Episode 02

In this episode Tess and Ravi talk about restaurants, and their guests talk about Albert Einstein and shopping. You can also follow Carolina as she meets her course tutor. Will she get good feedback on her essay?

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.



Download the LearnEnglish Elementary podcast. You’ll find all the details on this page: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/elementary- podcasts/series-02-episode-02

Section 1: "You know that restaurant you went to?"

Tess: Hello! And welcome back to the second series of the LearnEnglish Elementary podcast. This is podcast number two of this series and we’re your presenters. I’m Tess …
Ravi: … and I’m Ravi, hello.
Tess: Right, then. Today we’ve got .. what have we got Ravi?
Ravi: Hang on a minute, I’ve remembered what I wanted to ask you. How was your birthday? Tess: Oh, well, it was great, thanks, Ravi: . We had a nice meal.
Ravi: Good, good. Well, you know that restaurant you went to? The French one? Tess: Yeah.
Ravi: Was it any good?

Tess: Yeah, it was. Yeah. Really good. Bit expensive, but the food was excellent, you know.
Ravi: You’d recommend it then?

Tess: Are you thinking of going?
Ravi: Yeah, I might. I thought I might take someone.
Tess: Oh yeah? Anyone I know?
Ravi: Hmm? No, I don’t think so. When you say ‘expensive’ , was it , like, really expensive or just expensive expensive.
Tess: It was quite a lot actually. I think we paid about sixty pounds each – including the wine. Ravi: Sixty quid! Erm. That is a bit more than I wanted to pay. Hmm.
Tess: Well, it was my birthday. I’ll tell you what though. There’s an Italian restaurant just around the corner – people say that's quite good. Can't remember the name, but…
Ravi: Oh, that one. I know it. I don't fancy that, though. I went there once and the pasta was worse than the stuff I cook at home…
Tess: Well, you are a great cook, Ravi …
Ravi: Well, thanks, Tess. But this was bad. The pasta was awful and the meat was really tough. Over-cooked. Tasted like rubber. Horrible. And I didn't feel too good the next day…my stomach – you know…
Tess: Say no more.
Ravi: Any more ideas? I wanted somewhere a bit special this time, a bit different
Tess: Well, there's a new Japanese place round the corner. It looks nice…
Ravi: I'm still a bit of a beginner with Japanese food. I'm never sure what to order – I don’t know what it all is. I feel a bit stupid in Japanese restaurants…

Tess: I know what you mean. And you don't want to look stupid in front of… Who did you say you were taking?

Ravi: I didn’t.
Tess: Should I just get on with the podcast?

Ravi: Yes.
Tess: OK then, I’ll do that shall I? Right. what have we got? There’s the quiz, ….
Ravi: Oh, hang on a moment. I forgot something. You know in the last podcast we told everyone that Gordon’s gone – got a new job - and taken his fantastic jokes with him?
Tess: I’m not sure about fantastic.

Ravi: Well, loads of people wrote to say they wanted Gordon back! Imagine! They loved the jokes! Anyway, I'm afraid Gordon's definitely gone, but the good news is … dada dada da daa – I'm taking over

Tess: Oh no…
Ravi: Yes, as from today, I'll be telling the jokes. And some of them don't have animals in them!

Tess: Great. Something to really look forward to. Anyway, let's get back to what we have on today's show. As I said, we’ll have our quiz, ….as usual, we’ll hear what people think in ‘Your Turn’ – what’s the question this time?

Ravi: It’s about shopping.

Section 2: I’d like to talk about…

Tess: And there’ll be Carolina too, of course, we’ll see how she’s getting on, but, as usual, we’ll start with ‘I’d like to talk about’. This is the part of our show when someone tells us about something important to them - a hobby, a person, a place, a thing – whatever.
Ravi: Yes, something that you know a bit about and would like to share with all of us. And today we’ve got Liam: here in the studio – Hi Liam.

Liam: Hi Ravi, hi Tess.
Tess: Hi Liam
Ravi: Just introduce yourself first, you know, tell us a bit about yourself before we start.

Liam: OK. I’m Irish, I’m from Dublin, I’m twenty- two, and I’m training to be a teacher.
Tess: Dublin’s a long way away from London!

Liam: Yes, I’m in London for a while, visiting family. So I thought I’d come into the studio and talk about Albert Einstein.
Ravi: Wow. Albert Einstein. E equals mc squared. Are you a scientist by any chance?

