EXPRESSING LIKES, DISLIKES AND PREFERENCES DIALOGUE SCRIPT AND GLOSSARY

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1 EXPRESSING LIKES, DISLIKES AND PREFERENCES DIALOGUE SCRIPT AND GLOSSARY INTRODUCTION In this podcast we re going to be looking a various ways of expressing likes, dislikes and preferences. It is very easy to simply say I like or I don t like something, but it is more difficult to state by what degree you like or dislike it. And, it s often not just a question of directly stating how you feel about something. In many situations you ll have to be careful about your tone how direct or indirect your language is. Stating dislikes and preferences too directly can sometimes cause offence. You ll need to consider who you re speaking to and the context of the situation when choosing your words. SITUATION Annie Dai, a web designer at Booknet.com, an online book company, has been requested by her boss, Philip To, to create a website for the company s new line of books. Since the books are educational, as well as entertaining, Philip really wants a visually appealing website which can capture the feeling of the company s new line of books and, therefore, bring success to the new line. DIALOGUE ANNIE: OK. So I have two website designs that I d like to show you this afternoon. PHILIP: All right. I m really looking forward to seeing what you ve done. ANNIE: Here s version one on my laptop. As you can see, it s a relatively simple design. PHILIP: Well I m afraid to say that the colours don t work for me at all. I m not too keen on the format either. ANNIE: OK. So do you have any suggestions for the colours? PHILIP: Mmmm actually, I ve got some colour specs here somewhere. ANNIE: Oh, yes, I saw those, but I thought that these colours might not work in this design. But I can redo it with those colours in mind. What about the design itself? Do you have any suggestions for changing it? PHILIP: Well, I d prefer to see different link text for the navigation window, as well as widening the scrollbar area so that it s easier to navigate. That window is too small and the text is rather difficult to read. The photo in the main page doesn t seem right to me to me at all. Isn t there something a bit lighter you could put in there? ANNIE: Oh, no problem at all. I ve got several different photos I could use. PHILIP: Also, in the banner, the logo doesn t look quite right. Do you have the latest version of it? I have it somewhere in my box; I can send it to you. Use that one, please, because I think the one here is last year s. ANNIE: OK do you think the navigation links are OK? PHILIP: Yeah, I like them a lot. ANNIE: So, let me make sure I have this: change the elements to the latest colour specs, move the navigation scrollbar down a bit as well as changing the text so it s easier 1

2 to navigate in, and replace the logo in the banner window with the latest version which you will me. PHILIP: Yes, and now that I think of it, the sales department wanted to have a bestseller s link in the navigation bar so customers could access our best-selling books. ANNIE: Got it. So I ll make all those changes and have another version of this design to show you on Thursday. PHILIP: Sounds good. But, wait, I thought you d prepared two versions of the site. ANNIE: Yes, I have, but I wanted to show you one at a time. I d like to have two final designs to choose from. Let me just pull the second one up. Here we are PHILIP: Well first off, I can say that the text in this version is much better, clearer and easier to read. Great colours, as well. ANNIE: OK. So you like the colours and text? PHILIP: Again, though: the navigation window is far too narrow, it really needs to be wider. But I like the links and I prefer how you have them displayed here to the previous version. That vertical text is really eye-catching. It s much more interesting than version one. ANNIE: Yeah, I like that, too. What about the colours? PHILIP: Overall, I much prefer these colours to version one. And that logo in the banner is definitely the latest version, so I won t send it to you after all! Could you put the company s mailing address at the bottom of this one, as you had on the first version? ANNIE: Oh, I didn t even notice that. What about the photo on the main home page? PHILIP: I like it better than the other one, but overall, I prefer the format of the first one. ANNIE: OK. Good to know. So should I just replace the picture on version one with this one? PHILIP: Yes, definitely. And if you change the colours on that one, it ll look great. ANNIE: Got it. So I will make those changes we discussed on version one, but I will replace the photograph on the main homepage with the one from version two. But that will only give us one design on Thursday. PHILIP: That s OK. It s quality not the quantity! If you make those changes it ll be almost perfect. DEBRIEF Just as there can be many reasons for liking or disliking something, there are many different ways of expressing likes and dislikes in English. Philip isn t shy at all about telling Annie what he really thinks about her designs. But as he s her boss, he s entitled to be a little more direct with his language. He does, however, modify some of his more negative opinions in order not to offend her. Here are some common examples of how to express likes and dislikes. 2

