Episode 07

In this episode Tess and Ravi talk about their families, and their guests talk about Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr Muhammed Yunus and life in Cairo. You can follow Carolina in Newcastle, but in this episode she’s not feeling very well. Will she have to go to see a doctor?

Listen to the podcast then do the first exercise to check your understanding. If you have more time choose some of the language practice exercises.


Section 1 – "Your mum and dad live in Brighton now, don’t they?" – Talking about family

Ravi: Hello hello and welcome to the LearnEnglish Elementary podcast number seven. I’m Ravi, from Manchester …

Tess: And I’m Tess, from London. As usual we’ve got lots of interesting stuff for you to listen to – we’ve got the quiz, we’ve got Carolina … and .. we’ve got our producer Gordon, as usual. Hello Gordon.

Gordon: Hi Tess. Hi Ravi.

Tess: Hiya. Have you had your hair cut Ravi?

Ravi: I have, yeah, do you like it?

Tess: Yeah, I do, it’s nice. It’s quite short for you. Shorter than usual. Are you changing your image?

Ravi: No, not really. I just fancied a change, you know. And I’ve got a big family party this weekend so I thought I’d get my hair cut for that.

Tess: You want to look smart. Fair enough. What’s the party?

Ravi: It’s my dad’s fiftieth birthday. My mum’s organised a surprise party for him.

Tess: Oh, brilliant. What a nice idea. Your mum and dad live in Brighton now, don’t they?

Ravi: Yes. They moved down there a couple of years ago. My big sister’s still in Manchester though.

Tess: How many brothers and sisters have you got again? I can never remember.

Ravi: I’ve got one older sister and two younger brothers. Hang on a sec. That’s them there.

Tess: You keep a picture of your family in your wallet? How sweet.

Ravi: Yeah. Course I do. That’s Asha, my big sister, there. She’s 3 years older than me.

Tess: She’s really pretty. It’s a shame our listeners can’t see this. You do realise that Ravi, don’t you.

Ravi: I know I know – but it’ll only take a minute. That one’s Deepak – he’s at university in Bristol and that’s Vikram. He’s still at school.

Tess: Hey, your brothers are both really good-looking. What happened to you?

Ravi: I knew you were going to say that.

Tess: Only joking Ravi. Anyway, we’d better move on – we’ve got a lot to get through.

Section 2 – I’d like to meet

Ravi: Right. So let’s start with I’d Like to Meet.

Tess: OK. In this part of the podcast we ask people a simple question – which famous person, dead or alive would you like to meet? And we ask them to explain why. So let’s say hello to this week’s guest, Muhammed from Manchester. Hi Muhammed. Welcome to ‘I’d like to meet’.

Muhammed: Hi Tess and Ravi

Ravi: Hi Muhammed. So you’re a Manchester boy like me. Good football team eh.

Muhammed: Which one?

Ravi: Which one!? No – don’t tell me you’re a Manchester City supporter! Noooo!

Muhammed: I’m afraid so. Sorry Ravi.

Tess: Ravi can’t speak – so I’ll continue. What do you do Muhammed?

Muhammed: I’m at college at the moment - but when I finish I want to join the police.

Tess: You want to be a policeman. What made you decide to do that?

Muhammed: My uncle’s a policeman. I don’t know really – it’s just something I’ve always wanted to do.

Tess: OK. Now, who are you going to talk about today Muhammed – who’s the person that you’d like to meet – if you had the chance?

Muhammed: I want to talk about Muhammed Yunus.

Tess: OK. Off you go.

Muhammed: Well, he’s from Bangladesh – from Chittagong actually – that’s where my dad’s family came from – we’ve still got relations living there. And I think everyone knows his name now – since he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 – well he won it with his bank.

Ravi: A bank won the Nobel peace prize?

Muhammed: Yes. The Grameen Bank? Microcredit?

Ravi: Well, yeah, it sounds familiar.

Muhammed: It’s a bank for poor people.

Tess: Perhaps you’d better explain how it works Muhammed.

Muhammed: Well, it all started when he - Dr Yunus – he’s a professor of economics - he visited a village outside Chittagong, and he talked to a very poor woman – and he realised that she only needed a small amount of money – just a couple of dollars – and then she could buy materials to make things and sell them and earn money. She couldn’t borrow money from the bank because they didn’t believe that she would pay it back. He found more people in the same situation - think it was forty-two people in the village – and all of them together only needed twenty-seven dollars -- that’s all they needed to be able to start making money for themselves. So he lent them the money - and they all paid it back to him later. Then he went to other villages and did the same thing. So he started his own bank – the Grameen Bank – to lend small amounts of money to poor people, mostly women actually. That’s what microcredit means.

Tess: What kinds of things do they use the money for?