Liam: No, I’m not. I love science though – and that’s what I want to do in a way - I’m training to be a physics teacher. That’s why I love Einstein – I think he’s a brilliant example for kids, he really shows them that science isn’t boring. It’s about using your imagination. Einstein was a real ‘artist’ – he was a science superstar. Everyone has this image of him as an old man with grey hair, but he was young when he made his most important discoveries – he was in his twenties. Not much older than me in fact.
Tess: I heard he was a really bad student at school. Is that true?

Liam: I’m not sure it is. I think he was a clever student – he always got good marks, but he hated school as a teenager. He thought the lessons were boring – he used to skip school and study the things that he wanted to learn about. He thought that he didn’t learn anything at school and I think that a lot of kids today will understand how he felt.
Ravi: And are you going to explain relativity and e equals mc squared?
Liam: Ha! How long is the podcast? No, I don’t think so.
Ravi: Oh go on!
Liam: Well …. the most interesting thing for me about Einstein’s theories is the stuff about time. Time isn’t always the same – it goes faster or slower in different situations – it’s relative. For example, if you put a clock on a spaceship that’s travelling very fast, then the clock goes more slowly than a clock on earth.
Ravi: So, if I travel on a spaceship for thirty years, when I come back Tess will be an old woman and I’ll still be young and gorgeous?

Liam: Well yes.
Tess: He’s not sure about the ‘gorgeous’ part Ravi.
Liam: So time depends on speed. And it also depends on gravity. Time passes more slowly on the planet Jupiter for example, because the gravity there is much stronger than the gravity on Earth.
Tess: Wow! So time is different everywhere in the universe!
Liam: That’s right. It’s relative. It isn’t just a crazy theory – space engineers nowadays have to use it when they send ships out into space. They have to use it in their calculations. It’s complicated, but I hope I’ve explained it a bit.

Ravi: You certainly have Liam. I can see you’ve got a great future as a teacher.
Liam: Well thanks. I hope so.
Tess: Yes, I’d like to learn a bit more about it now. Do you know any good websites with simple explanations Liam? Perhaps we could put a couple of links on the site for people who’d like to read some more?
Liam: I can try and find some for you Tess.

Tess: Great.
Ravi: Yes, great. Thanks a lot Liam, and good luck in your future career.
Liam: Thanks Ravi. Thanks Tess. I’ve enjoyed being here.
Ravi: OK, let’s move on with the podcast.
Tess: Young and gorgeous indeed.

Ravi: And of course listeners, we’d like to hear your thoughts on Einstein and relativity, or any other topic that you’d like to talk about. You can write something or record something and send it to us at learn English podcast at British Council dot org, that’s learnenglishpodcast - all one word – at - britishcouncil – all one word DOT org, that’s o-r-g. Send it to us and we’ll put the most interesting ones on the site.

Section 3 – Quiz

Tess: Right. Now, it’s time for the quiz. Hello, Eva.
Eva: {on phone} Eva {Ey-va}
Tess: Sorry – Eva. Sorry.
Eva: That’s OK, everyone says it wrong.

Tess: Is it French?
Eva: No, it’s from Slovakia. My mum’s Slovak.

Tess: Ah, OK. But you’re in Scotland now, right?
Eva: That’s right. In Coatbridge. Near Glasgow.
Tess: OK. What do you do there?

Eva: I’m doing my A levels.
Tess: Right. You’re still at school then. What subjects are you doing? Is it hard work?
Eva: I’m doing English, French and History. Yeah, it is hard work, yeah.
Tess: But do you enjoy it?

Eva: Yeah, I suppose so. It’s OK {nervous laugh}
Tess: Good. OK then, are you ready to play? We’re going to play ‘10 things’. It’s a new one but I’ll tell you what you have to do, OK.
Eva: OK
Tess: Right. I’ll give you a word – a verb – and you have to try to think of ten things that go with that word. For example, if I say ‘play’, you have to say ten things you can play – the piano, golf, a game … like that. You’ve got a minute and you have to try to get ten things. You get the idea?
Eva: Yep.
Tess: OK then, let’s go. Eva you’ve got one minute to tell us ten things you can tell
Eva: Tell a story. ... Tell the truth. Tell a lie. ... Tell the time. ... Tell the difference between two things. ... Tell someone …. erm … tell someone a story … oh no, I’ve already said
that, erm….tell someone….. tell someone off. ... Tell…. tell….tell ..ah tell right from wrong? erm tell apart – like tell two people apart.

