Talking about birthdays, knitting, family quiz, favourite food, Carolina goes shoe shopping, pronouns, uses of 'poor' and 'old'.

Elementary Podcasts: Tess & Ravi
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Task 1

Section 1 - Conversations in English

“Happy Birthday!” – speaking about birthdays

Part 1 is based on the Introduction. This section looks at how to ask someone about their birthday and what to say if someone asks you about your birthday.

Suggestion: One way to use this is to read the Transcript, and then look at Tom's tip in this section. You can then do some exercises to help you to learn the common phrases. A good idea is to practise these with a friend who speaks English or is also learning English.

Tom’s tip
Speaking about birthdays:

In social terms, when a child becomes an adult, they stop wanting to have presents on their birthdays.
This, of course, is not true. But it does mean that we have to pretend that we don't want presents, and when we give them, we have to make them look not very important.

Practice materials: exercise 1

Put the sentences in a conversation in the correct order.


Practice materials: exercise 2

Can you match the lines of dialogue with their functions?


Task 2

Section 2 - I'd like to talk about

Section 2 is based on someone talking about something that they’re interested in – it could be anything – a hobby, a person, a place, a thing – something that they know a bit about and would like to share. It helps you to practise speaking for a little bit longer – for example, when you're explaining something, or telling people something about yourself.

Suggestion: The best way to practise is with a friend who speaks English or is also learning English. However, if you can't find someone you can use the comments section at the bottom of the page to talk to us by writing a paragraph there as you would say it. It's also very useful to speak to yourself in English. This can really help you to become more confident and more fluent.

You listened to Esther who lives in London and is studying a Masters degree in chemistry. Esther told us all about knitting, and promised to send us some links. Well, she sent us three links to information as well a link to some photos.

The Cambridge Learner's Dictionary ( says:

The verb "to knit" means "to make clothes using wool and two long needles to join the wool into rows". The noun "knitting" is defined as "when something is being knitted or the thing that is being knitted".

Esther recommends these two articles about knitting from Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia:

She sent in a link to some great knitting photos, with a comment:

People have amazing ideas. Look at some of these tiny hats!

Have you got a hobby that you can write about? If so, make some notes to answer the questions that you can find in the Support Pack.

Now put your notes together to write a paragraph about your hobby and add it as a comment at the bottom of this page.


Task 3

Section 3 - Quiz

Section 3 is based on the Quiz. This helps you to learn the meaning of new words and how to remember them.

Suggestion: You can write your answers in our Support Pack.
You might want to use a notebook or part of your folder to make your own word lists and maps.

You heard Mark playing 'Hot Seat'. All of the questions were connected with people in your life.

Practice materials: Exercise 1

Look at a family tree and complete sentences about it.


Practice materials: Exercise 2

For further practice activities please download and print the Support Pack. 

Task 4

Section 4 - Your turn

Section 4 is based on 'Your Turn'. It helps you to listen and understand people giving their opinions.

Suggestion: Download the Support Pack and look at the phrases that the people use. Sometimes they don't use complete sentences. Write down notes and then say what you think.

In Your Turn you heard 6 people answer this question: ‘Which country’s food is your favourite and why?’

What about you? Do you agree with what any of the people said in the podcast? Is your favourite food Italian, Vietnamese, Thai, French, Indian, Chinese, Mexican? Or maybe even British! Or is it the food from your own country?

So, write down what you think, explain why, and leave this as a comment at the bottom of the page.

Task 5

Section 5 - Carolina

Section 5 follows Carolina – a girl who has come to the United Kingdom (UK) to live, study, and to have fun exploring a different country and culture. Listening to this can help you if you find yourself in a similar situation. You will see that there is often more than one way of saying the same thing in English.

Suggestion: listen to Carolina's conversations in the shoe shops and then do exercises 1 and 2.

Practice materials - Exercise 1

Complete the sentences with the correct phrases.


Practice materials - Exercise 2

Choose the phrases that can correctly complete each sentence.


Practice materials - Exercise 3

For further practice activities please download and print the Support Pack.

Task 6

Section 6 - Tom the Teacher

Section 6 is Tom the Teacher. These are more traditional exercises. They look at being accurate in English, and often use the type of exercises you may find in English tests and exams.

Practice materials - Exercise 1

Complete the sentences with the correct pronouns.


Practice materials - Exercise 2

Complete the mini-dialogues with phrases from the podcast.





Hello joker95hp,

I'm afraid I can't tell you Teacher Tom's full name for privacy reasons. In any case, as far as I'm aware, he hasn't published any materials elsewhere, so I don't think you'd find any even if I could tell his full name.


All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

My favorite food is local small fish from my own country, Bangladesh. It's varieties of local small fishes in the rivers and lakes of Bangladesh. They are so testy and delicious.

I love traveling abroad. Last year I went to Toronto. It was amazing visit of Toronto. Their culture, food, facilities all are excellent. The local peoples also very friendly and helping. Though the temperature was too cold but I enjoyed a lot.

Food is food. I mean, I need food to live, nothing more. There is healthy food- fruit, vegetables, corn, dairy products, meat, fish, water...It`s nice and tasty. When I lived in Orenburg( it`s rather cold in winter there) I would eat more meat.Now I eat more fruit and berrys, and vegetables because they`re cheaper and fresher and tastier here , in Ukraine.

Hello everyone could u plz help me what I can do for improving my english skills.

Hello Sadaf-farhan,

The best place to go for tips and suggestions is our Help page, which has a great deal of advice about learning English in general and about using LearnEnglish

Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Oh, I do miss Gordon's joke!. You know? is not very common to find jokes in websites that teach English. In fact, I think this is the first place where I could hear about this topic. I liked them because were a great challenge, I had to be aware of all the words in order to understand the joke.

I like Italian food as a pizza, lasagne, spagetti etc. I love omlet and crossaints from France. I hate spicy food. I had try to learn knitting without good effect.

What does "in social terms" mean?
Thank you in advance.

Hello anvivuu,

If you look up 'terms' in the Cambridge Dictionaries Online searchbox (on the lower right side of this page) and then scroll down to where it says 'in terms of' in big green letters, you can see a similar example of 'terms' used in this way. It's difficult to say exactly what this means without knowing the context, but I think that dictionary entry will help you figure it out. If not, please ask us again, this time explaining the context and we'll be happy to help you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team