#144 - Steve Harvey's Advice for Young People

July 27, 2022

Here's a little dose of English and inspiration for the young ones.

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[00:00:00] Most of you probably know Steve Harvey as the host of the TV show Family Feud. But I was first exposed to Steve Harvey, the stand-up comedian. I remember my dad had a DVD of the Kings of Comedy Tour with Steve, Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer, and D.L. Hughley. Steve also had his own TV show and has starred in a few movies as well. But what a lot of people don't know is that Steve comes from very humble beginnings. He didn't start his career as an entertainer until he was almost 30 years old, an age at which most people considered their lives over and their opportunities missed.

[00:00:36] So in this episode, I'm going to share a short clip of Steve giving some advice to young people out there who dream of achieving great things in life. Let's get started. Alright y'all, as always, I'm going to play the entire clip from start to finish and then we'll go back and analyze everything that was said so you can learn more vocabulary and understand natives better. So let's do it.

Steve Harvey: [00:01:08] "Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself and don't be afraid to be different, man. You ain't got to fit in the crowd. I tell my sons all the time, "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?" It's always better to just do your thing. And I don't care what situation you done got your life in. You can turn your life around cos it ain't never too late. See, I didn't get into comedy til I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33. I lived in a 1976 Tempo. I lived in a car for three years, man. And so people see me today, they don't know where I come from. And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:01:49] Alright my friends, now, like I usually say...or as I usually say, let me speak grammatically correct - as I usually say, don't feel bad if you couldn't understand everything in that clip and there are...and just know that there are a bunch of reasons that you might not have understood everything in that clip. It could be somebody's accent. It could be their word choice, the dialect, so don't feel bad. We're going to break it down or analyze it in detail right now. So let's go back and I got the transcript of his words in front of me so I'm gonna kind of play a little bit, then explain a little bit, and play some more, and explain a little more until we reach the end of the clip. Alright, my friend. So let's do it. The first sentence...

Steve Harvey: [00:02:33] "Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. And don't be afraid to be different, man."

[00:02:40] So the word I want to explain in this sentence is "reinvent". When he says, don't be afraid to "reinvent" yourself. What he's saying is, don't be afraid to change the direction of your life, because to reinvent oneself means to take up a very different job or take up a very different way of life. And when I say "take up", I mean "adopt", you know, adopt a new way of life or choose a new way of life. Right? So that's what it means to reinvent yourself. Maybe today you're an accountant or you're studying accounting at university and you've reached the end of your degree and you realize, I don't want to do this shit. Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. Don't be afraid to choose a completely different career, life, path, profession, whatever it is. Don't be afraid to do that. You are in control of your life, so you control the direction in which you and thus your life end up going. I think that's what he was trying to say. Alright, so don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. Let's continue.

Steve Harvey: [00:03:37] "You ain't got to fit in the crowd. I tell my sons all the time, 'Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?'"

[00:03:49] Alright. There's a few things I want to explain from those three sentences, so let me go back. The first thing, "You ain't got to fit in the crowd." There's a couple of things I want to explain in that sentence. The first one is "ain't got" another word "ain't" is confusing for a lot of people 'cos it means so many different things. And some people say it's correct, other people say it's incorrect, and all these things. For now, I'm just going to explain this word in the current context. So when he says "You ain't got to fit in the crowd", what he's saying is "You don't have to fit in the crowd.", which is another way of saying, "You are not obligated to fit in the crowd." It's all the same. You are not obligated. You do not have to. You ain't got to. Three different ways of saying the same thing, right?

[00:04:36] So the next thing is "fit in". You might be asking yourself, what does that mean? And to fit in, it means to feel that you belong to a particular group and you are accepted by that group. So if you want to fit in with the gamers, you might try to play video games and listen to gaming podcasts so you can talk about gaming with the gamers. You might try to talk like them and dress like them and look like them so they accept you. You want to fit in, right? You want to belong to this group. If you don't fit in, that means they don't accept you. They don't accept you as one of them. They see you as different or "other". "You don't embody our culture or way of life," or whatever it is. You don't fit in, right? That's the idea. So you ain't got to fit in. You do not have to fit in. You do not have to try to be like other people just to be accepted by them. That's the idea.

[00:05:26] You ain't got to fit in the crowd. And that's the last word I wanted to explain from that sentence. Crowd. C-r-o-w-d. A crowd is just a large group of people. But we use this word a little figuratively, let's say, to just refer to people in general. You don't have to fit in the crowd means you don't have to do or be like or look like or talk like or act like the majority of people in society, or the majority of people around you, right? So that's the idea. Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself and just remember, you don't have to fit in the crowd or you ain't got to fit in the crowd. Alright? So the next sentence, "I tell my sons all the time", let me play that one more time.

Steve Harvey: [00:06:13] "I tell my sons all the time."

[00:06:16] "I tell my sons all the time." What I wanted to highlight in this sentence is the way he pronounced "all the time". Three separate words, but he said it as if it were one word. He connected those words, right? He said "all 'a time", I tell my sons "all 'a time". "All 'a time". This is a really, really, really common connection of words in the English language, at least in the United States. "All 'a people", "all 'a money", "all 'a problems", "all 'a girls", "all 'a trees", "all 'a time". "All 'a..." It's just a really common way, just... You see those specific words being connected all the time in casual speech. So if this is the first time you've heard it or somebody called it to your attention, just remember to pay a little bit more attention and start to notice the patterns of which words are being connected in our speech. Because a lot of people know about connected speech in English. They know we connect our words all the time.

[00:07:12] And for that reason, it's really hard to understand some natives. But if you pay attention to which words are being connected on a regular basis, you might come to understand natives more easily, because, you know, these words specifically sound like this when they're connected. So when I hear that, I not only understand the idea, but I know what words are being said. Hopefully that makes sense. If it doesn't, send me a message or something and let me know, but I'm going to continue the episode. So I talked about reinventing yourself and how you don't have to, or you ain't got to fit in the crowd. And Steve was basically saying he tells his sons this all the time. So let's continue.

Steve Harvey: [00:07:57] "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?"

[00:08:02] Okay. Three things I want to point out in this sentence. The first one is the pronunciation of a couple of words. He said, "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?" But notice how he pronounced the words "following" and "everybody", let me play it one more time.

Steve Harvey: [00:08:21] "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?"

[00:08:27] So hopefully you could hear he said it a little bit differently than I did. He said, "Why are you followin' errbody?" He didn't say, "Why are you following everybody?" Completely different pronunciation. And it's just, again, it's hard to explain why he does that. I really don't know why he does that. But, you know, it's just a different accent. It's a different dialect and way of speaking. So "why are you followin' errbody?" Again, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that you need to pay more attention to which words or which letters and words are being pronounced in certain ways. "Following", "i-n-g". Words like that in informal speech are typically pronounced in a certain way. Why are you "followin'"? Why are you "talkin'"? Why are you "shootin'"? Why are you "speakin'"? Why are you "eatin'"? All of these words end in "i-n-g", but not...not pronouncing them in what is known as the standard way of pronouncing them, right? So I just wanted to call that to your attention.

[00:09:21] The same thing with the word "everybody". A lot of people, depending on where you're from and what your culture is and you know, what kind of English you speak, a lot of people don't say "everybody", they say "errbody". "I know errbody." "I love errbody, man." "What's up, errbody?" I say that basically every episode. "What's up, errbody? You are listening to another episode of Life in English." I don't say "everybody", I say "errbody". It's faster, it's easier, you know? And that's just how we talk where I'm from. So when you hear that, hopefully now you'll recognize, and maybe you already recognize, that we're saying "everybody". And I want to make it clear that you don't have to speak this way. It's...the point here is that you understand what's being said no matter who's talking. You can talk how you want to talk, but you don't have to talk like other people. It's important to understand them, though, okay? So that's the point.

[00:10:10] So he said, "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?" And that's the last thing I wanted to explain. To be "meant to do something". It's the same thing as being intended or destined to do something. So if you are meant to lead, it means you are intended to lead; you are destined to be a leader. That is your destiny. You were born to do this thing. That's your purpose. If you're meant to be a painter, your purpose in life is to be a painter. You were born to do that, right? If you're meant to be a teacher, same thing. Hopefully you get the idea. It's a...it's not the most casual way of speaking. I mean, you could say it's slightly a formal thing to say "you were meant to lead", but it's normal. Everybody understands and uses that word. I just wanted to make sure you understood what it meant, alright? So let's keep going.

Steve Harvey: [00:11:02] "It's always better to just do your thing."

[00:11:06] "It's always better to just do your thing." I'm sure you understood that but what I wanted to bring to your attention is the phrase "Do your thing." It's a really common phrase in English and all it means...it's to do what you normally do. To do things in your way without worrying about what other people think or say. And you could use this in any situation, any context, formal or informal. It does not matter. It just means do what you normally do. Be yourself. Do things in your way. Do your thing, you know?

[00:11:36] So maybe you got kids and they're nervous about the performance this weekend. Maybe they play saxophone and they've got a performance this weekend and they're telling you that they're really nervous, they don't know what to do, it's making them anxious. You can say, "Relax. You've been practicing all year. You got this! Do your thing. Just do your thing, man!" It means just do what you normally do. You're already talented. You're already good. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Just go up there and do your thing. Do what you always do. Do your thing, alright? Cool. So it's always better to just do your thing. It's always better to be yourself and walk your own path. You don't have to fit in the crowd. You don't have to be like everyone else. That's the idea here. Okay, so let's keep going.

Steve Harvey: [00:12:22] "It's always better to just do your thing. And I don't care what situation you done got your life in. You can turn your life around cos it ain't never too late."

[00:12:31] Alright. There's a lot there. He said, "I don't care what situation you done got your life in." So there's a quick grammar observation I want to bring to your attention in regards to this sentence. He said, "I don't care what situation you done got your life in." "Done got" This is umm...How can I explain this to you? It's just a different dialect of English, but in standard plain English, another way of saying the same thing is "I don't care what situation you have gotten your life in." So in this case, the word "done" is functioning like the word "have". "I don't care what situation you have gotten yourself into" or "you done got yourself into." It's the same thing. So if you're asking, is that standard correct English? Technically it's not. You shouldn't write that way in emails or at work or if you're trying to pass an exam. But umm...a lot of people here do say it, at least where I'm from, you know.

[00:13:26] So you could say "I done been all over the world." It's the same thing as saying "I have been all over the world." "I done seen a lot of people this week." "I have seen a lot of people this week." It's a very informal dialect of English that I would imagine everyone here understands, but not everyone uses, you know? I just wanted you to understand what was being said, but it's really, really common in certain dialects of English, you know? So, "done got your life in" is the same thing as "have got your life into." And an even more formal way of saying that is, "I don't care what situation into which you have got your life," but nobody really talks like that. I talked like that sometimes on the podcast because I want to sound fancy, but in casual speech we don't talk like that.

[00:14:12] Alright? So "I don't care what situation you done got your life in" or you have got your life in, "you can turn your life around." What does that mean "to turn your life around"? It simply means to change your life completely from bad to good. Because typically we move in a particular direction, so if your life is going in the wrong direction, if you're...if you're on a bad path, if things are getting worse and worse and worse, and you eventually hit rock bottom, which means you hit the worst point you could possibly hit, the bottom of the barrel, the darkest place you could think of, you can still turn your life around 180 degrees and go in the other direction. You can still do that. You can turn your life around, go from good to bad, right? Instead of going down, go up, make progress. That's the idea, okay?

[00:15:04] So you can turn your life around cos "it ain't never too late." That was the last thing he said. You can turn your life around because "It ain't never too late." So when he says "it ain't ever too late," we find ourselves trying to understand this fucking word "ain't", right? It ain't never too late. So again, I'm just going to explain the meaning in this context when I say "It ain't ever too late." It's the same thing as saying "It is not ever too late." Alright? You can always turn your life around cos it's never too late. That's standard English, and it's the same thing. So, hopefully you're still with me. Hopefully, you're getting the idea, and let's continue.

Steve Harvey: [00:15:50] "See, I didn't get into comedy til I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33. I lived in a 1976 Tempo. I lived in a car for three years, man. And so people see me today, they don't know where I come from. And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:16:10] Okay. So I played those last few sentences together because there's only a few things I want to explain. The first one is "get into". Steve said, "I didn't get into comedy until I was 27." To "get into something" basically means to become involved in something or to start practicing something. So if I get into acting at ten, I start acting or I start getting involved in the industry at ten, or maybe I get into cooking or I get into learning languages or I get into music, whatever it is, just to become involved or interested in or start practicing this thing. That's what it means to "get into something" in this context. There are other meanings in other contexts, but I'm not going to confuse you, okay?

[00:16:52] So "I didn't get into comedy until I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33." Just in case you don't know, "homeless" just means you don't have a home, right? You are without a home. You live on a street or something like that. A homeless person is somebody who does not have a home and they live on the street. So Steve is saying, from 30 to 33, he was homeless. And I just want to point out really quickly this sentence structure "from 30 to 33". A lot of times we use that, you know, when we're referencing periods of time or distance - "I work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m." "I can go from Los Angeles to New York tomorrow night", or something like that. From this point to that point, this destination to that one. At this point in time to that one. Alright? It's really, really common. So practice that one, alright? Cool.

[00:17:50] Where did we stop? "I lived in a 1976 Tempo", which is just in case you're wondering, a 1976 Tempo is a car. And you...that becomes clear in the next sentence. He says, "I lived in a car for three years", right? "So people see me today, they don't know where I come from." "They don't know where I started." "They don't know about my origin." Right? "And I tell young cats all the time, the key is you can't ever give up." So he says, "young cats", he's not talking about the animal. Just in case you were wondering, the word "cat" is like...it's American slang for a "guy".

[00:18:26] "I was talking to this cat and he said blah, blah, blah." It's the same thing as saying, "I was talking to this guy, I was talking to this dude. I was talking to this man, this cat." It's an older word, I think. Not a lot of young people say "cat" these days. It's...it's older guys like 45 and up that would typically use the word "cat", I think. I mean, we might use it from time to time just, for the sake of variety or being creative in our speech. Americans do that a lot, at least where I'm from. But the word "cat" typically, and you know how old or you might not know...some people know – most of us know – Steve Harvey is not a young guy anymore. He's relatively older, so he would use that kind of word but I typically wouldn't say "I was talking to this cat" on a regular basis. But anyway, just, just so you know, the word "cat" is the same slang for the word "guy". Alright? And typically, men use that word. I've never in my life heard a woman say "this cat". "I was talking to this cat. Well, he's a cool cat. I like that cat." I've never in my life heard a female use that word, just for your information.

[00:19:29] So he says, "I tell young cats all the time. The key is you can't ever give up." So when he says "the key" in this case and in many cases in English, "the key" is another way of saying "the most important thing". Because what is a key? It's a tool that we use to unlock things. Right? So if you think about that, figuratively or metaphorically, let's say the key is what's going to unlock the door so that you can enter whatever it is. Alright? Whatever it is you're trying to get into, you get the...you get the point. So the most important thing is you can't ever give up. I want to play that sentence one more time to explain or to show you a pronunciation detail and also explain really common phrasal verb. So let me play it one more time.

Steve Harvey: [00:20:21] "And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:20:26] "The key is you can't ever give up." Just notice how he pronounced that word. He said "cain't". "Cain't". Sounds like the word "ain't". And it's a small difference. This is not extremely important for you to know or pay attention to. It's just interesting the variety of pronunciation we have even within one country, you know, because a lot of people will say "can't". And when we're speaking fast, "can" and "can't" sound very similar, for example, "I can do that." I'm saying "I can do that", but I didn't pronounce it that way or "I can't do that." Now I'm saying "I cannot do that." See what I'm saying? Some people will say "I cain't." "I can" and "I cain't". "I cain't do that." "Ain't, ain't, ain't" is the sound. There's no right or wrong. I mean, just depends on where you're from.

[00:21:17] I just wanted to bring that detail to your attention because I thought it was interesting. But anyway, "you can't ever give up." Just in case you don't know the phrasal verb "give up", it just means "quit". So if you "give up on your dreams", it means you quit trying to achieve your dreams. If you "give up on your son", it means you quit trying to parent your son. You see? So "the key", the most important thing is that you cannot ever quit. That's the idea. So, I'm going to play the clip one more time without any interruptions, pauses or explanations, and let's see how much more you can understand, my friend. Alright, let's do it.

Steve Harvey: [00:21:58] "So don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. And don't be afraid to be different, man. You ain't got to fit in the crowd. I tell my sons all the time, 'Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?' It's always better to just do your thing. And I don't care what situation you done got your life in, you can turn your life around cos it ain't never too late. See, I didn't get into comedy til I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33. I lived in a 1976 Tempo. I lived in a car for three years, man. And so people see me today, they don't know where I come from. And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:22:39] Alright, my friend. I really hope Steve's words have inspired you to keep working towards your goals. And if you don't have some goals, I strongly encourage you to create some for yourself. And just remember, you don't lose when you fail, you only lose when you quit.

[END OF EPISODE]

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[00:00:00] Most of you probably know Steve Harvey as the host of the TV show Family Feud. But I was first exposed to Steve Harvey, the stand-up comedian. I remember my dad had a DVD of the Kings of Comedy Tour with Steve, Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer, and D.L. Hughley. Steve also had his own TV show and has starred in a few movies as well. But what a lot of people don't know is that Steve comes from very humble beginnings. He didn't start his career as an entertainer until he was almost 30 years old, an age at which most people considered their lives over and their opportunities missed.

[00:00:36] So in this episode, I'm going to share a short clip of Steve giving some advice to young people out there who dream of achieving great things in life. Let's get started. Alright y'all, as always, I'm going to play the entire clip from start to finish and then we'll go back and analyze everything that was said so you can learn more vocabulary and understand natives better. So let's do it.

Steve Harvey: [00:01:08] "Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself and don't be afraid to be different, man. You ain't got to fit in the crowd. I tell my sons all the time, "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?" It's always better to just do your thing. And I don't care what situation you done got your life in. You can turn your life around cos it ain't never too late. See, I didn't get into comedy til I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33. I lived in a 1976 Tempo. I lived in a car for three years, man. And so people see me today, they don't know where I come from. And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:01:49] Alright my friends, now, like I usually say...or as I usually say, let me speak grammatically correct - as I usually say, don't feel bad if you couldn't understand everything in that clip and there are...and just know that there are a bunch of reasons that you might not have understood everything in that clip. It could be somebody's accent. It could be their word choice, the dialect, so don't feel bad. We're going to break it down or analyze it in detail right now. So let's go back and I got the transcript of his words in front of me so I'm gonna kind of play a little bit, then explain a little bit, and play some more, and explain a little more until we reach the end of the clip. Alright, my friend. So let's do it. The first sentence...

Steve Harvey: [00:02:33] "Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. And don't be afraid to be different, man."

[00:02:40] So the word I want to explain in this sentence is "reinvent". When he says, don't be afraid to "reinvent" yourself. What he's saying is, don't be afraid to change the direction of your life, because to reinvent oneself means to take up a very different job or take up a very different way of life. And when I say "take up", I mean "adopt", you know, adopt a new way of life or choose a new way of life. Right? So that's what it means to reinvent yourself. Maybe today you're an accountant or you're studying accounting at university and you've reached the end of your degree and you realize, I don't want to do this shit. Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. Don't be afraid to choose a completely different career, life, path, profession, whatever it is. Don't be afraid to do that. You are in control of your life, so you control the direction in which you and thus your life end up going. I think that's what he was trying to say. Alright, so don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. Let's continue.

Steve Harvey: [00:03:37] "You ain't got to fit in the crowd. I tell my sons all the time, 'Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?'"

[00:03:49] Alright. There's a few things I want to explain from those three sentences, so let me go back. The first thing, "You ain't got to fit in the crowd." There's a couple of things I want to explain in that sentence. The first one is "ain't got" another word "ain't" is confusing for a lot of people 'cos it means so many different things. And some people say it's correct, other people say it's incorrect, and all these things. For now, I'm just going to explain this word in the current context. So when he says "You ain't got to fit in the crowd", what he's saying is "You don't have to fit in the crowd.", which is another way of saying, "You are not obligated to fit in the crowd." It's all the same. You are not obligated. You do not have to. You ain't got to. Three different ways of saying the same thing, right?

[00:04:36] So the next thing is "fit in". You might be asking yourself, what does that mean? And to fit in, it means to feel that you belong to a particular group and you are accepted by that group. So if you want to fit in with the gamers, you might try to play video games and listen to gaming podcasts so you can talk about gaming with the gamers. You might try to talk like them and dress like them and look like them so they accept you. You want to fit in, right? You want to belong to this group. If you don't fit in, that means they don't accept you. They don't accept you as one of them. They see you as different or "other". "You don't embody our culture or way of life," or whatever it is. You don't fit in, right? That's the idea. So you ain't got to fit in. You do not have to fit in. You do not have to try to be like other people just to be accepted by them. That's the idea.

[00:05:26] You ain't got to fit in the crowd. And that's the last word I wanted to explain from that sentence. Crowd. C-r-o-w-d. A crowd is just a large group of people. But we use this word a little figuratively, let's say, to just refer to people in general. You don't have to fit in the crowd means you don't have to do or be like or look like or talk like or act like the majority of people in society, or the majority of people around you, right? So that's the idea. Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself and just remember, you don't have to fit in the crowd or you ain't got to fit in the crowd. Alright? So the next sentence, "I tell my sons all the time", let me play that one more time.

Steve Harvey: [00:06:13] "I tell my sons all the time."

[00:06:16] "I tell my sons all the time." What I wanted to highlight in this sentence is the way he pronounced "all the time". Three separate words, but he said it as if it were one word. He connected those words, right? He said "all 'a time", I tell my sons "all 'a time". "All 'a time". This is a really, really, really common connection of words in the English language, at least in the United States. "All 'a people", "all 'a money", "all 'a problems", "all 'a girls", "all 'a trees", "all 'a time". "All 'a..." It's just a really common way, just... You see those specific words being connected all the time in casual speech. So if this is the first time you've heard it or somebody called it to your attention, just remember to pay a little bit more attention and start to notice the patterns of which words are being connected in our speech. Because a lot of people know about connected speech in English. They know we connect our words all the time.

[00:07:12] And for that reason, it's really hard to understand some natives. But if you pay attention to which words are being connected on a regular basis, you might come to understand natives more easily, because, you know, these words specifically sound like this when they're connected. So when I hear that, I not only understand the idea, but I know what words are being said. Hopefully that makes sense. If it doesn't, send me a message or something and let me know, but I'm going to continue the episode. So I talked about reinventing yourself and how you don't have to, or you ain't got to fit in the crowd. And Steve was basically saying he tells his sons this all the time. So let's continue.

Steve Harvey: [00:07:57] "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?"

[00:08:02] Okay. Three things I want to point out in this sentence. The first one is the pronunciation of a couple of words. He said, "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?" But notice how he pronounced the words "following" and "everybody", let me play it one more time.

Steve Harvey: [00:08:21] "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?"

[00:08:27] So hopefully you could hear he said it a little bit differently than I did. He said, "Why are you followin' errbody?" He didn't say, "Why are you following everybody?" Completely different pronunciation. And it's just, again, it's hard to explain why he does that. I really don't know why he does that. But, you know, it's just a different accent. It's a different dialect and way of speaking. So "why are you followin' errbody?" Again, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that you need to pay more attention to which words or which letters and words are being pronounced in certain ways. "Following", "i-n-g". Words like that in informal speech are typically pronounced in a certain way. Why are you "followin'"? Why are you "talkin'"? Why are you "shootin'"? Why are you "speakin'"? Why are you "eatin'"? All of these words end in "i-n-g", but not...not pronouncing them in what is known as the standard way of pronouncing them, right? So I just wanted to call that to your attention.

[00:09:21] The same thing with the word "everybody". A lot of people, depending on where you're from and what your culture is and you know, what kind of English you speak, a lot of people don't say "everybody", they say "errbody". "I know errbody." "I love errbody, man." "What's up, errbody?" I say that basically every episode. "What's up, errbody? You are listening to another episode of Life in English." I don't say "everybody", I say "errbody". It's faster, it's easier, you know? And that's just how we talk where I'm from. So when you hear that, hopefully now you'll recognize, and maybe you already recognize, that we're saying "everybody". And I want to make it clear that you don't have to speak this way. It's...the point here is that you understand what's being said no matter who's talking. You can talk how you want to talk, but you don't have to talk like other people. It's important to understand them, though, okay? So that's the point.

[00:10:10] So he said, "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?" And that's the last thing I wanted to explain. To be "meant to do something". It's the same thing as being intended or destined to do something. So if you are meant to lead, it means you are intended to lead; you are destined to be a leader. That is your destiny. You were born to do this thing. That's your purpose. If you're meant to be a painter, your purpose in life is to be a painter. You were born to do that, right? If you're meant to be a teacher, same thing. Hopefully you get the idea. It's a...it's not the most casual way of speaking. I mean, you could say it's slightly a formal thing to say "you were meant to lead", but it's normal. Everybody understands and uses that word. I just wanted to make sure you understood what it meant, alright? So let's keep going.

Steve Harvey: [00:11:02] "It's always better to just do your thing."

[00:11:06] "It's always better to just do your thing." I'm sure you understood that but what I wanted to bring to your attention is the phrase "Do your thing." It's a really common phrase in English and all it means...it's to do what you normally do. To do things in your way without worrying about what other people think or say. And you could use this in any situation, any context, formal or informal. It does not matter. It just means do what you normally do. Be yourself. Do things in your way. Do your thing, you know?

[00:11:36] So maybe you got kids and they're nervous about the performance this weekend. Maybe they play saxophone and they've got a performance this weekend and they're telling you that they're really nervous, they don't know what to do, it's making them anxious. You can say, "Relax. You've been practicing all year. You got this! Do your thing. Just do your thing, man!" It means just do what you normally do. You're already talented. You're already good. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Just go up there and do your thing. Do what you always do. Do your thing, alright? Cool. So it's always better to just do your thing. It's always better to be yourself and walk your own path. You don't have to fit in the crowd. You don't have to be like everyone else. That's the idea here. Okay, so let's keep going.

Steve Harvey: [00:12:22] "It's always better to just do your thing. And I don't care what situation you done got your life in. You can turn your life around cos it ain't never too late."

[00:12:31] Alright. There's a lot there. He said, "I don't care what situation you done got your life in." So there's a quick grammar observation I want to bring to your attention in regards to this sentence. He said, "I don't care what situation you done got your life in." "Done got" This is umm...How can I explain this to you? It's just a different dialect of English, but in standard plain English, another way of saying the same thing is "I don't care what situation you have gotten your life in." So in this case, the word "done" is functioning like the word "have". "I don't care what situation you have gotten yourself into" or "you done got yourself into." It's the same thing. So if you're asking, is that standard correct English? Technically it's not. You shouldn't write that way in emails or at work or if you're trying to pass an exam. But umm...a lot of people here do say it, at least where I'm from, you know.

[00:13:26] So you could say "I done been all over the world." It's the same thing as saying "I have been all over the world." "I done seen a lot of people this week." "I have seen a lot of people this week." It's a very informal dialect of English that I would imagine everyone here understands, but not everyone uses, you know? I just wanted you to understand what was being said, but it's really, really common in certain dialects of English, you know? So, "done got your life in" is the same thing as "have got your life into." And an even more formal way of saying that is, "I don't care what situation into which you have got your life," but nobody really talks like that. I talked like that sometimes on the podcast because I want to sound fancy, but in casual speech we don't talk like that.

[00:14:12] Alright? So "I don't care what situation you done got your life in" or you have got your life in, "you can turn your life around." What does that mean "to turn your life around"? It simply means to change your life completely from bad to good. Because typically we move in a particular direction, so if your life is going in the wrong direction, if you're...if you're on a bad path, if things are getting worse and worse and worse, and you eventually hit rock bottom, which means you hit the worst point you could possibly hit, the bottom of the barrel, the darkest place you could think of, you can still turn your life around 180 degrees and go in the other direction. You can still do that. You can turn your life around, go from good to bad, right? Instead of going down, go up, make progress. That's the idea, okay?

[00:15:04] So you can turn your life around cos "it ain't never too late." That was the last thing he said. You can turn your life around because "It ain't never too late." So when he says "it ain't ever too late," we find ourselves trying to understand this fucking word "ain't", right? It ain't never too late. So again, I'm just going to explain the meaning in this context when I say "It ain't ever too late." It's the same thing as saying "It is not ever too late." Alright? You can always turn your life around cos it's never too late. That's standard English, and it's the same thing. So, hopefully you're still with me. Hopefully, you're getting the idea, and let's continue.

Steve Harvey: [00:15:50] "See, I didn't get into comedy til I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33. I lived in a 1976 Tempo. I lived in a car for three years, man. And so people see me today, they don't know where I come from. And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:16:10] Okay. So I played those last few sentences together because there's only a few things I want to explain. The first one is "get into". Steve said, "I didn't get into comedy until I was 27." To "get into something" basically means to become involved in something or to start practicing something. So if I get into acting at ten, I start acting or I start getting involved in the industry at ten, or maybe I get into cooking or I get into learning languages or I get into music, whatever it is, just to become involved or interested in or start practicing this thing. That's what it means to "get into something" in this context. There are other meanings in other contexts, but I'm not going to confuse you, okay?

[00:16:52] So "I didn't get into comedy until I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33." Just in case you don't know, "homeless" just means you don't have a home, right? You are without a home. You live on a street or something like that. A homeless person is somebody who does not have a home and they live on the street. So Steve is saying, from 30 to 33, he was homeless. And I just want to point out really quickly this sentence structure "from 30 to 33". A lot of times we use that, you know, when we're referencing periods of time or distance - "I work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m." "I can go from Los Angeles to New York tomorrow night", or something like that. From this point to that point, this destination to that one. At this point in time to that one. Alright? It's really, really common. So practice that one, alright? Cool.

[00:17:50] Where did we stop? "I lived in a 1976 Tempo", which is just in case you're wondering, a 1976 Tempo is a car. And you...that becomes clear in the next sentence. He says, "I lived in a car for three years", right? "So people see me today, they don't know where I come from." "They don't know where I started." "They don't know about my origin." Right? "And I tell young cats all the time, the key is you can't ever give up." So he says, "young cats", he's not talking about the animal. Just in case you were wondering, the word "cat" is like...it's American slang for a "guy".

[00:18:26] "I was talking to this cat and he said blah, blah, blah." It's the same thing as saying, "I was talking to this guy, I was talking to this dude. I was talking to this man, this cat." It's an older word, I think. Not a lot of young people say "cat" these days. It's...it's older guys like 45 and up that would typically use the word "cat", I think. I mean, we might use it from time to time just, for the sake of variety or being creative in our speech. Americans do that a lot, at least where I'm from. But the word "cat" typically, and you know how old or you might not know...some people know – most of us know – Steve Harvey is not a young guy anymore. He's relatively older, so he would use that kind of word but I typically wouldn't say "I was talking to this cat" on a regular basis. But anyway, just, just so you know, the word "cat" is the same slang for the word "guy". Alright? And typically, men use that word. I've never in my life heard a woman say "this cat". "I was talking to this cat. Well, he's a cool cat. I like that cat." I've never in my life heard a female use that word, just for your information.

[00:19:29] So he says, "I tell young cats all the time. The key is you can't ever give up." So when he says "the key" in this case and in many cases in English, "the key" is another way of saying "the most important thing". Because what is a key? It's a tool that we use to unlock things. Right? So if you think about that, figuratively or metaphorically, let's say the key is what's going to unlock the door so that you can enter whatever it is. Alright? Whatever it is you're trying to get into, you get the...you get the point. So the most important thing is you can't ever give up. I want to play that sentence one more time to explain or to show you a pronunciation detail and also explain really common phrasal verb. So let me play it one more time.

Steve Harvey: [00:20:21] "And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:20:26] "The key is you can't ever give up." Just notice how he pronounced that word. He said "cain't". "Cain't". Sounds like the word "ain't". And it's a small difference. This is not extremely important for you to know or pay attention to. It's just interesting the variety of pronunciation we have even within one country, you know, because a lot of people will say "can't". And when we're speaking fast, "can" and "can't" sound very similar, for example, "I can do that." I'm saying "I can do that", but I didn't pronounce it that way or "I can't do that." Now I'm saying "I cannot do that." See what I'm saying? Some people will say "I cain't." "I can" and "I cain't". "I cain't do that." "Ain't, ain't, ain't" is the sound. There's no right or wrong. I mean, just depends on where you're from.

[00:21:17] I just wanted to bring that detail to your attention because I thought it was interesting. But anyway, "you can't ever give up." Just in case you don't know the phrasal verb "give up", it just means "quit". So if you "give up on your dreams", it means you quit trying to achieve your dreams. If you "give up on your son", it means you quit trying to parent your son. You see? So "the key", the most important thing is that you cannot ever quit. That's the idea. So, I'm going to play the clip one more time without any interruptions, pauses or explanations, and let's see how much more you can understand, my friend. Alright, let's do it.

Steve Harvey: [00:21:58] "So don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. And don't be afraid to be different, man. You ain't got to fit in the crowd. I tell my sons all the time, 'Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?' It's always better to just do your thing. And I don't care what situation you done got your life in, you can turn your life around cos it ain't never too late. See, I didn't get into comedy til I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33. I lived in a 1976 Tempo. I lived in a car for three years, man. And so people see me today, they don't know where I come from. And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:22:39] Alright, my friend. I really hope Steve's words have inspired you to keep working towards your goals. And if you don't have some goals, I strongly encourage you to create some for yourself. And just remember, you don't lose when you fail, you only lose when you quit.

[END OF EPISODE]

Writing prompts

  • What's the best advice you've ever received?
  • What makes you unique?
  • How would you live your life if you could do exactly what you wanted?
Key Vocabulary & Grammar Guide
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Key Vocabulary Guide

Transcript

[00:00:00] Most of you probably know Steve Harvey as the host of the TV show Family Feud. But I was first exposed to Steve Harvey, the stand-up comedian. I remember my dad had a DVD of the Kings of Comedy Tour with Steve, Bernie Mac, Cedric the Entertainer, and D.L. Hughley. Steve also had his own TV show and has starred in a few movies as well. But what a lot of people don't know is that Steve comes from very humble beginnings. He didn't start his career as an entertainer until he was almost 30 years old, an age at which most people considered their lives over and their opportunities missed.

[00:00:36] So in this episode, I'm going to share a short clip of Steve giving some advice to young people out there who dream of achieving great things in life. Let's get started. Alright y'all, as always, I'm going to play the entire clip from start to finish and then we'll go back and analyze everything that was said so you can learn more vocabulary and understand natives better. So let's do it.

Steve Harvey: [00:01:08] "Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself and don't be afraid to be different, man. You ain't got to fit in the crowd. I tell my sons all the time, "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?" It's always better to just do your thing. And I don't care what situation you done got your life in. You can turn your life around cos it ain't never too late. See, I didn't get into comedy til I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33. I lived in a 1976 Tempo. I lived in a car for three years, man. And so people see me today, they don't know where I come from. And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:01:49] Alright my friends, now, like I usually say...or as I usually say, let me speak grammatically correct - as I usually say, don't feel bad if you couldn't understand everything in that clip and there are...and just know that there are a bunch of reasons that you might not have understood everything in that clip. It could be somebody's accent. It could be their word choice, the dialect, so don't feel bad. We're going to break it down or analyze it in detail right now. So let's go back and I got the transcript of his words in front of me so I'm gonna kind of play a little bit, then explain a little bit, and play some more, and explain a little more until we reach the end of the clip. Alright, my friend. So let's do it. The first sentence...

Steve Harvey: [00:02:33] "Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. And don't be afraid to be different, man."

[00:02:40] So the word I want to explain in this sentence is "reinvent". When he says, don't be afraid to "reinvent" yourself. What he's saying is, don't be afraid to change the direction of your life, because to reinvent oneself means to take up a very different job or take up a very different way of life. And when I say "take up", I mean "adopt", you know, adopt a new way of life or choose a new way of life. Right? So that's what it means to reinvent yourself. Maybe today you're an accountant or you're studying accounting at university and you've reached the end of your degree and you realize, I don't want to do this shit. Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. Don't be afraid to choose a completely different career, life, path, profession, whatever it is. Don't be afraid to do that. You are in control of your life, so you control the direction in which you and thus your life end up going. I think that's what he was trying to say. Alright, so don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. Let's continue.

Steve Harvey: [00:03:37] "You ain't got to fit in the crowd. I tell my sons all the time, 'Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?'"

[00:03:49] Alright. There's a few things I want to explain from those three sentences, so let me go back. The first thing, "You ain't got to fit in the crowd." There's a couple of things I want to explain in that sentence. The first one is "ain't got" another word "ain't" is confusing for a lot of people 'cos it means so many different things. And some people say it's correct, other people say it's incorrect, and all these things. For now, I'm just going to explain this word in the current context. So when he says "You ain't got to fit in the crowd", what he's saying is "You don't have to fit in the crowd.", which is another way of saying, "You are not obligated to fit in the crowd." It's all the same. You are not obligated. You do not have to. You ain't got to. Three different ways of saying the same thing, right?

[00:04:36] So the next thing is "fit in". You might be asking yourself, what does that mean? And to fit in, it means to feel that you belong to a particular group and you are accepted by that group. So if you want to fit in with the gamers, you might try to play video games and listen to gaming podcasts so you can talk about gaming with the gamers. You might try to talk like them and dress like them and look like them so they accept you. You want to fit in, right? You want to belong to this group. If you don't fit in, that means they don't accept you. They don't accept you as one of them. They see you as different or "other". "You don't embody our culture or way of life," or whatever it is. You don't fit in, right? That's the idea. So you ain't got to fit in. You do not have to fit in. You do not have to try to be like other people just to be accepted by them. That's the idea.

[00:05:26] You ain't got to fit in the crowd. And that's the last word I wanted to explain from that sentence. Crowd. C-r-o-w-d. A crowd is just a large group of people. But we use this word a little figuratively, let's say, to just refer to people in general. You don't have to fit in the crowd means you don't have to do or be like or look like or talk like or act like the majority of people in society, or the majority of people around you, right? So that's the idea. Don't be afraid to reinvent yourself and just remember, you don't have to fit in the crowd or you ain't got to fit in the crowd. Alright? So the next sentence, "I tell my sons all the time", let me play that one more time.

Steve Harvey: [00:06:13] "I tell my sons all the time."

[00:06:16] "I tell my sons all the time." What I wanted to highlight in this sentence is the way he pronounced "all the time". Three separate words, but he said it as if it were one word. He connected those words, right? He said "all 'a time", I tell my sons "all 'a time". "All 'a time". This is a really, really, really common connection of words in the English language, at least in the United States. "All 'a people", "all 'a money", "all 'a problems", "all 'a girls", "all 'a trees", "all 'a time". "All 'a..." It's just a really common way, just... You see those specific words being connected all the time in casual speech. So if this is the first time you've heard it or somebody called it to your attention, just remember to pay a little bit more attention and start to notice the patterns of which words are being connected in our speech. Because a lot of people know about connected speech in English. They know we connect our words all the time.

[00:07:12] And for that reason, it's really hard to understand some natives. But if you pay attention to which words are being connected on a regular basis, you might come to understand natives more easily, because, you know, these words specifically sound like this when they're connected. So when I hear that, I not only understand the idea, but I know what words are being said. Hopefully that makes sense. If it doesn't, send me a message or something and let me know, but I'm going to continue the episode. So I talked about reinventing yourself and how you don't have to, or you ain't got to fit in the crowd. And Steve was basically saying he tells his sons this all the time. So let's continue.

Steve Harvey: [00:07:57] "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?"

[00:08:02] Okay. Three things I want to point out in this sentence. The first one is the pronunciation of a couple of words. He said, "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?" But notice how he pronounced the words "following" and "everybody", let me play it one more time.

Steve Harvey: [00:08:21] "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?"

[00:08:27] So hopefully you could hear he said it a little bit differently than I did. He said, "Why are you followin' errbody?" He didn't say, "Why are you following everybody?" Completely different pronunciation. And it's just, again, it's hard to explain why he does that. I really don't know why he does that. But, you know, it's just a different accent. It's a different dialect and way of speaking. So "why are you followin' errbody?" Again, I guess the point I'm trying to make is that you need to pay more attention to which words or which letters and words are being pronounced in certain ways. "Following", "i-n-g". Words like that in informal speech are typically pronounced in a certain way. Why are you "followin'"? Why are you "talkin'"? Why are you "shootin'"? Why are you "speakin'"? Why are you "eatin'"? All of these words end in "i-n-g", but not...not pronouncing them in what is known as the standard way of pronouncing them, right? So I just wanted to call that to your attention.

[00:09:21] The same thing with the word "everybody". A lot of people, depending on where you're from and what your culture is and you know, what kind of English you speak, a lot of people don't say "everybody", they say "errbody". "I know errbody." "I love errbody, man." "What's up, errbody?" I say that basically every episode. "What's up, errbody? You are listening to another episode of Life in English." I don't say "everybody", I say "errbody". It's faster, it's easier, you know? And that's just how we talk where I'm from. So when you hear that, hopefully now you'll recognize, and maybe you already recognize, that we're saying "everybody". And I want to make it clear that you don't have to speak this way. It's...the point here is that you understand what's being said no matter who's talking. You can talk how you want to talk, but you don't have to talk like other people. It's important to understand them, though, okay? So that's the point.

[00:10:10] So he said, "Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?" And that's the last thing I wanted to explain. To be "meant to do something". It's the same thing as being intended or destined to do something. So if you are meant to lead, it means you are intended to lead; you are destined to be a leader. That is your destiny. You were born to do this thing. That's your purpose. If you're meant to be a painter, your purpose in life is to be a painter. You were born to do that, right? If you're meant to be a teacher, same thing. Hopefully you get the idea. It's a...it's not the most casual way of speaking. I mean, you could say it's slightly a formal thing to say "you were meant to lead", but it's normal. Everybody understands and uses that word. I just wanted to make sure you understood what it meant, alright? So let's keep going.

Steve Harvey: [00:11:02] "It's always better to just do your thing."

[00:11:06] "It's always better to just do your thing." I'm sure you understood that but what I wanted to bring to your attention is the phrase "Do your thing." It's a really common phrase in English and all it means...it's to do what you normally do. To do things in your way without worrying about what other people think or say. And you could use this in any situation, any context, formal or informal. It does not matter. It just means do what you normally do. Be yourself. Do things in your way. Do your thing, you know?

[00:11:36] So maybe you got kids and they're nervous about the performance this weekend. Maybe they play saxophone and they've got a performance this weekend and they're telling you that they're really nervous, they don't know what to do, it's making them anxious. You can say, "Relax. You've been practicing all year. You got this! Do your thing. Just do your thing, man!" It means just do what you normally do. You're already talented. You're already good. Don't put too much pressure on yourself. Just go up there and do your thing. Do what you always do. Do your thing, alright? Cool. So it's always better to just do your thing. It's always better to be yourself and walk your own path. You don't have to fit in the crowd. You don't have to be like everyone else. That's the idea here. Okay, so let's keep going.

Steve Harvey: [00:12:22] "It's always better to just do your thing. And I don't care what situation you done got your life in. You can turn your life around cos it ain't never too late."

[00:12:31] Alright. There's a lot there. He said, "I don't care what situation you done got your life in." So there's a quick grammar observation I want to bring to your attention in regards to this sentence. He said, "I don't care what situation you done got your life in." "Done got" This is umm...How can I explain this to you? It's just a different dialect of English, but in standard plain English, another way of saying the same thing is "I don't care what situation you have gotten your life in." So in this case, the word "done" is functioning like the word "have". "I don't care what situation you have gotten yourself into" or "you done got yourself into." It's the same thing. So if you're asking, is that standard correct English? Technically it's not. You shouldn't write that way in emails or at work or if you're trying to pass an exam. But umm...a lot of people here do say it, at least where I'm from, you know.

[00:13:26] So you could say "I done been all over the world." It's the same thing as saying "I have been all over the world." "I done seen a lot of people this week." "I have seen a lot of people this week." It's a very informal dialect of English that I would imagine everyone here understands, but not everyone uses, you know? I just wanted you to understand what was being said, but it's really, really common in certain dialects of English, you know? So, "done got your life in" is the same thing as "have got your life into." And an even more formal way of saying that is, "I don't care what situation into which you have got your life," but nobody really talks like that. I talked like that sometimes on the podcast because I want to sound fancy, but in casual speech we don't talk like that.

