Talking about family, Dr. Muhammed Yunus, quiz, taxis in Cairo, "What's the best way to travel?", in the chemist, 'look' vs 'sound', false friends

Elementary Podcasts: Tess & Ravi
Audio icon elementary-podcasts-s01-e07.mp3

Task 1

Section 1 - Conversations in English

"Your mum and dad live in Brighton now, don’t they?" – Talking about family

Section 1 is based on the Introduction. This section looks at how to talk about both your and other people's families.

Suggestion: One way to do this section is:

  • Download the Support Pack and Transcript.
  • Read the Transcript.
  • Look at the Support Pack, where you can read Tom the Teacher's tips and also find some useful words and phrases for this section.
  • Do the exercises below to help you to learn the common phrases.
  • If possible, practise these common phrases with a friend who speaks English or is also learning English.

Practice materials: Exercise 1

Use this information to complete the Conversations in English activity below.

            Dad ------------------------- Mum 
(died two years ago)   |   (lives in Swindon)
                   Harry (28, builder)
                   Julia (26, works in an office)
                   Dave (24, works in a bank)
                   Dan (22, graphic designer)
                   Paula (20, student)


Practice materials: Exercise 2

There are more practice materials in the Support Pack.

Task 2

Section 2 - I'd like to meet...

Section 2 is based on someone talking about somebody or something they like. It helps you to practise speaking for a little bit longer – for example, when you're explaining something, or telling people something about yourself.

Suggestion: The best way to practise is with a friend who speaks English or is also learning English. However, if you can't find someone, you can send us a paragraph in English.

You listened to Muhammed talking about Dr. Muhammed Yunus, the Nobel Prize winner.

Can you think of a Nobel Prize winner that you’d like to meet? Or you could tell us about a famous person from your home town or city.

If you can think of someone, make some notes to answer the questions that you can find in the Support Pack. Now put your notes together to write a paragraph about that person and add it as a comment below.


Task 3

Section 3 - Quiz

Section 3 is based on the Quiz. This helps you to learn the meaning of new words and how to remember them.

Suggestion: You can write your answers in our Support Pack.

You might want to use a notebook or part of your folder to make your own word lists and maps.

The quiz in this podcast is called ‘Beginning with…’ – for example, ‘think of a sport beginning with ‘B’ – the answer could be ‘baseball’ or ‘basketball’ for example – there are lots of possibilities. Playing this game is a good way to revise and learn new vocabulary.  

Practice materials: Exercise 1

Put the words into the correct categories.


Practice materials: Exercise 2

You can play ‘Beginning with…’ by yourself, or with a friend.  To see some ideas, please download the Support Pack.


Task 4

Section 4 - Our Person in...

Section 4 is based on 'Our Person in...'. It helps you to listen to other people speaking for a little longer than they speak in a conversation, like a radio or television news report. When people prepare written reports, they are often a little more formal, and use more complex words and structures.

You listened to Susan Harold talking about the taxis in Cairo.
Can you tell people about the transport in your city or town? Maybe your city has trams, or ferry boats across a river, or a more unusual form of transport.

Suggestion: Download the Support Pack and read the notes to help you to think of things to say, and the best order to say them. Make your own notes and then join these together to make a paragraph in the comments section below.

Task 5

Section 5 - Your turn

Section 5 is based on 'Your Turn'. It helps you to listen and understand people giving their opinions.

In Your Turn you heard 5 people answer this question: ‘What’s the best way to travel?
What do you think?  What’s your favourite way of travelling?

Suggestion: Download the Support Pack and look at the phrases that the people use. Sometimes they don't use complete sentences. Write down notes and then say what you think.

Maybe you agree with one of them, or maybe you can think of something different. Write down your opinion and try to explain why it’s the best way to travel. Do this in the comments section below.

Task 6

Section 6 - Carolina

Section 6 follows Carolina – a girl who has come to the United Kingdom (UK) to live, study, and to have fun exploring a different country and culture. Listening to this can help you if you find yourself in a similar situation. You will see that there is often more than one way of saying the same thing in English.

Suggestion: listen to Carolina's conversation at the chemist and then do the exercises.

Practice materials - Exercise 1

Put the phrases in the correct places in the conversation.


Practice materials - Exercise 2

Choose all the phrases that are correct.


Practice materials - Exercise 3

Please download the Support Pack for more practice materials.

Task 7

Section 7 - Joke

Section 7 is a joke. A joke is normally a funny story you hear and tell someone else. But you can also describe funny things that happen to you. The most important thing is to watch your friends to see if they are enjoying the story or not – then you can make it longer or shorter.

Suggestion: We suggest you do this:

  • Listen to the joke.
  • Do Exercise 1, in which you put the lines in the right order.
  • Do Exercise 2, in which you tell the joke.
  • Think of a funny story that you know. Write down the most important words in English (use a dictionary?). Then try telling the joke.

Practice materials - Exercise 1

Read sentences and put them in the right order to tell the joke.


Practice materials - Exercise 2

Download the Support Pack. Look at the notes and tell the story without looking at the script.


Task 8

Section 8 - Tom the Teacher

Section 8 is Tom the Teacher. These are more traditional exercises. They look at being accurate in English, and often use the type of exercises you may find in English tests and exams.

Practice materials - Exercise 1

Match the first and last parts of sentences to practise the words 'look' and 'sound'.


Practice materials - Exercise 2

Complete the sentences with different forms of 'look' and 'sound'.


