life? Or did you think it was bad so you put it aside? Well, I’m here to say good things can happen. But we have to deal with our stuff and be open to learn more – and not start comparing everything, every time. Which is a general attitude when you think about pronunciation, for example, but the good side is people think it’s cute and interesting. Again, but now in Portuguese: “I AM” means “EU SOU”. “I HAVE” means “EU TENHO”. “I DO” means “EU FAÇO”. But the meanings change (for example, when “do” is used in questions, or when it’s about work, specifically, and there’s many expressions people use that don’t translate perfectly. Also, the context, and remember to be open to dialogue and feedback, which is something you want to give as well.

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