Episode 04

In this episode Tess is upset about losing her cat and Ravi offers support. Their guests talk about chocolate and ways of wasting time. You can also follow Carolina as she tries some British home cooking. Will she like it?


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-04

Section 1: " A pretty quiet weekend really "

Ravi: Hello again everyone and welcome back to the Learn English Elementary Podcast. I’m Ravi, one of your presenters.
Tess: … and I’m Tess, the other one. This is Podcast number 4 in this series.
Ravi: Blimey, Tess. Are you OK? You sound a bit miserable.
Tess: Yeah, I am a bit, actually.

Ravi: Oh dear. What’s up?

Tess: You remember Oscar?

Ravi: Your cat?
Tess: Yeah. He’s gone missing.

Ravi: Eh?
Tess: I don’t know where he is. I haven’t seen him for 3 days now. I’m really worried that something’s happened to him.
Ravi: Hmm. Oh dear, Tess, I’m sorry. You never know though. Cats do that sometimes, don’t they? They go away for a bit.
Tess: He’s never done it before.
Ravi: I’m sure he’ll be fine. I bet he’s out looking for mice or something. Or maybe he’s found a girlfriend.
Tess: Hmm. Maybe. When I was a kid we had a cat that used to have dinner at our house then go to another house down the street and have dinner again. Maybe I should ask my neighbours if they’ve seen Oscar.
Ravi: Yeah, you should. You could make some posters as well, like, ‘Have you seen this cat?’ Have you got a picture of Oscar?
Tess: I’ve got hundreds. I might do that. I’ll ask my neighbours first though.
Ravi: Good plan.
Tess: Anyway, sorry about that. I’m not really miserable, you know, just a bit worried. What about you? What have you been up to?
Ravi: Not much actually. I went to a football match on Saturday and I played football on Sunday. A pretty quiet weekend really.
Tess: Did you win?
Ravi: No. Oh, and I’ll tell you what else I did. I went to see the new James Bond film. Have you seen it?
Tess: No, not yet.
Ravi: Go and see it, it’s excellent.
Tess: Is it very violent? I don’t like really violent films?
Ravi: No, not really. There’s a great car chase but it’s not really violent.
Tess: Hmm. I’ll see. It doesn’t sound like my kind of thing.

Section 2: I’d like to talk about…

Tess: You know what though? Today’s I’d Like to Talk About really is my kind of thing. Shall we get started?
Ravi: OK then. Ready listeners? We’ve got the usual mix for you today – our quiz, Carolina, ‘your turn’, Tom the teacher - and I might even tell you another joke. But, as usual, we’ll start with I’d Like to Talk About. Tess?
Tess: Yes. I’d like to Talk About is the part of the podcast for you, our listeners to tell everyone about something that you’re interested in.
Ravi: Anything that you’d like to talk about.
Tess: Today we’ve got Stacey with us in the studio. Hi Stacey.
Stacey: Hi Tess. Hi Ravi.
Ravi: Hi there. Tell us a bit about yourself Stacey.
Stacey: Well, I’m twenty-two, I work in a bank, um, I’ve got a little boy, Ben, he’s two, and we live in Crawley.
Tess: Ah Crawley, near Gatwick airport.
Stacey: Yeah, that’s right. Not far from London.

Tess: And I think Stacey’s going to talk about something that a lot of people like – is that right Stacey?
Stacey: Yes. I’m going to talk about chocolate.

Ravi: Oh, I love chocolate.
Stacey: Most people do.
Tess: It’s funny isn’t it – why do you think it’s so popular?
Stacey: Well I don’t know really. It just tastes good I suppose. I eat it all the time. I’m a bit of a chocoholic.
Ravi: Chocoholic. I love that word.
Stacey: Well, it’s true – I eat chocolate every day, usually more than once.
Ravi: Now I think I know a bit about this. Chocolate came from Mexico didn’t it?
Stacey: That’s right - from the Ancient Aztecs, a few thousand years ago. The word ‘chocolate’ comes from an Aztec word. But they didn’t eat it – it was a drink, made with water. They didn’t put milk or sugar in it.
Ravi: Yeuk.
Stacey: And they used it as a medicine. It was very important to them - they used it in their religious ceremonies too.
Tess: So when did chocolate come to the rest of the world?
Stacey: Well it was after the Spanish went to South America, and conquered the Aztecs, so that was what, the sixteenth century?
Tess: Yeah, fifteen hundred and something I think.
Stacey: So the Spanish brought it back to Europe and then to the rest of the world. And everybody loved it. But I think people still drank it. They had ‘chocolate houses’ in London where you could only drink chocolate, you know, like ‘tea houses’ where you only drink tea.
Ravi: What’s your favourite kind of chocolate Stacey?
Stacey: Absolutely anything. If it’s chocolate I like it. But I suppose my favourite is the really dark chocolate – you know, without milk. It’s got lots of good things in it. It’s the sugar in chocolate that makes you fat - if it hasn’t got too much sugar, it’s good for you.
Ravi: That’s good to know. Well, thanks Stacey. I’m feeling hungry now.
Stacey: Me too.
Ravi: Well you can go and get some chocolate now. There’s a great shop just down the road from the studio. They’ve got all sorts.
Stacey: Really? OK. I’ll go and have a look.

