Session 4

That sounds good... you look great... I feel so happy! Learn how to respond using link verbs, and hear about Finn's new shed.

Wayiitiwwan marii boqonnaa kana keessaa

Wayitii marii qabxii 4

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

How do you... respond using link verbs?

Sounds great!

In this How do you… guide we're looking at link verbs and how to use them to sound more natural in conversation.

What are link verbs? Also known as linking verbs or copular verbs, they're verbs that can be followed by adjectives - to give more information about the subject of the verb. Verbs like look, sound and seem are all examples, and they're often used in conversation like this:

I'm buying a new shed.

Wow, that sounds great!

To do

Listen to Finn and Catherine in the programme. What are the different link verbs related to senses?

Sagalee kana dhaggeefadhuu shaakala kana xumuri

Barreeffama agarsiisi Barreeffama dhoksi

Finn
Hi, I'm Finn and I'm here with another How do you… programme. This time we're looking at how to respond naturally to statements and remarks – and we're going to hear lots of really helpful verbs called link verbs. So more on that later. But first I've got Catherine here with me.

Catherine
Hello.

Finn
Hi Catherine. And Catherine is going to respond to various things I say in the programme, if that's ok?

Catherine
That sounds fine.

Finn
Great. Aha – and there we have it – our very first example. What did you say Catherine?

Catherine I think I said: "That sounds fine."

Finn
Indeed. And the verb sound there is a link verb – also known as a copular verb. Now what's interesting is that it can be followed by an adjective – great – it sounds great. And link verbs can be followed by adjectives like this. Some common ones are become, appear and remain – and we're going to look at two groups of link verbs which are often used in reactions – those to do with perception: that's seem and appear. And those to do with senses: look, feel, taste, smell and sound.

And to show you how they're used, I'm going to have a conversation with Catherine about my plans for a shed. Now, a shed is a little building, in a garden, it's a little building used for storing things.

While you listen try to count how many link verbs can you hear. Now just to remind you the link verbs we're looking at are: look, feel, taste, smell and sound – to do with senses, and seem and appear – to do with perception.

STING

Finn
So Catherine – you know, I'm thinking of buying a shed.

Catherine
A shed, Finn? A man cave, in other words.

Finn
A man cave, yes.

Catherine
That sounds alright.

Finn
You really interested?

Catherine
I am actually, I have a shed myself.

Finn
OK, great. Well I think this shed's going to be really cool. Here, have a look at it from the outside.

Catherine
Ooh Finn, it looks fantastic.

Finn
It looks good, yeah? It's quite big.

Catherine
It's big, bigger than I was expecting.

Finn
But wait until you see the inside!

Catherine
There's more?

Finn
When you open the doors, you see… that.

Catherine
That's actually the inside of your shed? That looks amazing.

Finn
My shed-to-be, it's got a bar in it, and it has all manner of drinks. All my friends can come.

Catherine
Actually, the bar area seems a little small, I must say.

Finn
Yes, ok, well have a look at this picture, when you go all the way inside it's made of wood, it's made of pine. So, do you like that smell?

Catherine
Smells lovely
, Finn. It smells fantastic. I love the smell of pine on a hot day, when it's been raining.

STING

Finn
So – there were quite a few there, weren't there! And my shed sounds impressive, doesn't it? It sounds impressive. In the conversation we heard sounds once, looks I think three times, seems once and even smells twice! And as you can see, we use these verbs a lot. So is there anything we need to know? Well, let me I'll repeat the key phrases. First, we heard these:

That sounds alright

It looks fantastic

It looks good

That sounds amazing

Now, In each of these, we have a subject, a verb and an adjective. And each of the adjectives described feelings and opinions – alright, fantastic, good and amazing… They're really used a lot in spoken English, both for expressing opinions like this, and also agreeing to do things.

For example – if I told you about a new film with your favourite actor, you might say: "That sounds fantastic!" Or if I showed you my new haircut you could say "You look great!"  Notice that we do usually use the verb sounds for things we talk about, and looks for things we see, or look at. Now of course, when it's appropriate, we could say feels – my coat feels warm, or as Catherine said about the wood in my shed:

Smells lovely, Finn. It smells fantastic.

Did you notice something there that we also do in English? We often leave out the subject. So, you'll often hear something like looks great or sounds fantastic without a subject.

And I did say we could use these for agreeing to do things as well. So for example, if I said: "Do you want to go for a drink on Friday?", you might say: "Sounds good." In other words, "yes, let's do it."

OK. Now, finally – we had Catherine saying: "The bar seems a little small." Catherine could have just said it seems small, that would have been fine. But to make it sound less direct she used the quantifier a little. She could also have said something like very, or reallyit seems really small! And of course, she could also have used another link verb like looksit looks a little small.

So there we are – me, my shed, and some ways to react using link verbs. Do listen out for them in English. I'm going to say goodbye, and leave you with that conversation one more time. Bye.

Finn
So Catherine – you know, I'm thinking of buying a shed.

Catherine
A shed, Finn? A man cave, in other words.

Finn
A man cave, yes.

Catherine
That sounds alright.

Finn
You really interested?

Catherine
I am actually, I have a shed myself.

Finn
OK, great. Well I think this shed's going to be really cool. Here, have a look at it from the outside.

Catherine
Ooh Finn, it looks fantastic.

Finn
It looks good, yeah? It's quite big.

Catherine
It's big, bigger than I was expecting.

Finn
But wait until you see the inside!

Catherine
There's more?

Finn
When you open the doors, you see… that.

Catherine
That's actually the inside of your shed? That looks amazing.

Finn
My shed-to-be, it's got a bar in it, and it has all manner of drinks. All my friends can come.

Catherine
Actually, the bar area seems a little small, I must say.

Finn
Yes, ok, well have a look at this picture, when you go all the way inside it's made of wood, it's made of pine. So, do you like that smell?

Catherine
Smells lovely
, Finn. It smells fantastic. I love the smell of pine on a hot day, when it's been raining.

Summary

Did you hear how many link verbs relate to senses? Five: look, feel, taste, smell and sound.

We also heard two link verbs relating to perception – or how we experience things: seem and appear. We use these when we have a bit more information about something.

Take note

1) These verbs can be used with a subject, or more informally, without a subject:

It smells lovely, Finn.

Smells lovely, Finn.

2) We can use them both to respond to what people say, and to agree to do things, like this:

Want to see some jazz on Friday?

Sounds good.

3) They can also function as normal verbs:

She looked angry (followed by adjective) = she had an angry expression
She looked angrily at him (followed by adverb) = she looked in an angry way

To do

Try to respond to what people say this conversation using your knowledge of link verbs.

Responding to statements

4 Questions

Try to respond to what your friend says this conversation using your knowledge of link verbs.

Baga gammadde! Qormaata xumurteetta
Excellent! Great job! Carraa badaa! Qabxii argatte:
x / y

End of Session 4

That's the end of this session. Do listen out for link verbs in conversational English - you might be surprised how often they're used! In the next session, it's time for some more of The Importance of Being Earnest. Algernon is telling Cecily how much he loves her, and it turns out... she likes him too!

Caasluga kutaa kanaa

Session Vocabulary

  • Link verbs related to senses

    look

    feel

    taste

    smell

    sound

    Link verbs related to perception

    seem

    appear