Today’s example doesn’t have any words that should give you any problems. Listen to the recording and think about which words are difficult to hear, which words are stressed, and where there are slight pauses.
First of all, you can hear pauses at the commas. This makes it easier to practice speaking because you can speak to the comma. Don’t focus on the individual words. Focus on the phrases in groups of sounds. Then, try to speak those phrases like you hear.
To help you speak in phrases, you also need to pay attention to the connected words and the stressed and unstressed sounds. Listen several times and focus on being able to hear these things.
Listen to the audio, try to shadow, and write your own notes. Then click ‘Compare’. Practice shadowing the audio with your notes.
“It-NEver fails, / every time-I-go-tuh-take-uh NAp, / my phone INstantly becomes a HOTline.”
*Hyphens (-) show what words should be blended together, bold big letters show accents, and (/) show long pauses.
Today’s focus is on the phrase, ‘it never fails’.
Here is a list of some common ways this phrase is used:
It never fails, (something that always happens to you)
(something that always happens to you). It never fails.
It never fails to (amaze, surprise) me (that/how something happens)
It is a never failing (noun).
If something fails, it has not succeeded. If something never fails, it always succeeds, 100% of the time. Normally, you think this is a good thing. But in English, we use the phrase “it never fails” as a form of sarcasm. While it doesn’t always have to be sarcastic, it is common to hear it used like this in daily conversations.
Think about it. Everyone wants a car that takes them from point A to B without any problems. Let’s say you have a car that is a little older, and it usually doesn’t have any problems. The only time it does have problems, is when you are in a hurry to get somewhere important.
In this situation, you would say something like, “It never fails, my car always breaks down when I’m in a hurry.”
You should also remember that when people use this phrase, they usually just add it to the front or end of a sentence.
Another common way to use “it never fails” is to talk about things you have observed to be consistent in the world or your life. We do this by using the phrase “It never fails to surprise/amaze me that/how…”.
For example, people who go to big Christmas sales can be very rude, pushy, selfish and in a bad mood. You could comment on this situation by saying,
“It never fails to surprise me how selfish so many people are when shopping for Christmas presents.”
Finally, when using “it never fails”, you can say something is a “never failing (noun)” to say that it is very consistent, reliable, or dependable.
For example, you get a chance to meet your favorite artists. You tell them, “You are a never failing source of inspiration for me.”
One last thing to explain about today’s example tweet is the phrase, “my phone instantly becomes a hotline.” If you don’t know what a hotline is, it is a phone number set up for emergencies. To say your phone, a normal house phone or cell phone, becomes a hotline, you are saying that it begins to ring nonstop. This is a very common way to talk about a busy phone.
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 and your wife are out to dinner celebrating your twentieth wedding anniversary. You’re at a very nice restaurant that has live music, and the band will play any song you request if you arrange it in advance. You asked them to play the song that was playing when you asked your wife to marry you. When she heard the song, she looked up at you to tell you how it really takes her back, and how music is always like this. She says,
“It never fails to amaze me how a song can take you back to exactly what you were feeling the moment you first heard it.”
You are at a very strange museum with a friend. It is a museum about early 20th century circus sideshow acts. As you turn a corner, you see a stage with a very strange headless woman. Everyone in your group is a little shocked, and the tour guide tells you all how this sideshow act always attracted attention from circus goers. She says,
“As you can imagine, this was very surprising to see. It never failed to attract the attention of circus goers. “
Your town library has lost a lot of its funding from the local government. It will have to decrease the number of hours it is open every week, and some of the staff will lose their jobs. You’re talking to a friend about this unfortunate situation, and you remember a quote. You think Andrew Carnegie said something about a library being a reliable spring (a cool pool of water) in the desert. So you say.
“I think it was Andrew Carnegie who said libraries are “a never failing spring in the desert.”
You play tennis in a local tennis club. Every month, there are tournaments that you participate in. You always play with the same old, dirty sweatband that you were using in the 1980′s (just like the one in the picture). You believe it is your good luck charm and that you only play your best when you wear it. Your friends are telling you to throw it away again, but you tell them,
“It’s never failed me before, so I won’t doubt it now.”