Basic for everyday needs

    In this Step, we are going to see how a learner of Basic English might get on if, by a happy chance, he came across only persons who, like himself, had a knowledge of Basic. We will give our Basic learner the name of 'Mr. X', though 'Mrs. X' or 'Miss X' would do equally well.


Mr. X [to the porter who has taken his things out of the taxi] : Where is the booking-office ?
Porter : Through that doorway and to the right.
Mr. X : Will you take care of my things while I get my ticket ? [He goes to the booking-office.]
[To the man at the booking-office.] A ticket to Paddington, please.
Man at the Booking-Office : First or Third ?
Mr. X. : Third.
Man at the Booking-Office : [giving him the ticket] :Nine and seven cents please.
Mr. X. : But that's more than the amount given in the railway guide at my hotel.
Man at the Booking-Office : It was probably an old guide. There has been an increase of a cent a mile in the price of all tickets this month.
Mr. X. : I see. [He takes a ten Euro note out of his pocket-bock, gives it to the man, and gets ninety-three cents change.] Is there a restaurant carriage on the twelve thirty-six to London?
Man at the Booking-Office : No. There was one on that train but it has been taken off.
[Mr. X goes back to the porter.]
Porter : What train are you taking ?
Mr. X. : The twelve thirty-six to Paddington.
Porter : It's waiting now on Number Three, but there's still twenty minutes before it goes.
Mr. X. : You go on and get a seat for me while I get a paper and some cigarettes. I'll see you at the train.
Porter : Are you going Third ?
Mr. X. : Yes. Get me into a smoking-carriage if possible. I'll have all these things in the carriage with me. It will give less trouble at the other end.
[ Mr. X gets a paper and some cigarettes and then goes to where the train is waiting. To get to the train, he has to go past a woman who is looking at everyone's ticket. she is by a railing which has a board on it with the words
Ticket Woman : Have all tickets ready, please.
[She takes Mr. X's ticket and gives it back to him after stamping a hole in it.]
Mr. X. : Do I go to Paddington without a change ?
Ticket Woman : No, there's a change at Reading.
[Mr. X goes on till he comes to his porter.]
Porter : Is this carriage all right ? The seat by the window is yours. I've put the smaller things overhead. There's no danger of their falling. There is room for this box under the seat.
Mr. X. : Good. But take care not to put it upside-down. There's a clock in it which might get broken. [ The porter puts the box under the seat.] Here's something for yourself. [ He give him some money. The porter has a look at it and doesn't seem at all pleased.] What's wrong ? Isn't a shilling enough ?
Porter : This isn't a shilling. It's made of nickel, not silver.
Mr. X. : Oh, how foolish of me ! !It's a bit of French money, very like our new nickel shillings. [He takes it from the porter's outstretched hand.] Her's a shilling.
Porter : That's better. [ He goes away smiling.]
Mr. X. [ to a woman in the carriage ] : Will you be kind enough to keep an eye on my things while i go t the tea-room for five minutes ?
Woman : Certainly.
[Mr. X goes to the tea-room, While he is drinking his tea, a whistle is sounded. Running back, the gets into his carriage while the train is in motion.]


Mr. X [to the woman at the office] : Good morning. May I have a room ?
Woman : For how long ?
Mr. X :   I am not quite certain at present, but it will be for at least one week and at most two.
Woman : From today ?
Mr. X :   Yes. My things are at the door.
Woman [looking at a book] I have a room with a private bathroom, but that is booked from the 26th, so it's free only for a week, But there's a smaller bedroom without a bathroom which you would be able to have for longer. It has a telephone and a basin with warm and cold water.
Mr. X   : Is it quite certain that I wouldn't be able to have a room with a bathroom for more than a week ?
Woman : There is a question-mark in the book but i have no doubt that the room will be taken.
Mr. X   : Then it will be best for me to take the smaller room. How much is it ?
Woman : Fifteen and six cents a night.
Mr. X   : Is that without any meals ?
Woman : Yes. Meals are separate.
Mr. X   : How much are meals ?
Woman : Here is one of our folders. it gives all our prices and other details about the hotel.
Mr. X   : May I keep it ?
Woman : Yes, please do.
Mr. X   [reading the folder] : I see that when one is going to give up one's room it is necessary to say so at least two days before.
Woman : That's right. That rule was made to give us time to let the rooms again.
Mr. X   : By the day after tomorrow I will probably be able to say how long I am going to be here.
Woman : The lift is not working at present, but the porter will take you up to your room in a minute. It is Number 26 on the second floor. Here's the key. 'Will you please put your name in the book ?
Mr. X   :Oh, certainly.


