Oct 24 2011

If we really thought about how many germs we come into contact with throughout a normal day, we might not want to leave home again. Ever. From riding the bus to shaking hands to exchanging money, there are many ways we come into contact with other people. And if they’re sick, we might get sick, too.

This simple idea is the starting point of a frightening new movie, Contagion. The disaster flick is about a deadly virus that spreads so fast, it seems to be unstoppable. Find out why Marni can’t wait to see the film, and Mason plans to avoid it like the plague.

Mason: I keep hearing stuff about this movie, Contagion.

Marni: Oh, Contagion, I can’t wait to go see it.

Mason: Really?

Marni: I love that sort of apocalyptic…I love films like that.

Mason: I mean, to me, that one hits a little too close to home. Because I can deal with, like, The Day After Tomorrow where huge earthquakes happen and tidal waves and stuff. But a disease that happens too fast for us to solve it? That feels like it will actually happen, and I’m kind of freaked out about it.

Marni: I guess I can see your apprehension, but that sort of thing, it intrigues me so much. And it looks like it’s really well done, I mean the cast is incredible. So I think that’s what really draws you in.

Mason: Sure, you’re like, these people wouldn’t have signed on if it wasn’t worth doing.

Marni: A quality film. But I do understand that reservation, because it is kind of scary. This is something that really, possibly could happen. But we would hope that everyone who’s in charge of sort of controlling pandemics would be able to keep up on it.

Mason: But isn’t that part of the thing, like don’t they show people in there and like how utterly kinda helpless they are in the face of these situations?

Marni: Yeah.


That’s grim stuff, you know? Zombies….throw some zombies in there. If it was a zombie virus, that would be just enough fantasy and I would be, alright, cool, I can see this movie.

Marni is excited to see the new movie Contagion. But Mason doesn’t want to see it. He thinks the movie, which is about a deadly disease that spreads very quickly, sounds too scary. He thinks something like that could really happen.

Contagion has a great cast and a really interesting story, Marni says. She thinks the fact that it is realistic makes it a more interesting film, even though it might be frightening to watch. But Mason only likes to watch apocalyptic movies if they involve unrealistic dangers like zombies.

Do you like to watch movies about disasters that could really happen, or do you find them too scary? What can we do to prevent a deadly disease from spreading like in the movie?
Grammar Point

Second Conditional

Mason says that if the virus in Contagion was a zombie virus, he would see the movie. But since it is a regular virus, he is too scared to see it.

Mason uses the second conditional to talk about an unreal situation (if the movie was about a zombie virus) and its imagined consequence (Mason would see the movie).

You can form the second conditional with two clauses. One clause uses if + past tense verb and the other clause uses would + verb. For example, “If you really wanted to see Contagion, I would watch it with you.”

Which is correct, “If Contagion took place in the past, I would watch it” or “I would watch Contagion if it took place in the past”?

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