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English Change language

Session 1

Have you ever said to yourself 'Things aren't what they used to be'? In this session we hear from three people talking about how things have changed in their lives. You'll also have a chance to test and improve your vocabulary knowledge as we look at some of the words and phrases that are coming up in Unit 29.

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Activity 3

6 Minute Vocabulary

Pronouncing verbs and nouns

So you want a salary increase? Who doesn't? But do you pronounce 'increase' with the stress on the first syllable in, or the second syllable crease? The answer depends on whether you're using increase as a noun or a verb... And that's the subject that Neil and Catherine are talking about in this 6 Minute Vocabulary programme. 

Listen to the audio and complete the activity

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Catherine
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary. I'm Catherine...

Neil
And I'm Neil. Oh... Catherine.

Catherine
Yeah.

Neil
A present?

Catherine
Yes.

Neil
How kind. It's not even my birthday.

Catherine
I know, Neil. But every day's a present day in Learning English. Actually, I bought it because the word present is a key word for the topic we're going to present in this programme...

Neil
Ah... PREsent and preSENT. They are spelt same way but we say them differently.

Catherine
That's right, because today we’re talking about words that are spelt the same, but pronounced differently, depending on whether we’re using them as nouns or verbs.

Neil
Like PREsent and preSENT. So the present you gave me is the noun.

Catherine
That’s right. And we’re presenting 6 Minute Vocabulary – present here is a verb.

Neil
We’ll be giving you more examples…

Catherine
And we’ll have a quiz, so listen carefully …

Neil
And we’ll also bring you a top tip for learning vocabulary. And I’ve got an invite for Catherine to my party…

Catherine
And it’s not even your birthday.

Neil
It’s my birthday every day.

Catherine
OK. I’ll come to your party then.

Neil
Well, more about that invite later…

Catherine
But first, let’s hear Lucy talking about Sam Smith, her favourite singer. Neil: Sam Smith. Are you a fan?

Neil
I wouldn’t say I’m a fan, but I’m aware of his work.

Catherine
Oh good.

Neil
Anyway, here’s Lucy. And she is a big Sam Smith fan. Think about this question while you listen: Will the number of people who want to go to his concerts go up, or down?

INSERT
Lucy
I really want to go to a Sam Smith concert but the tickets have already sold out. Sometimes when that happens, they increase the number of concert dates. I want to hear him sing 'Stay with me' – it won 'Record of the Year' at the Grammys. I hope he’ll record some new songs soon. But that will mean an increase in people wanting concert tickets.

Catherine
So we asked you: Will the number of people who want to go to Sam Smith concerts go up, or will it go down?

Neil
And the answer is: it will go up. Lucy says there will be an increase in people wanting concert tickets.

Catherine
Yes, and increase here is a noun, so the stress is on the first syllable: INcrease. But Lucy also used the same word as a verb. Listen to this clip. Where does the stress fall this time?

INSERT CLIP 1
Sometimes when that happens, they increase the number of concert dates.

Neil
This time, the stress falls on the second syllable – inCREASE, because Lucy’s using the word as a verb.

Catherine
Other nouns and verbs with the same spelling move the stress from the first to second syllable in the same way - like the noun DEcrease…

Neil
…which becomes deCREASE, when it’s a verb.

Catherine
…and there is, of course Neil, the INvite you gave me to your party…

Neil
Yes, INvite here is a noun with the stress on the first syllable. But if I say to Catherine, I want to inVITE you to my party on Saturday, inVITE is a verb, with the stress falling on the second syllable… Don’t worry Catherine – I haven’t forgotten…

Catherine
Nor have I, Neil! Looking forward to it. And here’s another clip from Lucy. Listen out for another word she uses as a noun and a verb with different stress patterns.

INSERT CLIP 1

I want to hear him sing 'Stay with me' – it won ‘REcord of the Year’ at the Grammys. I hope he’ll reCORD some new songs soon.

Neil
We had REcord and reCORD. REcord is the noun, so the stress is on the first syllable.