Muhammed: Well, a woman can buy a cow, and then she can sell the milk and pay to send her children to school. Or she could buy a mobile phone – the villages don’t have telephones – and then people can pay to use her phone. They aren’t expensive things – it just means that poor people can start to earn money. And now the Grameen Bank lends millions and millions of dollars to people.

Ravi: And they all pay it back?

Muhammed: Most of them yes – something like 99 per cent. And now countries like the United States and Britain are using the idea too, it’s all over the world - so – well, I think he’s brilliant – a real hero. That’s what I’d like to say to him.

Tess: Well thank you Muhammed. That was really interesting.

Muhammed: Thanks.

Ravi: There’s an old joke isn’t there – something about ‘a bank will only lend you money if you can prove that you don’t need it’.

Tess: Well yes – it’s true isn’t it! I’d never really thought about it before.

Ravi: No, nor me.

Section 3 – Quiz

Ravi: OK. Let’s move on now to quiz time. A little game to make you think. Let’s see who we’ve got on the phone today. Hello?

Niall: (on phone) Hi Ravi.

Ravi: Niall? Hello Niall, where are you calling from?

Niall: From Belfast.

Ravi: Ah, Northern Ireland. Lovely. And what do you do Niall?

Niall: Well, I work in a shop but I’m going to university soon.

Ravi: OK. What are you going to study?

Niall: Spanish

Ravi: Ah. Buenos dias!

Niall: Buenos dias, Ravi

Ravi: Actually, that’s all the Spanish I know. OK, so we’ve got Niall from Belfast and Nikki. Hi Nikki.

Nikki: (on phone) Hi Ravi

Ravi: And where are you from Nikki?

Nikki: From Luton. North of London.

Ravi: I know it well. My uncle lives there. And what do you do Nikki?

Nikki: I work in a garden centre.

Ravi: Very nice. Right. We’re going to play ‘Something Beginning with’ again. I’m sure you both know how to play but I’ll explain the rules. I’m going to ask the questions and when you know the answer you press any button on your phone. Let’s hear your buzzer, Niall. (Niall’s buzzer). And yours Nikki (Nikki’s buzzer). Right. I ask the questions and give you a letter. So, I might say for example "A sport beginning with ‘F'" and when you think of a sport beginning with ‘F’ you press your buzzer. Can either of you think of a sport beginning with ‘F’?

(Niall’s buzzer)

Niall: Football

Ravi: Exactly. The winner is the first person to get three answers right. Are you both ready?

Niall/Nikki: Ready/OK

Ravi: Then let’s go. Can you tell me a fruit beginning with ‘C’?

(Nikki’s buzzer)

Ravi: Nikki

Nikki: Cherry

Ravi: Yes. One nil to Nikki. Can you tell me a means of transport beginning with ‘T’?

(Niall’s buzzer)

Ravi: Niall.

Niall: Train.

Ravi: Yes. One one. Next one. Can you tell me an animal beginning with ‘F’?

(Niall’s buzzer)

Ravi: Niall.

Niall: Fox.

Ravi: Yes. Two one to Niall. Can you tell me an item of clothing beginning with ‘S’

(Nikki’s buzzer)

Ravi: Nikki.

Nikki: Socks

Ravi: Yes. Two two. So this one is the decider. Ready? Can you tell me … a vegetable beginning with ‘C’?

(Niall’s buzzer)

Ravi: Niall!

Niall: Cauliflower.

Ravi: Cauliflower. Yes. So Niall is today’s winner. Well done Niall. Bad luck Nikki. The podcast book token will be on its way to you soon to buy any book you want. You can get a Spanish book.

Niall: I might do that Ravi. 

Ravi: OK. Thanks to both of you for playing and the rest of you, remember you can send your ideas for games to us at learnenglishpodcast@britishcouncil.org.

Section 4 – Our person in

Tess: Right. Let’s move on now to Our Person In. This is the part of the podcast when we hear from different people all over the world. This time, Susan Harold is Our Woman in Egypt.

Susan: When I first arrived in Cairo, the capital of Egypt, 10 years ago, I was working as a teacher. I had lessons in different parts of the city and I had to take a lot of taxis – the underground in Cairo doesn’t cover many areas of this huge city. Black and white taxis are a familiar sight here and it’s a cheap way to travel but I found it very difficult.

The big question was – how much do I have to pay? I watched my Egyptian friends in taxis. They didn’t ask the driver “how much?” at the start of the journey, there was no meter in the car to say how much and they didn’t ask ‘how much?’ at the end of the journey – they just handed over the correct amount of money and walked away. “But how do you know how much to pay?” I would ask. A shrug of the shoulders, “We just know.”

Gradually, over the years, I have started to understand the payment system in Cairo taxis. There are several things to think about. How far are you going? How long will you spend in the car? What time of day is it? How many people are in the car? My Egyptian friends can make all the calculations and know exactly how much to pay without a word being spoken.