Practice materials - Exercise 3

Practise 'false friends' by choosing the correct word.





Hi, team British council.
I, in this moment, am traveling Europe by train. It is an awful experience. I had never done this before, because in my contry this way of transport there is not exist. I am happy, in Europe. I`ll stay in Madrid the next 7th and 8th on May2017. there ends my spectacular trip.
I invite to travel by train.
bless you.

I'd prefer to travel by train if you mean a long distance. Because it's the safest transport. Besides, you can rest in the compartment: take a nap, or read a book, or talk to your satellites, or listen to music while watching sceneries through a large window.

For me, the best way to travel is by car. I love driving, I love that feeling of having the control of the machine. Specially when the car has a standard gearbox, I do not like very much driving a car with automatic gearbox.
Even tough I think that the best way to travel is by car, I also love travel by plane, altough I have just done it a couple of times, the feeling was incredible, specially the first time. That eyesight when the plane starts to listing off and bit by bit you can see how all the things start to getting smaller and smaller, it's simply amazing.

Here, in Mexico, the taxis are a real-huge-difficult subject. First, since I live in Mexico City (which is considered one of the most populated countries) the traffic is a nightmare, so if you are planning to take a taxi and you are in a hurry, it could be a very frustrating experience. You could get stuck in the traffic at any moment, specially if you are travelling in the morning or at lunchtime or in the evening, when everybody are coming back to home from work.
Second, in my country, unfortunately, not all the cabbies are very honest, some of them may use a modified taximeter, which will increase the amount of the cost arbitrarily, therefore, you could pay more, of the travel, of what's worth.
And finally, there is another issue in my country, which is the insecurity, and taking a taxi could be, in some places, very dangerous. Because there are a lot of assaults inside of a taxi everyday. That's the main reason that, nowadays, people choose an Uber cab, rather than a Taxi.

Hello dear team.
have a look at this sentence- When you stop to think about it.
Shouldnt ing verb be used after stop ?

Hello Eddi,

Some verbs can be followed by either the -ing form or to-infinitive. On these pages you can see some examples:

In this example, there is a difference in meaning:

When you stop thinking about it = do not think about it any more

When you stop to think about it = pause in  what you are doing so that you can think about it


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

As for me, it mainly depends on how far you’re going to go, on the weather outside and your mood. If there is a sunny day I prefer to walk the distance of five to ten kilometers. If I’m in the mood for rain I can go for a walk or get to work on foot when it’s raining. When it comes to traveling far I prefer train to bus. I love planes but I haven’t experienced long distance flying yet. Well, actually I’ve flown in a plane for a couple of times but I’ve never landed in it. I mean, I’ve taken off but always landed by myself using a parachute. I love to ride a bicycle too but mostly for fun and not on business.

I think I live in a town rather than in a city. That’s probably why we don’t have such public transport as underground or even trams here. The most common ways of traveling in my town are trolleybuses and vans which are modified for human transportation and run by private carriers. Of course, there are plenty of taxis in the streets too. The fastest and, that is why, the most expensive way to reach one’s destination is a taxi. A taxi is the only transport you can use after midnight. Although, about two trolleybuses have recently started working overnight here. The thing is that the fare is doubled and number of routs is limited. A trolleybus is the cheapest and the slowest public transport during a day. Vans which I mentioned above are something in between and that makes them the most popular public vehicles among the citizens. As for me, I like to walk to places when there’s no rush or go by van when I need to get somewhere quickly or when I’m just tired. I use taxis mostly at night or when there is no other possibility to reach a desired destination on time and on foot. It could be situated too far from the nearest stop, for example. I usually walk to and from work as it is not very far from the place where I live. Most people here use vans or trolleybuses to get to work or somewhere else. The pensioners always use trolleybuses because they are free for them. I guess, most tourists coming here prefer buses or modified vans. The taxis in my town charge you according to the meter. But it wasn’t always like that. Around ten years ago or so you had to pay the amount of money you were said to pay by a cabdriver. There weren’t many conflicts over the payment in my personal experience but sometimes it was just too much for a covered distance. Many drivers, who work illegally, still do it.

If there were a possibility I would like to meet an outstanding physicist Albert Einstein. He was born in Germany in 1879. I guess, he is most famous for his special theory of relativity. Albert Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921. He received the award for his numerous contributions to theoretical physics and especially for his discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect. Unfortunately, he died many years ago and there isn’t any known, sane means to connect with him. Although, I don’t think I would have a chance to speak to him anyway. I mean if I had lived at the time when he was still alive. Albert Einstein died on April 18, 1955 at Princeton, New Jersey. He obtained his doctor’s degree at the age of 26. In 1933 he renounced his German citizenship for political reasons and emigrated to America. He was offered the Presidency of the State of Israel after World War II, which he declined. He received doctorate degrees in science, medicine and philosophy from many European and American universities. He is famous for many non-scientific works too. If I met him I would ask him what, in his opinion, the purpose of living is. I’m sure we would laugh a lot over his and my responses, especially mine, and just have a great time discussing it.

Hello The LearnEnglish Team!
I have a bothering question. If you translate this sentence 'Well, I've got three big brothers and one sister.' into my language the hearer will think that there are five siblings in your family including you. Can an English speaker perceive it the same way sometimes or it is always obvious that you have one big sister and who knows how many younger ones? Wouldn't it be clearer if one said 'big sister'? (According to the task (the first one) the speaker definitely has two sisters, one of whom is older than he is.)
Thank you in advance!
With appreciation,