Tess: That’s eight. Come on, two more.

Eva: Argh! Tell, tell, tell …. tell someone to do something?

{buzzer sounds}

Tess: Ahhh. Nine. Bad luck Eva. That’s a really tricky one. You did really well.
Eva: {laughing} Argh. It’s really stressful.

Tess: I know! Thank you for playing. You did do really well. Let’s check them: Tell a story, tell the truth, tell a lie, tell the time, tell the difference, tell someone off, tell right from wrong, tell apart and tell someone to do something. Nine. Good stuff, Eva. We’ll send you something nice.
Eva: Thanks. Bye!
Ravi: Bye! Right. Don’t go away anyone. We’ve got your thoughts on shopping and we’ve got more from Carolina right after this.

Section 4: Your turn

Tess: Right. Now it’s time for Your Turn. This is the part of the podcast when we go out and ask different people what they think about something. We ask a different question in every podcast.
Ravi: Yes. And this time the question is ‘Shopping – love it? Hate it?’ or ‘It depends’?. Let’s hear what people said.
Voice 1: I hate shopping. I hate shopping in supermarkets, I hate shopping in the market, and I hate shopping for clothes, I especially hate shopping in the sales. In fact, I would prefer to do all my shopping online.
Voice 2: I love it if I’m in the right mood for shopping, but I can’t stand shopping in really busy places and I hate it when the music’s on too loud, and I also hate pushy shop assistants.

Voice 3: Well, it depends on the kind of shopping, really, if it’s clothes shopping or buying a gift for someone I quite enjoy it. If it’s shopping just for daily foodstuffs I do find that a bit boring, in fact lately I’ve taken to using the Internet and just doing online shopping. I find that much easier.
Voice 4: I love shopping. I love when shopping happens, you know you didn’t plan it but then you just see the perfect thing and you just have to buy it. I love it when it just happens. I love shopping and spending money.
Voice 5: Shopping – love it or hate it? I don’t understand it. You should only go shopping when you need to go shopping to buy food or clothes, for example, but shopping for pleasure is just beyond my understanding. I can’t possibly understand why people could possibly enjoy such an activity.
Tess: What do you think Ravi? We do call you ‘the king of shopping’.
Ravi: You know I love shopping Tess. Clothes, CDs, DVDs, buying presents for people, stuff for the house. Everything really.
Tess: Even the supermarket?
Ravi: Ah, well, perhaps not so much. But I don’t mind it. What about you?
Tess: I hate supermarkets. No, I’m not a big shopping fan really. And what about our listeners? Why don’t you write in and tell us what you think about shopping?

Section 5: Carolina

Ravi: OK then, time to catch up with Carolina: again. Remember that Carolina is a student from Venezuela who’s come to England to study at university. We’ve been following her on the podcast as she studies – and relaxes – in Newcastle. Last time she was shoe shopping – let’s see what she’s up to this time.
{knock on a door}

Emily: Hello?
Carolina: Hi, Emily. Can I come in?

Emily: Yeah, come in, it’s open.
Carolina: Hi. Can I ask you about something?

Emily: Of course you can. What’s up? Here, I’ll just move this so you can sit down.
Carolina: It’s this. You know that essay I did? The environment and land resources one? I just got it back.
Emily: OK
Carolina: Oh Emily. Fifty five percent. That’s really terrible isn’t it? I don’t know what I should do.
Emily: Whaddya mean?. I mean it’s not great but, you know, it’s not awful. It’s your first essay and it’s in your second language. Are there any comments on it?
Carolina: Yeah, she’s written loads. I got the bit about the land use patterns completely wrong. I don’t think I really answered the question. Oh, Emily, I feel terrible.
Emily: Oh come on, it’s not that bad, it’s a pass, you know. It’s not a disaster.
Carolina: It is! Fifty five percent! I never got fifty-five percent in Venezuela. I’ve never had less than eighty percent for anything.
Emily: Really? Look, I got sixty two for my first essay and I’m quite pleased with that.
Carolina: Really?
Emily: Yeah, I mean, it’s not brilliant but it’s fine. You never get eighty percent or something like that unless you’re, like, a total genius or something.
Carolina: Is that true? I don't know – it's all very different here. I feel a bit confused. At home, we had to learn more things – remember them. Here you have to do lots of research and read things and say what you think in front of lots of other students.
Emily: Yeah, that can be scary, can’t it? And then they all ask questions - with the tutor listening. It makes you feel a bit stupid sometimes, doesn't it? You think all the others are geniuses, and you’re the worst in the group!