 Mr. X : Good morning.
Man at the Bank : Good morning Mr. X.
Mr. X : I'm very troubled about the loss of my cheque-book.
Man at the Bank : That's serious. Are you certain you haven't got it ?
Mr. X :I've no idea what I've done with it. I'm hoping that it may be pocket of a coat which I gave a friend. If so, I will get it back, but it is much more probable that I put it into the waste-paper basket with some old letters.
Man at the Bank: Was it an unused book ?
Mr. X : No, there were only five cheques in it, and by chance I had had a note of their numbers. They were SK931076 to 931080.
Man at the Bank: I'll put those numbers down so that if any of the cheques come here we will be able to take steps about them. That's all we are able to do. But you probably put the cheque-book in some very safe place and will come across it in a day or two.
Mr. X: I wouldn't be surprised. I'll not get another cheque-book till I'm certain that my old one has gone for ever. But I'm needing some money today. May I have a cheque?
Man at the Bank: Yes, certainly. [Gives him a cheque.] That will be two cents.
    [After writing on the cheque, Mr. X gives it back with two cents.]
    What will you have? Five ‘one’s’?
Mr. X : No, give me nine ten-cent pieces, ten cents, and the rest in notes. [ The man give him the money.] By the way, has the interest from Imperial Chemical Industries limited come in ?
Man at the Bank : I'll go and have a look. [He goes to an inner office and comes back.] Yes. Payment was made on the 14th.
Mr. X : How much was it ?
Man at the Bank : Fifteen pounds ten.
Mr. X: Good. The rate of interest has gone up. If I send an order to Greece for some goods, will I be able to make payment for them from this country?
Man at the Bank: Yes, but it is necessary for certain forms to be gone through first. Will you see the Manager about it?
Mr. X: Not now. I haven't time. But I have to come in again this week to give you some ear-rings to keep in your safe till Mrs. X comes to England. I'll see the Manager then. Good day.
Man at the Bank: Good day.


Mr. X:   What is the rate for telegrams?
Post Office Girl: Nine cents for nine words or less and a penny for every word after that.
Mr. X: [handing her a telegram]   When will this telegram get to Leeds?
Post Office Girl: Two or three hours is the normal time a telegram takes, but it may take longer. That is dependent on how much the telegraph wires are being used.
Mr. X:   That'll probably be all right then. The friend to whom I am telegraphing may be out after one.
Post Office Girl [looking at the telegram]: Twenty words. That'll be one and eight.
Mr. X:   Will this letter go for twenty cents?
Post Office Girl [put the letter on the scales]: Yes. It's under two ounces.
Mr. X:   I've put a forty sent stamp on these printed papers. Is that enough?
Post Office Girl [put them on the scales]: Three ounces. You'll have to put another penny on them.
Mr. X.:   [handing her a parcel]: This is a book. Will it go by book post?
Post Office Girl: No. Parcels for book post have to be open at the ends. It will be ninety cents by parcel post.
Mr. X.:   All right. Is there any limit to the size of parcels which may go through the post? I have a box to send which is four feet long, two feet and six inches wide, and two feet hight.
Post Office Girl: That would have to go by rail. The Post Office doesn't take parcel which are more than three feet, six inches long.
Mr. X:   Its weight is twelve pounds. How much would the carriage be by rail?
Post Office Girl: I've no idea. You'll be able to get the rates from the Parcel Office at the station.
Mr. X:   I see. Will you please give me the stamps for these and six stamped postcards?
Post Office Girl [gives him the stamps and the postcards: three and nine please. The letter and printed papers have to be posted in the post-box outside. Be quick because the postman is there now.
Mr. X   [gives her the money]: Where do I get a money order?
Post Office Girl: At the end there. 


