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– Out At Sea –
Learn English – Lesson 66 – Out At Sea
Paul has been waiting for a phone call for two weeks. One of his best friends from University is returning home after 10 years working at sea. His friend, Jason, works as an oceanographer and has been studying the great mysteries of the deep all his life. Having met at University, Paul and Jason became immediate friends, though their studies were quite opposite, with Paul being obsessed with the stars and Jason, the complexities of marine life and ecosystems.
Five years after University, Jason was offered a job working aboard a ship destined for Antarctica. His job was to collect samples and data from the sea and analyse them. Of course, Jason jumped at the opportunity and so he set sail for the continent. Paul and Jason kept in touch and both being keen chess players, continued their games by post and phone calls.
However, Paul hasn’t heard from Jason since May and it was now July. Worried that his friend was in trouble, Paul rang Jason’s office who assured him that all was well. The expedition was a great success but they have been having problems with radio communication, making it very difficult for the crew to reach their friends and loved ones. The ship will land back home in two weeks time and they would happily pass on a message to Jason.
Two weeks had passed and Paul has found himself lingering around the phone for the last 2 days. Finally it rang.
Jason: Paul, me ole chap. How are you?
Paul: Jay, great to hear from you. I’m much better now. I was a bit worried.
Jason: I’ll bet. Yeah, sorry about that. Something to do with the comms satellite, I don’t know the ins and outs. More your neck of the woods. All good now, though. Back on dry land. What say you come and pick me up and we’ll go for a drink, maybe many drinks?
Paul: That, my friend, sounds like a great plan! I can be there in an hour.
Jason and Paul meet up and retreat to a quiet bar to catch up. Jason is still very excited about the expedition and tells Paul everything he has been doing for 10 years.
Jason: Well it was the usual stuff initially, taking samples, cataloguing, nothing too exciting for ages. Then we found some Ice Fish, they were amazing. I had only ever seen pictures of them before. Their blood has no haemoglobin, so they have four times the blood volume of other fish and a much bigger heart but they have to use twice as much energy than other fish in order to get enough oxygen to function. Their evolution is really unusual, it was a real pleasure to study these fascinating creatures.
Paul: Well it sounds like you had a fantastic time. Did you see the Aurora Australis?
Jason: Oh yes! Many times. They were mesmerising. I took some pictures and videos for you. It’s great to be back on solid ground though. After 10 years away, I’m happy to just relax behind a desk for a while.
Paul: It’s great to have you back Jay. Another drink?
Jason: Why not!
Facts: Ice fish lack the swim bladder that gives other fish the ability to control their buoyancy in the water, thus conserving energy. Reduced ossification allows the Ice Fish to change their weight and neither float nor sink.
Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1:
Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2:
Drag and Drop Quiz 3:
Remember that the perfect present and the perfect continuous present are used to talk about actions that started in the past and still continue at the moment. Let’s compare them with the present times.
John is in prison → John has been in prison since last year.
I’m waiting for your answer → I have been waiting for your answer for a long time.
It is more usual to use the present continuous perfect when we say « how long ».
The writer has been writing poems for ten years.
How long have you been working in this place?
With to work and to live it is possible to use both the present continuous perfect and the simple.
Jules has lived in Rio de Janeiro for three years.
How long have you worked as a lorry driver?
When we say that we have not done an activity since/for … we use the present perfect simple.
Ethan hasn’t visited me for ages.
I haven’t been to the cinema since last year.
There are some verbs that we can’t use with the present continuous perfect like like, believe, and know.
How long have you known how to play football? (we cannot say how long have you been knowing?)
How long have you liked The Red Hot Chilli Peppers? (we cannot say how long have you been liking?)
With live and work you can use the present continuous perfect or the simple one.
Thomas has been living/has lived in Spain for the majority of his life.
I have been working/have worked at the language school for 3 months.
However, with always, we must use the present perfect simple.
You’ve always lived close to me, haven’t you? (we cannot say always been living).
With since and for we use the present perfect simple.
I haven’t heard from my mum since last week.
Lucy hasn’t spoken to me for ages.
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