Episode 18

Episode 18

Adam reads your comments about families and we find out if Carolina is feeling any better.



Hello. Welcome to episode 18 of the Learn English Elementary podcast. I'm Adam. Rob is away again, but he promised me that he’ll be back soon.

We're going to hear from Carolina today. She wasn't very happy last time, so let's hope things are a bit better now.

But first, your comments on the last podcast. Tess and Ravi talked about the complicated British Royal Family. It was quite difficult for them to explain all the names and titles and the family relationships. S Kumar from India wrote "I got confused when Tess and Ravi talked about the names of the royal family. I had to repeat the recording to remember them, but it was fun."

Some of you told us about royal families in your countries from the past and the present. Isabelle described the Belgian royal family: King Albert II and his family. Sylfide wrote from Spain about the royal family there and her opinions about them. And, from the past, our old podcast friend tkazerooni from Iran told us about the last Iranian royal family. David Mahi and Kirankumar both talked about the old kings and queens of India, like Ashoka the Great. And Leonnidaz and Shahrazed both wrote about the ancient kingdom of Numidia in the north of Africa. Very interesting.

Other users like Michelle from Brazil, Bigoak from South Korea and DiR from Romania wrote about the political systems in their countries, which don’t have royal families. We learned a lot, so please keep on writing your comments.

You also told us about your families. Some of you have small families that aren't very complicated to describe, like Mariam from Egypt and Damoskhan from Iran, for example.

Bigoak talked about describing families in Korean. He says "We have different words for a boy who is the son of the sister of my mother, or a boy who is the son of the brother of my mother". Right…

And he says "We have different words for a girl who is the daughter of the brother of my father, or the daughter of the brother of my mother. Very complicated isn't it?" Well, yes, Bigoak, it is. But Bigoak explains that it doesn't matter if he forgets the words for his family members because everyone is very busy and so they don't meet very often!

Angelo from Italy sent in a logic puzzle like exercise 6 in the last podcast - thanks Angelo. "Sean is looking at a photo of a boy. Albert asks him ‘Who is the boy in this picture?’ Sean answers ‘I haven't got any brothers or sisters, but the father of this boy is the son of my father’. So who's the boy in the photo?"

Think about it! I'll tell you the answer at the end of the podcast.

Now it's time to find out how Carolina is doing. Carolina is from Venezuela and she's studying at Newcastle University in Britain. She lives with her friend Emily in a student house. Last time, Carolina was feeling homesick. You sent in lots of very good advice. You said she should talk to a friend, go out, talk to her family, listen to Venezuelan music… Let's see what happened.

Emily: Carolina? Carolina! It's two o'clock in the afternoon. Are you going to stay in bed all day? Are you ill? Come on Carolina! I'm worried about you.

Carolina: Come in, Emily.

Emily: What's the matter? You look terrible. You've been crying.

Carolina: Oh, Emily!

Emily: What?

Carolina: I'm feeling so unhappy.

Emily: Why? Whatever's wrong? Tell me.

Carolina: It isn't one thing. Yesterday was a terrible day. There was a horrible man in the shop – he said I should learn to speak English.

Emily: No! That's terrible. But you know that's just one person, Carolina. Most people are friendly, aren't they?

Carolina: Yes. But then I couldn't understand the man in the post office – I couldn't understand what he said. It was horrible. I felt so stupid.

Emily: You're not stupid. I don't understand people sometimes.

Carolina: But I'm a foreigner here – this isn't my country. It's difficult for me – I'm tired, Emily. I miss Venezuela. I miss my family. I want to go home. I just want to go home. My mother phoned last night and I just started crying when I heard her voice. It was horrible.

Emily: Oh, Carolina. I don't know what to say.

Carolina: You can't say anything.

Emily: You know there's a student counsellor at the university, don't you?

Carolina: A student counsellor?

Emily: For students who have problems. You can go and see him and talk. About your problems. Maybe he can help.

Carolina: No. I don't think so.

Emily: Are you sure? I can phone and make an appointment for you?

Carolina: I'm sure. Thanks, Emily. I'll be OK.

Emily: Look, why don't we go out for the day on Sunday? Do something different?

Carolina: I can’t. I have to finish my essay. That's another thing. My university work. Last year everything was OK, but this year, I don't know, I can't do things on time. Everything's late.

Emily: You're working too hard – you never have time to relax – that's why you're depressed. We'll go out on Sunday, I'll invite Jamie too. I know you don't have much time to see him.

Carolina: It's Sunday. He has his band practice.

Emily: Not this Sunday. They're not practising tomorrow.

Carolina: How do you know?

Emily: Cameron told me.

Carolina: Cameron told you?

Emily: Yes. Now get out of bed, have a shower, sit down, and finish that essay. You've got three hours before you have to go to work.

Carolina: OK.

Emily: Then, on Sunday, we'll go to the city farm.

Carolina: City farm? OK, I've never been. If I finish my essay.

Emily: You will. Come on. Shower. I'll make you some coffee.

Carolina: Thank you, Emily.



Oh, good. Emily is organizing Carolina and she’s going to get up, have a shower, and write her essay before work. And on Sunday, they're going to the city farm; that will cheer her up. In case you don't know, a city farm is a farm, with animals like cows and goats and chickens, but in a city, so that children (and adults, of course) can visit and learn about nature and where milk and eggs and meat come from. What contact do people have with nature where you live?

