Asking and giving advice and suggestions

Asking Giving
What do you recomend we do about … ? I would recommend that you …
What would you advice us to do? My advice would be to …
Do you have any suggestions? May I suggest that we …
What would you do about …? If I were you, I would …
Accepting advice Rejecting advice
Yes, I agree with that. I’m sorry, i can’t agree with that.
That sounds like a good idea! I don’t think that’s a good idea.
OK, why don’t we do that. I don’t think we should do that.
That’s very interesting.


That’s very interesting, but …



M – Matej Leskovar

J – Jan Hansel


(Prideva vsak s svoje strani in se na sredini srečava)


M:          Hi, we haven’t seen each other for a month now is it?


J:             Yes, that’s right how are you?


M:          Fine, fine. I was at lunch yesterday with a pal and he told me a great joke. You’ve got to hear it.


J:             Well fine, let’s see.


M:          So, what kind of ears does an engine have?


J:             Ummm…


M:          Engineers!


J:             (ni nekega navdušenja)

Umm… Do you really think that’s funny or something?


M:          It’s great! I have been laughing the whole afternoon.


J:             It’s a bit lame, but well, I guess you can like what you want.


M:          Yes, but why isn’t it funny to you?


J:             I think I can explain this. I did a little research a month ago, about humor and why some people laugh at some jokes and why others don’t.


M:          I did a research on languages and how people talk, even how it affects others and in what way.


J:             That’s interesting, since I found out that the language in humor is rather important.


M:          Well, let’s see if I can enlighten you about some facts in languages, or if you don’t understand anything.


J:             To help me with my research, I made a questionnaire, containing questions about humor and I wanted to see what people around the globe laugh at. The survey wasn’t ment just for one nation, but it was designed for people of different nationalities. I was really happy with the results and they pointed me in the right direction. Some of the questions were independent and were meant in general, while the others were based on a comedic series or show.


M:          Which show did you choose for the survey and what was your choice based upon?


J:             I took two very different shows, to make the best out of it. The Simpsons, which is well known to most of the people who watch cable TV.


M:          Yes, I heard they are the longest running cartoon in the world, now that The Flinstones have stopped.


J:             Yup, and the second series or show I chose was The Black Adder, which is a typical British show, yet old and finished.


M:          Is that the show that was filmed in four different historical ages?


J:             Yup, you’re right.


M:          Oh, yesterday I heard something about The Black Adder. I heard that the jokes    which are used in this show are very sarcastic. Aren’t they?


J:             And…. The Simpsons… Did you ever watch them? I think you would really like that show, because I know you like black humour.


M:          Yeah, I’ve been watching this series for a long time. I really like them. And their sense of humour is incredible. It’s typically American.


J:             Yes, I totally agree with you.


M:          You said you’ve made a questionnaire… What exatcly did you ask peope?


J:             I was interested of the quantity of time that we are used to watch comic shows, sitcoms, etc. People spend a lot of time in front of the TV watching comedy and it’s only right. Most of the people watch comedy about 7 times a week, so that is every day. We can see it’s an important part of our lives.


M:          Really? Well, I was researching language as I already said and I even made a small reference to humor, but couldn’t find a major connection between them.


J:             But when I came to the question of language in humor, I found one great link from language to humor. You see, language builds up humor. If the language changes, the type of humor changes, but not vice versa. People like the humor because of the language that is used, but some of them don’t realize it before you ask them if they like it. But, if I may add, humor is not all about language. The language is only a part of the basis for humor.


M:          Hmm, I never really thought about it that way and I think it’s true.


J:             Yes, another thing that was interesting to me is, what kind of humour people prefer so I asked the question directly and gave two example jokes; one british one american, each typical for its country.


M:          That’s a great idea. How did it work?


J:             I’m pleased with the outcome. I found out many people prefer american over british humour, but when it came to the jokes, they liked the british one better. But I don’t want to jump to conclusions. Maybe I chose the wrong jokes, or one wasn’t that funny in the start.


M:          Yes, well I found out that the languages are different mainly in pronounciation so I guess that wouldn’t affect this certain matter.


J:             Yes, but it does in the next part of questions I prepared. It’s about dubbing. Some countries have dubbed shows and not just comedy. All of it. It changes a lot of things. Some people like, some don’t, other don’t even experience it, because the shows are either subtitled or nothing at all. Most of the people, that have dubbed shows however don’t like it that way.


