The San Diego Zoo

The San Diego Zoo

San Diego Zoo

Benny wants directions to the San Diego Zoo. The Grammar focus is on Comparatives.

Benny: “Can you give me directions to the zoo?”
Logan: “Can you look it up on your phone?”
Benny: “My phone needs charging.”
Logan: “It’s okay, it’s pretty close by. Go down 163 until you get to Park Blvd., then at Park Boulevard turn left. You’ll see Zoo parking soon.”
Benny: “Thanks. Is it as wonderful as everyone says it is?”
Logan: “It’s better than that. It’s out of this world.”
Benny: “Do they have elephants and monkeys?”
Logan: “I’m sure they have every animal in the world.”
Benny: “That’s just beyond belief. Thank you so much for the directions.”
Logan: “Always like to help out.”


Close by means near, in close proximity to something or someone. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Out of this world means extraordinary, very exciting or impressive. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Beyond belief means inconceivable, outside of the realm of imagination or expectation. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Help out means to provide aid or assistance. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Comparatives

We use as + adjective/adverb + as to make a comparison between things that are seen as equal. In our Dialogue, we have the sentence: “Is it as wonderful as everyone says it is?” and the speaker is making the comparison between the San Diego Zoo and what everybody says about it. The negative, of course, would be “Not as wonderful as everyone says it is?”


Two friends discuss the San Diego Zoo. The Grammar focus is on Modal Auxiliaries.

Tarlo: “My students wanted me to take them to the zoo.”
Hailey: “Oh, no! I know how you feel about caged animals!”
Tarlo: “I can’t do it, I really can’t. Last time I tried was a million years ago, but I got sick when I did.”
Hailey: “But you know, this is maybe the most animal-friendly zoo in the entire world.”
Tarlow: “I know all about it, but I can’t get past the captivity thing.”
Hailey: “Did you explain this to your students?”
Tarlo: “No, I lied to them, I made something up.”
Hailey: “Why didn’t you tell them the truth?”
Tarlo: “I don’t know, they sort of caught me by surprise.”
Hailey: “Sure, but why lie? Your feelings about this are actually noble. You hate the thought of animals suffering.”
Tarlo: “Anyway I offered to take them to the beach instead.”
Hailey: “To La Jolla, I hope.”
Tarlo: “Yes, of course. They were happy with that.”
Hailey: “Maybe they just wanted to get out of class for a day.”
Tarlo: “I guess.”


Get past means to be able to overlook or overcome something. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Make up means to contrive something that is not true or real; to fabricate. See online Idioms Dictionary.
Catch (someone) by surprise means to startle, amaze, or come upon someone unawares. See online Idioms Dictionary.

Suggested Topic for Comments: Modals

“I can’t do it, I really can’t.” The Modal Auxiliary “can” has a Phrasal Modal counterpart in “be able to.” Its basic meaning is potential force, and concerning ability means capable. It also has usage in social interaction, meaning not just raw capability but things social, for example permission: “You can play the piano now for us, if you’d like.”

Regarding our sentence in the Dialogue, the usage of “can’t” refers to Tarlo’s basic incapability to go to the zoo (last time she went, she got sick). This is not a social interaction usage.

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