I made a mistake and read this like: “Has someone pointed out that that Olympic sculpture/tower thing is leaning to one side a bit?” Sorry for the difference, but please note that this English is also fine.
Listening to today’s example, we can hear and practice a few different things. First, listen to ‘pointed out’. Can you hear this phrase clearly? Probably not. One reason why is because native speakers think of this like one word. As you know, natural English has stressed and unstressed sounds, and we usually squeeze all the unstressed sounds between the stressed ones. Try to imagine how ‘pointed out’ should be spelled by how it sounds.
‘Pointed out’ also ends with what is called a glottal stop. This is when a ‘t’ sound is not spoken, and is actually more like stopping the air for a brief moment. It is like the Japanese little ‘tsu’ in words. It is strange to practice at first, but it will make you sound much more natural when you know when and how to use it.
The last thing that is worth pointing out (I just used today’s target, did you notice?), is that the slash (/) between ‘sculpture’ and ‘tower’ is actually spoken out loud. If we’re not sure how to describe something, or if there are similar characteristics, we use a ‘slash’ between the words.
If you have any other questions about pronunciation, please let me know in the comments.
Listen to the audio, try to shadow, and write your own notes. Then click ‘Compare’. Practice shadowing the audio with your notes.
If you haven’t guessed already, today’s focus is ‘point out’. Here are some common ways this phrasal verb is used:
to point out (something)
pointed out that (something) is (adjective or verb)
pointed out the fact that (something you know)
When you point, you usually only put out your index finger (the one next to your thumb) in the direction of something. I remember as a kid, I used to get frustrated because someone would see something in the sky (like a really bright start or satellite that must be a UFO). I would always try to look in that direction, but see nothing. I’d ask, “Where?” but that’s pretty hard to answer in the big night sky, so my friend would always say, “There!”. This would go on until I could finally find it… Anyway, let me get back to the explanation!
So, why do we point? We point to show someone something that they don’t know about.
While the phrasal verb ‘point out’ does not mean to actually point, this is the reason why it came to mean:
to show someone something, or to tell or teach them about something they might not know
Sometimes, you don’t want people to ‘point something out to you’. For example, if they are only pointing out your mistakes, you might want to ask, “Why are you always pointing out my mistakes!?”
In today’s example, the speaker is wondering if anyone else has thought that the new Olympic tower that they’re building in London looks like it is leaning. If they have, have they told anyone else about it? What do you think, is the tower leaning to one side a little?
Situations & Examples
Read the situations, but write down your own sentence using today’s target. When you finish, click ‘Show Example’. Share your own sentences in the comments!
You work at an accountant’s office and it is tax season. Your office is always incredibly busy during this time of year, so you’ve been working over time every day for two weeks. You keep on blowing off (not meeting with) your boyfriend because you’re so tired. You tell him you can’t meet him after work again because your boss won’t let you off work. He says,
Your company is planning to do a big webinar to train some new employees overseas. You were in charge of scheduling the event. Your office is in the Central Time Zone, but you accidentally marked the time zone as Pacific. One observant new employee told you about this in an email. You are telling a coworker how that probably saved your job! You say,
A friend from school looked over your big semester report last week. You had done a really good job, but you had one very big typo. You just got your graded report back and it was nearly a perfect score. When you meet you run into your friend again, you want to thank her again. You say,
You traveled to the US a couple of weeks ago. You’re telling your friend how you had a great time, but the tip system at restaurants is still a mystery to you. You went to one very nice restaurant with your husband, and the tip was included in the bill because they used the word gratuity. You tell your friend that you wish they would have told you that before, so you say,