Unfortunately, the rules can be different for tourists. You might have to pay more if you travel to or from one of the big international hotels in the city. In fact, you might have to pay a little bit just because you’re a tourist. But don’t let that stop you taking taxis in Cairo. In my opinion, there’s no better way to really see the life of this amazing city.

Ravi: I went to Cairo on holiday a couple of years ago and it was unbelievable. I mean, it’s a fantastic city, the pyramids are just incredible and everything but it’s just so big and the traffic …oof!

Tess: Did you take a taxi?

Ravi: I didn’t. I was too scared to cross the road most of the time. I’d love to go back though.

Tess: Well. listeners, remember that you have the chance to join in too. This time we’d like to hear about taking a taxi in your country. You can send it to us at learnenglishpodcast@britishcouncil.org. Actually, taxi might be one of the answers in the next part of the podcast.

Section 5 – Your turn

Tess: It’s time for Your Turn when we go out into the street to find out what people think. And the question this time was ‘What’s the best way to travel?’

Ravi: Actually, that’s quite a difficult question. Erm .. I think I’d say flying. Except it’s really bad for the planet.

Tess: Well, let’s hear what our people said.

Voice 1: Oh, by train. Definitely. You know, you can get up and walk around and you can’t really do that in a plane or a car. And you can just sit and watch the world go by. Not too fast, not too slow. Just right.

Voice 2: Well, I shouldn’t really say this but I love driving. It gives you that feeling of independence that you don’t get with any other transport. You can just go wherever you want. The world’s your oyster. I’d love to drive all the way across America one day.

Voice 3: I know lots of people don’t like it but I really like flying. I still think it’s amazing that we can do it. When you stop to think about it, it’s incredible. And I love the view from up there. Mind you, it’s really bad for the planet, I suppose.

Voice 4: Well I’ve travelled on the underground today but if I had to say what the best way to travel is I’d say bicycle. I think it’s the satisfaction of getting around by your own effort. And it’s good for you.

Voice 5: I’d probably say ‘on foot’, really. I mean, it depends. I love walking in the countryside – it’s not so much fun in the city, I guess. I’ll tell you what isn’t the best way to travel. Flying. I hate it. I’m terrified.

Ravi: Nah, I disagree, I really like flying. What about you Tess?

Tess: I’m surprised that nobody said ‘boat’. I love travelling by boat. We went on a boat holiday when I was a kid – I loved it.

Ravi: And we’d love to hear what all of you out there think. What do you think is the best way to travel? Write and let us know. learnenglishpodcast@britishcouncil.org.

Section 6 – Carolina

Tess: OK. Time now to find out how Carolina’s getting on in Newcastle. Carolina, you might remember, is a student from Venezuela who’s come to Britain to live, study and have fun. Last time we listened, Carolina joined some societies at the university but this time she’s not feeling too well.

In the shared residence kitchen

Carolina: Hi Emily.

Emily: Hi. What are you doing here? I thought you had a seminar at 10 o’clock.

Carolina: I did, but I’m not feeling very well. (she sneezes)

Emily: Bless you! You sound terrible. You’d better go to bed. Did you tell your tutor that you were ill?

Carolina: No, I was early, he wasn’t there, but I left a note on the door. I said I was sorry, but I was very constipated.

Emily: Constipated? Why did you tell him you were constipated?

Carolina: Well, because I am. (she sneezes) See, I can’t stop sneezing.

Emily: You don’t sneeze when you’re constipated. Constipated means that you can’t go to the toilet, you know, you’re blocked ….. , you know, you try and try but you can’t …. well you know.

Carolina: Oh no! I was thinking in Spanish! In Spanish we say I’m constipada! (she sneezes)

Emily: Well in English it’s a cold. You say I’ve got a cold – a bad cold.

Carolina: I knew that! I’ve got a cold! What a stupid mistake! It’s because I’m ill – my head feels like it’s full of, I don’t know, ….. cake.

Emily: Cake?!

Carolina: And I left a note on the door. Everyone’s going to laugh at me.

Emily: No they won’t. Don’t be silly. Everyone knows English isn’t your first language – you made a mistake that’s all.

Carolina: But they won’t know it’s a mistake. (she sneezes) They’ll think I wanted to tell everyone that I was constipated, that I couldn’t go to the toilet. Oh, I want to go home to Venezuela.

Emily: Look, it’s not ten o’clock yet. I’ll go the room and take the note off the door and explain to…. who?

Carolina: Professor Grogan. Room 102. It’ll be too late.

Emily: And you can go to the chemist’s and get yourself something to take. Then come back here and go to bed. You look awful. Have some hot lemon and honey – that’s what my mother always gives me.

Carolina: (she sneezes) OK, thanks a lot Emily.

At the chemist’s

Chemist: Good morning. Can I help you?

Carolina: (she sneezes) Yes please. I can’t stop sneezing. (she sneezes) Have you got anything I can take?

