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Civic Duty

Civic Duty English, baby! Video Lesson

Date: Oct 28 2008

Themes: News

Grammar: Second Conditional


1. Learn Vocabulary - Learn some new vocabulary before you start the lesson.

2. Read and Prepare - Read the introduction and prepare to hear the audio.

Does your country hold open elections? Voting is something a lot of Americans take for granted. It’s hard to see how one vote can affect an election. But it’s easy to forget that if everyone were so shortsighted, there wouldn’t be elections at all.

Watch Beren come up with all kinds of excuses for not voting in the upcoming election as Marni tries to convince her to do the right thing.

3. Watch - Watch the video without reading the dialog.


1. Listen and Read - Listen to the audio and read the dialog at the same time.

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2. Study - Read the dialog again to see how the vocab words are used.





Marni:  So, you getting ready? Excited about Tuesday?

Beren:  What’s Tuesday?

Marni:  November fourth. The day America votes. Voting day. Election day.

Beren:  Yeah. I’m not gonna vote. I already decided.

Marni:  Why aren’t…What do you mean? Why aren’t you going to vote?

Beren:  Well, first off, I don’t have the time to vote. I have to work that day.

Marni:  Yeah, and it’s…You can get it off. It’s like our civic duty as Americans to vote. So, you can get it off.

Beren:  And it doesn’t matter though.

Marni:  What do you mean?

Beren:  If I could get the time off work, it wouldn’t matter who I vote for.

Marni:  Why do you say that? What do you mean?

Beren:  It’s like one measly vote out of, like, millions.

Marni:  OK.

Beren:  It’s not gonna change anything.

Marni:  That is the most ludicrous argument, because if everyone said that, there would be no vote…I mean, no one would vote. Every vote counts. It’s true. You hear that, right? But it’s very true. Like, every vote…I believe in voting so passionately, because it’s your chance to get your voice heard and put it out there. So, if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain for the next four years, is what I’m gonna say.

Beren:  That’s true. That’s true. I mean, I’m not complaining now. I voted once.

Marni:  When?

Beren:  Like, four years ago.

Marni:  Yeah. And you haven’t been complaining the past four years? Please. I’ve heard you complain plenty.

Beren:  I voted for the President.

Marni:  Right. Did you vote for…

Beren:  Our current President? Yes.

Marni:  You voted for W?

Beren:  I did.

Marni:  And you think he’s doing a good job? Never mind. Anyway…I’m going to encourage you to look carefully at the candidates. Look at the big picture.

Beren:  I’m not sure if I can vote, to be honest with you.

Marni:  You’re registered.

Beren:   I think I might have a felony. I don’t know. I just don’t want to go be surprised by anything. I don’t want to have any knocks on my door. And also, I just don’t really care anymore.

Marni:  So sad. Well, I really encourage you to go out and vote because I really do believe that this is your chance to get your voice heard. I really don’t think you have a felony and I think you would know. You wouldn’t be allowed to register if that was the case.

Beren:  I’ll think about it.

Marni:  I think you should vote. I encourage you to do so.


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Marni is excited for the election, but Beren doesn’t plan to vote. She says she has to work the day of the election and doesn’t have time. Plus, she doesn’t think her vote will matter.

But Beren forgets how important the right to vote is. For a long time black people and women couldn’t vote in the US. Marni says it’s her duty to vote, her chance to affect the country. And if she doesn’t vote, she won’t be able to complain if things don’t go the way she’d like.

Marni is surprised to learn that the one time Beren voted, it was for President George W. Bush, who most Americans (around 90%) don’t currently think is doing a good job. Beren told Amanda a while back that she likes McCain in this election. But Marni doesn’t care who Beren votes for, as long as she chooses carefully.

Then Beren says she might be a felon, so she won’t be allowed to vote. Marni knows that’s ridiculous. How could someone commit a serious crime and not know about it?

Have you ever voted? Do you think voting is important?



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Yes, I've voted only for one time. This was elections in my country. And I voted for our current president. 

I thik it is very important to take a part in the elections/ Because not so long time ago people had to fight for to be able to vote. Now people take this right for granted and don't want to use it.  

03:33 PM Jul 14 2009 |




03:04 PM Jun 26 2009 |



I, too, agree with Marni. Yes to voting. But how much the voting boxes are trusted (playful, ha?)

09:55 AM Jun 23 2009 |


Viet Nam

Fine, election is important, but it should be considered at which level democratic of the country.

In the U.S, the world of freedom and democratic, election is not measly. But in my country-Vietnam, I am sorry to say that it is not important at all. Sealed 

04:26 AM Jun 23 2009 |


Russian Federation

we should respect our right to choose the leaders, this is indispensible for the nation to use this opportunity, otherwise somebody can deprive us of this right. the bigger the country the less role an individual has in the elections. thus the bigger the country the larger becomes the power of the one as the people stops believing in their own influence on the political affairs, and the one has a great opportunity to manipulate the nation.i call everybody for valueing what you re given when you have it  but not when you lose it.

05:40 PM Jun 12 2009 |




that thing what every good citizen must do

09:58 AM Jun 10 2009 |

Bibo 75


i agree with marni it's a civic duty and every one have to vote , that will make change.

05:15 PM Jun 02 2009 |




I should start voting too…

It's true what Marni says, If you don't vote, then you have no right to complain…

03:40 AM May 30 2009 |


Viet Nam

why Reren's voice so bad????I cant hear anything she said….

09:44 AM May 26 2009 |



I suggest you all watch Runaway Jury. That Movie is about civic duty and shows how's trial in US and I think It is a good movie. 

12:13 PM May 20 2009 |



This dialog is very good

11:09 AM May 14 2009 |



i can't watch this video,actually i can't watch all the vidoes on www.englishbaby.com    

Is it because that YouTube is blocked in China?  are there anybody from China can watch this video?  help:(

01:50 AM May 14 2009 |



I want to talk from Pakistan's friends

01:02 PM May 08 2009 |



I haven't voted, but I think it's very important

05:39 PM Apr 30 2009 |





09:24 PM Apr 23 2009 |




woow. good video.

08:06 PM Apr 15 2009 |



Innocent To vote or not to vote, that is the question ? Alas, democracy has become an illusion. Believe me nothing is gonna change. People like George W. Bush made me hate democracy, he thought he can fool the world preaching false democracy ( tyranny disguised as democracy ) Anyway, let us listen to the words of wisdom " let it be "

09:26 PM Apr 14 2009 |



hiiiiiiiii good video          I'm Mohamed from Egypt as possible to know friends                                                             

01:32 AM Apr 13 2009 |



What kind of crime is felony?

01:46 AM Apr 01 2009 |


Russian Federation

I didn't get about felony the girls talked about. Is it a felony don't vote???  I confuesed. And in Russia you don't need to be regestered for voting.

07:56 PM Mar 31 2009 |

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