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Larisa English Club #12 PDF Version

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Welcome to Larisa English Club #12

What’s New? Sentient Robots and The Future.

Speaking Practice. Greetings in American English.

English Grammar. Simple Past and Past Continuous.

What’s New?

Sentient Robots and The Future.

Zombies and aliens may not be a realistic threat to our species. But there’s one stock movie villain we can’t be so sanguine about: sentient robots. If anything, their arrival is probably just a matter of time. But what will a world of conscious machines be like? Will there be a place in it for us?

Artificial intelligence research has been going through a recent revolution. AI systems can now outperform humans at playing chess and Go, recognizing faces, and driving safely. Even so, most researchers say truly conscious machines — ones that don’t just run programs but have feelings and are self-aware — are decades away. First, the reasoning goes, researchers have to build a generalized intelligence, a single machine with the above talents and the capacity to learn more. Only then will AI reach the level of sophistication needed for consciousness. But some think it won’t take nearly that long.

“People expect that self-awareness is going to be this end game of artificial intelligence when really there are no scientific pursuits where you start at the end,” says Justin Hart, a computer scientist at the University of Texas. He and other researchers are already building machines with rudimentary minds. One robot wriggles like a newborn baby to understand its body. Another robot babbles about what it sees and cries when you hit it. Another sets off to explore its world on its own.

Read more here… http://nbcnews.to/2tgZ2XS

Speaking Practice.

Greetings in American English.

A. (Acquaintances)

Matt: Good morning.

Maxine: Good morning. How are you today?

Matt: Just fine, thanks. How are you?

Maxine: Wonderful. Things couldn’t be better.

B. (Good Friends)

Dotty: Hi. What’s up?

Vivian: Nothing much. What’s new with you?

Dotty: Not too much. I’ve been pretty busy.

Vivian: Me too. Seems like all I do is eat and sleep.

Dotty: Gotta go. Call me tonight.

Vivian: Okay. Check you later.

C. (Family)

Mother: Good morning.

Son: Morning. What’s for breakfast?

Mother: The usual. Eggs, toast, and cereal. Coffee, if you want.

Son: I think I’ll just have cereal for a change.

Mother: Help yourself. The cereal and sugar are on the table. The milk’s in the refrigerator.

Language Notes.

Acquaintance = a person one knows but not a close friend.

Things couldn’t be better = Everything is going well.

Hi = Informal way to say “Hello”

What’s up? = What’s new? Used in­formally.

Pretty = rather;

Somewhat Me too = has meaning of I have been busy, too.

Seems = It seems

Gotta = I’ve got to = I must

Check you later = I’ll call you later.

What’s for breakfast? = What are we having for breakfast?

Just = only

Help yourself = Serve yourself.

English Grammar.

Simple Past and Past Continuous.

When to use the Past Continuous?

To talk about things that were in progress in the past.

Past Continuous Positive

To form the past continuous positive, use subject + (to be) + verb + -ing

I / He / She / It was studying

You / We / They were studying


  • “What were you doing when I called you?” “I was studying.”
  • She was playing guitar at the party.
  • At 5:30 last night, we were driving home.
  • They saw a starfish while they were walking on the beach.

Past Continuous Negative

The past continuous negative is: subject + (to be) + not + verb + -ing

I / He / She / It was not (wasn’t) studying.

You / We / They were not (weren’t) studying.


  • I wasn’t listening when the teacher gave the instructions.
  • She wasn’t wearing jeans. She was wearing a dress.
  • We weren’t driving very fast because the road was wet.
  • They weren’t sleeping at 10 PM last night; they were watching a movie.

Past Continuous Questions 

To form past continuous questions, use: (to be) + subject + verb + -ing

Was I / he / she / it sleeping?

Were you / we / they sleeping?


  • Were you sleeping when I called you?
  • What was she thinking about last night? She looked worried.
  • Was it raining when you left the bar?
  • What music were they listening to?

Note: You can put a question word at the beginning:

  • Who were you talking to on the phone last night? I was talking to my cousin.
  • What was John doing at the library?
  • Why were they drinking champagne yesterday? Because it was their anniversary.

Be careful! Some verbs are never used in the continuous form:  like, want, need, believe.

Incorrect: I was needing to find a job. Correct: I needed to find a job.

Incorrect: She was believing that he loved her. Correct: She believed that he loved her.

Simple Past and Past Continuous

The past continuous is often used together with the simple past to show that one thing happened while another thing was in progress:

  • I was talking on the phone when my sister arrived.
  • He was drinking beer when he suddenly felt sick.
  • She took a photo as we were getting out of the bus.
  • We were waiting for the bus when we saw a car accident.

Learn more at Espresso English http://bit.ly/2t5Vqas

Until next time…

Remember that studying and learning English is a daily adventure! Try to spend an hour or more each and every day studying English. Study and speak with friends too.

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