Chemist: Is it a cold or an allergy?

Carolina: It’s a cold. I don’t have any allergies, at least I don’t think so.

Chemist: Have you got any other symptoms? (Carolina sneezes) A sore throat? A headache? A cough?

Carolina: Yes, my throat hurts – it hurts when I eat or drink, and my head hurts too.

Chemist: Have you got a temperature?

Carolina: A temperature? (she sneezes) What’s that? I’m sorry, my English is terrible today.

Chemist: You know, have you got a high temperature, do you feel hot? Is your face hot?

Carolina: You mean a fever? Yes, yes, I think so, my face is hot but my body feels cold.

Chemist: OK. It sounds like a bad cold. Let’s see … ... this should help. Are you allergic to any medicines?

Carolina: No, no I’m not. How often do I have to take it?

Chemist: Two spoonfuls, four times a day. The instructions are on the bottle. Don’t take it if you’re driving, it might make you sleepy.

Carolina: That’s OK. I just want to go to bed. Should I take anything else?

Chemist: Vitamin C will help. Here you are. Take one of these three times a day. And drink plenty of water. Where are you from, if you don’t mind me asking?

Carolina: Venezuela. I’ve only been here a few weeks.

Chemist: Ah. Venezuela. I expect our English weather is a bit too cold for you then. Spend the rest of the day in bed and keep warm. You’ll feel a lot better tomorrow.

Carolina: I hope so.

Chemist: If you still feel terrible in two or three days then you should go and see a doctor.

Carolina: Thank you very much. And how much is that for the medicines?

Tess: Poor Carolina. It’s terrible when you feel ill in a foreign country. 

Ravi: "I am constipated."

Tess: Oh, stop it Ravi.

Ravi: Yeah, you’re right. It is quite funny though. And she got some medicine so I’m sure she’s OK.

Section 7 – The Joke

Ravi: Anyway, that’s almost the end of another podcast but, as usual, before we go, we’re going to hear from Gordon with another one of his amazing jokes. Gordon?

Gordon: Yep.

Ravi: What have you got for us?

Gordon: Another dog, Ravi.

Ravi: Come on then, let’s hear it.


Right. A dog goes to put an advert in a newspaper. In the lonely hearts column, you know.

Ravi: To find a girlfriend?

Gordon: Right. Anyway, the assistant at the newspaper says "That’s fine, just fill in your name and address on this form and then write your advert in the box underneath." “OK”, says the dog.

He fills in the form and then he stops to think for a bit and then he writes in the box – "woof, woof, woof. Woof, woof. Woof, woof, woof, woof." He gives the paper to the assistant and she has a look at it and says to the dog, “You know you’ve got nine woofs here – you can have an extra one for no extra charge – it’s ten words for £5. Why don’t you add another ‘woof’?”

The dog looks really confused. “Another ‘woof’? That wouldn’t make any sense at all”.

Ravi: I quite like that one. Your dog jokes are the best ones Gordon. You should concentrate on them. What do you think Tess?

Tess: Quite funny – but don’t look for work as a comedian just yet Gordon. Anyway. That’s everything from us for this time. After this little break you’ll hear from Tom, our English teacher who’ll talk about the language you heard and give you ideas to help you learn. So we’ll say goodbye but don’t go away.

Ravi: And remember to keep your emails coming to us at learnenglishpodcast@britishcouncil.org.

Tess & Ravi: Bye!.

Tom the teacher

Tom: Hi, my name’s Tom. At the end of every podcast, I talk about some of the language that you heard, and some ways to help you learn English. Today I want to look at some verbs that we use to describe things – or to describe the idea that we have about them. Listen to Emily and Carolina talking. Remember, Carolina is ill. What phrase does Emily use to describe her?

Emily: Hi. What are you doing here? I thought you had a seminar at 10 o’clock.

Carolina: I did, but I’m not feeling very well. (she sneezes)

Emily: Bless you! You sound terrible.

Tom: Emily says “You sound terrible!” We use the verb ‘sound’ when we are talking about something we can hear. Emily can hear that Carolina is ill from her voice, and also from her sneezes. So she uses ‘sound’. If your friend tells you all about her new boyfriend, but you haven’t met him yet, you can say “He sounds nice.” You have the idea that he is nice from what she has said about him, from what you’ve heard. So you can use ‘sound’. Now listen to Emily again. How does she describe Carolina this time?

Emily: And you can go to the chemist’s and get yourself something to take. Then come back here and go to bed. You look awful. Have some hot lemon and honey – that’s what my mother always gives me.

