Listen to a story about a couple garages sales I had this summer!
You’ll also learn how to hear the difference between “can” and “can’t.”
Welcome to the English Teacher Melanie Podcast, a podcast for intermediate to advanced English learners who want to improve their English listening and speaking skills!
Each episode includes a story and a pronunciation tip. In the story, I use core vocabulary, the most common words in English, to tell a real world story. The pronunciation tip will help you understand natural spoken English.
You’ll hear the story twice. The first time, the story is a little slower than normal. It sounds funny because I used editing software to change the speed of the story and make it slower. After the pronunciation tip, you’ll hear the story again, but at a regular speed.
How do you get rid of things you don’t want anymore? You can sell them on the internet, you can give them to family or friends, you can donate them to charity, or you can have a garage sale. A garage sale is an event held in the driveway of a home, usually on a Saturday morning, where people sell things that they don’t need anymore. This kind of shopping is a popular hobby. Some people look for specific things, like baby clothes or electronics. Other people just like to browse. You never know what you’re going to find at a garage sale!
Listen: Shopping for a New Dress | Episode 15
I held my first garage sale in the summer of 2011. It was somewhat of a success. I made good money, but I got so annoyed with people. I didn’t have a problem with people trying to bargain and get a good deal. That’s what people do at garage sales! Here’s what annoyed me: I priced an item at $5. A woman offered me $4 for it & I accepted her offer. Then she gave me a $5 bill & I had to give her change. If she had a $5 bill, why didn’t she just pay $5 for the item? It was a small thing, but it really bothered me.
I decided to have another garage sale in September 2013. This time, I priced things at odd amounts, like $7, so that a buyer could give me a $5 bill and still feel like he got a good deal. It was raining the day of the garage sale, not pouring rain, but enough that I had to keep everything in the garage. I wanted to put signs up around the neighborhood advertising our garage sale, but the rain would have destroyed them. I had put an ad in the local paper, so people still came even though it was raining! I made more money at this garage sale than at the one I had in 2011!
Garage sales are fun. They usually happen from late spring to early fall in Canada. The weather is beautiful during that time, so it’s a nice way to spend a Saturday morning. I enjoy talking to all the different people who come to garage sales. You don’t become rich from a garage sale, but it’s a nice way to earn some pocket money. Anything that doesn’t sell, I donate to charity.
NOTES: Sometimes a garage sale is also called a yard sale. Also, Canadian money includes: 5 cent, 10 cent, 25 cent, $1 & $2 coins, $5, $10, $20, $50, $100 bills.
Listen carefully to these two sentences. Can you hear the difference?
You can give them away.
You can’t give them away.
Can you hear the difference between can and can’t in natural spoken English? It’s not the T at the end of can’t that’s the difference, it’s the way that can is pronounced.
The modal verb can is a function word, so it’s not stressed in a sentence. It’s not fully pronounced. It’s said very quickly, and the vowel is reduced to the schwa sound /ə/. Can is pronounced /kən/ in natural spoken English.
Listen again, and try to imitate the sound I make: /kən/
Can’t is NOT a function word. It’s a stressed word in a sentence, so it’s always fully pronounced.
Listen to another pair of sentences:
Can you hear me?
I can’t hear you.
Can is not reduced at the end of a sentence. If it’s the last word in a thought group or a sentence, it’s fully pronounced, for example:
I don’t think I can
Listen to the story again, so you can get used to hearing the reduced form of can.
Thank You for Your podcasts. I’ve downloaded them on my mp3 and I’ll be listen all my free time, it’s very helpful for better understanding English.
Hello Melanie, what could be more relaxing on a sunny sunday that going to a garage sales or a farmers market. I am a big fan of garage or yard sales, but I am not the only one ,they are so popular that unless you show up early there is little chance of finding good stuff. In August ,while visiting friends in Seattle, i came across a garage sales , the owners were living in a wealthy area and moving to another state – I saw a Krup coffee pot for two dollars , bought it and gave it to my friends , they were elated ,and right away, after washing it, started to use it.
One thing that I like to see is the owners` kids selling orange juice and limonade for a quarter , and they run business ” seriously”. lol……
c.thomas noble says
thanks a lot and I wish u for ur success of teaching lessons in a understandable way.
I loved this lesson. Here in Brazil, we don’t do this kind of selling things, but I think it interesting! First, because in all houses, there are big walls and the garage are inside it. Second, because people are used to donate old objects istead of selling. Nevertheless, there are people who are used to sell old Things at http://www.bomnegocio.com.br and it sells in 24 hours.
Congratulations! Your website is Incredible!!!!
Nice…. another lesson to download….[ wait my micro sd card is full] need to get another one.
Hi!Melanie thanhk you for your new lesson 018.you have sent to my email .it is useful for me I am not only learn from your lesson but also your culture .you are very kindhearted you sell things to do charity.
You are great teacher Melanie and helping me so much and another day you will receive from me a podcast. i have to that you are doing great work and thanks again!!!
I found this website ,it is interesting because I need to improve my english.
hello. teacher , i know as a teacher, you must be a very busy person ,but I have been missing new podcasts a lot :(
how many totally episodes you posted until now?
“How many episodes in total have you posted?”
There are 18 episodes in total!
thank you so much!
Thank you so much for your podcast and transcripts. They are very practical for me in practicing my pronunciation and new vocabulary.
Thanks to Google too that could help me to reach you. First of all, I followed VOA news and podcast but it seem to be harder to understand than your podcast.
I’ve downloaded 8/16 episodes from your podcast in two days so far. I will finish practicing them in around 2 weeks.
I was wondering if you can have some new update podcast soon.
Tell you the truth I like the way you say ” see you next week” at the end of your podcast : )
Thanks and have a good day
I like your podcasts very much.Normally I will listen to your podcast every day and imitate your American Accent.I found it very useful,and besides that,you teach the American Accent in an interesting way.From your stories,I can learn the pronunciation,but also I can know more about the culture.For example,in this story,It seems that the garage sales is popular in your country,but we never do it here in China,at least it isn’t a common thing.So I’m very happy to listen to and read your story.And I hope there are more stories.:)
i have just know your website, when i was seraching on google about TOEFL IBT Tips i founded this website. it’s very usefull for me to improve my english proficiency.
i am indonesian, and need more lesson and resourcess to learn english.
thank you so much for this website and i will make the materials on this website as one of my resources in preparation of Toefl test.