Anna visits a friend on her houseboat. She says she wants to live on one. But, is that really a good idea?
ANNA: Hello, Ms. Weaver!
MS. WEAVER: Oh, Anna. I’ve invited some people to dinner Saturday. We’re going to that new seafood restaurant -- Fish on a Dish.
MS. WEAVER: Why don’t you join us? My treat.
ANNA: Thanks, Ms. Weaver. But I already have plans. My friend has invited me to her houseboat.
MS. WEAVER: Houseboat, really? That’s unique.
ANNA: Yes, it is. In fact, I’m thinking of living on a houseboat.
MS. WEAVER: Aren’t you too tall and klutzy to live on a houseboat?
ANNA: I am not too tall!
(She knocks over a display board.)
PROF. BOT VO: Is Anna really ready for a houseboat?
PROF. BOT: Ms. Weaver invited Anna to dinner. When we make friendly, informal invitations, we use phrases like “Why don’t…?”
PROF. BOT: For example, Ms. Weaver said, “Why don’t you join us? My treat!” That’s: Why don’t plus the subject plus the simple form of the verb.
PROF. BOT: Anna responded to the invitation by saying, “Thanks, but I already have plans.” Keep watching for more examples of informal invitations!
FANNY: Anna, I’m so glad you could come!
ANNA: Hi, Fanny!
FANNY: Hi, this is my son, Phoenix.
ANNA: Hi, Phoenix.
FANNY: How about you give Anna a tour and I will make some lunch?
PHOENIX: Aye, aye, captain!
ANNA: Do you really call her “captain”?
PHOENIX: I kind of have to.
ANNA: So, Phoenix, I think I’d like to live on a houseboat. Do you like living here?
PHOENIX: I love it! It’s much different than living in a house.
ANNA: Oh, I bet. I bet you had to get rid of a lot of stuff, didn’t you?
PHOENIX: No way! We moved from a 3-story house to a boat! So, we really had to downsize!
ANNA: I’d have to get rid of a lot of stuff. I have a rock collection and I have some really big rocks.
ANNA: Can you stop this boat from rocking for a minute?
PHOENIX: No. We’re floating on water. I can’t do that.
ANNA: Well, since you live on the water, aren’t you afraid of great white sharks?
PHOENIX: No, not really. They don’t live in these waters.
ANNA: … that you know of. What about killer whales?
ANNA: Electric eels?
FANNY: You know, Anna, if you’re afraid of sea life, maybe you shouldn’t live on a houseboat. Do you have any boating experience?
ANNA: Oh, oh yeah, Fanny. I have battled the great waters before -- once on a swan boat and once in a duck boat ... bus. It was a boat that turned into a bus.
FANNY: Yeah, I don’t think that counts.
ANNA: Fanny, does this rocking ever bother you?
FANNY: No, I love it. It goes up and down and side to side and up and down. Anna, I love it!
(Because of the rocking, Anna begins to feel seasick.)
FANNY: Anna, are you feeling okay?
ANNA: Yeah, yeah. You know, I just need some fresh air.
FANNY: Let me open a window for you.
ANNA: No, I need some fresh land air. I mean, I need to breathe air on land. Oh, is that the time? I should really be going.
ANNA: Thanks for lunch, Fanny, and a tour of your houseboat. It’s given me a great idea!
FANNY: You’re going to live on a houseboat?
ANNA: Sort of. Thanks again!
ANNA: Hi! How would you like to hang out on my boat? Great! See you then!
(Ms. Weaver and Anna sit in a boat on land.)
ANNA: …and this is my shark net.
MS. WEAVER: Thank you for the invitation, Anna.
ANNA: Of course, would you like more orange juice?
MS. WEAVER: Uh..
ANNA: (to young man) Ahoy!
accept – v. to receive or take something offered
Aye, aye, captain! – expression. A phrase meaning “Yes, sir!” in naval language
barracuda – n. a kind of fierce tropical fish that has strong jaws and sharp teeth
battle – v. to try or struggle very hard to do something
count – v. to be considered or regarded as something
decline – v. to say that you will not or cannot do something
downsize – v. to make something smaller
deck – n. a flat surface that forms the main outside floor of a boat or ship
electric eel – n. an eel-like freshwater fish of South America, using pulses of electricity to kill prey, to assist in navigation, and for defense
fish out of water – expression. a person or thing is completely clueless or directionless when put into unfamiliar surroundings or an unfamiliar situation
float – v. to rest on top of a liquid
get rid of – phrasal verb. to do something so that you no longer have or are affected by something that is unwanted
great white shark – n. a large aggressive shark of warm seas, with a brownish or gray back, white underparts, and large triangular teeth
houseboat – n. a boat which is or can be moored for use as a house
invite – v. to ask someone to go somewhere or do something
juice – n. the liquid part that can be squeezed out of vegetables and fruits
klutzy – adj. describing a clumsy person
killer whale – n. a black-and-white whale that kills and eats other animals
kind of – expression. to some extent
orange – n. a citrus fruit that is round and that has an orange skin
piranha – n. a small South American fish that has sharp teeth and that eats the flesh of animals
respond – v. to say or write something as an answer to a question or request
seasick – adj. feeling sick because of the movement of a boat or ship that you are
swan – n. a large usually white bird that lives on or near water and that has a very long and graceful neck
sort of –expression. in some way
story – n. a group of rooms or an area that forms one floor level of a building
treat – v. an occurrence in which you pay for someone's food, drink, or entertainment
Now, you try it!
Try making invitations! Invite someone to an event or activity. Use the language you learned today. Write your invitations in the comments below.
For example: Why don't you come to gym with me?
In English, we make friendly, informal invitations using phrases like:
Why don't + subject + simple verb
"Why don't you join us?" -Ms. Weaver
How about + subject + simple verb
"How about you give Anna a tour...?" -Fannie
Let's + simple verb
"Let's learn English!" -Anna
How would you like to + simple verb
"How would you like to hang out on my boat?" -Anna
A few phrases for accepting are:
That’s a good/great idea!
That sounds good/great.
Thanks! I’d love to.
A few phrases for declining are:
Thanks, but I already have plans.
That’s a good idea but…
I’m not sure.
How well do you know the grammar from Level 2? Test yourself!
In today's lesson, you saw examples of grammar from other lessons. Look for sentences in Lesson 27 that have:
- passive voice
- tag questions
- adverb clauses
We also used many contractions -- the short forms of words. Find the contractions and write their meanings in the comments below.
For example, Anna says, "I think I’d like to live on a houseboat." (I'd is a contraction. It means I would.)
’m = am
’re = are
’s = is and has
’ll = will
’ve = have
’d = had and would
Or, just tell us what you think of the lesson. We'd love to hear from you! Write to us in the comments section below.
See how well you understand this lesson by taking a listening quiz. Play each short video, then choose the best answer.
Download the VOA Learning English Word Book for a dictionary of the words we use on this website.
Send us an email if you have comments on this course or questions.
Grammar focus: making invitations