This is an All Ears English podcast, episode 1920.
Just make it easy.
Use one word to get to the core of things in English.
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Do you ever hear native speakers use the word just?
Today, build the powerful skill to simplify and summarize in a positive or more direct
way in English using the word just.
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Hey, Michelle, how’s it going today?
How are you?
Feeling great to be on the mic.
What are we getting into on All Ears English?
Well, Lindsay, just relax and put your feet up.
I’m going to get you a lemonade.
Well, we’re about to record an episode, so I don’t know if I can actually do that.
Oh, I’m sorry.
Yeah, I guess I would…
I guess our listeners don’t want to see your feet.
I don’t know.
No, I wouldn’t think so.
So, guys, we’re going to talk more about this in just a second.
What in the world am I talking about?
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So today we’re giving our listeners a very strategic skill that I’m sure they haven’t
learned in their textbook.
Yeah, this is awesome.
So, guys, we’ve talked about the word just, you know, quite a bit on the show, I’m sure.
But today we’re going to be talking about kind of a unique way to use it.
And it can be used, the word just, J-U-S-T, can be used as a command or a strong suggestion.
So, Lindsay, is there any slogan, company slogan, that you can think of that uses just?
Oh, my gosh.
The Nike slogan, just do it.
Just do it.
I love that slogan.
And I feel like when they came up with it, it was probably weird, kind of strange, right?
I’m sure people were fighting against it in the company.
But it was, it’s a smart one and yeah, it’s good.
Well, tell me more.
Like, what is that?
Like, why isn’t it, do it?
Why is it?
What is the just do?
Yeah, so that’s a good question.
So why is it not just, it is just do it.
Why isn’t it just do it?
Wait, it is.
Why isn’t it do it?
Just do it.
It’s making it seem as the speaker, when I say that to you, Michelle, just do it, as
opposed to do it.
It’s making it seem more approachable.
Come on, it shouldn’t be that hard, right?
Go for it.
It’s obvious that you should do this.
Right, right, right, right.
So let’s do another example.
So if somebody were to say to you, just finish this before the weekend, how would, I mean,
instead of just finish this before the weekend, it kind of changes the meaning a little bit.
We’re trying to, you know, dive into this word just and see what it’s doing.
I think in some ways it depends on the tone of voice that we deliver that into.
But if I’m at the office with my coworkers and my English speaking coworker says to me,
just do this before the end of the weekend or before the weekend, just finish this before
It could feel like you’re rushing, like you’re forcing, like you’re being more aggressive.
There’s a sense of urgency in there, I would say.
What do you think, Michelle?
Yeah, I think so too.
But again, like you said, tone of voice, if you’re just like, oh, like, like, okay, let’s
say it’s Tuesday.
And I’m just like, um, yeah, just finish this before the weekend.
You know, it’s, it’s almost like giving a little more space.
Whereas if it’s Thursday and you’re like, just finish this before the weekend, that,
you know, that kind of time kind of puts a different kind of pressure, a different feel
to the word just.
So it really depends on the situation and how you deliver it.
It could be the same word and it could have two quite different implications of what you’re
trying to say.
So it’s kind of interesting.
Let’s do another example.
Where is that book?
Just find it already.
It must be somewhere.
So this is a better example of what we’re trying to get at here today, right?
Now we’re honing in on the very specific way I wanted to talk about.
Yeah, this is the way, I mean, this would be used in emergencies, right?
Or if, you know, something is time, there’s time pressure around something, right?
Right, right, right.
And if you were saying, like, you just saying, like, just find it already, the addition of
the word just kind of makes me feel a little bit rushed, makes me feel a little bit like
you’re a little meanie, a little disrespectful, it’s a little disrespectful, right?
It’s a little disrespectful because I’m saying it should be easy for you.
This should be easy.
Just find it.
Like, almost like, why can’t you do that?
Like, just find it already.
So it feels a little bit, I don’t know, a little bit funny, but it can also, on the
flip side, it can sound encouraging or friendly.
So let’s turn that around now.
So here we go.
I have so much to do and I have to do the dishes.