3 I love this model. I like this model. I think this model is pretty good. This model is OK. This model isn t bad. This isn t quite what we re looking for. This doesn t work for me. I m not keen on this model. I don t like this model very much. I don t like this model at all. I can t stand this model. I hate this model. Phillip tells Annie that he is really looking forward to seeing her design. If you look or are looking forward to something, it means that you are very interested or excited about it in the future. They are really looking forward to that conference in Paris this summer! She is looking forward to starting her new job. I m looking forward to having some time off at the weekend. Are you looking forward to your vacation? I m looking forward to seeing you soon. Annie responds by saying: Here s version one on my laptop. As you can see, it s a relatively simple design. By 'a relatively simple design', Annie means a fairly simple design. This is quite a formal way of expressing what she thinks of her design. Here are some less formal ways: It's quite a simple design. It's a fairly simple design. It s a pretty simple design. Annie could have said: It's a very simple design. But how do 'relatively', fairly, pretty and quite compare with 'very'? Well, all these words are adverbs and they all have a similar function in that they modify adjectives. 'Very', however, is used when you feel strongly about something in either a positive or a negative way. When you are expressing a negative opinion, though, it is best to state it less directly, using words like 'fairly', 'quite' and 'relatively', instead of 'very'. In doing so you are far less likely to cause offence to the person you re speaking to. Philip tells Annie that the colours don t work for him. This phrase is quite direct but more polite than saying I don t like the colours. To soften his tone further, Philip could have said: I m not sure if I like those colours. I don t know if those colours really work for me. I m wondering if those colours are quite right. It s generally best to express your dislikes in an indirect way. It is considered more polite. Philip would certainly not want to use any words or phrases to offend Annie. He would not say: 3

4 Those colours are terrible. I don t like those colours at all. I can t stand those colours. Remember that while it s true that Westerners are often quite direct (from an Asian point of view), there is a time and a place for being direct and a time and place for being indirect. Being too direct in situations like the one above could easily create bad feelings and damage a relationship. Remember, too, that your facial expressions and the tone of your voice also affect whether something is considered polite or impolite. At one point in the conversation, Philip tells Annie: I m not too keen on the format. This is a way of saying that he doesn t really like the format. It is fairly direct, though, and it would have been more considerate if Philip had said: I m not sure if the format is quite right. I wonder if the format could be changed a little. The format might need some alteration. Later in the conversation Annie says: So let me make sure I have this. This is Annie s way of getting Philip to clarify exactly what he wants from her. Remember in meetings like these, it is easy to forget everything that s been said, or get sidetracked on one issue and not remember others. Clarifying the details helps both Annie and Philip confirm what it is that Annie should do next. Here are other ways of clarifying: So let me get this straight. Do you mean that? So are you saying that? OK let me repeat that back to you to make sure I ve got it. Let s go over those main points again. Let me just clarify what we ve spoken about. During the conversation Philip uses a number of comparative forms (more, better, cleaner) to indicate how the design could be improved. He also talks about preferences. Here are some common ways of stating a preference: I prefer this model to that one. I would prefer to use this model. I like this model better than that one. I m not sure I like this model as much as that one. I have a preference for that model. I d rather we use this model. I d rather we didn t use this model. I d rather use this model. I d sooner use this model. Sometimes, to communicate more information, we can compare two things in order to show which one we like better. Philip says that he prefers the second version of Annie s design because: The version is much better, clearer, and easier to read. These are very straightforward comparisons. Here are some more: 4

5 This design is not as advanced as that design. This design is more expensive than that design. This design is better than that design. This design doesn t have as many features as that design. For short words under two syllables, we usually make an adjective comparative by adding er. cheap Product A is cheaper than Product B. For longer words, three syllables or more, we usually make an adjective comparative by simply adding the word more before it. expensive Product B is more expensive than Product A. 5

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