English USA – Lesson 97 (Abilities / Driving a Car)

In this English USA lesson, Martin Learner is driving with his two children. They have been to the beach.. His son is not able to drive and asks Martin to teach him. You will learn to discuss things you are not able to do.

[Part 1]
Martin, Alan and Sue are in a car.

Martin: Did you enjoy the afternoon?
Alan: Yes. I always like the beach.
Martin: Were your friends there today?
Alan: Some of them.
Martin: Sue, did you have a good time?
Sue: [FROM THE BACK SEAT] It was OK. I wish mother had come.
Martin: I do too. Maybe we can bring her next weekend.
Sue: Let’s do. May I bring Sally?
Martin: We’ll see.
Alan: May I turn on the radio?
Martin: I’d rather have quiet.
Sue: I would too.
Alan: You just don’t like my music.
Martin: That’s right. Maybe later.
[Time passes.]
Alan: May I drive?
Sue: [LAUGHS] You can’t. You don’t know how.
Martin: Well, let’s think about it.
Sue: Daddy! He can’t. He doesn’t know how!
Martin: He’s unable to drive right now. Aren’t you almost old enough to drive, Alan?
Alan: Almost. I’ll be old enough in a few months. But I don’t know how. Can’t you teach me?
Sue: Can’t you teach me too?
Alan: Be serious.
Martin: I am able to teach both of you, but I won’t. Sue, you’re definitely too young.
Sue: I can learn without actually driving.
Alan: What fun is that?
Martin: That’s what we will have to do for a few months. You can’t drive without a permit and license.
Alan: I’m not able to get a permit until I’m sixteen years old.
Martin: Maybe it would be a good idea for me to teach you.
Alan: What can you teach if I can’t drive?
Martin: We could make a list. We can list what you can do already, and what you can’t do. Some of those things you can learn now. Some will have to wait until you’re sixteen.
Sue: I’ll have to wait a long time.
Alan: I can’t park.
Martin: That will have to wait.
Alan: Can’t we practice on our street?
Martin: Not yet.
Alan: I can start the car.
Martin: Tell me how you do it.
Alan: First, you put the car in neutral.
Sue: I can do that.
Martin: How do you put the car in neutral?
Sue: You push that thing there.
Martin: What is that thing?
Alan: You don’t know.
Sue: I forget.
Alan: It’s the gear shift. You put it in neutral. It’s marked “N.”
Martin: That’s good. Then what do you do?
Alan: You put the key in there.
Martin: What’s that called?
Sue: The starter.
Alan: No, it isn’t.
Sue: Do I have to know the names of everything?
Martin: It’s a good idea. It helps in talking about them.

[Part 2]

Martin: OK, Alan. Say that again. Don’t interrupt, Sue.
Alan: You put the car in park. Then you put in the key. You turn the key forward, and it starts.
Sue: I said it was the starter.
Martin: [WARNING] Sue. What do you do when it starts, Alan?
Alan: Umm. You go?
Martin: You still have the key in your hand.
Alan: Oh. When the car starts, you let go.
Sue: Why?
Martin: Alan?
Alan: I can’t remember.
Martin: It will break the starter. But you were correct. When the car starts, you let go of the key. Then what?
Alan: Are we ready to go? I put the car in gear.
Martin: Which gear?
Alan: In drive. It’s an automatic shift. I can’t drive the other kind.
Sue: What’s an automatic?
Alan: It’s the kind of shift we have.
Sue: What’s the other kind?
Alan: The kind Uncle Ron has.
Martin: What happens when you put the car in drive?
Alan: We go.
Martin: But you forgot one thing.
Alan: I don’t know. I can’t think.
Martin: Sue, what did he forget?
Sue: I can’t think either.
Martin: He forgot to put his foot on the brake. What’s the brake, Sue?
Sue: It’s down there, by your left foot.
Alan: I know. When you put the car in gear, it goes right away. You have to put your foot on the brake until you’re ready to go.
Martin: Good. Always keep your foot on the brake until you’re ready to go. We didn’t finish our list of things you can’t do.
Sue: I can’t park.
Alan: We said that. I can’t back the car. That seems difficult.
Martin: That will have to wait too. What else?
Alan: I don’t know. Nothing.
Martin: Can you fix a tire?
Sue: I’m too little.
Martin: But you may need to fix a tire when you drive. Can you check the oil?
Sue: I can’t open the hood.
Alan: Yes, I can. I’m not able to fix a tire.
Martin: Can you fill the car with gasoline?
Alan: Yes, that’s easy. I do it all the time.
Sue: Can you steer the car?
Martin: We don’t know, do we? You have to drive on a street or road to do that.
Sue: I don’t know how to steer. Daddy, sometimes you hold the wheel with one hand, sometimes you hold it with two.
Martin: You should hold it with two. Then it can’t get away from you. Put your left hand up here, and your right hand down here. Just watch how I do it.
Sue: I’m not able to see very well in the back seat.