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Consider, Discuss and Research – Do They Need “About”?

Transcript

I received an email from a colleague abroad. In the email my colleague made a few requests. Let me read it. “Please consider about how we can use an alternative messaging system instead of email. Meanwhile we will also research about the best options and prices. We’ll plan to discuss about this in next week’s meeting.

What do you think? Well the email is clear enough, but did you notice a three mistakes?

I’m Paul Durant and this is three minute English – a podcast in English, about English for English learners.

I’m not surprised if you didn’t notice those three mistakes. In fact, these are common errors for English learners. In fact, I often hear advanced learners make these mistakes.

Maybe you noticed I said the word “about” a lot! If you noticed this, you have found the problem! In the email the writer asked me to consider about how to use alternative messaging. He also said his group would research about the options so we can discuss about it next week.

The problem is simply that these three words do not require the preposition “about”. I can see why it is confusing. If I say “think” instead of “consider”, I need “about”. We have to say think about. But consider doesn’t mean think… it means “think about”. “About” is included in the word consider. The word think can take many prepositions that slightly change its meaning or usage. For example “think of”, “think over”, or “think out”, in addition to think about. These different prepositions change how we use the verb think, and they might even change the meaning slightly. But we don’t add prepositions to the verb consider, because the preposition “about” is already included. Therefore we can’t say consider on, consider over… etc.

The same is true for the word discuss. We can “talk about” something but the verb “discuss” includes “about” so we don’t need to add it. Finally the verb “research” is the same. We research options, not research about them, because the verb includes “about”.

Be careful with the word research, though. If you use it as a verb you should not include “about” but if you use it as a noun it can take about or other prepositions. For example “I need the research about product sales.” Or “please do some research on price comparisons.” As you can see when “research” is used as a noun it often needs a preposition.

So how could we improve that email? Just take out all those “abouts” Here we go: Please consider how we can use an alternative messaging system instead of email. Meanwhile we will also research the best options and prices. We’ll plan to discuss this in next week’s meeting.

Sounds a lot better. So remember, when using the verbs consider, discuss and research throw away those “abouts!” Your English is going to sound better.

I’m Paul Durant. Remember you can contact me anytime in the comments section or send me an email with any question I can answer. Also remember you can now go to the website and check the transcript for each episode. Thanks for listening to Three Minute English.

#31 As Far As, or As Long As – transcript

I think I am pretty lucky because my doctor is a very smart man. Every trip to his office is like going to medical school. He explains everything to me – the blips on the CT scan or the blops on the X-ray. He does all this in English, even though he is not a native speaker. But sometimes I get a little confused. For example, in a check up this week he mentioned “As long as I can see, you are healthy.

I’m Paul Durant From Venture English, this is 3 Minute English – a podcast in English about English for English learners.

Well that was good news, but it left me confused. You see, We use “as long as” as an idiom to mean “provided that,” or “on the condition of.” So my doctor was telling me that provided he could see, I was healthy. I knew something wasn’t quite right about that.

So, After giving it a bit of thought, I realized that my doctor meant to say “As far as I can see FROM the data you are fine.” Do you remember what he actually said? He said “As long as I can seeyou are fine. Almost the same right? So what’s the big deal?

Well, these two expressions do sound similar, but, in fact, have very different meanings. “As far as I can see” – refers to the distance I can see. As far as… the full amount, distance or extent of the subject. It implies that if there are any issues or problems, they must be far away, because they are not visible to the speaker. We use it in phrases like “as far as I know, it won’t rain today,” or “as far as I can tell, the car is running fine.” It means based on everything I know it won’t rain or the car is running fine.

So how can I use these two idioms correctly? Well just remember “as far as” means the full amount of or extent of something, As in “as far as I know”. “As long as” means “provided that” or “on the condition of.” For example “As long as we agree on the details, we can start the project.” This means provided that we agree, we can start work.

It’s easy enough to confuse these two similar idioms. But try to use them in the correct context. Your English is going to sound better.

If you have any questions I can answer on 3 Minute English, please go to our comments and questions page at venture English.com, and leave a comment. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for listening. I’m Paul Durant. This has been 3 Minute English.

#30 I Need It Yesterday! – transcript

We’re back after a long and unexpected break from the podcast. Thanks for waiting for us, and I hope you enjoy the new episodes of Three Minute English! Another feature is, we will now put the transcripts of the podcast on the website. That way you can read along while you listen. Or you can check the transcript later for some detail you might have forgotten. Don’t forget to email me if you have any questions I can answer, or leave a comment in the comments section of our website: venturenglish.com. the link is on our podcast page.

And now for this week’s return episode.

A client called up the other day with a tough project. She had a strict deadline. I had a look at the project, and I knew it would take a few days to complete. So I asked *When exactly do you need it?* Well maybe you can guess what she said. She said “I need it yesterday!”

I’m Paul Durant and this is three minute English – a podcast in English, about English for English learners.

“I need it yesterday?” What kind of answer is that? yesterday was yesterday. I can’t go back in time. Was it just a mistake? Maybe she forgot that it is already today?

Well not exactly a mistake. We often use the idiom “I need it yesterday” to mean it is very urgent – even an emergency.

But shouldn’t she have said “I needed it yesterday”? After all, that would be correct grammar. Yesterday is in the past, so we need a past tense verb, right?

Well, yes, of course that’s right, but the idiom doesn’t use the past tense. We use the present tense, “I need it yesterday,” because that creates an impossible situation. It stresses the importance of getting the project immediately. It sounds like yesterday is a possibility, even though it is, of course, impossible! Since I know I can’t deliver it yesterday, I understand that you need it as soon as possible.

So remember to say “I need it yesterday,” not “I needed it yesterday,” when you need something completed immediately. Try this idiom next time you have an urgent project for someone else to take care of. See if you get some surprised looks. They’ll know what you mean and your English is going to sound better.

I’m Paul Durant. Thanks for listening to Three Minute English. Remember to contact me in the comments section or send me an email with your questions. and remember to go to the website and check the transcript for each episode. I’m glad to be back for another season of Three Minute Engliish.