485 The Gift


Ruth talks about a gift she has to buy.

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Todd: So, Ruthie, what did you do today?

Ruth: Well, I got up quite early this morning, actually, to go shopping.

Todd: Oh, yeah! (Yeah) Ooh, shopping.

Ruth: I really like shopping.

Todd: That's true but you're on a budget. You're trying to save money.

Ruth: I know, but is was my brother's birthday. Well, it is my brother's birthday in a week so.

Todd: Oh, no kidding.

Ruth: Yeah.

Todd: So, what did you get your brother for his birthday?

Ruth: Well, it was quite difficult to find something that I thought he would like, but I got him some cakes in the end, some Japanese cakes.

Todd: Japanese cakes?

Ruth: Yeah, they're in like a special presentation box.

Todd: So, how are you going to get the cakes to your brother? Just through the post office?

Ruth: Yes, I sent them in the post this morning.

Todd: Oh, did you send them express or just regular mail?

Ruth: No, regular mail because it was cheaper.

Todd: But, don't you want it to hurry and get there for his birthday?

Ruth: I've got one week. I think it will get there in time.

Todd: So, what do you think you're brother will think of the cakes?

Ruth: I don't think he'll like them actually.

Todd: No?

Ruth: Well, he likes chocolate cake, and they look like they've got kind of chocolate inside but it's bean paste. I think he'll be disappointed.

Todd: So what did you brother get you for your last birthday?

Ruth: That's a good question. He always gives me money, and he often gives me chocolate as well. He's very generous.

Todd: Actually, I'm the same way. Guys like to give money. Money is so easy. No shopping involved.

Ruth: It's practical, though, it's good.

Todd: Now, I've been told that when you give money for a gift, it's actually very impolite.

Ruth: Really?

Todd: Is that true? Yeah!

Ruth: Why is that?

Todd: I don't know. Some people say it's just really impersonal. That you should take the time to get a gift.

Ruth: Really! I really think if anybody gave me money I would be so pleased. It's a good present.

Todd: Exactly, that's what I think. (Pause) Hey, um, actually, when are you going to see your brother next?

Ruth: Probably, I will see him in August of September.

Todd: Oh, that's quite a ways away.

Ruth: Yes, about four months is that.

Todd: So is this a younger brother or older brother?

Ruth: He's older. He's twenty-six.

Todd: Oh, he's twenty six.

Ruth: He's going to be twenty-six soon.

Todd: Ok, well, if you happen to e-mail him, tell him happy birthday.

Ruth: Oh, certainly will do. Thanks.


Learn Vocabulary from the lesson

on a budget

You like shopping, that's true, but you're on a budget.

You can say that you are 'shopping on a budget' when you have a limited amount of money that you can spend. Notice the following:

  1. Many kids have to adjust to living on a budget when they first go away to college.
  2. Grocery shopping on a budget is kind of stressful.

in a week or so

Well, it is my brother's birthday in a week or so.

You can use the phrase 'in a... or so' to give an estimate of a time frame. In this case, it could be a little more or a little less than a week. Notice the following:

  1. I'll be starting my new job in a month or so.
  2. They told me my new glasses would be ready in a week or so.

express mail/regular mail

Did you send the package express or just regular mail?

'Regular mail' is the normal mail service that a country provides. You would use 'express mail' if you needed to send something more quickly. Notice the following:

  1. When you finish the report, I need you to send it out express mail.
  2. I sent your present through regular mail, so it will probably take a few days to get there.

bean paste

The cakes look like they've got kind of chocolate inside but it's bean paste.

A 'bean paste' can be made by mashing up beans into a sticky substance. Notice the following:

  1. These cookies are made with bean paste.
  2. They actually put bean paste in the ice cream.

impolite or impersonal

Some people say that when you give money for a gift, it's actually very impolite or impersonal.

Someone is 'impolite' to you if she doesn't act towards you with normal social graces or is rude. You would say that someone is 'impersonal' if she lacks human emotion or warmth in normal interaction. Notice the following:

  1. Waiters in this restaurant are famous for being impolite.
  2. The world of technology has made many things very impersonal.

quite a ways away

August or September is quite a ways away.

If something is 'quite a ways away,' it is a long distance away from a particular place. Notice the following:

  1. His house is quite a ways away from here, and the weather is bad. Are you sure you want to go?
  2. All of the supermarkets are quite a ways away from here.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
budget • week • express
paste • impolite • impersonal • quite
  1. We send most of our letters by mail, because regular mail can take too long.
  2. I love the clothes in this store, but the employees are very .
  3. The sweetness in this recipe actually comes from bean .
  4. Do you mind if we go there tomorrow? It's a ways away and the traffic is bad right now.
  5. We are leaving for vacation in a or so.
  6. She works for a very low salary, so she is always shopping on a .
  7. Conversations and text messages have made social interaction much more .