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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Learn English with Emma: vocabulary, culture, and the first conditional!

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Hello. My name is Emma, and in today's video we are going to be talking about three different things. Okay?

So, we are going to be learning some new vocabulary that have to do with superstition, and I'll

explain what superstitions are; we're going to be learning about culture, and Western

culture, and North American culture; as well as grammar, today we are going to be learning

about the first conditional.

So this is a great video because you are going to be learning a lot by the end of it, hopefully.

So, let's get started.

First I want to tell you about superstitions.

I love the topic of superstitions; I think it's very interesting.

So, what a superstition is, is it is a belief, and this belief, it's usually cultural, but

it can also be personal. Okay?

And this belief is not based in science, so it's not scientific.

Oftentimes when we're talking about superstitions we're talking about supernatural things, we're

talking about good luck, bad luck, curses, you know, we're talking about things maybe

from our culture's history and a different way of seeing the world.

So if you're confused about superstitions, don't worry, when I give you examples you

will start to really understand what a superstition is.

Okay, so let's start off with an example.

Imagine this: I took a test and I did really well.

I got a very high score on my test.

Now, why did I get a high score?

Maybe you think: "Oh, you probably studied well." Okay?

So that might be kind of a scientific explanation.

"Oh, Emma studied, so she did well on her test."

Well, maybe I brought a pen to the test and it's a very lucky pen or a very lucky pencil,

and I think anytime I use this pen or pencil I'm going to do well.

It's my lucky charm, it's my lucky pen or pencil.

If you think I did well on my test because I have a lucky pen, then that would be an

example of a superstition.

It's like a ritual you do to get good luck or to keep bad luck from happening, and it's

a belief about these types of things. Okay?

So, if for example, I say: "I did great on my test because I brought a lucky pen to class.",

"I did really well on my test because it was, you know, at 7pm and 7 is a lucky number so

therefore, you know, 7pm means I'm going to do well on my test.

And I wore green, and green's a lucky colour, so all these reasons helped me on my test",

you would say I'm superstitious. Okay?

So, "superstition" is a belief, it's a cultural belief that explains something in the world,

but not based in science.

A person is "superstitious".

We use "superstitious" to describe people.

My mother is the most superstitious person I know.

She is very superstitious.

In our house there are many superstitions.

Okay? And that's true.

I grew up in a very superstitious household.

So let's look at some Western superstitions I grew up with.

These are the ones that were in my own experience and my own culture.

So, one example of a superstition is if you walk under a ladder, this is very bad luck. Okay?

So when I walk down the street, if I see a ladder, I never walk under it because I'm

also very superstitious.

If you find a penny, so a penny is a type of...

It's a type of currency or a type of...

It's a form of money, it's a coin, and if you find a penny...

If I ever find a penny, I always pick it up. Okay?

I pick it up off the ground because I think the penny will give me good luck. Okay?

A little crazy, I know, but a lot of people in North America do this.

13 is considered a very unlucky number.

In Western culture you'll notice a lot of apartment buildings do not have a 13th floor,

and that's because people think it's so...

They think it's very unlucky, so they don't want to live on the 13th floor because they

think they will, you know, have bad luck.

I know in China the number 4 is very unlucky, and so it's the same thing.

In China you don't see...

In apartment buildings you usually don't see a 4th floor because it's very unlucky.

Okay, so we've talked about some good luck and some bad luck.

Another superstition that we use a lot in Western culture is when you have somebody

who is maybe going for an interview, doing a test, or a presentation, or some kind of

performance, maybe they're singing, you know, to an audience - we like to say to them: "Break a leg." Okay?

Which seems kind of strange to say to somebody, but before somebody does some sort of presentation

or performance, we say: "Break a leg", and that's considered a good luck thing to do.

Like, if you say: "Break a leg" to somebody it means you're wishing them good luck. Okay?

So: "Break a leg" means good luck.

"I hope you break a leg on your exam today."

It means: I hope you have good luck on your exam today.