Ravi: OK. Bye Stacey, and thanks again.

Stacey: Bye
Tess: Bye. Do you know chocolate is poisonous for dogs and cats?

Ravi: No, is it?

Tess: Yes. If they eat too much they can get really ill, sometimes die.
Ravi: But dogs love chocolate.
Tess: I know, but you shouldn’t give it to them. It’s really bad for them.
Ravi: Are you sure?
Tess: Yep. Look it up on the internet if you don’t believe me.
Ravi: I didn’t say I didn’t believe you – I’m just surprised that’s all. Well, we live and learn.
Tess: Yup. You learn something new every day.
Ravi: Yeah. And if any of you, listeners, are chocoholics like Stacey, why not write and tell us how you feel about chocolate? 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. If we like it, we’ll put it on the site.

Tess: Or you tell us what you’d like to talk about. Remember it can be anything – a person, a place, a thing, a hobby – anything.

Section 3 – Quiz

Ravi: Right, then. Next up, it’s time for our quiz. Today’s guest is Scott. Hello Scott!
Scott: Hello Ravi. Hi Tess.
Tess: Hi Scott. Where are you calling from? Scott: Erm . Little Witley. In Worcestershire.

Ravi: Little … ?
Scott: Witley. It’s quite small. It’s a village.
Ravi: Ah, OK. And what do you do in Little Witley, Scott?
Scott: I work with horses. At a stables.

Tess: Ah, great. Do you enjoy it?
Scott: I love it.
Tess: Excellent. And are you ready for our game today?

Scott: I suppose so.

Tess: Right. Well, Ravi did it last time so it’s my turn this time. Have you got the cards Ravi?
Ravi: Yep.
Tess: OK, Scott, Ravi will give the cards to me and I’ll try to explain the words to you. When you know the word, you say it. OK?
Scott: OK
Tess: And we try to get as many as we can in a minute .
Ravi: And all the words are on the same topic. Ready?
Tess & Scott: Yes / OK
Ravi: And the topic is… dum dum dum ‘Places in the city’. All the answers are places you find in a city. Take the cards Tess. Ready? One minute starting from NOW.
Tess: Right. OK. Where you go to send a letter, buy stamps erm …
Scott: Post office.
Tess: Yes. You get money out or put money in. Big buildings. With cashpoints ….
Scott: Bank.
Tess: Yes. Where you go to catch a train. Scott: Station.
Tess: What kind of station?

Scott: Railway station.
Tess: Yes. Where you go to learn things. Children go there. Erm .. teachers …
Scott: School
Tess: Right. Um, a big place. Lots of… can I say that word Ravi?

Ravi: No.
Tess: Agh. OK. You go there to buy things.

Scott: Supermarket.
Tess: No. All kinds of different things – clothes, erm, books, CDs, shoes, erm … agh! Ravi – it’s not fair!
Scott: Shopping mall? 

Ravi: Shopping centre. Yes, you can have that one.
Tess: Eh? This isn’t in every city. Right then. Across a river. You go across it.
Scott: Bridge.
Tess: Yes. You get books from it. You don’t buy them. You borrow books.
Scott: Library.
Tess: Yes. Not a school but you learn there – adults ………

{buzzer sounds}

Tess: Agghhh. It was university. How many did we get?
Ravi: Post office, bank, railway station, school, shopping centre, bridge, library. Seven. Pretty good.
Tess: Yes! Well done Scott! That’s better than you did last time Ravi.
Ravi: Yeah, but I had a really difficult one – I had places in an airport. This was a bit easier, wasn’t it?

