HER = long-suffering wife, multi-talented and young at heart BUT always sensible and very conscientious
HIM = restless husband, can be impatient and annoying BUT not always sensible and conscientious
HIM: How about celebrating my retirement at Bobby’s?
HER: What, a party in Melbourne?
HIM: No, not just a party. Let’s spend the winter there!
HER: Oh, yeah, Bobby will love that – 3 months of you telling him to go to church!
HIM: No, only 81 days – I’ve worked it out. You see, if we …….
HER: No way! I love the winter in Germany.
HIM: Yes, but we could support the family – cook meals, clean the house, do the gardening, change Mila’s nappies, …
HER: Sounds like a great holiday! And what will you do while I’m doing all those things? Write a blog?
HIM: You know my idea about visiting Bobby and Sidsel next winter?
HER: Not that again!
HIM: Well, Bobby thinks it’s a good idea.
HER: And your daughter-in-law? Does she fancy having you around for weeks on end?
HIM: She loves the idea.
HER: She doesn’t know you properly.
HIM: OK, OK, I get the message.
HIM: Bobby’s just sent a message – when are we going to visit them?
HER: You don’t give up, do you?
HIM: Come on! You know you want to go, too!
HER: Maybe, but I’d miss the snow and the skiing, and you’d miss the mulled wine.
HIM: Yes, but winters are a thing of the past anyway. Climate change and all that.
HER: And how will flying to the other side of the world help the climate?
HIM: Touché. Well, we’ll just pay into Atmosfair.
HER: That’ll cost us a bomb.
HIM: It’ll just be a bigger bomb then. We’ll save on Christmas – no tree, no presents and no whiskey.
HER: You must be joking!
HIM: OK, a half bottle of whiskey, then.
HER: That’s better – I’ll think about it.
One week later:
HIM: I’ve been to the travel agent’s. Maria’s given us a quote – four thousand euros for flights, including 5 days in Abu Dhabi on the way there.
HER: Abu Dhabi?
HIM: Yes, Maria says all women get a free burka from the airline on arrival. And there’s an indoor skirun on the edge of the City.
HER: Skiing? In the desert?
HIM: Don’t worry – you can take off the burka whilst you ski.
HER: Oh, very generous! You can stick your burka up ……
HIM: Calm down – it’s just a joke! What about Bangkok – we missed the ancient capital last time.
HER: Oh, I’d like to go there. Let’s book it! How many days did you say?
In speech and informal writing English Speakers very often contract or shorten verbs and the word ’not‘ by leaving out a syllable and, in writing, adding an apostrophe, e.g. could have = could’ve; does not = doesn’t.
You can practise this with the following exercises (NB: the solutions will be added soon!)
Exercise 1: What are the full forms of the contractions taken from the dialogues in the text ‘Foreplay’? The first one has been done for you.
1. Let’s spend the winter there! Let us
2. I’ve worked it out. __________
3. … while I’m doing all those things? __________
4. Bobby thinks it’s a good idea. __________
5. She doesn’t know you properly. __________
6. Bobby’s just sent a message –
7. Maybe, but I’d miss the snow and the skiing, and you’d miss the mulled wine. __________, __________
8. Well, we’ll just pay into Atmosfair. __________
9. That’ll cost us a bomb. __________
10. It’ll just be a bigger bomb then. __________
11. That’s better – I’ll think about it. __________, __________
12. And there’s an indoor skirun on the edge of the city. __________
Exercise 2: Find the contractions in the following sentences and write out the full forms.
1. You’d already seen the play, hadn’t you? You had, had you not*
2. He’d better speak to Catherine. __________
3. You’ll help us with the repairs, won’t you? __________, __________
4. John’s found a new job. __________
5. He’s moving to London next week, isn’t he? __________, __________
6. She’s moved to Manchester, hasn’t she? __________, __________
7. He can play the flute, can’t he? __________
8. It’d be a great step forward, I think. __________
9. He said he’d meet us tomorrow morning. __________
10. Mary’s never been to Brighton before. __________
11. There’ll be a lot of traffic today, won’t there. __________
12. Who’s got time to help Mrs Jones with her shopping? __________
* Such full forms as tag questions are not often used in modern, spoken English