Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Language Exchange - gerunds & infinitives

The view from the second floor of Whole Foods Market on Union Square, where
Tom & Igor decided to meet for their language exchange. Both of them think the
Empire State Building seen all the way from Midtown makes the view spectacular. 

Our story continues as we look at more examples of gerunds and infinitives. On our last episode, Tom got on the Staten Island Ferry to accompany Maria, who had to head home and get ready for work. They had just participated in the free yoga session at Bryant Park and stopped by a cafe for some tea and coffee afterwards. We begin this episode with Tom heading back to Manhattan.

If you missed the first two episodes, you can click on the following titles: The First Couple of Dates; After Yoga. You can also check out the Introduction for an overview of gerunds and infinitives.

OUR STORY CONTINUES:  Language Exchange

Tom was on the ferry on his way back to Manhattan when his phone rang. It was his new friend Igor from Russia. The two of them had been doing language exchange meetings twice a week for about two months now. Tom's friend Joe, who is an English instructor at NYLC, introduced them to each other. Igor is a student of Joe's and is always EAGER TO PRACTICE his English, and Tom WANTED TO BRUSH UP on his Russian. He had studied Russian in college and may have to travel to Russia on business in the future. As it turned out, Tom and Igor HIT IT OFF (quickly became friends) right away; they are both EAGER TO LEARN from each other and are always ready TO TEACH each other.

"Do you want meet for 2 hours?" Igor asked. "I'm in Union Square." 
     [Igor made a small mistake here. He should've said: Do you want TO MEET for 2 hours?]

Tom had THOUGHT OF GOING straight home AFTER RETURNING from Staten Island. He had some work that NEEDED TO BE done, but a two-hour detour couldn't hurt, he thought. He'd been noticing his Russian improving and had also noticed an improvement in Igor's English. They had both been trying out a technique that Joe had mentioned in Igor's class.

Igor explained that Joe had been ADVISING students TO RECORD themselves reading their exercises and TO LISTEN to the recordings when they're on the train or waiting in line somewhere. IT'S AN EASY WAY TO REVIEW their lessons, and listening to their own voices speak correct English can be powerful. Tom thought it made a lot of sense, so he STARTED RECORDING himself reading his Russian exercises and he had been listening to himself every chance he got.

"Sure. I'll be there in about 20 minutes," Tom told Igor. "We can meet upstairs at Whole Foods Market."
"Ok. That sounds good," Igor responded. "I'll grab something to eat and I'll meet you upstairs."
"Alrighty. See you soon," Tom said.

When Tom arrived, he grabbed a pizza and went upstairs. He found Igor by the large windows facing Union Square. It was such a beautiful day he COULDN'T RESIST STARING outside and WATCHING all the activity in the square. However, once Tom got there, they went straight to work and didn't WASTE ANY TIME LOOKING at what people were doing outside.

First, they worked on Igor's English. They read a short article in English. Tom URGED Igor TO READ out loud and work on pronunciation. They also went over new vocabulary. Next, they discussed the article, and Igor LEARNED TO EXPRESS his ideas and opinions regarding the story. After an hour, they switched to Russian. Tom also read an article out loud while Igor listened and corrected his mistakes. Then they went over new Russian vocabulary and discussed the article in depth.

Time flew, and before they knew it, two hours had passed. Igor was PLANNING ON TAKING a trip to Boston for a couple of weeks, then he was moving to a new place, so they probably wouldn't be meeting again for another three weeks. They both knew IT WAS DIFFICULT TO KEEP UP with language learning without a schedule, so they ENCOURAGED EACH OTHER TO RECORD more exercises, TO KEEP LISTENING to them, and to show each other what they've learned on their next meeting.

After Igor left, Tom headed home to start working on his project. Although he felt that he'd LOST SOME TIME MEETING with Igor and PRACTICING his Russian, he knew it was time well spent, and he felt good about it. After making himself a quick banana and blueberry shake, he sat down at his desk and got down to business.

... to be continued.

Did you notice the verbs and expressions that were followed by an infinitive or a gerund? Well, it's now time to practice them. Finish the sentences below with your own ideas. If you're not sure whether you need a gerund or an infinitive, scroll up and check the story; the following verbs are used in the story.                     

  1. I'm always EAGER _____________ on vacation.
  2. I WANT ___________ if I have some free time.
  3. I've THOUGHT OF _________ even if my family doesn't agree. 
  4. I always get upset AFTER ____________.
  5. I NEED ___________ if I want to succeed.
  6. A teacher once ADVISED me __________.
  7. Swimming IS AN EASY WAY ___________.
  8. He suddenly STARTED ____________  at the party.
  9. I CAN'T RESIST ___________ when I'm angry.
  10. I WASTE too much TIME ___________ these days. 
  11. A friend URGED me _____________.
  12. I've LEARNED _____________ when I'm giving a presentation. 
  13. I always PLAN ON ___________ when I go to a party.
  14. I think IT'S DIFFICULT ___________ when you are in a foreign country. 
  15. My teachers used to ENCOURAGE me _____________.
  16. I always want to KEEP _____________.
  17. I always LOSE too much precious TIME ____________ on the weekends.

Choose 2 or 3 sentences above, fill in the blanks with your own ideas, and share them with us! You can post your sentences below, at NYLC's page on Facebook, or at NYLangCenter on Twitter. We hope to hear from you! Until next time. :-)

-- Joe Yu, ESL instructor

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