Sport Scene 1

Ashlie and Stephen go to the gym to prepare for a half-marathon for charity. Who’s going to be better prepared?

Do the Preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the first Task. Before continuing with the rest of the activities, watch the video again. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Think about the following questions:

  • How do you like to keep fit?
  • Have you ever participated in a race to raise money for charity?

Watch Stephen and Ashlie prepare for a half-marathon each in their own way.


Stephen: Ah, this is what I need.

Ashlie: You don’t need a tennis racket.

Stephen: What about this?

Ashlie: Stephen, you never play cricket! You certainly don’t need a cricket bat.

Stephen: What’s this?

Ashlie: I’ve got no idea! Come on. We need the running section.

Stephen: Ashlie and I are going to run a half-marathon. And this little beauty is going to help me do a really fast time.

Ashlie: Luckily, it’s not about running fast. We’re running to raise money for charity. If I actually can run twenty-one kilometres.

Stephen: Of course you can.

Ashlie: You’re right. Think positive – I am going to do it and I am going to raise lots of money. How many sponsors have you got?

Stephen: Well, I’ve decided to concentrate on the running, as that’s the most important thing.

Ashlie: Stephen! It doesn’t matter how fast you run.

Stephen: You’re only saying that because you know I’m much faster than you.

Ashlie: But I’m going to make the most money.

Stephen: Come on, Ash. Let’s buy this and get to the gym. We’ve got work to do.


Stephen: Have I done 10 kilometres yet?

Trainer: No, Stephen. You’ve only been going for five minutes.

Trainer: That’s better, Stephen. Maybe we can try something a bit harder next time. Anyway, next it’s the step machine and after that some weights.

Stephen: 10, 11, 12... 498, 499, 500… Hey, Ash. How’s it going?

Ashlie: Wow, Stephen. You are doing really well. Five hundred already.

Stephen: Yeah, and I’m only warming up really. I’m getting ready for a proper workout. Even my personal trainer’s impressed.

Ashlie: I heard there’s a medal for the person that gets the most sponsorship money.

Stephen: Ash, you’re not going to get round the race unless you start getting fit and working out. You need to treat this as a proper science.

Ashlie: Yes, Stephen.

Stephen: You’re not going to get a good time or even finish the race unless you start training hard.

Ashlie: I’m eating healthy food. I’m sure I’ll be fine.

Stephen: Ash, it’s 12.31. You’re distracting me. I’ve got a timetable to follow. I’ve got 500 press-ups to do and then weights.

Ashlie: I think I’ll sit over there and have a nice glass of juice. Oh, is that your personal trainer? I might see if she’ll sponsor me.

Ashlie: Hello. I’m running a half-marathon. Do you think you could sponsor me?

Trainer: Sure.

Ashlie: Great, thank you.

Stephen: Eight, nine, ten… Ashlie! Ashlie! Ash! Ash!

Ashlie: Stephen, are you OK?

Stephen: Yeah, can you just help me out?

Ashlie: Yes, I’ll just lift this bit.

Stephen: There must be something wrong with the machine.

Ashlie: Are you sure you’re all right?

Stephen: Yeah, I think I’m okay. But I might need a rest.

Ashlie: Oh dear, you poor thing. I’ll just put these away and I’ll meet you in reception.

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3

'Unless' means 'If ... not'. For example:

  • You're not going to finish the race unless you start training hard.

This means:

  • You're not going to finish the race if you don't start training hard.


Language level

Average: 1 (1 vote)
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Hi bujingyun,

It's an interesting question! Let's start with 1 and 2, and then we'll see how 3 is a bit different. 


In 1 and 2, there is an action that will happen only if a condition is fulfilled.

  1. Christie doesn’t win = the condition; I will be amazed  = the result.
  2. you don’t pass the test = the condition; what will you do? = the result.


In both examples, the result will happen only if the condition is fulfilled. In other words, the result is entirely dependent on the condition being fulfilled. That's what the 'only if' implication mentioned in 3 refers to.


So, if 3 doesn't have an 'only if' meaning, what does it mean? It presents two alternatives. One or other of them must be true. So, the sentence means: 'Either it was the best performance of Hamlet, or it was the strangest'. Here, the two events are alternatives to each other (not a condition/result), and that's why there's no 'would' structure. Unless can't be used to present two alternatives like this, so if not is the only correct structure for this meaning.

Does that make sense?


I believe that your understandings of the first two uses are correct - but I don't have a copy of the book that you mentioned here with me, so I'm afraid I can't check all the details.

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team