Carolina: So you feel stupid too? Oh, that makes me feel much better!
Emily: Well, thanks! But yes, it's just as difficult, even if English is your first language! Don’t forget it’s the first year for everybody – and it’s really different from school. Listen, who’s your tutor? Why don’t you have a chat with him?

Carolina: Her. Stafford. Helen Stafford.

Emily: Well let’s have a look. I’m already logged in. Stafford with two ‘f’s? You’re allowed to go and see your tutor you know. It tells you on here what times they’ll be around. ... Right, here she is.

{knock on a door}

Helen Stafford: Come in. Ah, Carolina. How are you?
Carolina: Fine, thanks. Have you got a minute?

Helen Stafford: Yes, sure. Have a seat. What can I do for you?
Carolina: Could I ask you about the essay you sent back to me?
Helen Stafford: Ah, OK. You got it? Good. Yes, have you got it there? OK. Right. Let me have a look. Oh, yes. Well, generally I thought this was quite good. There were one or two things ...
Carolina: …yes, yes it does. I should have said that, I know. Oh dear.
Helen Stafford: Well, with those parts changed it would be a really good essay.
Carolina: Right. Thank you.
Helen Stafford: But as it is, it’s a good start. You need to think about the other things as well – the bibliography mainly – but I think you’re on the right lines with this. Carolina: OK. Thank you very much for your time.
Helen Stafford: That’s alright. I hope you feel a bit better about it now.
Carolina: I do, thank you. It’s a really big help.

Helen Stafford: And how are things in general? Are you settling in okay?
Carolina: Settling in…?
Helen Stafford: Well, it must be a bit strange: different country, new people, different language, different study system. It must take time to – er – get comfortable with all those changes.
Carolina: Well, I was a bit upset this week – about the essay and everything, but I have ‘settled in’ all right. I’ve made friends… things are going well.
Helen Stafford: Good. Well, you know where I am. Just check on the site to see when I’m here if you need to come and have a chat again.
Carolina: OK, I will. Thank you.
Helen Stafford: Bye.

Carolina: Bye.

Ravi: You went to university. I bet you were one of the total genius students getting eighty five percent for everything.
Tess: I wish. God, I hated writing essays. I’m really glad I don’t have to do that anymore.
Ravi: Well, if any of our listeners want to write to us, they ….
Tess: Gah, terrible link Ravi:
Ravi: {laughs} You think so? I thought that was pretty good. Anyway, remember you can send things to us here at the podcast.
Tess: Yeah, go on. We’d love to hear from you – you can record yourself and send it to us too. If we like it, we’ll put it on the site. Well, I think that’s it from us….

Section 6: Joke

Ravi: {cough} Haven’t you forgotten something? ... Like my joke? I’ve been practising all day.

Tess: Go on then.
Ravi: A duck goes into a bar….

Tess: You said they weren’t about animals.

Ravi: I said some of them weren’t about animals. This one’s about a duck. So, a duck goes into a pub and says “I’d like a pint of beer please.” And the barman is a bit surprised to see a duck that can talk, but he gives him the beer. So the duck comes into the pub for a beer the next day, and the next day, and the next day, and he chats to the barman, and after a few weeks they get quite friendly. So one day the barman says “You know, you really are a very unusual duck. Did you know there’s a
circus in town at the moment? Why don’t you go and see if they can give you a job? I’m sure they’d be very interested”. And the duck says “Well OK. But are you sure they need a computer programmer?”
Tess: {laughing} Actually, that’s quite funny Ravi. Better than some of Gordon’s!

Ravi: Well thank you very much Tess.
Tess: Not at all. Now that really is time for us to say goodbye. Remember, the address for anything that you want to send us is learnenglishpodcast@britishcouncil.org. But don’t go away because Tom the teacher will be here to talk about learning English and some of the language that you’ve heard in today’s podcast. So I’ll say goodbye…
Ravi: Me too. Bye!

