Episode 15

Episode 15

Discussing TV crime programmes, Tess teaches Ravi a thing or two about Sherlock Holmes. Adam and Jo explain how to use 'to be born'.



Adam: Hello and welcome to Episode 15 of Series 4 of LearnEnglish Elementary Podcasts. My name is Adam and, as usual, I'll be talking about some of the language from the podcast later, with my colleague Jo.

Last time we heard Carolina and Emily chatting in the library when they should have been studying for their exams. We asked how you like to study, and we got lots of answers – you obviously all do a lot of studying, and all have different ways of doing it.

First of all, some of you are early birds – you like to get up and study early in the morning. Others are night owls – you stay awake and study at night. Wuri Koes from Indonesia is a night owl. Wuri says, 'I like to study in complete silence, so late at night is my favourite time for studying'. Safwan10000 from Saudi Arabia agrees and so do Arum Adriani from Indonesia, Abdou_sky from Algeria and bittzzaa from Romania. They all study late at night, at home and in silence. I study at night as well, but usually because I don’t do it in the day!

Alibeneshaq is an early bird – 'I prefer to study alone in my room in the morning after eating breakfast. I believe that the mind is clear in the morning.' Yellowhead16 from Canada agrees that morning is the best time to learn new things. Well, I find making breakfast difficult in the morning – studying would be impossible …

But what about where you study? Olive_ashok from Nepal always went to the university library because it was quiet and nobody disturbed her. Bassel Hinawi from Syria also feels that he can achieve more in the library. And Marziyeh from Iran says, 'I feel sleepy when I study at home, but in the library – I have to sit in one place and study'. And you're right, Marziyeh – there's no TV or fridge or bed in a library to tempt you.

But Nada Ghannoum from Syria says, 'The library is the worst place for studying in the whole world. There are students chatting, laughing, taking selfies and even eating there'. So Nada studies at home – and when she gets bored, she sings to cheer herself up.

Most of you agree that home is the best place to study. Sine_nomine from Ukraine studies at home even though she shares a room with other girls. Farhanda Bashir says 'there's no place like home'. Reza Saadati hates the buzzing sound you get in a library from the lights or the air conditioning so he prefers to study at home. Yes, some noises are really annoying.

And to be a little bit different, farook.ma from the UK, and british learner from Guinea both enjoy studying outside in the open air, somewhere quiet and calm under the trees. That sounds wonderful, but I think I’d fall asleep!

And what about music? Chickenteriyaki listens to Mozart or Chopin. Davidfromhell from Mexico listens to music and sings when he's studying.

Sine_nomine thinks music is 'a great distraction' and OCY21 from Italy says 'I can't focus on my work without total silence!'

So there we are – a lot of different opinions about where and when and how to study. Keep on sending your comments in – and remember the Elementary Podcast app which you can get from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, or just follow the link from the LearnEnglish website.

And now it's time to hear from Tess and Ravi again, talking about a typically British subject, well a person ... I'm not going to tell you any more, though – Ravi's got some clues for you ...

Tess and Ravi

Tess: Hello. Here we are again, Tess, (that's me) …

Ravi: And Ravi. That's me.

Tess: And we're here to talk about Britain – the things that you know about it … and the things you think you know. Now, let's see if you can guess what we're talking about today. I'll give you some clues, we're talking about a man – a detective, he plays the violin, he has a friend who's a doctor, he smokes a pipe, he lives in Baker Street in London …

Ravi: Elementary, my dear Watson. I mean Tess.

Tess: Yes, it's Sherlock Holmes. A lot of you said that you think of Sherlock Holmes when you think of Britain.

Ravi: Yeah, it's that idea of old London, isn't it? Horses and carriages, old dark streets, cold and foggy, empty, criminals, thieves, horrible murders … aaaargh!

Tess: Stop it.

Ravi: Well, give us some information, then. When was he born?

Tess: He wasn't born. He wasn't a real person, Ravi. He was a character in a book, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Ravi: I knew that.

Tess: And Father Christmas doesn't exist.

Ravi: Aww, no!

Tess: But seriously, a lot of people think he really existed. In the books, Sherlock Holmes lived at 221B Baker Street in London. The company that was at that address received hundreds of letter addressed to Sherlock Holmes. They had a special person – it was his (or her) job to answer all the letters.

Ravi: Really? What a job. I wonder why so many people wrote to him. Tess: Well, in the Sherlock Holmes books the stories often start with an interesting letter or a visitor to his flat in Baker Street. I think that what people love about Sherlock Holmes in the stories is that he seems to know everything just by looking at people.

Ravi: Like in the films when he says ‘The killer is a man aged forty-two who is left-handed and spent several years in India’ and then he explains how he knows that.

Tess: Yeah, I love all that stuff too. Sherlock Holmes was the first detective to use that kind of logical way of solving a crime. Lots of the things he did in the books were very new things for the police at the time. The police in the stories often seem a bit … well, stupid, compared to Holmes.

Ravi: Forensic methods.

Tess: Exactly – forensic police work means using science to solve the crime – and Holmes – or rather the writer, Conan Doyle – helped develop lots of the ideas. You know TV programmes like CSI – have you seen that?

Ravi: CSI? The crime programme – yeah, I love it.