Catherine
…And reCORD is the verb, so the stress is on the second syllable.

IDENT
6 Minute Vocabulary, from BBC Learning English.

Neil
We’re talking about nouns and verbs that are spelt the same but pronounced differently, like a REcord and to reCORD.

Catherine
And we stress the first syllable when the word is a noun, and the second syllable when the word is a verb.

Neil
And now, it’s time for a quiz, so get ready! Which is the correct way to say the missing word in these sentences? Number one: Michael Phelps has the [sfx: bell] for the most Olympic gold medals. Is it a) reCORD or b) REcord?

Catherine
It’s REcord because it’s a noun.

Neil
Well done if you got that right. Number two: We hope that sales will [sfx: bell] this month. Is it a) INcrease or b) InCREASE?

Catherine
And the answer is b) InCREASE because it’s a verb.

Neil
And finally, number three: I need to buy a [sfx: bell] for my friends. They’re getting married tomorrow. Is it a) PREsent or b) preSENT?

Catherine
It’s a) PREsent because it’s a noun.

Neil
And that’s the end of the quiz – well done if you got them right.

Catherine
And it’s almost the end of the programme.

Neil
But before we go, here’s today’s top tip for learning vocabulary: when you look up a word in an online dictionary, listen to the audio and try to copy the word stress. If possible, record yourself saying the word, then compare your pronunciation with the audio from the dictionary.

Catherine
There’s more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

Both
Bye!

Download

You can download 6 Minute Grammar from our Unit 29 downloads page. Remember to subscribe to our podcast version!

Vocabulary

Stressed syllable in CAPITALS

a DEcrease (noun)
amount by which something becomes smaller in size or number

  • The rise in tuition fees has led to a DEcrease in the number of students applying to our courses.

to deCREASE (verb)
make the amount or number of something smaller

  • We hope that by introducing trams, we can deCREASE the level of pollution in the city centre.

an INcrease (noun)
amount by which something becomes bigger in size or number

  • There has been a big INcrease in the number of young unemployed people in many European countries in the last few years

to inCREASE (verb)
make the amount or number of something bigger

  • After putting the rice in the water, inCREASE the temperature until the water starts to boil.

an INvite (noun)
invitation, written or spoken, to go somewhere

  • I’m sorry I can’t come for a drink with you tomorrow night, but thanks for the INvite anyway!

to inVITE (verb)
ask someone to go somewhere

  • How many people did you inVITE for dinner? We’ve only got six chairs!

a PREsent (noun)
something you give to someone on a special occasion like a birthday or wedding

  • The best PREsent was my new mobile. I couldn’t believe it when I unwrapped it!

to preSENT (verb)
show, give or introduce

  • The Queen is going to preSENT the medals to the winners.

a REcord (noun)
the best ever done, often in sport; music or song you can buy on a CD or download

  • The Guinness Book of Records has some fascinating REcords, like how far a dog can ride a scooter!

to reCORD (verb)
store sounds, music or information so they can be used later

  • A good way to practise speaking English is to reCORD your voice on your phone and listen to yourself.

End of Session 1

Well done. You've reached the end of this session. While people were talking about things they did regularly in the past they used would and used to. In the next session we're going to explore these in more detail. See you there!

Session Vocabulary

  • Stressed syllable in CAPITALS

    a DEcrease (noun)
    an amount by which something becomes smaller in size or number

    to deCREASE (verb)
    make the amount or number of something smaller

    an INcrease (noun)
    an amount by which something becomes bigger in size or number

    to inCREASE (verb)
    make the amount or number of something bigger

    an INvite (noun)
    an invitation, written or spoken, to do something such as attend an event

    to inVITE (verb)
    ask someone to do something, such as attend an event

    a PREsent (noun)
    something you give to someone on a special occasion like a birthday or wedding

    to preSENT (verb)
    show, give or introduce

    a REcord (noun)
    1) the best that has ever been done, often in sport; 2) music or song you can buy on a CD or download

    to reCORD (verb)
    store sounds, music or information so they can be used later