Tom the teacher

Tom: Hi, I’m Tom. I’m here at the end of every podcast to talk about some of the language you heard in the programme, and to talk about ways to help you learn English. The first thing I want to look at today is the word ‘tell’. A lot of learners want to know the difference between the verbs ‘tell’ and ‘say’. This is quite difficult to explain! ‘Say’ and ‘tell’ are almost the same in meaning – they’re both connected with speaking. ‘Say’ can be used in lots of situations, but when we are giving information to someone, we usually use ‘tell’. But let’s look at ‘say’ first. Listen to the first line of Ravi’s joke about the talking duck.

Ravi: So, a duck goes into a pub and says “I’d like a pint of beer please.”

Tom: Listen to another example. 

Ravi: And this time the question is ‘Shopping – love it? Hate it?’ or ‘It depends’?. Let’s hear what people said.

Tom: Yes, the past form of ‘say’ is ‘said’. ‘Say’ and ‘said’ are very common words in English. Listen to Tess at the end of the podcast.
Tess: Now that really is time for us to say goodbye. Remember, the address for anything that you want to send us is learnenglishpodcast@britishcouncil.org.
Tom: Tess said ‘It’s time for us to say goodbye’. You can say goodbye, say hello, say thank you, say happy birthday. If we want to say who we’re speaking to, then we use ‘to’. Tess can say ‘goodbye’ to us, or Ravi can say ‘Happy birthday’ to Tess. We can’t say ‘Tess said me goodbye’ or ‘Ravi said Tess happy birthday’, or
‘Ravi said her happy birthday’. We can’t use ‘say’ with words like ‘us’ or ‘her’, or a name – we can’t use ‘say’ with an object. Now listen to an example of ‘tell’. How is it different?

Ravi: Just introduce yourself first, you know, tell us a bit about yourself before we start.

Tom: Ravi said ‘tell us a bit about yourself’. He used the object – ‘us’ after ‘tell’. ‘Tell us’. Listen to another example. It’s Tess at the beginning of the quiz. What’s the object word this time?

Tess: We’re going to play ‘10 things’. It’s a new one but I’ll tell you what you have to do, OK.

Tom: Yes, that’s right. She said ‘I’ll tell you what you have to do’. This is the big difference between ‘say’ and ‘tell’. We use an object immediately after ‘tell’ but not after ‘say’. One more example. Listen to Ravi.

Ravi: Oh, hang on a moment. I forgot something. You know in the last podcast we told everyone that Gordon’s gone – got a new job - and taken his fantastic jokes with him?

Tom: Ravi said ‘we told everyone that Gordon’s gone’. ‘Told’ is the past form of ‘tell’. ‘We told everyone’. ‘Everyone’ is the object. Ravi can’t say ‘we said everyone that Gordon’s gone’. We just can’t use ‘say’ in that way. Try to notice examples of ‘say’ and ‘tell’ in the English that you read or listen to. A good learners’ dictionary will help you. Remember that a dictionary isn’t only about meanings and definitions. A learners’ dictionary will give you examples of the word used in sentences, so you can see exactly how to use the word. Try it when you’ve finished listening to the podcast. Find ‘say’ and ‘tell’ in your dictionary and see what the example sentences are. Make a note of them in your vocabulary book. Add more examples when you notice them. ... A dictionary can help in another way too. Listen to Tess at the end of the quiz. She’s repeating Eva’s answers for things that you can ‘tell’.

Tess: You did do really well. Let’s check them: Tell a story, tell the truth, tell a lie, tell the time, tell the difference, tell someone off, tell right from wrong, tell apart and tell someone to do something. Nine. Good stuff, Eva.

Tom: These are all phrases where we use ‘tell’. You can tell the children a story or tell your mother a lie. You don’t ‘say a story’ or ‘say a lie’. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember if you should use ‘say’ or ‘tell’. So use your dictionary again to help you. Find the word ‘story’ and look at the example sentences. You will find the verb ‘tell’ in the examples, so you’ll know that ‘tell’ is the verb to use with ‘story’. A good learners’ dictionary really is a very good friend!
Tom: Now for something different - words that British people use for money. You probably have a lot of different words for money in your language too. Listen to Ravi and Tess. They’re talking about the restaurant that Tess went to for her birthday. Listen to the word that Ravi uses for ‘pounds’

Ravi: When you say ‘expensive’ , was it , like, really expensive or just expensive expensive.

Tess: It was quite a lot actually. I think we paid about sixty pounds each – including the wine.

Ravi: Sixty quid! Erm. That is a bit more than I wanted to pay. Hmm.

