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This is an all ears English podcast, Episode 14 seventy eight, it's about time use a clock to give directions in English.


Welcome to the All Ears English podcast downloaded more than 150 million times. Are you feeling stuck with your English? We'll show you how to become fearless and fluent by focusing on connection, not perfection, with your American hosts. Lindsay McMahon, the English adventurer, and Michelle Kaplan, the New York Radio Girl coming to you from Colorado and New York City U. S a and to get your transcripts delivered by email every week, go to all ears English dot com forward slash subscribe today.


Learn a fun, fresh and subtle way to point someone in the direction of something in English. Make this native technique a part of your English repertoire. Listen in today.


Hey, Michelle, how's everything going? Hey, Lindsey, good, good, how are you? Oh, my gosh, I'm good. I can't believe we're getting into the month of December. It's crazy. It's so crazy.


I know it's been a weird year, but here we are. Here we are. And I'm so excited for tomorrow's Web class. Right. It's happening tomorrow and later in the weekend. Michelle, what are our listeners going to learn if they join the free live Web class?


Well, guys, it's really important to be able to follow along when you're in a conversation with multiple people, right.


So you have practice listening to, you know, Lindsay with all of us speaking.


But now you're going to get us all clumped together in one place. And it's important to really have the skill of being able to understand and understand how to break into these conversations when it's with more than just two people, more than with just one person. So we're all going to be there and you are going to learn how to do this in English, right, Lindsay?


Yeah, it's going to be so cool. I mean, you guys have told us maybe you have improved from the point of when you first found English understanding 50 percent of our conversations, up to 90 percent now because you stuck with it. We want to get you to the same place, that same amount of improvement with fast group conversations, which is a totally different ballgame.


Speaking of baseball idioms that we did last week, Michelle Ball game, it's a whole nother ball game when you're listening to a group, right?


Yeah, exactly, so, yes, we will see you there, make sure that you sign up for this class. We can't wait all ears, English, dotcom, coffee.


Yes, you guys there? OK, Michelle, what are we talking about today? Something about timekeeping and clocks.


Well, you actually came up with this idea, Lindsey, and I love this idea.


So you are saying that we should do something about how we use clocks to locate an image. So, for example, if you say something like, do you see that bird in the tree? It's at your six o'clock.


Yeah, because someone I don't know, I thought of this idea a few months ago because someone said it to me. Right. They said it out your one o'clock. And I was thinking, wow, that's you know, that's what would be a really cool topic that I feel like no one else has ever talked about on any English podcast anywhere.


So this is really good stuff for our listeners here.


OK, how do we get started on this then, Michelle? OK, so well, instead of I think that this is a really helpful way to talk about where something is located, because instead of being vague with directions, it allows you to be pretty accurate. Right.


So basically what it is, is we imagine the person we were talking to is at the center of a clock, so picture clock, and then we'd point out something specific based on where the hands would be. So, for example, if you say it's your three o'clock, it's to the. Well, it's to the person. Right. Right.


Yeah, I know. I'm thinking about where I'm facing. So the person's right. Right. So we're talking about what the person is saying. That person's three o'clock, not my three o'clock, right, Lindsay? Yeah, right.


And that's important. An important piece of this. It's to your three o'clock or two. My three o'clock. That's what you have to think about. So if someone says to you, if you ask someone, hey, where's the convenience store? I need to go get gas for my car. OK, you're here. It's to your three o'clock. Look over there across the street, right directly to your right. OK.


Yeah. And then at nine o'clock would be to the person's left. Yes. I mean, Lindsay, when would you use this?


I think it's used a lot. When someone can't see something, it's maybe there's a lot of things out there and it would be really hard to think about. What else would you actually say? It's to your right. Oh, it's that thing there. There's all these things going on, right?


Maybe you're at the top of a skyscraper or something and the person is trying to show you their work building down in a certain district of the city.


How the heck could you find that without using these clock hands?


I think you're right. It allows you to be very specific. I also feel like it's used famously to secretly tell someone where something is.


So, for example, I'm thinking about being at a bar and you see somebody that you're interested in and you're like, hey, at your two o'clock, cute or whatever, like that's how I've heard it use like in like at party movies or things like that.


Yeah, I like that better. I love that. Michelle. Very stealth. Very stealth. Yeah.


And in researching this, I've also seen that it could be used in the army or in aviation, but I don't know too much about it, but it definitely makes sense.


Yeah. I could see that kind of directions, that sort of thing. Maybe with navigation or like using compasses, that sort of thing. Who knows. I don't know how to read a compass, to be honest. You don't know how to read a compass. No, I don't. I'm surprised because you're like you might get yourself out of some wilderness. Yeah, but I don't like alone. So I think you're not the compass reader. No, no, no.


All right. So let's give some examples then.


Definitely. Let's go for it. OK, so OK. What's the first one? Lonzie. OK, there's the sign I was looking for. Look, you don't see it.


It's at your two o'clock. OK, here's one question, Michelle. Would we ever say it's at your two.


Could you say that. I don't think so. No, no, no, no I don't think so either. Yeah. I just wanted to check what you thought.


Yeah, yeah. Yeah. No I you definitely need the O clock. That's very important. Otherwise that doesn't sound funny.


Like what. It's on my two. I don't know. That doesn't sound right to me.


Yep. I agree. What else. Right. OK, so you could also just say the number like let's say we are facing the same direction. Right. You don't need to say it's at my or it's you or you might be able to just say the number. I hear this as well. So you could say something like, wow, that girl has a beautiful smile, four o'clock.


