A Visit to the Advisor

Notes on Vocabulary

1. ditched class: intentionally missed class

2. setting yourself up to fail: doing (yourself) what is necessary to cause failure

3. . . . so that doesn't matter: . . . so that isn't important.

4. What's the big deal about missing some classes?: What's so important about missing some classes?

5. out of status: not meeting the requirements to keep your visa status

Notes on Usage

1. You wanted to see me?

The student changes a statement to a question by using question (rising) intonation, not by using an auxiliary verb (did).

People often use this kind of question in conversational language to suggest that they think a statement may not be true or accurate. (The student means something like "Is it true that you wanted to see me?" By using this kind of question, the student also suggests that she thinks there's no real reason for the advisor to want to see her.)

2. About what?

"Reduced" questions are also very common in conversational language. The full form would be something like "What do we need to have a serious talk about?" or "About what do we need to have a serious talk?"

3. Your attendance--or rather lack of it

"Reduced" answers are much more common than full answers in conversational language. The advisor means "We need to have a serious talk about your attendance--or rather, your lack of attendance."

4. OK, so . . .

Both OK and so are used very frequently in conversational language. Here, the student uses "OK, so . . ." to show that she admits that she's missed class a few times.

5. A few times?

A "reduced" answer; the advisor means something like "What do you mean by a few times?" By using "a few times," the student suggests that she hasn't missed class enough times to cause a problem. By questioning "a few times" (shown by the advisor's emphasis on "few"), the advisor is saying that there have been many absences, not just a few.

6. Oh, come on.

This expression is used to show that what has just been said is unreasonable or illogical. The student doesn't understand why missing some boring classes is setting herself up to fail.

7. So?

This one-word question is used when one doesn't understand the relationship or consequence that follows from what has just been said. (The student means she doesn't understand the relationship between missing classes and her student visa.)

8. gonna

There are many "relaxed" pronunciations of commonly used phrases (for example, "hasta" or "hafta" for has to or have to, "wanna" for want to, "woulda/coulda/shoulda/mighta" for would've/could've/should've/might've). These forms are very common in spoken English, but they're not acceptable in most written work.

9. Turn me in to . . . ?

A "reduced" question: "Are you going to turn me in to . . . ?"

10. Like what?

A "reduced" question: "What will the 'something else' be like?" ("What kind of thing are you going to do?"

11. Like faxing your father

A "reduced" answer: "[I'm going to do something] like faxing your father." (The advisor plans to send a fax to the student's father to tell the father that the student hasn't been attending class.)

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