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)

Submitted by mohamme Abakar on Sun, 07/08/2022 - 08:32


Yes I do most of the time i enjoy watching sherlock holmes films specially the one that he tries to solve a crime with forensic science
I like other crime writers on TV Programs too and the film by miss marple writers is my favorite

Submitted by Ahmed Hesham A… on Wed, 29/09/2021 - 15:33


I really enjoy watching Sherlock Holmes films. They are very interesting and beneficial.

Submitted by jmajo on Mon, 22/03/2021 - 16:03

Yes, I like it, I watched some of the movies and I found them really interesting. Well, I don't watch very much TV programmes nowadays but when I was younger I used to watch "Matlock" TV series and the "Law and Order", also I used to get intrigued and a bit frightened watching the "X-Files" TV Series, they were the best TV series at that time for me. Thanks for the episode. Great site!!

Submitted by February on Wed, 24/02/2021 - 03:34

I've just heard the name of Sherlock Homes. Actually I have never watched it. But many people said they liked it, so I will watch it some day.

Submitted by Yunus Berke Kasal on Fri, 06/11/2020 - 08:28

I watched Sherlock Holmes movies as a child. I watched all of them and I really liked it though. 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.
Profile picture for user danisep

Submitted by danisep on Fri, 30/10/2020 - 19:43

Yes I have watched sherlock holmes movies and I really liked though, l don't have watched series or read books about it, when I was teen I used to watch CSI but after a long time become bore. My favorite series and movies are thrillers. There is a new series on netflix called Queen’s Gambit is really good, is about a girl without parents that made addicted to tranquillisants at the orphanage, at the same time she becomes the best chess player ever.

Submitted by Leonardo Lisboa on Tue, 30/06/2020 - 00:56

I enjoy reading the Agatha Christie's novel books, especially the murder on orient express. Therefore, my favorite detective is Hercuile Poirot. I also like detective Peralta of brooklyn 99.

Submitted by Bruno2020 on Wed, 03/06/2020 - 21:27

Hello guys! I love to watch Law and Order.It is a nice tv show,I recommend it to everyone I know.
Profile picture for user Sergey Sh

Submitted by Sergey Sh on Thu, 17/10/2019 - 00:36

I’m like Jo who said the crime stories are not her things. I’ve never found them interesting but fearful. When I used to be a student, I had to know one of my fellow student, a friend of mine who was hooked on crime programmes like news, films, magazines, books and stuff. He could watch something like that on TV in the evening before going to bed. I wondered how he could sleep well after watching. Everybody has their own interests.