Just leave it to me, Michelle.
I’m here to help.
So I’m volunteering and I’m trying to say, so I think in general, the common thread between
both of these examples is that just makes it sound easy.
Oh, I like that.
I like that for a title.
Make it sound easy.
Make it sound easy.
And I have a few interesting things to add here today for this one, because this makes
me think of, I was thinking about this a lot.
So let me just share this story.
So sometimes I go on podcasts about podcasting and I talk about how to podcast, how to launch
a successful podcast.
And I’m very conscious about using the word, just do this, just do that, because podcasting
has become a lot more competitive than it was and a lot harder to get ahead and get
a lot of new listeners than it was in 2013 when we launched.
So I try to avoid saying, oh, just publish a lot of episodes, just do it every day.
Like just, just, just, no, that’s condescending.
That is making it seem too easy and could seem a little bit, what’s the word, tone deaf,
a little tone deaf and a little blind, irrelevant, right?
Right, right, right.
Your just might be different from someone else’s just.
And like in that example, you’re talking about, you know, the time that something was done.
Although don’t sell yourself short, Lindsay.
All Ears English is amazing.
I mean, it’s, I don’t think it’s just, it’s just, I don’t think it’s only a product of,
oh, it was started in 2013.
No, no, no.
I think you’re right.
And I know that for sure.
I think there’s a bit of a problem when it comes to any, any kind of, let’s say expert
I’m not saying I’m an expert on podcasting, but I’m saying anytime there’s an expert who
is 10 steps ahead of beginners, it becomes really hard because the expert might just
really forget the challenges that they went through at that time when they started.
So they kind of gloss over things.
So just really kind of glosses over.
I love that expression too, Michelle.
Glosses over, right.
It just kind of in a way ignores or just skips, skips the tough stuff.
It makes it seem easy.
That’s what it is right there.
I love it.
That’s the core.
That’s what we’ve discovered.
Michelle, where should we take this episode?
I think we have really like gotten to the root of this.
Let’s go a little bit further.
So should we, should we give one example that somebody might use with their child?
Yeah, let’s do that.
I love it.
What do you think I should say?
So you might just say, might just, just, okay, that’s hard not to say it.
So I might say, just remember to look both ways.
So when you’re, when you’re giving kind of like an important instruction, um, you know,
it’s like you’re like, oh, like, please don’t, you know, because that’s very important.
Um, so that’s just another way.
And I tell that to my kid, I’m trying, um, by using just there, I’m trying not to like
I’m trying to say, I’m not asking you to do a million things.
I’m just asking you to do this one thing.
Just remember, right.
That’s the feeling here.
Because yeah, you don’t want to like do this, do that, do this, do that.
And this is like, oh no, this is the core thing.
And again, it does go back to that idea that you’re talking about, about making it easy.
It’s like, you only have this one thing, right?
Like, like, let’s like, this is the most important, I’m making it easy for you.
Just remember to look both ways.
And any, you know, successful speaker or teacher should be able to do this or parent, right.
At the end of like a talk or a class should be able to boil it down to just a few things
that the person needs to remember or needs to focus on, right.
Simplifying things, right.
Just remember these three strategies in our IELTS course, there’s three strategies for
every section of the test, every type of question, right.
Just remember these.
So this is powerful and useful.
And, and again, it like, that’s the basic core, but then it could be used in a more
regressive way and a more friendly way and a more, this is important way.
But when we tie it all together, that’s really what we’re getting at.
So again, you can use it for a lot of things.
So let’s kind of combine some of these things into a role play to see how it all works out.
So in this case, we’re in the workplace.
We know you guys are really interested in business English.
By the way, Michelle, we have a new podcast, 100% on business English.
And a lot of people are listening over there.
I love it.
The business English podcast.
So guys, if you have not found that podcast, go over and hit the search bar in your podcast
listener app and type in business English from All Ears English and you will find it.
We love it.
So, all right.
Well, here we go.
So where should we file this?
Just put it under that cabinet.
I’ll get the stepstool.
All the papers fell.
Just pick them up now.