Tess: Oh, I don’t know. I think Scott and I are just a great team, don’t you Scott?
Scott: Yeah, well done Tess.
Tess: And well done to you. We’ll see what we can find to send you. Thanks for playing – enjoy the rest of your day.
Scott: Thanks. You too.
Ravi: See you, Scott. … Right. We’ve still got Your Turn and Carolina to come – after this…

Section 4: Your turn

Tess: OK. And now for ‘Your turn’ when we go out of the studio to talk to different people and ask their opinions about a question.
Ravi: And the question this time is “If you've got some work to do, but don't want to do it, what do you do to put off working?” So, what things do you do to waste time?
Tess: You mean like playing solitaire on the computer?

Ravi: Yeah.

Tess: Or checking your Facebook account every five minutes?
Ravi: Oh that’s me. But let’s hear what some other people said.
Voice 1: If I’ve got work to do and I don’t want to do it I spend a lot of time on my computer, looking at different websites and looking at funny pictures on the Internet and funny videos and things like this, I also ... after that I probably will clean my flat before doing my work, ... um ... so if I have a lot of work to do I have a very clean flat and I know a lot about what’s happening on the Internet.
Voice 2: So, normally ... um ... if I was at work I would probably spent more time looking at my e-mails and writing emails, and then probably taking the work home to do at home in the evening … and if I was at home and I didn’t want to do the work, well it depends what kind of work it is, but I would probably telephone somebody, telephone home, or watch a film.
Voice 3: If I want to put off working I make coffee, constantly, every 15 minutes and I check my Facebook. 

Voice 4: Well if it’s work at home, like housework and things, I would try to do something like look after the children, play with the children, or I’d go and listen to music or get distracted watching something on television. If I’m in work in the office I would likely do the emailing and do the easier tasks and put off the main work that I was supposed to be doing.
Voice 5: So, if I’ve go some work to do but don’t want to do it there’s a variety of things that I do ... um ... one of them is go and make a cup of tea ... um ... so often in a day I can drink four or five cups of tea ... um ... another thing I do is switch on the TV and just channel surf and see if I can find something interesting to watch. The other thing I do is go onto the internet and surf around, check my email, check my Facebook, things like that.

Tess: It’s funny isn’t it? Everybody has something – I mean something that they do when they don’t want to work.
Ravi: Yeah. I thought I was the only one. What about our listeners? Why don’t you write and tell us what you do to waste time when you should be working.

Section 5: Carolina

Tess: And now it’s time now to catch up again with Carolina. Carolina’s from Venezuela and she’s come to the UK to study at Newcastle University.
Ravi: In the last podcast, Carolina and her boyfriend, Jamie, were at Jamie's family home visiting his parents – Mary and Doug. And they’re still there this time. Let's see how they're getting on…

Carolina: Good morning.

Mary: Good morning Carolina. Did you sleep well?
Carolina: Yes, very well thank you. The bed was really comfortable.
Mary: Now, what would you like for breakfast love? I’m doing bacon and eggs for Doug.
Carolina: Um…
Mary: Or we’ve got cereal … or I can make you some toast... or would you like a boiled egg?
Carolina: Oh no, I’ll just have some cereal please.
Mary: Right you are.
Doug: Good morning! Something smells good!

Carolina: Good morning Mr.. erm, Doug.
Doug: Did you sleep well Carolina? Bed comfortable?
Carolina: Oh yes thank you. Very.
Doug: Now what are the plans for this morning?

Carolina: Um, I’m not really sure. I don’t think we have any.

Mary: Well, I’m cooking the dinner – I’m doing a nice Sunday roast. Have you ever had an English roast dinner Carolina?
Carolina: No, no I haven’t.
Doug: Best food in the world. You can’t beat a good English roast.
Jamie: Good morning all. Sleep well?

Doug: Morning, son.
Mary: Hi Jamie
Carolina: Hi Jamie. Yes thanks. Very well.

Jamie: So what are we all doing this morning?
Doug: Well, your mother’s cooking the roast dinner, I’m taking Ernie for a long walk along the river, and I’ll probably call in to the Hat and Feathers for a pint on the way back. You two can join me if you like.
Jamie: Carolina? It’s a pretty walk along the river and the Hat and Feathers is a nice old pub.
Carolina: Well perhaps I can stay here and help your mother?
Mary: Don’t be silly. You go out and enjoy yourself.
Carolina: Well yes, OK then. That sounds nice. I’d like a walk.
Doug: That’s that, then.

