VT Speaking Challenge 21: What is evolution? 恐龍變鳥、猴子變人:什麼是演化?

Vocabulary Challenge 21: https://tw.voicetube.com/everyday/20190717


Evolution 演化. It’s amazing that all life on Earth seems to be related, hat complex beings such ourselves come from a single-celled organism (單細胞生物). Evolution doesn’t really explain exactly how life began on Earth but through fossil records, it does help us understand how life gradually diversified into the animals we see today. OK, let’s move on to our sentence of the day.

The difference between a shrew and an elephant is far greater than that of a wolf and a poodle. 


So let’s say this sentence again.

The difference between a shrew and an elephant is far greater than that of a wolf and a poodle.


The difference between a shrew and an elephant is far greater than that of a wolf and a poodle.

OK, you know this game. What are the possible thought groups? 「字組」

The difference between a shrew and an elephant (1)
is far greater than that of (2)
a wolf and a poodle. (3)  

This is the way the video breaks it up. The first part is not a complete clause, but a noun phrase, because it is quite long. It is already one idea. Also, listeners already need to focus on a comparison, so a slight pause actually aids comprehension.

How about intonation? 語調

The difference between a shrew and an elephant (rise)
is far greater than that of a wolf and a poodle. (fall)  

You see, it is easier and easier now. You’re getting used to using intonation.

What about the sentence stress? 句子的重音 You could say:

The difference between a shrew and an elephant (rise)
is far greater than that of a wolf and a poodle. (fall)  

So, here, we are comparing things

the difference between a shrew and an elephant

is far greater than

that of/ the difference between a wolf and a poodle

The comparisons—shrew, elephant, wolf, and poodle—are stressed.

Far greater is also stressed because it highlights the relationship between the two sets of ideas.

OK, it’s grammar time!!! 大家最愛的文法時間到了!!!

Some of you might have noticed that the original sentence is

But the difference between a shrew and an elephant (rise)
is far greater than that of a wolf and a poodle. (fall)

Yes, you can begin a sentence with “but.”

However, almost all grammar and styles guide says it is ok to do so.

Here’s what the Chicago Manual of Style, which says:

There is a widespread belief—one with no historical or grammatical foundation—that it is an error to begin a sentence with a conjunction such as and, but or so. In fact, a substantial percentage (often as many as 10 percent) of the sentences in first-rate writing begin with conjunctions. It has been so for centuries, and even the most conservative grammarians have followed this practice.

So, should you start with a “But" on a formal writing exam? It really depends on what your goals are. There are grammar rules, and there are actual usage. Some people call this prescriptive (規定性文法)and descriptive grammar (描述性文法).

芝加哥格式手冊》(英語:The Chicago Manual of Style,縮寫為CMS)是一個適用於美國英語格式指南。該手冊受到高度重視,主要用於解決格式、原稿預備,以及少數慣用法的問題(注意:在出版界的術語中,格式是指標點符號、斜體、粗體、大寫、表格等等,而不是指如散文抒情文的格式)。

Now, what I really want to talk about is that of.

that here is a pronoun and

of used to show possession, belonging, or origin


So here, it means

the difference between a shrew and an elephant

is far greater than

that of -> the difference between a wolf and a poodle

OK, let’s take a break!

Hmm…Is evolution a fact or theory? This is a highly subjective question.

Many scientists and philosophers have debated this for decades. A fact can mean data, while not absolutely complete, can be confirmed to a degree that that everyone can agree with. A scientific theory, on the other hand, is a well-substantiated explanation of these facts. The facts of evolution come from evidence such as fossil records and observational evidence of current processes.

However, evolution, fact, and theory all mean different things in different context, Evolution in biology means observed changes in organisms from a common ancestor or can refer to theories such as Charles Darwin’s natural selection.

Fact, to a scientists means a repeatable process that all can agree on or it can mean something that is so well-established  that no one will disagree with it.

Theory, on the other hand, can mean an opinion to non-scientists, but to scientists, it means well-supported explanations.

Now, do you know why some people still debate about whether evolution is a fact or theory? It is hard to agree on something when everyone has a different opinion on what these terms mean. Isn’t language fun? What, you don’t agree? Maybe your definition of fun and mine differ.

OK, let’s go back to vocabulary learning and go over some new words.

Word Form
Word of the day!

1. trait

particular characteristic that can produce aparticular type of behaviour


His sense of humour is one of his better traits.具有幽默感是他更討人喜歡的特點之一。

Heritable trait 遺傳的特質

Arrogance is a very unattractive personality/character trait.傲慢是一種非常令人討厭的性格特點。

2. capable

able to do things effectively and skilfully, and to achieve results


We need to get an assistant who’s capable and efficient.我們需要一個能力強、效率高的助理。 

capable of sth/doing sth

B2 having the abilitypower, or qualities to be able to do something


Only the ABC Party is capable of running the country.只有ABC黨才有能力治理這個國家。

3. amoeba

plural amoebae (bi)

plural amoebae UK  /-biː/ US  amoebas

a very smallsimple organism consisting of only one cell



4. mutation

the way in which genes change and producepermanent differences


It is well known that radiation can cause mutation.眾所周知,輻射可以造成基因突變。

genetic (adj.) mutation基因突變








5. genetics

the study of how, in all living things, thecharacteristics and qualities of parents are given totheir children by their genes


geneticist /-tɪsɪst/ noun [countable]GRAMMAR: Singular or plural verb?Genetics is followed by a singular verb:Genetics is the study of genes.


OK, evolution. Hmm…time to relax. I often think of the X-men when I think of evolution and genetic mutations. Enjoy their cartoon theme song:

心智圖詞彙攻略: ericvocab.com