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This clip is from episode 96 of the brilliant The Allusionist podcast, which explores all aspects of words and language. This episode is about trust.

The interviewee, Rachel Botsman, is talking about how she defined trust for her book on the subject.

In this exercise, all the weak forms (unstressed forms of grammatical words in connected speech) have been removed. Listen as many times as you need to, and see if you can identify them all. Good luck!

know...I thought really easy define trust.

…do you know

Notice the pronunciation of ‘do you’ as /ʤə/. This weak and contracted pronunciation is extremely common in questions – this is one reason why they can be hard to understand.

…I thought it was going to be really easy..

This is an example of the future in the past, which is used when we are talking about the future, but the viewpoint is in the past.

For example, if I tell you about my plans for the weekend (the normal future), I might say: I’m going to go for a walk. However, if you ask me on Monday about my weekend, I might say: I was going to go for a walk, but the weather was awful. In this sentence, I am talking about the future plan that I had in the past. I use the same structure, but ‘I am’ becomes ‘I was’.

In the extract, the original prediction that the speaker made (before writing the book) was: It’s going to be easy. She is now looking back on that prediction (probably because it was harder than she expected).

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