Doug: I hope that dinner’s on the table. I could eat a horse.
Carolina: Dinner? But it’s only one o’clock.

Doug: Do you eat later in Venezuela?
Carolina: Yes… well no… I mean … I thought dinner was in the evening.
Jamie: Ahh, yes. I didn’t think …. I suppose it is a bit strange for you. Some people say ‘dinner’ and not ‘lunch’. It’s always Sunday dinner in this house.
Carolina: So what do you have in the evening? Lunch?
Doug: No, we’ll have tea tonight.
Carolina: A cup of tea?

Jamie: No, ‘Tea’. A salad, or a sandwich, or toast or something. Don’t worry about it. Come on.

Mary: Oh good, you’re back. It’ll be ready in about ten minutes. It’s roast lamb and I’ve got some veggie burgers for you Jamie. (to Carolina) He’s a vegetarian you know.
Carolina: Yes, I know. But I’m not. The lamb smells delicious!
Mary: Well I hope you’re all hungry. Jamie: Starving!
Carolina: Is there anything I can do to help?
Mary: No, I don’t think so. Erm… you can lay the table if you like. Jamie, help Carolina lay the table – show her where the knives and forks are. And use the best glasses – we’ve got a nice bottle of wine today. It’s a special occasion after all.

Doug: So what do you think of the lamb?

Carolina: It’s really good.
Doug: Try a bit of mint sauce with it. You can’t have roast lamb without mint sauce.
Jamie: It’s nice. It’s made with mint and vinegar.
Carolina: Vinegar! … OK, I’ll try some, but just a tiny bit.
Mary: More potatoes anyone. Jamie? Carolina? Come on, finish them up.
Carolina: Oh no thank you.
Doug: Go on, have another potato, and a bit more lamb.
Carolina: No, no, no. No thank you. It’s all delicious but I couldn’t possibly eat any more.
Jamie: Yeah, leave some room for pudding. Mum’s made apple crumble. It’s her specialty.
Carolina: Pudding!

Doug: Well that was delicious Mary.

Carolina: Yes, it was lovely.

Jamie: Fantastic mum.

Carolina: Can I help with the washing up?
Mary: Certainly not. You’re a guest. You stay there.
Carolina: No really, I’d like to help. Please let me do something.
Doug: I’ll do the washing up. Jamie and Carolina can dry.
Mary: Well all right then. I’ll put the kettle on for a nice cup of tea.
Carolina: Hmm. A nice cup of tea.

Tess: It’s difficult, isn’t it, meeting your boyfriend’s parents?
Ravi: Especially in another language, I guess. They seem OK though. I’ll tell you what, I could just eat a Sunday dinner now. Mmmmm.

Section 6: The Joke

Tess: Well we’ve nearly finished the podcast. You can go and get something to eat. Unless you’ve got another one of your ‘jokes’ for us?
Ravi: I have, I have. Ready?

Tess: Go on.
Ravi: Do you know what a Trappist monk is?

Tess: Is that the joke?
Ravi: No – it’s a question. Trappist monks are in a religious order. They live together in a monastery or somewhere and they don’t speak.
Tess: Why not?
Ravi: I don’t know. They spend their time praying and meditating, I guess. Anyway, this Trappist monk joins a monastery where the monks are not allowed to speak. Once a year they can go to speak to the head of the monastery – but they are only allowed to say three words. So, at the end of the first year, the new monk has his chance to speak. He goes to see the head monk and says “Food... not…good”. At the end of the second year he goes to see the head monk again and says “Bed…not…comfortable”. At the end of the third year he goes to see the head monk again and says “Room…too…cold”. And at the end of the next year he goes to see the head monk again, but this time he says “I…want…leave”. And the head monk says “Well I’m not surprised. For four years now, all you’ve done is complain, complain, complain.”
Tess: But that’s more than three words.
Ravi: Yeah, but he’s the head monk Tess. Never mind. Right everyone, that’s all we’ve got time for today. Remember you can write to us here at the podcast. The address is learnenglishpodcast@britishcouncil.org. We’d love to hear from you. Tom the teacher will be here in a minute to talk about some of the language in the podcast, but that’s all from us until next time. Bye!
Tess: Bye!