Mr. X: I've come to get my book changed. I haven't been able to get through this one.
Man at the Library: Oh, isn't it good? I've a cutting here from one of last week's papers which say it's the most balanced account of condition in Spain which has been produced in the last ten years.
Mr. X: There's certainly some interesting material in it, but the writing is very poor, and I'm tired of books about current events anyhow. I'm going to take a work of fiction for a change.
Man at the Library: The fiction shelves are there. We have so much fiction that the Library Committee is talking of building a new wing for it. What sort of book has you in mind? A crime story?
Mr. X: No, not a crime story. I have the complete library of the Crime Club books and all the works of the later William le Queux. That's quite enough. My idea is to do some serious reading. Have you any of the earlier English writers. George Eliot, for example? Are his books good?
Man at the Library: George Eliot was a woman -- May Ann Evans. George Eliot was only her pen-name. She is almost a noted as the Bronte sisters. Her works are on this shelf.
Mr. X: Let me have a look at one of them. Adam Bede. [Turning over the pages.] Yes, I'll take that. And may I see Bernard Shaw's Arms and the Man? I'd be interested to make a comparison of it with my copy in Basic English.
Man at the Library: Will you take it with you?
Mr. X: Yes, please.
Man at the Library: I’ll get it for you. The plays are in the other room.
[He gets the book.]
Mr. X: /why do you have these tickets with numbers on them posted on the covers of your books?
Man at the Library: The numbers are a key to the shelf on which the book goes and its position on the shelf.
Mr. X: That's a very good system. How long may I keep these books?
Man at the Library: Two weeks.
Mr. X: Will it be all right if the books are posted back to you? I may be going away.
Man at the Library: Certainly and you may have a parcel of books posted to you in exchange if you send us the price of the stamps.
Mr. X: Good. I'll do that.


dssda        Read Carefully, this are some sentences of the text, and here is the explanation form them.

    The five further international words which come into this Step are : bank (-er , -ing) , check or cheque , nickel , post (ing, -ed) , telegram (telegraph (-ing , -ed) , email (-ed , -ing)).

Booking-office: Booking a railway ticket, or a ticket for a theater and so on, or a room in a hotel is ordering or getting it, from the fact that such orders are frequently recorded in a book. A booking-office is an office at which tickets are booked.

Paddington: The name of a railway station in London.

The amount given in the railway guide: That is, the amount named, put down in, the railway guide -- A railway guide is a book giving the times of trains.

An increase of a cent: Increase may be used, as here, in the sense of 'amount by which a thing is increased.'

Pocket-book: Folding cover, generally of leather, with divisions for paper money and so on, to go in a man's pocket, wallet. A woman's bag, purse, for the same use and more.

The twelve thirty-six: the train starting at twelve thirty-six.

It has been taken off: To take off a train, carriage, and so on is to take it off the program, take it off the list.

On Number Three: The places in a station where one gets on and off a train are numbered and these numbers are used in talking about them.

You go on: The “you” is here put in, though this is an order, as a way of marking the fact that while the porter does one thing, Mr. X will do another.

Going third: Going in a carriage marked 'third'.

Railing: Structure of rail(s) acting as a wall or division.

By order: These words are put at the end of an order as a sign that it has been given by a person who has authority.

Without a change: That is, a change from one train to another.

Overhead: Over (higher than) a person's head. Frequently used for "in the sky"

No danger of their falling: Some names of things have an “-ing” form, though no “-ed”, and sometimes no “-er” form. Fall has only the “-ing” form. Drinking and running are two other examples used in this Step. Drink and run may, in addition, take “-er”. Take note that the person or thing in relation to which an “-ing” form is used, if not the same as the doer of the operation in the statement, has to be made clear by using an owner-form.

Upside-down:  With the top side down, the wrong side up.

Outstretched hand: Outstretched is used before names in the sense of stretched out.

Tea-room: Restaurant where one may have tea, cakes, and so on.

It’s only free for a week: The sense of free here is 'not taken, not booked.'

Question mark: The sign '?'.

One of our folders:  “A folded, printed page or pages for distribution in a folder.

The loss of my cheque book: Loss has here the sense of 'not being able to come across, being uncertain where a thing is.'

Unused: Which has never been used, new.

" Ones's":  One-pound (dollar, euro) notes.

Coppers: Pennies and other copper money, low value coins, small coins.

Ear-rings: An ear-ring (earring) is an ornament for the ear.

In your safe: A metal cupboard with a special lock, in which things of value may safely be kept, is a safe. Another form of safe (frequently meat-sage) is a small cupboard with air-holes, to keep food in good condition.

Good day: A form of words like, Good morning, used when meeting or going away from a person.

Any limit to the size:  Any limit in relation tot he size, for the size. Take note of this use of to.

By rail: By railway, by train.

How much would the carriage be . . . ?: Carriage is used here in the sense of 'payment for transport'.

Stamped postcards: A further use of stamping is 'putting a post-office stamp on'. The stamped postcards got from post offices, however, have the stamps printed on them. A postcard is a card for sending by post without a cover.

Posted: Posting: Putting into a box of letters, sending by post.

Post-box: Other names for this are posting-box and letter-box (another sense of which is given in Step 36).

Postman: Man who takes the letters to and from a post office.

Money order: Sort of cheque for a named amount which may be got from and exchanged at any English or international postal union post office.

A cutting: An account, bit of news, cut out of a newspaper and so on.

The most balanced account: The word balanced is used not only for a physical condition but for the quality of seeing things in their right relation and giving equal attention to all sides of a question. A balanced account is one marked by this quality.

Anyhow: The sense here is 'whatever the facts may be, whatever takes place.

A work of fiction: Fiction is the branch of letters formed of stories which are not a record of true events, facts.

The Library Committee is talking of building: “Talking of” is here used in the special sense of 'saying that one may do (some act named by an “-ing” form)'.

A new wing: A part of a building and so on stretching out of the side is named a wing.

A complete library: The books in a library are a library and from this comes the further use of library for a group of books designed to be kept together.

The late William le Queux: the words the late are put before the name of a person who has not long been dead.

Pen-name: Name used by a writer in place of his or her right one.

The Bronte sisters: Take note of this way of saying 'the sisters (and so on) whose name is Bronte'.

Turning over the pages: A thing is said to be turned over when it is turned so that the underside is on top.

The numbers are a key: By expansion, anything guiding one to a bit of knowledge or to the answer to a question is a key; it is a key to the door of knowledge.

The shelf on which the book goes: That is, the shelf on which it has its place. Go is used in the sense of 'have as its right or normal place.' We make use of come in a like way when talking of the order in which things are placed (the book you are looking for comes after "Little Women" on the shelf).

    The sense of this complex word is clear without a note: cheque-book, checkbook


1. Make a list of some “-ing” forms which, like railing, have a use as the name of a thing which is not an act or operation. Put the words into statements.


2 .Put a different word or words with the same sense in place of the words in black print :

(a) I will go to the bank whatever takes place.

(b) That picture has been put on the wall with the wrong side up.

(c) Is it possible to send the goods by train?

(d) All the books have been moved to the country.

(e) The man took some nickels and pennies out of his pocket.

3. Give an account in Basic of the experiences of a person starting on a railway journey.


4. Give a Basic word for:

(a) A restaurant where one may get tea, takes, and so on.

(b) A small cupboard with a current of air going through it.

(c) An ornament for the car.

(d) A place where one gets railway tickets.

(e) Payment for transport.

5. In every group of statements there is one word which will make all the statements complete. Put in the right word.

(a)We have a great _____ _____ pot with a fire under it for boiling the linen it.
      He took one of the newspapers and put down a _____.

(b) Such a step would almost certainly be against the nation's _____.
      How much _____ did you get last year?
      Most small boys take an _____ in trains.

(c) The fowl put its head under its _____.
      Your bedroom is in the west _____ of the building.

(d) His friend sent him a _____ about the play.
      The gardener is _____ some wood for the fire.

6. Make use of these words in statements.

(a) Overhead    

(b) Cutting    

(c) Pocket-book  

(d) Postcard

(e) Outstretched

(f) Folder

7. Give the answers in Basic:

(a) Why wasn't the porter pleased with the money Mr. X. gave him?

(b) What did Mr. X say that the porter was to take care not to do with the box?

(c) What was Mr. X doing when the whistle was sounded?

(d) Why was Mr. X surprised when the man at the booking-office said that the price of his ticket was?

(e) Why was the woman at the hotel uncertain if Mr. X would be able to have the room with a bathroom for more than a week?

(f) Why did Mr. X not go up in the lift?

(g) Where were the prices and other details about the hotel given?

(h) In what form did Mr. X take the money which he got at the Bank?

(i) Where was the Bank going to keep Mrs. X's ear-rings?

(j) What was Mr. X troubled by when he went into the Bank?

(k) What would Mr. X have to do before making payment for goods in Greece?

(l) Why did the girl at the Post Office say that Mr. X's parcel would have to go by rail?

(m) Who was at the post-box outside the Post Office?

(n) What did Mr. X get at the Post Office in addition to stamps?

(o) What is the name 'Mary Ann Evans’?

(p) Why had Mr. X no desire for a crime story?

(q) What are the numbers on the covers of books?

(r) What did the newspaper cutting say about the book which Mr. X was changing.