Tom: Yes, he said ‘quid’ – ‘sixty quid’. ‘Quid’ is a very common word for ‘pounds’ in English. You don’t have to say ‘quid’ – you can say ‘pounds’, but you need to understand the word if someone says it to you. Let me tell you some more common words for money so that you can understand them when you hear them. British people often say ‘a fiver’ for five pounds, and ‘a tenner’ for ten pounds. So you can say ‘How much did the coffees cost?’ and the person might say ‘Only a fiver’. Another common word is ‘grand’. ‘A grand’ is a thousand pounds. So a car can cost ‘twelve grand’ or a house might cost ‘two hundred grand’ or someone’s salary can be ‘twenty grand a year.
Tom: Now I want to talk about the word ‘right’. I noticed it a lot in this podcast. Listen to Carolina and her tutor. What does ‘right’ mean here?

Helen Stafford: Well, with those parts changed it would be a really good essay.

Carolina: Right. Thank you.

Tom: Yes, Carolina uses ‘right’ to mean ‘OK’. Now listen to Tess and Liam talking about Einstein’s theory of relativity. Why does Liam use ‘right’?

Tess: Wow! So time is different everywhere in the universe!

Liam: That’s right. It’s relative. It isn’t just a crazy theory – space engineers nowadays have to use it.

Tom: That’s right. I say this all the time! We use ‘that’s right’ when we agree with what someone says, when their answer is ‘right’ not ‘wrong’. We can also use ‘right’ in another way – to ask a question. Listen to Tess and Eva.

Eva: My mum’s Slovak.

Tess: Ah, OK. But you’re in Scotland now, right?

Eva: That’s right. In Coatbridge. Near Glasgow. 

Tom: Tess says ‘right’ to check that what she says about Eva is true. ‘You’re in Scotland now, right? And Eva says ‘That’s right’ – yes, she is in Scotland now. Try to use ‘right’ or ‘that’s right’ – to say OK, or when you agree with someone, or to ask a question. Try to use it this week when you’re speaking English. OK. That’s enough from me for today. I’ll talk to you all again next time. Remember you can write to me about any language that you noticed in this podcast. The address is learnenglishpodcastATbritishcouncilDOT org. In a moment you’ll hear the address for the website where you can read everything you’ve heard in this podcast. You can also find some practice exercises to do online and a support pack that you can print. Right. That’s all for this time. 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



Practise the language you heard in the soap opera about Carolina [14:03].

Task 1


Task 2


Tom the teacher

Practise the language you heard in Tom the teacher’s summary [22:11].

Task 1


Task 2


Task 3


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Language level

Submitted by Peter M. on Fri, 23/03/2018 - 06:52

In reply to by chunya


Hello chunya,

It's not that Ravi said something wrong here, it's that he is trying to make a connection to move from one part of the conversation (writing essays) to the next (contacting them via email). Ravi tries to move smoothly from I hated writing essays to if anyone wants to write to us and Tess thinks it the connection (link) of these two ideas doesn't really work naturally.



The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by daria patskikh on Fri, 26/01/2018 - 13:57

I don't love shopping. i fell my self tired when i am in shopping center. But i love very much big supermarket when there are not crowd. I think it's amazing and fairy place where different stuffs living!

Submitted by eng.Ayman on Thu, 18/01/2018 - 22:22

Hello every one My question is how we get the best way to reach fluency by listening to the podcasts , l mean how much time shall we repeate it ,as some sites tell that the repetition is the key of the fluency , is that true ? Thanks alot.

Hello eng.Ayman,

There is no precise answer that we can give to the question of how long it takes to become fluent because it is different for every person and depends on so many variables, such as how much time you have to practise, what level you are, what other languages you speak and so on. I can say that practice is key and I can tell you that you will make progress so long as you practise, even if the progress is incremental and can be hard to see.


Another user actually asked me a similar question a couple of days ago so I will repeat to you what I said to her:

FIrst of all, try not to become too stressed about speaking as this will only increase the difficulty you have. It is quite natural to forget things and to get mixed up. Speaking, even in our own language, is chaotic and usually unplanned. Don't expect perfection and don't get frustrated when you have problems. Concentrate on making yourself understood, even if the language is imperfect.