Tom: This time Emily says “You look awful”. This time, she can see that Carolina is ill - it isn’t just her voice now. Her eyes are probably red, and she might be very pale. So this time Emily says “You look awful”. If your friend shows you a photograph of her new boyfriend, and you haven’t met him yet, you can say “He looks nice”. You have the idea that he is nice from the photo – from what you can see. So you can use ‘look’. A lot of languages use words that translate as ‘seem’ or ‘appear’ in all of these situations, so using ‘look’ and ‘sound’ might be a bit strange for you. Try to notice people using ‘look’ and ‘sound’ in the English that you read and hear, and try to use those phrases yourself.

Now I want to talk about something that’s very important when you learn a new language. Do you remember Carolina’s problem with the word ‘constipated’? 

Emily: Constipated? Why did you tell him you were constipated?

Carolina: Well, because I am. (she sneezes) See, I can’t stop sneezing.

Emily: You don’t sneeze when you’re constipated. Constipated means that you can’t go to the toilet, you know, you’re blocked ….. , you know, you try and try but you can’t …. well you know.

Carolina: Oh no! I was thinking in Spanish! In Spanish we say I’m constipada! (she sneezes)

This is a very common problem. It depends what language you speak, but sometimes there are words in your language that are very similar to a word in English. And very often they have the same meaning too. For example, ‘arriver’ in French is similar to ‘arrive’ in English, and the meaning is the same. These words can help you a lot.

But be careful! As we just heard with Carolina, sometimes the words don’t have the same meaning at all! The word ‘constipada’ in Spanish looks and sounds the same as the English word ‘constipated’. But the meaning is completely different. We call these words ‘false friends’. They look or sound the same as a word in another language – so you think they are ‘friends’ - but they don’t have the same meaning. The German word for ‘poison’ sounds the same as the English word ‘gift’ – which means ‘a present’. In Finnish, the word for ‘cat’ can sound like the English word ‘kiss’. False friends can be very dangerous!

When you hear a word in English that sounds or looks the same as a word in your language, the first thing to do is notice the context – the situation where you heard or saw the word, what the people were talking about. This will help you to understand the meaning of the word. Then, if you’re still not sure, check the word in your English learners’ dictionary. And finally, if it is a false friend, then make a note of it on a special page in your vocabulary notebook and make a really special effort to learn it – and remember it. It isn’t easy - even people who speak English very well still make mistakes with false friends – just like Carolina did – when they’re tired or not concentrating.

Now let’s look at a useful phrase that we use in English when we want to ask a personal question. Listen to Carolina and the chemist. What phrase does he use when he asks her a personal question?

Chemist: Vitamin C will help. Here you are. Take one of these three times a day. And drink plenty of water. Where are you from, if you don’t mind me asking?

Carolina: Venezuela. I’ve only been here a few weeks.

Tom: He says “Where are you from, if you don’t mind me asking?” Of course, in a different situation, with your new classmates for example, “Where are you from?” isn’t a very personal question, but the chemist doesn’t know Carolina, and in this situation – Carolina is buying some medicine for her cold – Carolina might be offended – she might think the question isn’t appropriate. So he adds “if you don’t mind me asking”. This makes the question more polite. If you want to ask someone a question but you aren’t sure if it’s polite to ask, then use “if you don’t mind me asking”.

Just before I go, let me give you a phrase from the podcast that you can use. Listen to what we say in English when someone sneezes – atchoo!.

Emily: Hi. What are you doing here? I thought you had a seminar at 10 o’clock.

Carolina: I did, but I’m not feeling very well. (she sneezes)

Emily: Bless you! You sound terrible. You’d better go to bed. Did you tell your professor that you were ill?

Tom: Yes, we say “Bless you!”. Some learners think that we say “God bless you” – well maybe that was the original phrase that people used a long time ago, but nowadays it’s just “Bless you!”. Use it the next time someone sneezes near you!

OK. That’s all from me today. I’ll talk to you all again on the next podcast. Remember you can send your questions to me at learnenglishpodcast@britishcouncil.org. I’ll be happy to answer your questions! Or write to me about any interesting language that you noticed. In a moment you’ll hear the address for the website where you can read everything you’ve heard in this podcast. So bye for now! See you next time.

Check your understanding


Tess and Ravi

Practise the language you heard in Tess and Ravi’s introduction [00:20].

Task 1

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

            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)



Practise the language you heard in the soap opera about Carolina [15:10].

Task 1


Task 2


Tom the teacher

Practise the language you heard in Tom the teacher’s summary [22:30].

Task 1


Task 2


Task 3


Take your language skills and your career to the next level
Get unlimited access to our self-study courses for only £5.99/month.



Submitted by Aljumhy2020 on Fri, 26/11/2021 - 16:31


I think the best way of travelling is the plane because it's so fast, but the most expensive of transports.
Me I travel by bus or train to save my money.

Submitted by ASMAA HAMZAH A… on Thu, 14/10/2021 - 21:40


For me, I prefer traveling by plane because it will save time but this way is very expensive so most of the time I travel by bus or car to save money.