M:          Yeah I like German shows for example. They have dubbed series and I even prefer it. It doesn’t bother me, if the original voices change.


J:             That is why you are in the small amount of people that like dubbing.


J:             Another thing I made, however not so related to language, a list of comedians to be graded. I wanted to see, whether people have forgotten about the pioneers of comedy, like Charlie Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy. The results were almost identical to my predictions. The highest grade went to Eddie Murphy, who got famous in the movie Coming to America. He got 4.19 out of 5, while Charlie Chaplin had only 2.75.


M:          Well, I always like to sit on the couch, turn on the VCR and watch The Great Dictator.


J:             So do I. Well, mate, I see you like jokes, don’t you… The way you messed up that one about the ears…


M:          Yeah I like them… but I didn’t mess up.. You don’t have the sense of humour for it.


J:             Exactly. I don’t. I like different types of humour and it is the way it is supposed to be. If we would all laugh at the same things it would be as if we were clones. So the freedom of taste and sense of humour doesn’t have boundaries. I used two different types of jokes in my research and the survey and they both requried some sort of knowledge. One required knowledge of American history and the other knowledge of lanuguage.


M:          Let me guess. The one with the language got more votes, didn’t it?


J:             You are correct. So I guess language matters in real life.


M:          Yeah. You were mentioning The Simpsons earlier. You said a part was based upon them. How was that?


J:             Yes, I was about to get to that point now. The Simpsons is, in my opinion, the most successful American cartoon and it’s a good example of American humour, because we can’t choose one of the hundreds of sitcoms and just set it as an example. The Simpsons are different. It’s a cartoon for adults, but children watch it too. It has family and siocial issues presented in a funny way.


M:          Well, I know all that already. What kind of questions did you prepare?


J:             I didn’t really focus on the show itself but more on some specific details. Mostly language. First I wanted to know, if the questions are even worth to be asked so I found out how many people like The Simpsons and how many don’t know them or like them. 90% of all the people is a lot. Now I know I can’t make conclusions, but that is a stunning result, although it didn’t surprise me that much.


M:          Me neither. I like The Simpsons very much and enjoy every show. They really get me up on my feet if I’m down.


J:             Well I wanted to know a reason, why people like this show. And I tacticaly inserted some options refering to language. Like »D’oh!«, a catchphrase Homer uses a lot and the forward option »Language«.


M:          Catchphrase?


J:             Let me explain. A character in the show, which is a cartoon in this case, says a word, a new word, made up by himself or the script writers. If the audience like the phrase and accept it, it becomes a catchphrase.


M:          Now I understand. Like »Eat my shorts« and so…


J:             As you can se 17% of the people chose language as an answer.


M:          That is quite a lot. But earlier you were saying that language isn’t important to people, now you have the result that shows you otherwise.


J:             Yes, well, here comes the crucial point in the research. Points that prove me right and wrong. And I needed to find a balance between the pro and con points.

M:          I guess that wasn’t so easy.


J:             And here we come to the point of switching languages. A question was, how people would accept The Simpsons if they were using British English instead of American. The results weren’t so surprising however. Most of the people chose »Worse« as an answer and the second best answer was »It would spoil the whole show«. So we see, people like the language in the show. And about 80% of all the viewers think it’s important to understand the language to understand the show. So it does play a great role in comedy. The language that is.


M:          Aaaaa, so now we come to see that language is important and we need to respect it in the show that we watch commonly. One more thing… Did you notice the cursing in The Simpsons?


J:             Yes I did and I think one question was about that. Many people were happy with the words that are used in the show or even think the language should be more spicy. But because it’s TV G, that means it is for younger viewers too. So the language can’t be full of curses.


M:          I agree. Children are exposed to cable TV all the time and you know cable. It’s allowed to say anything on cable. And that is where we learn from. And it should be a good lesson, not a bad one.


J:             So if we look at the show in general, I’m still talking about the The Simpsons. If we look at the show in general, it has many points where we can turn to language and it wouldn’t be the same using another language. Even dubbing is a problem at The Simpsons. Dan Castellaneta is a great actor and has a great capability of changing his voice. It would be really hard to find an equal replacement for him in another country.


M:          I heard that sometimes the show is even causing some problems in society and that people argue about it.


J:             Yes, the last episode they made was really a laugh. They wanted to make the city full of tourists again and made gay marriages legal and so Homer became a priest to marry them. People started to argue as you said and a problem was at hand. We can see that some issues are not meant to be discussed on TV.


