BBC How to… give instructions

In an earlier “How to … ” Callum Robertson looked at the language for describing a process – In this programme Callum goes back into the kitchen to look at some more words and phrases which help to link different instructions together.

Callum: Hello, I’m Callum Robertson. In this How to I’m going to be looking at How to give instructions.
We’ve looked at this topic before in the programme how to describe a process. In that programme we saw that the imperative was the standard verb form to use, and that linking words such as ‘then’ and ‘and’ were important when describing the sequence of instructions. So a basic series of instructions could be given as do this, then do that, then do something else, for example.
Today we’re going to focus on some more words and phrases which help to link different instructions together. To demonstrate this we’re going back into the kitchen. On our Learning English staff blog our colleague Carrie wrote the recipe for scones, very tasty traditional British small cakes.
Carrie is here with me now and she’s going to read her recipe for us. The recipe is a series of instructions each with an imperative verb. Before the imperative verb there is a linking word or expression. Listen out for the different linking words and expressions. To help you will hear this sound [bell sound] before each one.
Carrie: To begin with preheat the oven to 220C. While the oven’s heating prepare the scones. Put the flour and butter in a bowl and use your fingertips to rub in the butter, so that the mixture looks like breadcrumbs. When this is done stir in the sugar and salt. Next use a knife to mix in the milk a little bit at a time.
When it is all mixed in, use your hands to knead everything together into a soft dough. After this put the dough on to a floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll the dough. The dough needs to be about 2cm thick.
Once you’ve done this use a round cutter to cut out circles and put them on a greased baking sheet.
Then put them in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes. Finally when they are golden brown take the scones off the baking sheet and leave them to cool or eat them straight away with butter and jam or clotted cream.
Callum: Thanks Carrie. Sounds delicious! Now let’s listen to some of this again and pick out the different linking expressions. How does she start?
Carrie: To begin with preheat the oven to 220C.
Callum: To begin with, to begin with.
The next instruction is for doing something that should be done at the same time as the first stage in the process.
Carrie: While the oven’s heating, prepare the scones.
Callum: While the oven’s heating – while something is happening, do something else, in this case prepare the scones. This is a useful structure to know because sometimes it is possible for more than one thing to be happening at the same time. Compare this with the next expression I’m going to pick out.
Carrie: When this is done stir in the sugar and salt.
Callum: “When this is done”. In this case you have to complete the previous stage before continuing. “When this is done .. ” This is a passive structure, but you could also say “When you have done this.. ”. This same idea is expressed later in two more ways:
Carrie: After this put the dough on to a floured surface… Once you’ve done this use a round cutter to cut out circles
Callum: ‘After this’ and ‘once you’ve done this’. Two more ways of linking a sequence of instructions together. And to finish the process? The following expression indicates the last stage but it also gives a condition to be satisfied before the final stage should be carried out.
Carrie: Finally when they are golden brown take the scones off the baking sheet and leave them to cool or eat them straight away with butter and jam or clotted cream.
Callum: Finally, when they are golden brown… Finally, means it’s the last thing to do. But ‘when they are golden brown’ is the condition that needs to be satisfied before the final stage can be done.
Carrie: Finally when they are golden brown take the scones off the baking sheet and leave them to cool or eat them straight away with butter and jam or clotted cream.
And that’s the end of the recipe and nearly the end of the programme. Before we go though a quick recap of the language of today. We’ve looked at different expressions which link a series of instructions together. In each case the word or expression is followed by an imperative verb.
The words and phrases we’ve highlighted are:
to begin with
While something is happening
When this is done
After this
Once you’ve done this
And finally
Callum: For a reminder of this language, more information on this topic and also another delicious recipe from Carrie, go to the How to .. page on the website.


















 

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