Tess: Well that’s the same idea as Sherlock Holmes, isn’t it? Using tiny clues to find the answer to the crime. It’s the same with that programme about the doctor – House.

Ravi: Yeah, he’s a bit like Sherlock Holmes – House always knows the answer when no one else does.

Tess: And Doctor House, the doctor in the programme, he lives in apartment two two one B – just like Sherlock Holmes.

Ravi: Well, there you go. You learn something new every day.

Jo and Adam

Adam: And here's Jo back with us again.

Jo: Hello everyone. That was quite interesting. I didn't know that Doctor House has the same address as Sherlock Holmes.

Adam: Neither did I. Are you a Sherlock Holmes fan, Jo?

Jo: I’m not really, but I do want to watch the new TV series when I can.

Adam: Oh, I love Sherlock Holmes. My favourite is the BBC radio version. But I don’t listen to or watch a lot of detective shows. How about you?

Jo: No, I don’t either. Detective shows aren’t really my thing. Why don't you write and tell us if you like Sherlock Holmes?

Adam: Or other crime writers or TV programmes. Which ones are your favourites? The address is www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish.

Jo: We really enjoy reading all of your comments.

Adam: Now it's time to look at some of the language from the podcast.

Jo: Yes. My students make a lot of mistakes with this. Listen to Ravi's question about Sherlock Holmes. Ravi: Give us some information, then. When was he born?

Jo: The question was 'When was he born?' We always use 'born' with the verb 'to be' – 'to be born'. 'Born' isn't the infinitive of a verb. You can't change it and we don't use it with auxiliary verbs like 'do' or 'did'.

Adam: You can't say 'When did he born?' or 'I borned in 1987'.

Jo: 'When was he born?' or 'I was born in 1987'.

Adam: Jo, when were your daughters born? Jo: One was born in 2008, and the other one in 2011. You can use 'born' in the future or the present too. But remember that it's the verb 'to be' that changes – not 'born'. Adam: 'The baby's going to be born in April.’

Jo: Or 'Most babies in Britain are born in hospital.’

Adam: And I think that's all for today. There are exercises on the website to help you with 'born' and other language that you heard in the podcast. You can do them online or download them and print them.

Jo: Don't forget to write and let us know your comments on the podcast too.

Adam: I'll read some of them out next time. So goodbye for now.

Jo: See you next time. Bye!



Average: 5 (2 votes)
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Submitted by User_User on Mon, 19/08/2019 - 18:29

Hello I watched Sherlock Holmes movies as a child. I have only every three days time to learn with the elementary podcast series, because I have got a long list of resources for which I need three days to complete. A movie or a computer game could be a way to improve your English, but I haven't got the time for it now. Maybe the language which they use in the movie isn't modern. These days you can drown in the information which is available on the internet. Bye

Submitted by parisaach on Sat, 15/06/2019 - 10:30

I like Sherlock Holmes. I know some movies have made in this name . I watched one when I was a child and it was the best one. The movie starring Jeremy Berett as Sherlock Holmes. I liked Jeremy berette I knew her from the film "My fair lady", one of my favourite movies that time. I really enjoyed watching this series every week that time . I also remember at the same time I watched two other series based on the famous Agatha Christie's novels : Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. I also watched an Iranian series when I was about 11 or 12 which is named " Mozde Tars" maybe I can translate it to Reward of fear. I was so affected by the series on that age .

Submitted by NahB on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 19:11

A little question: how and when I have to use "though" at the end of the sentense? "I'm not going to tell you any more, though"
Hello NahB, 'Though' adds a contrasting element to the sentence when used in this way, so it would be used when you have told the other person something, but are not going to say more (the contrast being telling them something before vs not telling them something in the future). ~ Another example might be this: "It's going to rain later." [a statement without any contrasting sense] "It looks nice at the moment. It's going to rain later, though." [now there is a contrast] ~ Peter The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by cuneyt on Tue, 11/12/2018 - 07:06

Hi, Good morning everyone; I have heard something about sharlock holmes. I haven't watched sharlock holmes TV series. I watched to movie sharlock holmes. Robert Downey Jr. was reviving to sharlock holmes character. I didn't know be unreal character to sharlock holmes.My favourite tv programme is İnspector Gadget. Have a nice day.
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Submitted by David on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 11:48

In 1960,there was a drama called "Yours Truly,Johnny Dollar"that was broadcasted by radio every night.It was a criminal drama which was adapted of CBS Radio Network America.It was too similar the story of Sherlock Holmes.It was interesting that time.
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Submitted by natiolicosta on Wed, 20/06/2018 - 01:11

I was thought that Sherlock Holmes was a real person. I don’t like crime writers very much, but I already watched a serie of Sherlock Holmes at Netflix. Besides English, I learn about many things in this site. I really like this. Thank you very much!
Ha ha ha. I was thought that Sherlock Holmes was a real person too.. ))) by the way, probably at that time there was a man like Sherlock Holmes. I am sure!

Submitted by Hal55 on Mon, 21/05/2018 - 13:42

I have read almost all the stories of Sherlock Homes when I was a student. and like Tess said, I found that I like the story that he seems to know everything by tiny clues and solving crimes without stepping outside. and I began to start reading other novels that are kind of mystery. but Japanese manga Detective Conan isn't my favorite.