So this is also, like, superstitious to say this.

This one is my mother's favourite thing to say, I think this is the thing she says the

most: "Things always happen in threes." Okay?

So, if I, you know, for example, trip and fall, my mom will say: "Okay, that's one time.

You're going to fall again maybe two more times today, so you'll fall three times today in total."

And I always think: "Wow, she's, you know, a little crazy", but she's very superstitious. Okay?

Or if I do well on a test, she'll say: "Oh, this is great.

You did well on this test.

You have two more tests, so you will do well on all three tests", because things always

happen in threes.

Or, you know, even worse, if I do bad on a test, she'll say: "Oh, you did bad on this test.

You're going to do bad on the next two because things always happen in threes."

So that's what I mean.

It is not scientific at all, but, you know, you have people who are very superstitious

who say these things.

Another common superstition in the west and maybe you have the same superstition, I don't

know, is: "Knock on wood." Okay?

So, what happens is if you say something good about the future, you want it to happen.

So to keep good luck and to make sure it happens, we...

Okay, this is wood, you know, it's a car, we knock on it. Okay?

So we say: "Knock on wood."

So, for example, if I say: "You know what?

Tomorrow I have a test, I studied really hard.

I'm going to do amazing on my test. I know it."

I need to knock on wood, otherwise because I said that I'm going to have bad luck.

Or, you know, if...

So, a lot of people here, you'll see them knocking on tables, on doors, on anything

wooden and it's because they want to keep the good luck and they want to prevent bad

luck from happening.

So it's a very common superstition. Okay.

So, again, these are all examples of superstitions in Western culture.

You know, and then we also have our own personal superstitions.

So, for example, I have a lucky necklace that I like to wear, you know, during exams or tests.

You know, different people, like I said before, maybe you have a lucky pen or a lucky shirt.

I know for sports a lot of people will always wear the same, like, jersey or shirt because

they think that if they wear that jersey their team will win. Okay?

So these are all examples of superstitions, and there are thousands of them. Okay?

So now let's look at the grammar of superstitions. Okay?

So we've talked about the culture, we've talked about vocabulary-"superstition", "superstitious"-now

we're going to talk about grammar and specifically the first conditional.

Okay, so now we're going to learn about the first conditional.

There are more than one conditional.

There's the first conditional, the second conditional, the third conditional, and so forth.

Today we are only focused on the first one.

And this is a very important piece of grammar in English.

We use the first conditional all the time so it's something you do want to learn.

Okay, so what is the first conditional?

Well, I have here an example of a sentence that is the first conditional.

"If I study for my test, I will pass it." Okay?

And then I have another example: "If you break a mirror, you will have 7 years of bad luck."

So these two sentences have the same grammar, they're both first conditional sentences.

So, what first conditional senses are, are they are sentences that have two parts to

them, and what they reflect is a cause and an effect relationship.

So, what do I mean by that?

Well: "If I study for my test", so that's the first part, what is going to happen?

This is the cause. Okay?

I study for my test, and then we have the second part which is the effect, which means what happens.

"If I study for my test, I will pass my test.

I will do well on my test."

So this is the effect, okay?

So for first conditionals you always have two parts, you have the cause and then you

have the effect.

In this case we have our cause: "If you break a mirror", okay? So this is the cause.

What happens if you break a mirror?

Well, if you're a superstitious person like my mom, if you break a mirror, what happens?

You will have 7 years of bad luck. Okay?

For other people maybe if they're more scientific, maybe this would be: "If you break a mirror,

you will have to buy a new one." Okay?

So that's cause and effect.

So always in two parts.

So, the thing about the first conditional is we're talking about a cause and effect,

but it's not 100% that the effect is going to happen.

So what do I mean by that?

Well: "If I study for my test, I will pass it."

This part is in the future, and so we don't know the future.

I don't know if I'm going to pass the test if I study, but I'm pretty sure. Okay?

I'm not 100% sure.

