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 teacher
when i have finished every series i review it again , i have noted the word phew when jamie said that to carolina so when people fell boring do something then use this wod?

Hello Ali Ibrahiem,

'Phew' is what we say when we are relieved about something. In other words, when we are worried something bad will happen or something will go wrong, but then it does not go wrong, we say 'phew'.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hello Mr tom
I am one of the British council student ,i have questions in series tow episode one ,section five carolina , them use ones to refer to the shoes ,so1- they use ones because its pair of shoes if there is one shoe i will say this one? , can i use one in the both sentences.
Ali Ibrahiem

Hello Ali Ibraiem,

Yes, that is correct. We use 'one' to stand for a singular noun and 'ones' for plural nouns so we would tend to use 'ones' when talking about a pair of shoes.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Dear sir i dont know how to start learning the english , i was expecting the british council to send a notification letter to when i would start learning ,
and i was also looking forward to recieve the cost of the tuition fees.

Hello Deleoluwa Geoffrey Akinwande,

LearnEnglish is an entirely free service, so there are no fees to pay and you are welcome to use the materials on the site as often as you wish. As you can see from the information on our Help page (where you can also find suggestions as to how best to start using the site), LearnEnglish is not a course as such, but rather a library of materials for learners to use to improve their English. I hope you find the site useful.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

Hi teacher!
I have a doubt with "that" and "to what" . I don't know if they both are the same meaning. I'm going to write two sentences I've read on the poadcast:"Then draw a line from the word to the
thing that it refers to." And the second one : "... and then draw a line to connect ‘him’ to what it refers to". I don't understand why it's used a different one each time. Thanks a lot!

Hello ssoniacs,

What you should compare here is not 'that' and 'to what' - it's 'to the thing that' and 'to what' that are parallel. They are just two different ways of saying the same thing. Does that help clarify it?

Best wishes,
The LearnEnglish Team

thank you very much. I'm a beginner student but I have to learn to say the same thing in different way. Best regards!

Hello guys! What is meant by "don't push your luck" I notice it a lot and belive Tast said it the female presenter in the elementary podcasts