Submitted by Stela Stoycheva on Sun, 12/09/2021 - 22:26

I love to travel anyway... Maybe some transport is slower than other or cheaper than another one... If you travel with your own car you will independent, it will be quiet and more comfortable... I travel in my live with different vehicle... I want to travel with plane again :)

Submitted by Thinthinmyoe on Thu, 08/07/2021 - 11:03

I think Flying is the best way to travel.But, unfortunately,I have never been to travel by plane.It is sure how exciting!

Submitted by alberto bastos on Fri, 04/06/2021 - 20:13

I lovely drive and the car is the best manner of travel. I don't know Train because in my city don't exist it.

Submitted by alberto bastos on Fri, 04/06/2021 - 20:08

I listen to the audio repeatedly to get used to the pronunciation. Do you think this method is correct? or it takes longer to learn.

Hello alberto bastos,

Yes, listening to the audio at least a couple of times is a great exercise. I'd also encourage you to write down two or three phrases or sentences from each section in a notebook, and then that you pronounce those out loud using the audio as a guide.

Choose phrases or sentences that you think could be useful when you're speaking English -- they don't have to be new vocabulary, but rather focus on useful vocabulary.

As far as I can tell, many users just listen once and then do the exercises and move on to the next episode. I'm sure they learn things this way, but I think you can learn much more by spending more time on each episode in the way I suggest above.

Keep up the good work!

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Letis on Wed, 07/04/2021 - 19:43

Hello! I think that the best way to travel in a big city is the train. It's fast and it can carry a lot of people. Also, it's good for the environment. A negative point is that sometimes is not punctual, at least in Argentina.

Submitted by ARISMAR ALVES … on Wed, 24/02/2021 - 14:45

I think airplane is the best way to travel.

Submitted by May Thida Su on Wed, 27/01/2021 - 08:07

Hello everyone!!! I think driving is the best way for travelling. I can't drive but I really want to drive. Someday, I'm sure I can drive. And I have never flied, so I also want to flying. Bye!!!!

Submitted by Albashiry on Thu, 06/08/2020 - 13:12

Can you explain what is wrong with this sentence in Task3? "What is the cost for the medicines?"

Hello Albashiry,

Native speakers just don't say it this way. The other three sentences are the most common ways to ask for this. It would also be possible (though less common) to say 'What is the cost of the medicines?'.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Gulnaziya on Thu, 30/07/2020 - 07:43

I have never been traveling by plain. I just flew from the one to another city by domestic airlines. It only took a half an hour. I am a little bit afraid of flying. But in general I think that all types of transportation has it's good and bad sides. For example, the plain is the fastest and if you want to travel abroad, more far from your area, then it's the best option and you have to do it. I hope that one day I would travel to the European countries and Canada.

Submitted by mayramayoral.m on Sat, 11/07/2020 - 22:44

I know those words as "cognates".

Submitted by OlaIELTS on Sun, 28/06/2020 - 04:05

I think some factor has to be considered in making the choice for a particular travelling means available. My favourite mean of travelling is by bus. I think some factor needs to be considered in choosing a means of travelling. My opinion is that some factor has to put into consideration, this is best justified in scenario of travelling purposes like travelling within a short distance, long distance, travelling within inter-state, travelling across borders, travelling for: holidays, business trip, adventures, international meeting and so on.

Submitted by Pilar_Alejandra on Sat, 27/06/2020 - 21:55

I think the best way to travel is by train like voice one. Firstly is one of the oldest ways to travel and carry for long distances a lot of people , like "The transsiberian" on Rusia. Also if you travel by train you'd know different places meanwhile you are travelling, you'd see a lot of beautiful postals like forest or rivers. Definitly when I have opportunity to travel by train I do that and enjoy my trip.

Submitted by Tony Duc on Sun, 14/06/2020 - 08:28

to me , the best way to travel that is air travel because it is very fast and safe , you can also watching the beautiful view through the window like , i will going to fly in the next day and that is first trip of me and i hope that trip will be interesting

Submitted by Amine Cork on Sun, 07/06/2020 - 20:35

Hello i'm a new member

Submitted by Zamira on Wed, 29/04/2020 - 19:27

I think the best ways to travel are the plane, the train and the ship. It depends on the type of travel. Although I am afraid to fly, but the views are amazing. The train and the ship are quite comfortable types of transport. You can also watching beautiful views through the window.

Submitted by rouaa59 on Sun, 12/04/2020 - 22:29

the plane is my best transport to travel , it is faster, safe and comfrtbale but it don't safe if the weather too bad .

Submitted by Bruno2020 on Fri, 03/04/2020 - 17:31

I would like to travel by plan some day!I never did yet.however I traveled by car a few times and I enjoyed it very much.

Submitted by Malek Sultan on Wed, 25/03/2020 - 09:26

Nice question, For me I think by driving my car because you can go anywhere at any time, you are the captain of the vehicle, and another thing that you have your privacy you can do whatever you want hearing music, calling your friend, changing your plan like stopped at petrol stations to take a rest.