Tom the teacher

Tom: Hi, I’m Tom. You’ll hear from me at the end of every podcast. I always talk about some of the language you heard in the programmes and ways to help you learn English. Today I want to talk about a verb form. Listen to Mary - Jamie’s mother, and Carolina. What is Mary doing at the moment? What does she say?

Mary: Good morning Carolina. Did you sleep well?

Carolina: Yes, very well thank you. The bed was really comfortable.

Mary: Now, what would you like for breakfast love? I’m doing bacon and eggs for Doug.
Tom: Mary is cooking the breakfast. She says “I’m doing bacon and eggs for Doug”. I’m sure you know this verb form – it’s called the ‘present progressive’ – or the ‘present continuous’. You’ll see both names in grammar books. The present progressive is made with the verb to be - “I am” and the ‘ing’ form of the verb - “doing”. Mary says “I’m doing bacon and eggs for Doug”. We can use this verb form to talk about what we’re doing now. And at the moment, Mary is cooking breakfast for her husband, Doug.
Now listen to the next part of the same conversation. Remember, Mary is cooking the breakfast at the moment. What does she say about her plans for later in the day?

Doug: Now what are the plans for this morning?

Carolina: Um, I’m not really sure. I don’t think we have any.

Mary: Well, I’m cooking the dinner – I’m doing a nice Sunday roast.

Tom: Yes. Mary says “I’m cooking the dinner”. But she isn’t cooking the dinner at the moment. She uses the present progressive to talk about her future plans. Maybe this seems strange to you! But it’s very common in English. We often use the present progressive when we have definite plans for the future, when we already know what we’re going to do. Listen to another example – again from the same conversation. Jamie gets up and asks everyone about their plans. Listen for the present progressive verb forms.

Jamie: So what are we all doing this morning? Doug: Well, your mother’s cooking the roast dinner, I’m taking Ernie for a long walk along the river, and I’ll probably call in to the Hat and Feathers for a pint on the way back.

Tom: Did you hear them? Jamie says “What are we all doing this morning?”. He uses the present progressive to ask a question about future plans. And Doug says “Your mother’s cooking the dinner” and “I’m taking Ernie for a walk”. Both of these things are already decided. But listen again. What does Doug say about the pub – the Hat and Feathers?

Jamie: So what are we all doing this morning?

Doug: Well, your mother’s cooking the roast dinner, I’m taking Ernie for a long walk along the river, and I’ll probably call in to the Hat and Feathers for a pint on the way back.

Tom: Yes, Doug says “I’ll probably call in to the Hat and Feathers”. He might go for a drink in the pub, but he isn’t sure. He hasn’t really decided yet. So he doesn’t use the present progressive – he uses ‘will’. He says “I’ll probably”. We use lots different forms in English to talk about the future. It can be quite difficult for learners. The best thing you can do is listen to, or read, lots of English and notice what people say. Now let’s talk about something different. Last time I talked about something you can do to improve your vocabulary – try to name all the things that you can see when you’re in different places. Another thing you can do is look for the English that you see around you. In most countries, you can see a lot of English. For example, in advertisements, or even just names of British or American products – drinks, chocolates, clothes. Notice it. And try to understand what it means. You can make a note of all the English you see for example, on your way to work or to school. Now, I want to talk about something else. Listen to Ravi and Stacey talking about chocolate. Stacey uses an unusual word – What is it?

Stacey: Well I don’t know really. It just tastes good I suppose. I eat it all the time. I’m a bit of a chocoholic.

Ravi: Chocoholic. I love that word.

Stacey: Well, it’s true – I eat chocolate every day, usually more than once.

Tom: She says ‘chocoholic’. You probably know what an ‘alcoholic’ is – someone who is addicted to alcohol – who has to drink it every day. And Stacey means that she’s like an alcoholic – but with chocolate. ‘Chocoholic’ is an invented word – it’s the first part of ‘chocolate’ – ‘choc’ and the last part of ‘alcoholic’ – ‘oholic’. We also talk about ‘shopaholics’ – people who can’t stop shopping, and ‘workaholics’ – people who are always working – they can’t stop. We do this a lot in English – we put parts of two words together to make a new one. Another example is ‘brunch’. ‘Brunch’ is a meal that you eat in the middle of the morning, maybe because you get up very late. It comes from
‘breakfast’ – the ‘br’, and ‘lunch’ – the ‘unch’. So you get a new word - ‘brunch’ - that means a meal that is breakfast and lunch together. It’s fun to create new words! I noticed another example recently. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are a very famous couple. And people have started calling them ‘Brangelina’. ‘Bra’ from Brad and ‘gelina’ from Angelina. It’s a joke of course – we don’t usually do that with people’s names – but it’s another example of how we invent new words all the time. Do you do the same thing in your language? Do you put parts of words together to make new ones? I’d be interested to hear if you do. Write and let me know.
Tom: OK. Let’s move on. Do you remember that Carolina got confused about ‘lunch’ and ‘dinner’ when she was at Jamie’s parents house? Listen.

