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


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 www.engvid.com. 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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *