Welcome to our Languages Guru newsletter, where we’ll explore the fascinating world of speculation and deduction in the English language! In today’s newsletter, we’ll take a lighthearted look at how these language structures and vocabulary can be used to express fun and quirky ideas, just like the story we’ve included in this edition.
🕰️ Back to the Haircut: A Time Travel Tale
Once upon a time, there was a brilliant scientist named Dr. Smith who was working on a top-secret project for the government. The project involved creating a time machine that could transport people back and forth through time. Dr. Smith had been working on the project for years, and he was getting closer and closer to a breakthrough.
One day, Dr. Smith’s lab assistant, Tom, walked into the lab and noticed that Dr. Smith looked a little bit different. Tom couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but he had a feeling that something was off. He wondered if Dr. Smith had finally cracked the code for time travel and had gone back in time to test it out.
Tom decided to do a little bit of speculation and deduction. He thought to himself, “Dr. Smith must have traveled back in time and is now living among the dinosaurs. He must be having the time of his life!”
But then Tom realized that he might be wrong. “It couldn’t have been dinosaurs,” he thought. “Dr. Smith is too smart to risk getting eaten by a T-Rex.” Tom realized that Dr. Smith could have gone back to a more peaceful time, like the Middle Ages, where he could have met knights and jousted.
Tom also thought about the potential risks of time travel. “Dr. Smith should have been more careful,” he thought. “He could have changed the course of history and created a whole new timeline.” Tom knew that the government wouldn’t be too happy if that happened.
But Tom couldn’t resist the temptation of time travel. “I might have to try it myself,” he thought. “I could have a blast in the Roaring Twenties, or maybe even meet some aliens in the future!” Tom knew that he was bound to be caught if he tried, but the idea was too exciting to ignore.
As Tom continued to speculate about Dr. Smith’s whereabouts, he couldn’t help but feel a little jealous. “Dr. Smith is sure to be having a great time,” he thought. “He’s probably living like a king in some ancient civilization, while I’m stuck here in the lab.” But Tom knew that he couldn’t let his jealousy get the best of him.
In the end, Dr. Smith did make a breakthrough in time travel, but not in the way that Tom expected. It turned out that Dr. Smith had simply gotten a haircut and was trying out a new hairstyle. Tom couldn’t believe that he had spent so much time speculating and deducing about something so simple. “I definitely should have just asked him,” he thought.
Despite the anticlimactic ending, Tom had learned an important lesson about the dangers of speculation and the importance of communication. And who knows, maybe one day he’ll get to travel through time after all. After all, anything is possible in the world of science.
🕰️ Back to the Haircut: A Time Travel Tale – Intermediate
Dr. Smith was a very smart scientist who studied time travel. One day, he disappeared and nobody knew where he went. His friend Tom thought maybe Dr. Smith had figured out how to travel through time. Tom tried to guess where Dr. Smith could be. He thought that maybe he was living with the dinosaurs or watching the pyramids being built.
Tom also knew that Dr. Smith was too clever to do anything dangerous like getting eaten by a T-Rex. Tom wondered if Dr. Smith could have gone back in time to get a cool haircut. But Tom wasn’t sure.
After a while, Tom realized that Dr. Smith must have found the secret to time travel, but he couldn’t have gone for too long because he was very careful. Tom smiled and decided that maybe one day he could join Dr. Smith on an adventure through time.
And who knows, maybe they could even go back to get a haircut from the coolest barber in history!
🕰️ Back to the Haircut: A Time Travel Tale – Lower intermediate
Dr. Smith was a smart scientist who studied time travel. One day, he disappeared and nobody knew where he went. His friend Tom wondered if Dr. Smith had figured out how to travel through time. Tom thought maybe Dr. Smith was living with the dinosaurs or watching the pyramids being built.
Tom knew Dr. Smith was clever and wouldn’t do anything dangerous. He guessed that maybe Dr. Smith went back in time to get a cool haircut. But Tom wasn’t sure.
After a while, Tom thought that Dr. Smith must have found the secret to time travel. Tom smiled and decided that maybe one day he could join Dr. Smith on an adventure through time.
And who knows, maybe they could even go back to get a haircut from the coolest barber in history!
🤯 Lost in Translation: Idioms
Put one’s finger on it: to identify or discover the exact problem or cause of a situation.
Example: Tom couldn’t quite put his finger on it, but he had a feeling that something was off.
Cracked the code: to solve a difficult problem or puzzle.
Example: Tom wondered if Dr. Smith had finally cracked the code for time travel.
Have the time of one’s life: to have a lot of fun and enjoy oneself immensely.
Example: Tom speculated that Dr. Smith must have traveled back in time and is now living among the dinosaurs, having the time of his life!
Risk getting eaten by a T-Rex: to expose oneself to a dangerous situation.
Example: Tom thought that Dr. Smith is too smart to risk getting eaten by a T-Rex.
Get the best of someone: to overcome someone’s self-control or ability to resist temptation.
Example: Tom knew that he couldn’t let his jealousy get the best of him.
📚 Vocabulary Bonanza
- Bonanza – a large amount.
- Involved – Participating in or being a part of something.
- Back and forth – Moving in one direction and then in the opposite direction repeatedly.
- Breakthrough – A significant discovery or achievement.
- Something was off – A feeling that something is not quite right or not as it should be.
- To wonder – To have a feeling of curiosity or doubt about something.
- Test out – To try something in order to see how well it works or to test its effectiveness.
- Jousted – A medieval sport in which two knights on horseback attempted to unhorse each other with a lance.
- Knights – A medieval soldier who served his lord as a mounted warrior.
- Roaring Twenties – A period of cultural and social change in the 1920s characterized by a distinctive style and energy.t of something desirable or profitable, usually referring to a sudden or unexpected windfall.
🕵️♀️ Unveiling the Grammar Secrets of Speculation and Deduction
“Must be”: This phrase indicates a strong deduction or speculation. It suggests a high degree of certainty based on evidence or logical reasoning.
Example: The ground is wet. It must be raining outside.
In this example, the observation of wet ground leads to the deduction that it is likely raining outside.
“Must have been”: This phrase expresses a strong deduction or speculation about a past event or situation. It indicates a high level of certainty based on available evidence.
Example: He isn’t here, but his car is parked outside. He must have been here earlier.
This implies a deduction that the person was present earlier, given the presence of their car.
“Can’t have”: This phrase signifies a strong deduction or speculation that something is impossible or highly unlikely based on the available evidence.
Example: She can’t have left yet. Her coat is still here.
This deduction suggests that the person mentioned is likely still present because their coat remains in the current location.
“Couldn’t have”: This phrase indicates a strong deduction or speculation that something was not possible in the past. It suggests a high level of certainty that the speculated event did not occur.
Example: The book was published in 1990, so it couldn’t have been written by him in 1985.
This deduction states that the person in question could not have written the book in 1985 since it was published five years later.
“Could have”: This phrase expresses a possibility or speculation about something that might have happened in the past. It suggests a lower degree of certainty compared to “must have been.”
Example: She could have taken the earlier train. That’s why she arrived so early.
This speculation suggests that the person may have taken the earlier train, which could explain their early arrival.
“Should have”: This phrase implies an expectation or speculation that something was expected to happen in the past but might not have occurred. It suggests a degree of disappointment or surprise.
Example: He should have finished his homework by now. I’m surprised he hasn’t submitted it yet.
This speculation suggests that the person was expected to complete their homework by a certain time, but their failure to do so has caused surprise.
“Shouldn’t have”: This phrase expresses speculation or deduction that someone acted improperly or made a mistake in the past. It suggests regret or disapproval.
Example: You shouldn’t have eaten that cake. It was meant for someone else.
This speculation indicates that the person addressed made a mistake by consuming the cake, which was intended for someone else.
These verbs provide a range of expressions for speculation and deduction, enabling us to convey different levels of certainty, possibility, expectation, or regret based on available information or logical reasoning.
🕰️Practicing Back to the Future: Speculation and Deduction on Time Travel
- Must have: If aliens exist, they must have visited Earth at some point. What evidence would you use to support this claim?
- Should have: Should humans be allowed to colonize Mars? What factors should be considered before making this decision?
- Could be: Could there be a parallel universe where everything is the same except for one small detail? What do you think that detail might be?
- Would have: If NASA had unlimited funding, what space exploration projects do you think they would have already accomplished by now?
- Can have: Can aliens have already traveled to Earth? What is some possible evidence?
- May have: The moon landing was a major milestone in space exploration, but do you think humans may have already made it to Mars in secret? Why or why not?
- Must be: If life exists on other planets, it must be drastically different from life on Earth. What do you think these differences might be?
- Should have: Should space exploration be a priority for governments? What benefits do you think it could bring to society?
- Could have: Could we someday terraform other planets to make them habitable for humans? What challenges would need to be overcome in order to achieve this?
- Would have: If humans could time travel, would we have already met aliens from other planets? What do you think these aliens would look like?
🍬 Ear Candy: Train Your Listening Skills with These Sweet Sounds
The Most Convincing Time Traveler Story
Speculating What do you think happened Past modals
🐊Catch you later Gator
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🎉 Big shout-out
Thanks to Anna from Genoa, Italy for the inspiration and to Marjorie from Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy, France for the trial run.