Maybe there's, you know, a trick question or maybe the day of the test, you know, I

didn't sleep well so I don't remember any of the answers, or maybe, you know, my teacher

makes a mistake while they mark my test.

So even though I'm not sure 100% that, you know, if I study I will do well, I'm pretty sure.

It's a probability, so it probably will happen.

And so this is very key with the first conditional.

You're talking about things in the future that are very likely to happen. Okay?

Maybe like 90% likely to happen. Okay.

So, now let's break down the grammar of this. Okay?

"If I study for my test, I will pass it."

So I've already said this, but just to see if you were listening: How many parts are

there in this sentence?

If you said: "Two", you are correct.

We have the cause, and then after the comma we have the effect. Okay?

So, now what I want you to do is I want you to look at the first word in the sentence.

What is the first word?

If you said: "If", you are correct.

When we use the first conditional we usually have the word "If" in it, okay?

So: "If" is a part of the first conditional, so I have it down here: "If", and then what

comes after "If"?

We have a subject.

It might be: "I", it could be "you", it could be "he", "she", "we", "they", "it", it can

be any of those.

After the subject we have a verb.

"If I study for", "If you break", okay?

So the green underline, these are all verbs.

And if you look at the tense of the verb, what tense is it in?

"If I study", this is the present tense. Okay?

"If I study for my test, I will pass it."

Okay, so then we have here: "If" plus subject, it's kind of like math.

If you don't like math, that's okay.

We'll see some more examples, you know, that might make this easier, but: "If" plus subject,

plus verb, plus object...

So the objects are in red.

Then we have a comma.

Very important, this piece of punctuation.

"I", so we have another subject, "will pass it", so the first conditional always has the

word "will" in it, too.

It always has the word "if" and it also always has the word "will" or "won't" if you're talking

about, like, the negative version of "will".

Okay, so this is the formula of the first conditional. Okay?

You are going to get to practice this in a moment.

I'm going to give you some words and you are going to make your own first conditional sentence

following this formula. Okay?

Following my example.

So, again, one last time I'll say this: After the comma, so after the cause we have the

effect, and it's the effect that has the word "will" in it because we are talking about

something in the future. Okay?

So the cause is in the present and the effect or the second part of the sentence we use

the future tense.

So now let's do some...

Actually before we get to some practice, I just wanted to ask you: Do you have this same

superstition in your culture, if you break a mirror you will have seven years of bad luck?

I wonder because I actually did this.

When I was seven, I stepped on a mirror and I broke it, and I was so worried about having

bad luck for seven years, but you know, my life actually went quite good at that period

of life, so you know, just wondering if your culture has something similar to when you

break a mirror, what happens.

All right, so now let's look at some examples...

Some more examples of the first conditional.

I want you to get out a pen and a piece of paper because you are going to do some work now.

Okay, so we've looked at the first conditional and we've looked at a couple of examples.

Now I'm going to get you to try to do a sentence yourself.

And if you have trouble, that's okay, you know, this is the first time you're probably

doing this, so don't worry about it, but I do want you to try.

So, I have here a Western superstition.

If you find a penny... Oh, oops.

I'll say this not in a first conditional.

Find a penny, this equals good luck. Okay?

So how can we make this into a first conditional sentence?

And to help you I've left the mathematical formula on the board, so we have the different

things you need-okay?-in order to turn this into a first conditional sentence.

So I want you to pause the video, stop the video, on a piece of paper try it yourself

first, and then turn on the video and I will explain how we turn this into a first conditional

sentence. Okay?

So pause the video now.

Okay, so welcome back.

So now we are going to turn this into a first conditional sentence.

I want you to see if this is what you got.

So, first conditional we start with: "If", okay?

So we look down here: "If", so I start with: "If".

Now we need a subject.

In this case we can use any subject, but the subject I'm going to use is "you".

So: "If you", so we have our subject, now we need a verb.

"If you", okay, well, we have a verb right here: "If you find a penny", okay?

And "penny" is our object.

What do we need next?

Most important thing people always forget: comma, that's right.

