Real English Conversations: Perfectionism and procrastination 3

Hi! Lori here, welcoming you to another episode of Real English Conversations from In today’s conversation, my friend Yvette returns to help me finish our earlier conversation about perfectionism and procrastination. This time we focus on the strategies that we’ve found helpful in our own battles with this debilitating problem. As always, you can find the vocabulary notes and full transcript of this podcast on our website,

OK, here we go!

Conversation Transcript

Lori: Actually, there was one thing that I think in our last conversation about perfectionism and procrastination that we didn’t really cover
Yvette: OK
Lori: …and that’s what you do to get out of the procrastination habit once you’ve identified that you have a problem with it. Like if you have any methods that you’ve used to help you over the fear of starting or working on whatever it is you’re supposed to be working on.
Yvette: [Laughs] You’re asking me?
Lori: Yeah, yeah we didn’t talk about that.
Yvette: How you actually get out of it? Wow…
Lori: If there’s anything you do…
Yvette: If you find out, let me know. I mean, that’s kind of tricky. Wow, that’s something to think about. Well, usually I start with a plan. You break it down and smaller bits…so… the way that I can do it sometimes is to just say, “There is…I need to do a task and let me just first open the file folder.” That’s my first step. Once I’ve got that opened up and I’ve got the file maybe even opened in my browser — whatever I needed to be in — then I can start working on it. But it really is just kicking my butt…giving myself a good kick and going, “Come on, you can do it today.” But I tend to just find 15 other things to do first, which is clear my desk…oh yeah, I need lunch…oh, I need to do to the — let me do the groceries right now instead of later, so I don’t get interrupted by that. Um, so I tried to get rid of things, but I don’t know, I try to plan it better, but that usually doesn’t work — for me anyway.
Lori: Uh huh. Well, it sounds to me, when you mention that, for example, if it’s a writing project, that you start by just opening the file…. Continue reading…

Real English Conversations: Telling time in English 1

Hi, Lori here welcoming you to another episode of Real English Conversations from Today’s conversation is about some of the differences between American and British English usage when it comes to telling time. This conversation also marks the first appearance of my very own mom here on B@E. She give us her perspective on American usage, while my English friend Michael (whom you know from earlier podcasts) returns this episode to cover the British point of view. This episode follows directly from the previous episode, number 44, so if this is your first time listening to our podcasts you should listen to episode 44 first.

The pdf that goes with this episode contains the full transcript, the vocabulary list, the image of clocks that I used to elicit time expressions from my mom and Michael, and some usage notes about time expressions in British and American English. You can download it directly in iTunes, or visit and download from there. I think that’s enough introduction for today — let’s get on with the conversation!

Conversation Transcript

[Lori:In this informal language experiment, I showed my mom a picture of four clock faces and asked her to read me the times. This was to see what prepositions she would use, particularly if she would avoid the preposition past as Yvette’s former teachers claimed Americans do.]

Mom: OK, well starting on the top left I have ten m minutes after nine, and then the next one to the right is twenty-five after seven, and then on the bottom left is five past six and the last one on the bottom right is a quarter past twelve.
Lori: OK! Perfect! You scored 100%

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Real English Conversations: Perfectionism 2

Hi, Lori here welcoming you to another episode of Real English Conversations from In today’s conversation, my friend Yvette and I continue our discussion about perfectionism. The main focus of this part of the conversation is how perfectionist tendencies can cause problems in foreign language learning, particularly for adult learners. Another thing that comes up is a couple of usage differences between British and American English. So without further ado, here is the conversation:

Conversation Transcript

Lori: But you know, speaking about correction, it’s kind of interesting when you think about learning a language as an adult, how perfectionism and having, like, demands on yourself when it comes to performing…I think that’s one of the biggest differences between learning the language as an adult and, then, picking one up as a child.

Yvette: Yeah I remember when I was in university at the very beginning in the first year I spoke British English with a British English accent, and I was studying American English or American studies. And I had a lot of American-speaking professors who, umm, just, you know, I thought it was really odd to be using British language to talk to an American professor, so I switched to American English, which was really frowned upon because it was not the “proper” language. And everything that you did, every word you used, you had to think, “Is this the proper American word or is it a British-ism?” Because it was…you were punished much more severely for using British-isms as an American speaker than if you were a British speaker using American words. It was really weird.

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