03 - He's too young to get married



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Did you say one of your friends is getting married?


Yes, Dad. John Taylor's getting married the day after graduation.  


But he's only seventeen years old.


Eighteen, Dad. He had a birthday last week.  


Seventeen... eighteen... it doesn't make much difference. The point is, he's too young to get married.


Did you say one of your friends...? = Did you say that one of your friends...? The conjunction that is usually omitted in questions of this kind. Dad is probably the most common term that children use to address their father. Some, especially younger children, use Daddy. Papa, Pop, and Pa are used much less frequently and tend to sound old-fashioned. Most children do not use the more formal Father in direct address.

Fred's strong stress on the first syllable of eighteen is for emphasis and to point out the contrast with Dad's seventeen in the preceding line. The normal pronunciation of the -teen numerals, with more stress on teen, is found elsewhere in the dialogues. These words seem particularly difficult for foreign students to understand and to produce accurately. Therefore they would warrant special practice.


The formal ceremony marking the end of secondary school is the graduation. On this occasion the graduating seniors receive their diplomas indicating that they have successfully completed the high-school work. Incidentally, this graduation marks the end of free public education. The normal age for graduation from high school is 18. The age of "majority" (the age at which full "civil rights" are accorded) in the United States used to be 21. For voting in all national elections, however, Congress reduced the age to 18. While some states still retain the 21-year requirement for voting in local elections and for other legal affairs, many states have reduced the legal age to 18. Thus John Taylor may get married without his parents' consent if he lives in one of these states.

Source: English Teaching Forum - Author: Julia Dobson

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