So instead of saying it's at your or look to your you're saying just four o'clock the time interstate. I heard this. Yeah.


That's why I'm so glad we're doing this, because our listeners guys, maybe you've heard people say this before. It would sound so weird if you didn't hear this episode.


Why is this person talking about the time after they pointed out this beautiful girl? It makes no sense even now.


It does, right? Oh, my gosh. Yes, for sure. Yeah. You don't want to be looking at your clock. You actually want to be looking around you. So definitely an important distinction here to be able to connect with people. So another one would be like, let's say we are looking you're trying to meet me, right? And you don't know. I am so I couldn't be on the phone with you, and I might say something like, Lindsey, I'm standing at your seven o'clock.


Do you see me right? Yes, I like that. I like that. So good.


OK, those are perfect examples. Very native and natural. Yes, yes, yes, yes. And I feel like those ones are easier, like so numbers that are not at all as obvious like. So if I say 12, it's obvious because I could say straight ahead, if I say three I could say to your right directly to your right. Six right behind you and right. I feel like this is really, really helpful, like specifically when it's not those numbers, but you can use those as well.


So, you know, you can always say, oh, it's at your three o'clock or whatever, it doesn't matter.


But I feel like it's actually the most helpful for numbers that are outside of three, six, nine, twelve, because you have no other way to say that's like you're not I mean, yeah, you can use like it's not your NE or whatever, but we don't really say that. Right.


Like so I feel like oh. Saying it's your seven or your two or your four. I feel like that is really helpful because then you know exactly where to look. That's when this is most useful in my opinion. Yeah. That's a really good point.


And usually things are usually things are not right behind you, directly behind you, directly in front of you. They're in a more nuanced direction. There really is no other way to say it if they're at the one o'clock or the two o'clock.


Yeah, that's true. Yeah.


I mean, I guess you could say like a little to your left or slightly behind, blah, blah, blah. But I feel like this is I mean you could say that diagonal.


That's one diagram or I think we've talked about things like perpendicular or catty corner or things like that. It gets to thirty.


It's like thirty and confusing if you do that though. Exactly. I think so too.


And I think that that's why this is so helpful, because you can be so, so, so specific. I mean, what's easier than explaining where something is and saying, oh, it's at your ten o'clock. I mean, you know, everybody can get that feeling of being. It's it's fun because you kind of like imagine yourself as a clock.


Yeah. And I imagine yourself as a clock.


Exactly. And you're the world's orienting around you. Right.


That makes a lot of sense. That makes a lot. I especially like your example kind of in a stealthy way to point people out when you don't want to go and point at them. That's the other point here, right, Michelle? In American culture, it's rude to point at people. I was always taught that as a kid, don't point at people, don't point your finger. That's considered rude, at least in this culture. So you need a verbal a quiet, subtle way to say this.


Yeah. Yeah, I think that's a good point, Lindsey. Yeah. You don't you don't want to point and you don't want to maybe call too much attention to yourself. I mean, I'm trying to think of a situation like this that isn't just for like seeing somebody in a bar.


I don't know.


I mean, I think you just see something weird across the street and you're at an intersection and your friend, like, remember that guy in Union Square that used to have a cat on his head all the time?


You know, I don't eat right. I feel like that would be a good example.


Let's say I just got out of the train at Union Square at Union Station. Union Station. Union Square.


Sorry, Union's. Go ahead. Oh, my gosh. I get so confused now because I'm living here. But anyways, get on the train and my friend and I go to my friend. It's like, oh my gosh, at your one o'clock there's a guy with a cat on his head.


Right. Right. Kind of thing. Right, right. Right, exactly.


Yeah. That is a really good way that you could use it. So, yeah, I think of any time that you don't want to draw too much attention to yourself, you don't want to draw too much attention to the person. So that could be a good way to use it. But yeah, guys, we've given you a lot of different ways that you can use a clock to give directions today.


And yeah, I mean, I think it's kind of cool sounding as well. I can connect you to someone. I think it just sounds very natural. Very, I don't know, a very fun. It's fun, it's fresh, it's unique. And yeah, I think you guys should, you know, try it out today. What do you think, Lindsay?


Yeah, I think you can create a nice connection between you and the other person, especially if you're trying to subtly tell someone where something is that could be a connection building moment. And guys, the only way to sound fun, fresh and unique like this is to take the plunge and try it. Just try to use it. Right. Maybe you'll make a mistake at first, but once you get it down, it'll be part of your repertoire. So use it, guys.




OK, Lindsay, this has been fun. And yeah, guys, let us know. Is this something that you do in your language? Do you use a clock to get directions? Because this is something I want to have. Like, I don't know. It's it's not that natural when you think about it. Like, I want to think to do this.


So, yeah, I'm curious if other if other languages do this as well.


Yeah. Maybe in European languages or something. Guys, come back to our blog and let us know. This is going to be episode fourteen seventy eight. Come back to the blog, find the episode type in the comment and let us know. And don't forget guys go to all ears English dot com slash coffee to.


Not for the free live webcast with the whole team of all ears, English on one webcast to show you guys how to understand fast group conversations. Good stuff. All right, Michel.


All right. I can't wait. I'll see you there. It's going to be great. See you there. Bye bye.


Thanks for listening to all ears English. If you are taking Eilts this year, get your estimated Vänskä with our two minute quiz. Go to all ears English dotcom slash my score. And if you believe in connection, not perfection, then hit. Subscribe now to make sure you don't miss anything. See you next time.