Tess & Ravi

To negate or not to negate? Shakespeare and negative verb forms are the topics the team speak about in this week's episode.

Task 1

Task 2

Task 3

Task 4

Task 5

Task 6

Task 7

Task 8


Leave a comment below!

  • Is Tess right – do non-British people like Shakespeare more than the British do?
  • What do you think of him?
  • Did you study Shakespeare at school? Which is your favourite play?
  • Tell us what you think of some famous writers from your country.

Leave a comment and we'll discuss some of your answers in the next podcast.


Language level

Intermediate: B1


Shakespeare - great playwriter without any doubt. His plays, that were written 400 years ago, still continue to excite us.

I have never watched Shakespeare's plays. I only know his name and thing that he wrote many plays very long time ago. but I see many parodies, films and TV commercials. I like the one was played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Claire Danes.

i think that Shakespeare is a good writer. i have recently read a "A Midsummer Night's Dream". I liked it

also i like watching Shakespeare plays. it's different from the others films, its very original.

Shakespear, yes his English is old and quite difficult to understand, but for me, non-native English speaker, his English is still English, and from Romeo and Juliet, Juliet says from a balcony to Romeo, "Oh Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?" sounds much romatic than to say, "Oh Romeo, why are you Romeo?". Anyway, I am not a big fan of him, just take a glance at Romeo and Juliet, and Mabeth, or Hamlet etc. I would rather read modern writers, indeed.


I would like to thank you very much for the podcast and the exercises. I've read a lot of texts written in English language on these last years, but I really don't know about the following: when should I use or not to use 'contractions'? I always read can't, but also
cannot, I have and I've, have not and haven't, do not and don't, I would and I'd, they are and they're... and so on. Are there rules for contractions? It's very strange for me, because it is rare in my written language, Brazilian Portuguese, and I have never heard a good explanation for the issue. Sometimes I think that the contractions are more "correct and modern", but in some texts they are not used; thus I actually don't know if they are more "informal and popular", or not... Aaahhhh, and just to fun: I imagine that Shakespeare would say: 'To use or not to use contractions?'. Thanks in advance.

Hello Gabriel Ferraz,

Contractions are a reflection of how English is spoken and they are very common in speech. In fact, if someone did not use contractions while speaking it would sould very unnatural, extremely formal and possible rather robotic.

We use contractions in informal writing but generally we avoid them in more formal writing.


I hope that helps to clarify it for you. The more you read, the more you will develop a feel for when such stylistic devices are appropriate.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hi, tnx for your useful podcasts,
About your question, i should telll you in my opinion continues assessment system is better than exam system, because exam system will be forget after while.

Thank you very much Peter M

Good afternoon everyone, It's very nice episode
I want to kow when I can use haven't or don't have


When 'have' is the main verb then we usually use the negative don't have.

When 'have' is an auxiliary or helper verb (such as in present perfect forms) then we use haven't.

For example:

I have a dog > I don't have a dog [have as main verb]

I have some time > I don't have any time [have as main verb]

I have been here before > I haven't been here before [have as auxiliary verb]

We have got £10 > We haven't got £10 [have as auxiliary verb]


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team