Submitted by Aljona on Wed, 26/02/2020 - 18:09

I like any modern transport for travelling. It depends which of them I use. If I decide to relax I don't choose fast transport. Really I enjoy landscapes, watching animals, picking berries. It takes a lot of time.

Submitted by jmajo on Thu, 13/02/2020 - 15:19

Hi team, I have a question for you: When we use the phrase: 'I've just seen a photo of Tess's new cat'. Why the matching phrase is: 'He looks really cute' instead of: 'He looked really cute', it's not a past situation when we say: 'I've just seen....' ? Thanks a lot!.

Hello jmajo

You could say either 'looks' or 'looked' here. The present form implies that you assume that the cat is still cute now, and the past form of course speaks more about the cat at the time the photo was taken.

All the best


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by jmajo on Thu, 13/02/2020 - 15:11

In my opinion riding my bycicle is the best way to travel, because I go where I need by my own effort and in a more independent way than travelling by bus, taxi or car. Also is very healthy for me and to the enviroment, is cheaper and cleaner than the others means of transport. The only disadvantage is when I need to go somewhere and It's raining. Thanks for the Episode!!.

Submitted by cicero on Mon, 13/01/2020 - 13:48

Good podcast I enjoy a lot listening yours podcast. Anyway, Tess has an amazing voice&accent I'd like to meet her someone in London.

Submitted by Fikymaulana on Sat, 28/12/2019 - 02:22

it depend on the purposes. if i go outside for self purposes. I would prefer to take a motorbike. its more effective and efficient particularly in peak hour. However, If I would like to go with my family, such as for familly ocassion. I would prefer to take a car, it more safety and comfortable for them though in bad wheather.

Submitted by Antonio Maria on Mon, 28/10/2019 - 07:30

One of most big false friend is the italian word for "Warm" sounds and looks like the English word "Cold", so it has the opposite meaning! :-D

Submitted by fayiehs on Tue, 08/10/2019 - 12:43

My favorite way to travel is train , I think its very exciting and comfortable , specially for long distance we have lots of fun , we can get together and play and talk and have great time together , and also we can get enough rest and sleep , more over its safe enough . I really enjoy

Submitted by Mhrra7 on Thu, 29/08/2019 - 08:59

Hello, first of all my name is Mahra I’m from UAE , I am trying to improve my English language by listening to the series every single day . Anyway, actually almost of tourists here in UAE use a taxi , or a bus , but for the citizen almost drives there cars .. in my opioin the citizen who’s use taxi , they are very older or they are under 16 . On the other hand taxis in UAE are expensive ..

Submitted by Dictofon on Mon, 26/08/2019 - 13:32

I think, the best way to travel is by car.

Submitted by HedayaTalal on Wed, 14/08/2019 - 06:31

In Saudi Arabia I think the best way to travel is by cars you can stop any time and you can change your destination anytime you like.

Submitted by thutrangtong on Mon, 10/06/2019 - 06:30

In Viet Nam, I choose the way to travel daily by motorbike Firstly, it’s convenience. I can go anytime, anywhere I want without having to wait for like taxi or bus, and it is not hard to find a place to park motorbike in Vietnam where as it is actually a problem if you travel by car. In Vietnam, you also can find it easily to buy petrol. Secondly, travel by motorbike is flexible way for me to travel in the rush hour. When the main street are so crowded by people and traffic, I usually find the small road which lead to the destination to go through, usually these ways are too small for the car or taxi to come in. Or motorbike can also go through the small spaces on the road to go ahead. Finally, it is the economic solution to travel than the other traffic like car, taxi.

Submitted by OlgaBut on Mon, 15/04/2019 - 20:17

I like to travel by bicycle. But if we're going on a long jorney we prefer the car.

Submitted by Ethel on Fri, 15/02/2019 - 12:35

My favorite way to travel is by car. I do not drive, but I love to take the side seat enjoying the view, and drinking mate (you talked about Argentines who drink a lot of mate, remember it?)

Submitted by Kate gr on Thu, 27/12/2018 - 14:34

Hi everyone. I have a question i just can't understand the meaning of this sentence A shrug of the shoulders. I hope that my question is not silly. Thank you so mutch

Hi Kate gr,

A 'shrug' is a movement of the shoulders up and down. In this case, it's a way of showing that they don't know how they know how much the taxi ride costs. In some countries, people often raise their hands as well when they shrug their shoulders, though I don't know if this is common in Greece.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by VoHoangHuan on Sun, 11/11/2018 - 15:34

Hi teacher! In section 6, Carolina said that : " my throat hurts". Why we don't use passive voice in this sentence. Can I say that :" My throat is hurt" ?