So: "If you find a penny," what happens in Western superstitions?

What happens if you find a penny?

So now we need another subject, so we will use "you" again.

And then what do we need? "will" and then our verb, so in this case, you know, you get

good luck or you have good luck.

So: "If you find a penny you will have good luck", and "good luck" is our object. Great.

So compare your sentence.

Even if you didn't get everything the same, did you get some things the same?

Because you should be really proud of yourself if you did.

If you got: "If" at the beginning, yay, give yourself a round of applause.

Or if you...

You know, if you got any of this, if you remembered the comma, that's amazing; a lot of people don't.

So let's try with another example. Okay?

I have here another superstition.

If you open an umbrella inside, what happens?

In our superstition you will have bad luck. Okay?

So now what I want you to do is stop the video and try to make your own sentence about this

superstition, and this formula again can help you with that. Okay?

So, stop the video now and then we will continue.

Okay, welcome back again.

Now, let's make this into a first conditional sentence.

So what do we need to start with?

If you said: "If", you are correct.

And then, again, we need a subject: "If you", then we need a verb and the verb is in the

present tense.

"If you open an umbrella inside", okay, so we have the first part.

And is this the cause or the effect?

This is the cause.

So the cause is what, you know, causes something to happen.

So: "If you open an umbrella inside", what happens?

Well, we put the comma, and again, a lot of students forget this comma.

Very important because it separates the cause and the effect.

So you have the comma and now we need the effect.

What do we put?

"If you open an umbrella inside, you will"-so, again, "will" is always with the first conditional-"have bad luck".

Okay, great.

So, compare your answer.

Did you get something similar?

Maybe you forgot a word.

It's okay.

This takes a lot of practice.

And we do have a quiz at the end that you can do more practice on to really get comfortable

with this, but you know, this is...

You should have something similar to this.

Okay, great.

So we use the first conditional a lot.

One more thing I wanted to say about it is: Can you switch the cause and effect in the sentence?

So, for example, here I have: "If you open an umbrella inside, you will have bad luck."

Can I say: "You will have bad luck if you open an umbrella inside"?

Can I switch part one and part two?

You can. Okay?

So that would look like...

That would look like...

So imagine if I get rid of this, I turn this into a capital letter, so: "You will have

good luck"-get rid of the period-"if you find a penny".

So, they have the same meaning.

You have a choice with the way you do it.

Do what feels comfortable for you. Okay?

If one of these is easier than the other, you know, do whatever is easiest for you.

You'll also notice when I switch it around: "You will have good luck if you find a penny",

there is no comma. Okay?

So, when "If" is at the beginning of the sentence, you need a comma here, if "if" is in the middle

of the sentence, you do not need a comma. Okay?

And, again, this is a lot of material.

You've just learned about vocabulary, you've learned about culture, and now you're learning

about grammar, so you might want to watch this video a couple of times just to practice

and get used to, you know, the vocabulary and the grammar, especially it will help you

to watch this video multiple times.

I also wanted to tell you about our quiz which I mentioned earlier.

We will have a lot of practice questions where you can practice conditionals and you can

practice the ordering and, you know, like: "Where do you put 'If'?

Where do you put "will"?

What does this mean?" Okay?

So we will have a lot of questions about that.

So I encourage you to come visit our website at

There, you can do our quiz.

And I also encourage you to come check out our...

Or my channel and subscribe to my channel because I have a lot of other resources about

vocabulary, grammar, pronunciation, conversation, just so many different things about English

that I think are really useful for students.

So I encourage you to come check that out, too.

Thank you for watching.

And I just wanted to leave you with one superstition: If you do this, if you check out our quiz

and do our quiz, and if you subscribe to my channel, you will have good luck for the next 50 years. Okay?

So it's a good thing to do. This is a superstition I'm creating.

Check out our website and check out my channel, and in return you will have very, very good

luck for the next 50 years.

Until next time, take care.

The Description of Learn English with Emma: vocabulary, culture, and the first conditional!