Joining the Military

Joining the Military

Sep 18 2019


Being part of the military is a serious job. It requires a lot of training, a commitment of several years, and the willingness to go where you’re asked. While some people get military jobs that keep them safe, many people lose their lives. There is always that risk, so enlisting is a big decision.

Talking about military service can be hard, even between friends. Some people feel that joining the army shows how patriotic you are, some don’t agree with having a military at all, and many have opinions in the middle. It’s important to remember that even if your ideology is not the same as your neighbor’s, it’s likely that you both care about keeping your country safe.

Do Lily and Gary agree on the subject of joining the military? Read more in today’s English lesson.


Lily: So Gary, what are all these army pamphlets that are on your desk right now?
Gary: Well, we don’t have a draft right now, but I’m considering enlisting to join the military.
Lily: Oh, really?
Gary: I feel like it is my patriotic duty to serve our country, and I feel like I’ve got to follow through on my convictions.
Lily: Well, I respect your ideology, but aren’t you a little bit worried that you’re just going to get sucked into some conflict that doesn’t actually mean anything?
Gary: See, that’s just it. I’m not getting sucked into it. I am taking part in this to protect you, to protect your mom, dad, my family, everybody. To protect our rights.
Lily: Yes, I respect the heck out of you for doing this.
Gary: Thank you.
Lily: But at the same time, it’s really scary because you’re kind of at the country’s whim. They’ll send you wherever they want, and then you have to fight for something that you may not necessarily believe in.
Gary: I agree with that. And it is scary. But I feel like I’ve got to enlist to do something because this country has given me so much.


Gary believes it’s his duty to join the army, so he has been seriously thinking about it. He thinks that his country has given him a lot of opportunities, and Gary feels that he should repay this gift by enlisting in the military.

While Lily respects Gary’s opinion, she doesn’t agree with it. Lily’s worried that if Gary joins the army, he will be asked to fight somewhere for something that he might not believe in. She reminds him that he could be sent anywhere in the world, and he won’t have any say in the matter. It’s a difficult subject to talk about because Gary and Lily clearly have very strong but very different convictions.

Can you choose to join the military in your country, or is it mandatory? How do you feel about it?

Grammar Point

Phrasal Verbs

Lily asks Gary if he’s afraid of getting sucked into something if he joins the military. She uses a phrasal verb.

Phrasal verbs are composed of a verb + a preposition or adverb that changes the original meaning of the verb. For instance, a lot of phrasal verbs take the preposition “out.” Examples include break out (get away from), hand out (give to people), and, of course, make out (kiss a lot).

The verb suck means to put into the mouth and pull on, like a baby sucking on a bottle. But when Lily adds the preposition into, it changes the meaning of the original verb. If you are sucked into something, you are involved in a situation, not always by choice.

Some phrasal verbs are non-separable, meaning the preposition must directly follow the verb. For instance, you can say “I dropped by the bar,” but not “I dropped the bar by” because drop by is non-separable.

On the other hand, drop off is separable. You can say, “I have to drop off my son at school,” or, “I have to drop my son off at school.”

Which is correct, “I’m going to ask out your friend,” or, “I’m going to ask your friend out”?


  1. Why does Gary want to join the military?

  2. Why is Lily worried about Gary’s decision?

  3. If you join the army, you probably have strong __.

  4. Which is not a phrasal verb?

See the full English lesson at English, baby!