Second, remember that fluidity is not the same as fluency. Fluidity is the ability to speak quickly and smoothly, making the sounds without dificulty. Fluency also includes the ability to express particular ideas. You can develop fluidity with recorded texts. Try using the transcript that we provide with our recordings and reading aloud with the recording. This will get you used to producing sounds at speed and also get you used to the rhythm of natural speech. When I learn a language I speak to my pet dog all the time. He is very patient and understanding and he never corrects me, and I can develop confidence and speed so that when I speak to other people I can do so much more fluently.


I hope those suggestions are helpful. For more advice, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page, which has tips on various aspects of English, including speaking.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by didoska on Thu, 18/01/2018 - 11:22

Yesss ı lovee shoping when an important thing is neccesery . Not when ı came across a good things that ı want to shop. purcahesing a lot of things makes sad me.

Submitted by alberto bastos on Mon, 08/01/2018 - 20:14

Hello! Einstein was a Mind brilliant for your epoch. The contribution his very important for humanity and yours discovery and challenge under the universe are incredible. Theory of relativity change the concepts of the origin of the life. I think that is a great man and incomparable for your generation. Today i say, thanks Mr. Einstein for your brilliant clever. Thanks!

Submitted by merecmoney on Tue, 01/08/2017 - 22:46

Really love what was said about Einstein who is an symbol for science My fav scientist is Tesla for what he did for humanity , creating an alternate current system to supply electricity for long distances. I undestand Einstein , cause I sometimes get bored at school and try to learn what for me is interesting like programming

Submitted by AlexF on Sat, 11/03/2017 - 18:51

Hello learn English team. I have two questions: 1. I have not understood what mean - "is come" in the sentence: "Remember that Caroline is a student from Venezuela who is come to England to study at university." In generally I have understood the sentence, but I have not understood - "is come". 2. I have not understood what mean - "I do" in the sentence: "I do, thank you. It’s a really big help." I can just say - "thank you". Why here is used - "I do" p.s. I am sorry for my English :-) I'm working on it

Hello AlexF,

The phrase used is not 'is come' but 'has come'. It is a present perfect verb form, used to show the present result (she is here) of a past action (leaving Venezuela).

The phrase 'I do' is an answer to an implied question:

Helen Stafford: That’s alright. I hope you feel a bit better about it now.
Carolina: I do, thank you. It’s a really big help.

The phrase 'I do' here means "I feel a bit better'. Carolina is not only thanking Helen for her care, but also telling her that she feels better.


There's no need to apologise for your English! Your questions were quite clear to me!


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by englishnoob on Thu, 23/02/2017 - 16:32

Is this whole podcast real interaction or staged ?

Hello englishnoob,

The presenters meet in order to do the podcast, of course, so in that sense it is staged. I'm not sure what else you mean, however.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Sergei Shv on Fri, 03/02/2017 - 01:23

Definitely dislike shopping. It’s both boring and exhausting, plus it takes a lot of my free time. As for me the best way is online shopping. In this case I can just see some item online, find info, take a look on comments about it and etc. that’s impossible when I’m in the store offline. Then I just call to the store and ask for the item I like. Eventually when I know everything about my item and it’s available, I go to the store and buy it. Another question is grocery stores. When there are lots of people buying some stuff like me, in this case, yeah, I certainly don’t like shopping. Especially when I have to stand and wait for a long time in front of cashbox and have lots of people ahead me.

Submitted by Sherine hussein on Wed, 11/01/2017 - 05:59

Hello learn English team, Actually i have lots of questions, i hope you will help me, its new expressions to me, but i noticed that its been used alot, so i am supposed to prsctice well in them, ok lets start , 1- hang on a moment, it is said instead of wait? 2- tell the truth, can it be said, say the truth? 3- Ravi said, are you scientist by any chance, it means by the way or what? 4-Tess said, there is an italian restaurant just aroud the corner, and siad too, new japanese place round the corner, in the two examples what is difference between around and round ? 5- it is time ti catch up with carolina, the exoression catch up here means what? I wish i can practice them fluentely sooner. Thanks alot My regards Sherine

Hello Sherine,

1. Yes, it's another way of saying 'wait'.
2. No, we use 'tell' with 'truth'.
3. Look near the bottom of the page of the Cambridge Dictionary entry for 'chance' and you'll see an explanation.
4. 'round' and 'around' can be synonyms
5. See the entry under 'discuss' for 'catch up'

Please note that you can find the answer to a lot of these questions in the Cambridge Dictionary. We're happy to help you, but please take a look there first - you'll probably get your answers faster, in any case.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team