Hi VoHoangHuan,

The short answer is that we just say it this way. Your alternative sentence is grammatically correct, but just don't say that. When we are sick and want to describe symptoms or how something feels, we often use present simple or present continuous to do this, and that is the case here.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by David on Sat, 10/11/2018 - 21:17

Thanks.It is just for test.

Submitted by VoHoangHuan on Fri, 09/11/2018 - 13:50

Hi teacher! In this sentence :" Your mum and dad live in Brighton now, don’t they?" Can I ask :" Do your mum and dad live in Brighton now?" Are sentences both the same meaning?

Hi VoHoangHuan,

Yes, they mean more or less the same thing. The original sentence has a question tag in it. Please follow the link to see an explanation of how they work and what they mean.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sergey Sh on Thu, 08/11/2018 - 04:52

What’s the best way to travel for me? If to be honest, I didn’t try all of the ways. There are the ways like walking, riding bicycle, riding motorcycling, cars, trains, ships, planes and even air balls. For instance, I’ve never travelled by ship or plane, so I don’t know how it feels like. Anyway if you would ask me to describe my perfect holiday trip, I’ll say what. I depart to go to Canarian Islands in Spain to spend my week end. I’m gonna take a plane to get there. It would be the first plane in my life. The planes have always seemed to be scared to fly for me. But at any rate, they’re considered to be the fastest way to cross long distances for short time, aren’t they? Ok, I’m here in Island. Do you know why I chose Canarian Islands trip to talk about? There is a lot of sun shining most part of the day, marvelous beaches, interesting places to go and a possibility to see a real volcano and many other things to do as well. I’m going to rent a car that’s without a roof and go across the island. When you drive a car you can see all around plus it’s very relaxing. It’s a freedom, you know, you don’t need to worry looking for any other transport to go from one point to another. I know there’re mini electric cars with only three wheels and seat for one person there. That would be interesting to rent one of them to go. There are different routes for tourists on Canarian Islands. One of them offers you to drive by car until you get some caves (don’t remember how they’re called). Visiting these caves, you can watch many ages of historical development of the Earth’s soil, to someone like me this can be interesting. From this touristic point you have to go walking up the rocks. You haven’t to climb, here are some paths to walk crossing the rocks. If to say about walking, many people like to go camping. So do I. All you need are good boots, tents and some food stuff. That’s another way to spend your time well. When you walk long distance you’re out of big busy cities and their noise. You talk to your friends and make new ones. You can see the nature by your own eyes. Sitting tonight by a torch and looking at the stars in the sky is very romantic. That’s what I think about walking. Anyway, after when you went out the touristic caves and crossed the rocks you are at the beach where you can come back by ship to where you started. Besides you can go sailing, ship can be interesting that you can dive from it, of course if that service is offered. I love diving very much. It’s possibility to see the new world. That’s especially interesting if you’re going to see beautiful coral reefs, and unusual fish and animals like the leafy sea dragon. A great deal of new feelings. Well I wrote so much that I didn’t notice. I hope, I didn’t make you bored by this. I just described all I’ve seen from a travel episode on TV. I’d like to ask you The Learn English Team about whether Canary Islands are really worth place to visit like TV says? And are there any useful methods that can help me improve my writing?

Hi Sergey,

Thanks for your long contribution. It sounds as if you enjoy writing, which is going to make improving your (already good) writing much more enjoyable.

There are some general tips on improving your writing on our Frequently asked questions page and you'll also find links to other resources on our Facebook page. I suppose you've already considered getting a teacher to help you improve your writing, but if that's not possible, you can still improve on your own. Reading and writing a lot are essential practices for improving your writing. Many people neglect reading, but of course you can learn a lot from how other people write, so it's really important. As you read, make a note of phrases or sentences that strike you so that you can use them later in your own writing. You could also try summarising what others have written, and then compare your summary to their text. If you could find a pen friend or someone to correspond with via email, that would also surely help you learn to express yourself in writing more confidently. Whatever you do, don't give up and keep writing!

As for the Canary Islands, I'm afraid I've never been there so I can't really say. I'm from a cold and grey place, so when I have holidays I tend to go to colder places rather than look for the sun, which I have enough of here. But I hope you manage to get there one day!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by harrynguyen1980 on Fri, 26/10/2018 - 11:31

I would like to talk about the best way to travel that i love. It depends on kind of trips. Firstly, i usually travel with my family to near locations by personal vehicles such as car, motorcycle because i can be easy to make plan. Actually, i always go alone to countryside by my motorcycle when i was single due to budget issue. However i gave up my interest when i got married. Secondly, i prefer public transportation services such as plane, bus, coach or train if i go to other cities where have long distance from my home or travel to other countries for it is safer, more comfortable and easier to my family. In addition, i love going backpacking more than travel by tour because it help me to save spending. Finally, i always travel anywhere on holiday or weekend as well as i budget.