True Blue

True Blue

True Blue

Two friends discuss their day off. The Grammar focus is on Tag Questions.

Graham: “Finally we have a day off.”
Malcolm: “I know, this week was a tough one.”
Graham: “Did you sleep in this morning?”
Malcolm: “I sure did. Almost until noon!”
Graham: “Ya, we were partying last night until past midnight.”
Malcolm: “What are you going to do today?”
Graham: “I have a final on Monday, so I have to study.”
Malcolm: “Me, too. But I think I’ll go over to Starbuck’s first.”
Graham: “When are you going, right now? Maybe I’ll come with you.”
Malcolm: “Sure, but I’m taking the Chevy. She’s on her last legs.”
Graham: “You’ve had that car since high school, right?
Malcolm: “Yes, I have.”
Graham: “That’s fantastic, a car lasting that long these days.”
Malcolm: “I’ll get a new one after I land a job.”


Sleep in is a phrasal verb that means to oversleep, or sleep late on purpose. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Day off is a day when you are not required to work. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Go over is a prepositional verb here meaning to go to. Sometimes it’s a phrasal verb which means to examine or review. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Land is sometimes used informally to mean to win, to secure. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Tag Questions

Tag questions function differently from the usual Yes-No and Wh- questions in English. One form they take is similar to the German nicht wahr or the French n’est-ce pas:

It’s Tuesday tomorrow, isn’t it?

But the form we see in the Dialogue is informal and idiosyncratic: “You’ve had that car since high school, right?

The “right” in usage is similar to the Canadian “eh” or the British “innit.” In some English dialects, “huh” is used instead of “right.”

Intermediate-Advanced Dialogue

True Blue

Two friends discuss a car they call True Blue. The Grammar focuses on Complementation.

Alice: “We have today off.”
Bonnie: “What are you doing today?”
Alice: “I want to go over to the lake.”
Bonnie: “I’d go with you except I’m babysitting today.”
Alice: “Who is it, your niece? Your sister’s daughter?”
Bonnie: “Yes, she’s going to some friend’s birthday party and I have to chaperone.”
Alice: “So you’re taking the old beater?”
Bonnie: “She’s on her last legs.”
Alice: “She is?”
Bonnie: “Yes, and soon she will cross the great divide.”
Alice: “You’re going to make me cry.”
Bonnie: “She has been faithful, she has been true blue.”
Alice: “She’s cost you a fortune on repairs.”
Bonnie: “Well, you’re only looking at one side of it.”
Alice: “What’s the other side?”
Bonnie: “She was there at my graduation, she was there on my first date with Jackson, she was there when I crossed the border into Mexico.”
Alice: “You’re taking me down memory lane.”
Bonnie: “Yes I am, I can’t help it. I’m a sentimental old fool.”
Alice: “You’re old? Are you even registered to vote yet?”
Bonnie: “When I think of where I’ve been, sometimes I feel old.”
Alice: “Your car is old and ready for heaven or hell. You’re a spring chicken, a long way from eternal checkout.”
Bonnie: “Know where I can get a new car cheaply?”


Have the day off means to spend a day in which one is permitted to abstain from one’s normal tasks or responsibilities, as at work, school, home, etc. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Chaperone comes from the old French, the diminutive of chape, meaning hood or head covering. It means an older person who serves as a guide and guardian for a young woman, protecting her like a hood. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Beater means an old, dilapidated automobile. See online Idioms Dictionary.
On its last legs means old, near a complete breakdown or loss of functionality. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Cross the great divide means to die. See online Idioms Dictionary.
True blue means loyal and steadfast. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Down memory lane means looking back on the past, often with nostalgia. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Spring chicken means a young or youthful person. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Eternal checkout means death. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Complementation

You’re going to make me cry.

Certain verbs in English are called “causative” because one person causes another to perform an action. Three examples are have, get, and make.

1.”I finally had the house painted.”
2.”I got the car washed.”
3.”I made my son mow the lawn.”

In the final example here, we see complementation with an infinitive (reduced) in the subordinate clause: “I made my son (to) mow the lawn.”

We remember that a complement is something needed to complete the meaning of a verb (or other parts of speech). In our example (“I made my son mow the lawn”) we expect something after “I made my son …” and that something is what is called an “embedded clause” and it completes the meaning of the sentence. You made him do what? I made him mow the lawn.

This type of embedded complement clause can take the common form of a that-clause, an infinitive clause, a subjunctive clause, a gerund clause, and so on. With the verb “make” we see that the infinitive complement is the natural form to follow the main clause:

1.”I made my son mow the lawn.”
2.“You’re going to make me cry.”
3.”The powerful businessman made his competitor go bankrupt.”

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