That sounds a little rude.
Just pick them up now.
Got a little frustrated with you.
Let’s go back through it, Michelle.
So where was the first just employed here?
The first just is you said, where should we file this?
And I said, oh, just put it under the cabinet.
So seems easy.
Just one instruction.
So in this case, it’s used in a friendly way.
You’re just making it easy.
You’re trying to kind of make my life a little easier, simplify what I should do.
Just do that.
And what’s the next one?
And then I said, okay.
And then you said, just wait.
I’ll get the stepstool.
What’s the feeling behind this use of just it’s like a kind of like a friendly I’m going
to make it easy on you.
Like I’m going to do you the favor.
I’ll get the step.
So like, just wait.
Like just wait.
But I could hear this being used and also the more aggressive way.
Let’s say you’re a teacher and you have a lot of little kids in your class and they’re
being crazy and you might say, just wait.
OK, just wait.
But that’s still right.
Like friendly or friendly or snappy.
It still goes back to the core.
Like, just wait.
Like, I only want this, please.
Like get to the core.
I’m thinking of my son now.
I bet you use it all the time for better or for worse as a parent of small children.
We can think of so many examples because actually, guys, this is very common.
And then for the last one, then I really get snippy.
And I said, just pick them up now.
It’s like I’m frustrated.
It’s like I just like just do that.
Like, please, like a simple like it should be easy.
Like like it’s kind of like, you know, you’re you’re trying to put things away and you’re
just like frustrating me.
I’m like friendly, friendly.
And then you drop everything and I’m like, yeah, you know what comes to mind when I think
about that last part of it is the devil wears Prada and Miranda talking to the intern.
Like everything she would say.
She walks in every morning, throws her bag on her desk.
Just put that away.
Just put that away.
Just do this.
Just bring me that.
Just bring that to my house.
Kind of in that rude and aggressive tone.
Oh, this should be easy.
It’s like, oh, it’s just it’s very condescending, I think.
I love that movie, by the way.
You’ve seen that.
I have, but not in a long time.
And I want to see it again.
It’s such a classic.
I was just talking to someone about that.
I think that’s also a really well-known internationally.
I hope our listeners know that movie.
It’s a great one.
It is great.
I have to watch it again.
But yeah, guys, I mean, if you go through and take away the just, you know, it’s a different
Oh, where should we file it?
Put it under that cabinet.
I’ll get the step stool.
It feels almost like it’s missing something, in my opinion.
It’s missing something.
Just it’s also like this filler that can just that can just add something.
I’m excited to write the title for this episode.
It’s going to be fun.
All right, Michelle.
I mean, the takeaway is, guys, this is how we can humanize our language.
We can use it for commands or we can use it to make something friendlier.
But the core, again, is get to the most important thing you want someone to do.
Simplify things for people.
You guys can take a look if I’m sure, you know, listen out for when we may have talked
about this before.
I was trying to find specific episodes.
But yeah, if you if you find the specific just episode, let us know.
And also, this is kind of a unique take on it now.
I love it.
Just about just meaning only.
And then, you know, think about areas in which another thing you guys could think about where
areas in which you have developed a real skill and it seems easy to you, but sometimes you
are maybe teaching it to someone else and you’re oversimplifying it.
So for us, we say just plug in a microphone and start podcasting.
It’s not that easy.
But we might say that coming from us.
So what are the areas in which you’re an expert and when are the times that you’re actually
making that mistake?
You could be making people feel like it’s so easy when it’s actually not.
That’s an interesting question because we’re all experts in something.
That’s good, Lindsay.
No, I really I like that.
I like that mindfulness when you’re an expert in something to be able to realize that not
everybody is and people are trying to learn and don’t make it seem like, you know, don’t
forget that it was once hard for you to.
And I think there is I don’t know who wrote about that, but the term is the curse of knowledge.
The curse of knowing something so well that you don’t understand that other people don’t
know it as well.
So find out what your curse of knowledge is and how you can bring it down to add value
Oh, this was fun, Lindsay.
Good stuff, Michelle.
We’ll see you on the next one.
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