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Playing Tennis

A Daily English Conversation





Mary and Diane play tennis together. Diane is more experienced and knows how to use the tennis ball. Mary is a good runner, which helps her beat her opponents who are slow runners. She wants to improve her techniques when it comes to catching and throwing the ball. Diane gives her an advice on how to use the ball.

Mary: I can ran fast. However, I still miss the ball quite often.

Diane: You're doing just fine, Mary. Of course, you can improve your techniques with the ball. Try not to follow the ball with your eyes after you throw it.

Mary: I know I have that bad habit. I follow the ball all the way when it flies up into the air and until it reaches you.

Diane: You need to trust yourself. Relax. Throw the ball and then shift your eyes away from the ball over to me.

Mary: How can I shift my eyes fast?

Diane: Practice makes it perfect.

Mary: Okay. I'm listening.

Diane: It goes like this: you throw the ball; move forward from your baseline and then look forward to see me.

Mary: Then what?

Diane: As soon as you see me, focus your eyes on me. When the ball reaches by my side, I catch it. Then I throw it back to you.

Mary: You're good, Diane. You kick the ball hard.

Diane: I kick the ball hard and you have strong legs to catch it. So, we're good match.

Mary: After you throw the ball, I can run a few feet away from my baseline. Right?

Diane: Exactly.

Mary: Then, I will run fast into the direction where your ball is coming down?

Diane: You got it, baby! Let's try it now.


advice: noun. instruction by an authority or a knowledgeable person on a matter

how to use the tennis ball: The word "how" is an adverb marker. This phrase, how + to + verb + object, functions as an object predicate in the sentence. For example: "I don't drive but want to learn it." becomes "I want to learn how to drive." In the first sentence, the word "it" is a predicate pronoun, and the phrase in second sentence, "how to drive", replaces the predicate pronoun it.

helps her beat her opponents: The verb help means to enable the object to perform an action. help + object (noun, pronoun) + verb in the base form. "Helped her find a job."

advice on: noun with the preposition 'on'. An act of giving instruction, as an authority or a knowledgeable person on a matter. Use the preposition "on" with the noun advice. "My supervisor gave me a good advice on how to listen to customers."

catch: transitive verb. To get hold of something, a ball in this conversation

ball: noun. A small and round object covered with fabric used with the tennis racket (in this conversation)

quite often: adverb. Every now and then

miss: transitive verb. Not to be able to catch something

quite: adverb. Good enough in quantity or quality, or intensity. "I feel quite good." I feel good enough.

often: time adverb. Frequently

follow: transitive verb. To trace with eyes (in this conversation). "Don't follow the ball with your eyes."

throw: transitive verb. To kick the ball with force (in this conversation)

habit: noun. An accustomed way of doing things. We have good habits, such as exercising, eating right; and bad habits, such as smoking.

focus your eyes on me: prepositional verbal phrase. Keep your eyes on me. The preposition 'on' is used with the verb 'focus'.

look forward: prepositional verb. Look ahead

fly up: intransitive verb. To fly upward into the sky. "Kites flied up and up in the sky."

reach:transitive verb. To contact through a passage or means. "I finally reached him after several telephone calls."

trust yourself: adverbial phrase. Believe in yourself

relax: verb transitive. Be calm; don't be nervous; take it easy

shift: verb transitive and intransitive. Change the position from one point to another

shift your eyes away from something. Prepositional verbal phrase. To move your eyes from an object or place to another object or place. 'Shift away' is the prepositional verb, and 'away' means 'far'.

move forward: prepositional intransitive verb. Move ahead from a given position. For example, if you are on the train and want to seat in an available space where other rider is taking up more space designated for one person, you could say: "Please move forward so I can seat." The verb is in the intransitive form.

by my side: Place adverb. next to me, near me

throw back: prepositional transitive verb. Throw something into a backward direction from a given point.

baseline: noun. A line marked on the tennis play ground (in this conversation) in order to draw a line for the player to move within it or outside it.

into the direction: Place adverbial phrase. toward a point, place

kick: verb transitive. To move the ball with force using a tennis racket (in this conversation)

kick the ball hard: Kick the ball with force

match: noun (in this conversation). Person who have compatible qualities with another person


You're doing just fine: You are doing okay. Don't worry about your performance.

practice makes it perfect: Practice it a lot in order to do it very well. With practice you can improve your performance.

You got it: You have understood it (in this conversation)

baby: noun. slang. An affectionate way of calling somebody, like 'darling' or 'honey', in this conversation


You're: You are. The abbreviated spoken form of "you are". When speaking, the sound "a"' in "are'' is omitted from the pronunciation so 'you are' sounds like 'yur' when the "are" helping verb is used with the subject pronouns "you","we" and "they". However, the stress can be put on the "are" helping verb in certain situations. Placing the stress on the 'are' helps to emphasize the subject.

For example: "You are responsible for cleaning up the kitchen this time." You need to pronounce the 'are'../pronunciaton-dictionary/pronunciation-ch-f-v-l-r-w-wh.php">the 'R' video pronunciation lesson), by putting the stress on the 'r' in order to emphasize the predicate helping verb 'are' in the simple present tense for the subject 'you', who is responsible for cleaning up the kitchen this time. Putting the stress on the 'are' makes the subject stand out: "I'm not responsible or no body else, but you are!" Imagine a situation where, for example, your husband is responsible for cleaning up the kitchen this time. Although it is his turn he he doesn't want to do that, so you can place the stress on the 'are': you are responsible, but not "you're responsible".






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