M:          And we see comedy side to side changing with the language and we adjust ourselves to the new wave.


J:             Exactly. If I may continue, I would like to jump to The Black Adder.


M:          Oh, the 4 different ages…


J:             That’s the one. Its humour sometimes isn’t understood even by people who like sarcasm. Why is that so?


M:          No clue. You have an explanation maybe.


J:             Not quite, but I think it will do. First of all the show is not as popular with the public as The Simpsons, but that might be the consequence of the type of humour and language. The show was made 20 years ago and humour is changing. Nowadays we have all sorts of humour that we can pick but back then in the ’80s there weren’t so many possibilities. The Simpsons have changed too during the years of broadcasting and they stay on track with the changes in comedy. So no wonder we don’t think The Black Adder is that funny.


M:          Now I see the difference.The humour is just outdated.


J:             Sort of, but it’s still funny to people who know what real humour is. I mean sitcom humour is adjusted to upper middle class people that watch TV every day. And The Black Adder in these days doesn’t fit any more. Although almost 50% of the people said they like it.


M:          But the jokes are a bit more explicit aren’t they? I mean I have watched a few episodes and the language is direct and a bit offensive.


J:             Yes, I’m sure that The Black Adder uses a more offensive language than The Simpsons, that is why it is rated differently. People like it the way it is, because children rarely watch it.


M:          Surprising.


J:             Indeed. Well that would be all of it. I found out that language plays a meaningful role although I predicted otherwise. I thought people don’t care about the language but in fact they do. Even if they are not aware of it in everyday life. When you ask them about it, they  realize it is important.


M:          Yes and I think it has to be a part of humour. As you said in the beginning: language builds up humour.


J:             Ok, I’ve got to go now.


M:          Yes me too. See you around.





  • What a surprise! That’s a surprise!
  • (Well), that’s very surprising!
  • Really?
  • What?
  • Are you serious? You must be joking!
  • You’re kidding!
  • Fancy that!
  • I must say … surprises me.
  • I  find that hard to believe.

Suprising  amazement of something :

  • Fantastic
  • It’s great
  • It’s terrific
  • Wonderful !
  • What a lovely flowers !

Example of expressing  surprise:

A: How can you say that?

B: Well, that’s the fact.

Example of expressing  surprise:

A: I can’t believe it!

B: That’s true.

When you got a surprising fact, you can say:

¨      Do you know what?

¨      Believe it or not?

¨      You may not believe it, but …

¨      Can you believe this?

You can respond to the surprising fact using these expressions:

¨      Really?

¨      Are you joking?

¨      Oh?

¨      Where? Show me.



Expressing Capability/Uncapability

I’m confident I could… I’m not sure I’m capable enough to…
I believe I could… There is nothing we can do to…
… Is competent to… I’m not competent in
I’m certain I’m capable of… I won’t be able to…
I feel sure I’m able to … I cannot
I know how to… I don’t know how to…
I am good at… I am not good at…
I have ability … I don’t have ability …
I don’t have experience…


I Am /was Able to

Capable of

Competent to

Solve such serious problem.

Finish the home work.

Find the solution.

Speak English well.










I Can

Can not


Solve such serious problem.

Finish the home work.

Find the solution.

Speak English.








To apologize is to tell someone that you are sorry for having done something that has caused him inconvenience or unhappiness:


I must apologize to Isabel for my late arrival.

I’d like to apologize for my touble making.

Trains may be subject to delay on the northern line. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Here are some expressions you can use to make and respond to apologies

Making apologies:

  • I do apologize for…
  • I must apologize for…
  • I apologize for…
  • I’d like to apologize for…
  • I am so sorry for…
  • I shouldn’t have…
  • It’s all my fault.
  • I’m ashamed of…
  • Please, forgive me for…
  • Excuse me for …
  • I’m terribly sorry for…
  • Pardon me for this…
  • Please, forgive me for my….
  • Please, accept my apologies for…

Accepting apologies:

  • That’s all right.
  • Never mind.
  • Don’t apologize.
  • It doesn’t matter.
  • Don’t worry about it.
  • Don’t mention it.
  • That’s OK.
  • I quite understand.
  • You couldn’t help it.
  • Forget about it.
  • Don’t worry about it.
  • No harm done.








Posted on June 22, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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