[00:14:12] Alright? So "I don't care what situation you done got your life in" or you have got your life in, "you can turn your life around." What does that mean "to turn your life around"? It simply means to change your life completely from bad to good. Because typically we move in a particular direction, so if your life is going in the wrong direction, if you're...if you're on a bad path, if things are getting worse and worse and worse, and you eventually hit rock bottom, which means you hit the worst point you could possibly hit, the bottom of the barrel, the darkest place you could think of, you can still turn your life around 180 degrees and go in the other direction. You can still do that. You can turn your life around, go from good to bad, right? Instead of going down, go up, make progress. That's the idea, okay?

[00:15:04] So you can turn your life around cos "it ain't never too late." That was the last thing he said. You can turn your life around because "It ain't never too late." So when he says "it ain't ever too late," we find ourselves trying to understand this fucking word "ain't", right? It ain't never too late. So again, I'm just going to explain the meaning in this context when I say "It ain't ever too late." It's the same thing as saying "It is not ever too late." Alright? You can always turn your life around cos it's never too late. That's standard English, and it's the same thing. So, hopefully you're still with me. Hopefully, you're getting the idea, and let's continue.

Steve Harvey: [00:15:50] "See, I didn't get into comedy til I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33. I lived in a 1976 Tempo. I lived in a car for three years, man. And so people see me today, they don't know where I come from. And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:16:10] Okay. So I played those last few sentences together because there's only a few things I want to explain. The first one is "get into". Steve said, "I didn't get into comedy until I was 27." To "get into something" basically means to become involved in something or to start practicing something. So if I get into acting at ten, I start acting or I start getting involved in the industry at ten, or maybe I get into cooking or I get into learning languages or I get into music, whatever it is, just to become involved or interested in or start practicing this thing. That's what it means to "get into something" in this context. There are other meanings in other contexts, but I'm not going to confuse you, okay?

[00:16:52] So "I didn't get into comedy until I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33." Just in case you don't know, "homeless" just means you don't have a home, right? You are without a home. You live on a street or something like that. A homeless person is somebody who does not have a home and they live on the street. So Steve is saying, from 30 to 33, he was homeless. And I just want to point out really quickly this sentence structure "from 30 to 33". A lot of times we use that, you know, when we're referencing periods of time or distance - "I work from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m." "I can go from Los Angeles to New York tomorrow night", or something like that. From this point to that point, this destination to that one. At this point in time to that one. Alright? It's really, really common. So practice that one, alright? Cool.

[00:17:50] Where did we stop? "I lived in a 1976 Tempo", which is just in case you're wondering, a 1976 Tempo is a car. And you...that becomes clear in the next sentence. He says, "I lived in a car for three years", right? "So people see me today, they don't know where I come from." "They don't know where I started." "They don't know about my origin." Right? "And I tell young cats all the time, the key is you can't ever give up." So he says, "young cats", he's not talking about the animal. Just in case you were wondering, the word "cat" is like...it's American slang for a "guy".

[00:18:26] "I was talking to this cat and he said blah, blah, blah." It's the same thing as saying, "I was talking to this guy, I was talking to this dude. I was talking to this man, this cat." It's an older word, I think. Not a lot of young people say "cat" these days. It's...it's older guys like 45 and up that would typically use the word "cat", I think. I mean, we might use it from time to time just, for the sake of variety or being creative in our speech. Americans do that a lot, at least where I'm from. But the word "cat" typically, and you know how old or you might not know...some people know – most of us know – Steve Harvey is not a young guy anymore. He's relatively older, so he would use that kind of word but I typically wouldn't say "I was talking to this cat" on a regular basis. But anyway, just, just so you know, the word "cat" is the same slang for the word "guy". Alright? And typically, men use that word. I've never in my life heard a woman say "this cat". "I was talking to this cat. Well, he's a cool cat. I like that cat." I've never in my life heard a female use that word, just for your information.

[00:19:29] So he says, "I tell young cats all the time. The key is you can't ever give up." So when he says "the key" in this case and in many cases in English, "the key" is another way of saying "the most important thing". Because what is a key? It's a tool that we use to unlock things. Right? So if you think about that, figuratively or metaphorically, let's say the key is what's going to unlock the door so that you can enter whatever it is. Alright? Whatever it is you're trying to get into, you get the...you get the point. So the most important thing is you can't ever give up. I want to play that sentence one more time to explain or to show you a pronunciation detail and also explain really common phrasal verb. So let me play it one more time.

Steve Harvey: [00:20:21] "And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:20:26] "The key is you can't ever give up." Just notice how he pronounced that word. He said "cain't". "Cain't". Sounds like the word "ain't". And it's a small difference. This is not extremely important for you to know or pay attention to. It's just interesting the variety of pronunciation we have even within one country, you know, because a lot of people will say "can't". And when we're speaking fast, "can" and "can't" sound very similar, for example, "I can do that." I'm saying "I can do that", but I didn't pronounce it that way or "I can't do that." Now I'm saying "I cannot do that." See what I'm saying? Some people will say "I cain't." "I can" and "I cain't". "I cain't do that." "Ain't, ain't, ain't" is the sound. There's no right or wrong. I mean, just depends on where you're from.

[00:21:17] I just wanted to bring that detail to your attention because I thought it was interesting. But anyway, "you can't ever give up." Just in case you don't know the phrasal verb "give up", it just means "quit". So if you "give up on your dreams", it means you quit trying to achieve your dreams. If you "give up on your son", it means you quit trying to parent your son. You see? So "the key", the most important thing is that you cannot ever quit. That's the idea. So, I'm going to play the clip one more time without any interruptions, pauses or explanations, and let's see how much more you can understand, my friend. Alright, let's do it.

Steve Harvey: [00:21:58] "So don't be afraid to reinvent yourself. And don't be afraid to be different, man. You ain't got to fit in the crowd. I tell my sons all the time, 'Why are you following everybody when you were clearly meant to lead?' It's always better to just do your thing. And I don't care what situation you done got your life in, you can turn your life around cos it ain't never too late. See, I didn't get into comedy til I was 27. I was homeless from 30 to 33. I lived in a 1976 Tempo. I lived in a car for three years, man. And so people see me today, they don't know where I come from. And I tell young cats all the time, man, the key is you can't ever give up."

[00:22:39] Alright, my friend. I really hope Steve's words have inspired you to keep working towards your goals. And if you don't have some goals, I strongly encourage you to create some for yourself. And just remember, you don't lose when you fail, you only lose when you quit.

[END OF EPISODE]

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