I don't live near a city farm, but when I'm feeling a bit down, I always go cycling in the forest. What about you? Write and tell us about a place you go when you want to cheer up. Somewhere that always makes you feel better. Write and tell us at www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish or join us on Facebook.

Now, let's talk about some of the language you heard. What forms of the verbs does Emily use?

Emily: Yes. Now get out of bed, have a shower, sit down, and finish that essay. You've got three hours before you have to go to work.

Carolina: OK.

'Get out of bed, have a shower, sit down, and finish that essay'. Emily used the imperative form of the verbs. She was giving Carolina instructions - telling her what to do. The important thing for you to remember is that she didn't say “'you’ get out of bed”, “'you’ have a shower”. We don't use a subject in the imperative. And the negative is 'don't'. 'Don't get out of bed', 'don't have a shower'. The imperative form is quite strong in English, and can sound very rude, so you can use 'please' to make it more polite: 'Pass me that book, please' or 'Please sit down.'

And sometimes we can say 'always' or 'never' with an imperative. For example, you can say 'Always tell the truth!' or 'Never tell lies!'

There are some exercises using imperatives on the website and other exercises on different topics in the podcast, too. You can do the exercises online or download them and do them on paper. And don't forget to send us your comments - we really enjoy reading them.

We'll be back next time with Tess and Ravi, talking about a very famous animal. She's very big and she lives in Scotland. Any ideas?

Oh, and the logic puzzle? Who's the boy in the photo?

Ah yes. He's Sean's son of course. Simple!

That's all for now… See you next time. Bye!


Language level

Average: 5 (2 votes)

Submitted by mimi.chan on Sun, 30/06/2024 - 05:25


Little poor Carolina 😢 you made me cry. I can understand your feeling, I'm not living far away from home but I have the ability to feel and understand others 

Submitted by Nilay. on Sun, 24/09/2023 - 07:19


Hi, I have been in Melbourne for almost 1 year with my husband. I grew up in Turkey. My extended family lives in Turkey. I don't have relatives or friends here. I really feel homesick. On the other hand, I found a job that makes me feel better. If I am busy I don't think about my family as much.If you haven't done anything, you always think of your family. Calling your family on the phone every day, that makes you feel better. You need a purpose for living abroad. You should consider why you came abroad. You must have a mission.

Submitted by jmajo on Wed, 20/01/2021 - 16:34

When I feel sad I usually take my bicycle and go for a ride in the ramble near my house, I like to take contact with the sea air and hear the sound of the waves and the seagulls to get rid of the sad thoughts, also I try to talk to some friend about it or with one of my brothers, but when I can't do any of those things I play a sad song with my trumpet, that's helps a lot. I live near the sea now so I can go and see it easily but I also like going to the countryside once a while where my father lives, because there I can see a really different reality than in the city, there's a lot of nature and green landscape to make contact with the nature and farm life. Luckily I have a little garden in my house where I can grow some vegetables and see or hear birds chirping all day.

Submitted by Fahim Haider on Tue, 19/01/2021 - 08:48

When i feel sad or depressed I just go outside from home. well.. not a trip exactly, just go outside and take a brisk walk. It's make myself cheer up. But sometimes I'd prefer to listen to a song, of course in my (Bengali) language. well... I can't visit easily the countryside and nature where I live, the reason behind it I live in town, actually I am from countryside but I barely go there. But I love nature and countryside too much.

Submitted by Sajja on Thu, 07/01/2021 - 13:46

When I feel sad I am very nervous and get angry quickly on silly things . The best solution for me is speaking to close someone or who I trust him . That make me better . When I want to cheer up I don't go somewhere. I don't like outdoors places . I think l feel very good in house . I like staying ,eating ,working and playing in house . So, I think if I go out in this bad statue I will feel more sad than before. My answer about the second question, actually I am from countryside where in Qena,Egypt and I miss it very much because I don't live there now . I live Saudi Arabia and here the town that I live in it's difficult to find nature areas .

Submitted by Mazoon AL.Ghssani on Fri, 09/10/2020 - 08:07

Hi when I feel sad, I always like to go at the beach which a quiet place and also the sound of the sea make me feel better.

Submitted by Jhonny on Sun, 27/09/2020 - 16:06

Hello, thank you for teach us English, I really like a lot this podcast, the carolina's story in this episode made me fell awful for I am from Venezuela too and like much people I had to lelf my hometown, so when I fell awful, I go to the beach, or to the cinema, that make me fell cheer up or I go out with my friends.

Submitted by Bruno2020 on Sat, 09/05/2020 - 14:00

Hi everybody!Thnks for another fantastic podcast.When I need to cheer up I don't go anywhere.I prefer to stay home and watch some series and movies,or I play my video game and read a good English book.It helps me a lot.

Submitted by Patricia Zapata on Thu, 13/02/2020 - 15:37

When I feel sad I go to listening and dancing latin american music. Do this for me is very important and it cheers me up very fast. Another thing that cheers me up is going to visit a city near where I live, because the place where I am is near to the beach and near to the montain, so, I just have to choose where I would like to go.