Doug: I hope that dinner’s on the table. I could eat a horse.

Carolina: Dinner? But it’s only one o’clock.

Doug: Do you eat later in Venezuela?

Carolina: Yes… well no… I mean … I thought dinner was in the evening.

Jamie: Ahh, yes. I didn’t think …. I suppose it is a bit strange for you. Some people say ‘dinner’ and not ‘lunch’. It’s always Sunday dinner in this house.

Tom: This can be very difficult when you visit Britain. You learn that ‘lunch’ is in the middle of the day and ‘dinner’ is in the evening. Then you go to Britain and you find that different people say different things! And it’s very complicated to explain. Most people say ‘lunch’ for the meal in the middle of the day. But, if it’s a big, cooked meal in the middle of the day, then some people say ‘dinner’ – like Jamie’s parents. It isn’t easy, and sometimes even native speakers get confused! If someone invites me for dinner on Sunday, then I sometimes have to ask if they mean at one o’clock or in the evening. So the best thing is to always ask if you’re not sure. People will understand that names of meals can be very confusing. Now for a phrase that you can use this week. Listen to Tess and Ravi at the beginning of the podcast. Tess isn’t very happy. What does Ravi ask her?

Ravi: You sound a bit miserable.

Tess: Yeah, I am a bit, actually.

Ravi: Oh dear. What’s up?

Tom: Yes, he asks “What’s up?” "What’s up?" means "What’s the problem?", "What’s the matter?". See if you can use it this week. If someone isn’t very happy, ask them "What’s up?"

Tom: OK. That’s enough from me for this time. 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 [00:25].

Task 1



Practise the language you heard in the soap opera about Carolina [13:02].

Task 1


Task 2


Tom the teacher

Practise the language you heard in Tom the teacher’s summary [20:35].

Task 1


Task 2


Task 3


Task 4



Support pack680.22 KB
Transcript186.54 KB

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Submitted by Hudi on Tue, 25/10/2022 - 01:49


Hello The LearnEnglish Team,

"... The cash conversion cycle is calculated using three metrics. ..." Could you please tell me how the word "using" in the sentence above is formed, is it a gerund or participle ? Can I comprehend the sentence as "The cash conversion cycle is calculated and the cash conversion cycle is using three metrics." ?

Hello Hudi,

Here 'using' is an abbreviated form of 'by using': 'is calculated by using three metrics'. We can use 'by' + a noun or 'by' + verb in the '-ing' form to talk about the method for doing something or how something is done.

In a more formal style, 'by' in this construction is sometimes omitted.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Letis on Wed, 22/12/2021 - 19:26


When I don't want to do my work I waste my time in ouction sites, looking for sales. If I stay at home, I prefer ordering or cleaning to working.

Submitted by amola on Sun, 06/06/2021 - 15:25

What I am doing to put off working surf the internet and looking in many websites on the internet and having small talk with friends. Actually I am not agree with them because we should concern in our job first.

Submitted by Samqaid on Mon, 10/05/2021 - 22:52

I would like to talk about the popular food in my country. Aseedah or aseed is one of the staple dishes in Yemen and is usually served for lunch, dinner or both. Its ingredients include wholemeal wheat, boiling water and salt as needed. You can eat it at lunch or dinner. Every family in Yemen takes the Assedah. We can take it with honey and bolid water from the meal. I think Aseedah is the one most famous popular food in yemen. it is delicious. On a high heat a pot is placed and then boiling water is added. Slowly, handfuls of wholemeal wheat are added and then are mixed quickly with a large wooden spoon so that clumps do not form. The process is repeated until the mixture is very thick. Traditionally the cook lowers the pot to the floor where they wrap their flip-flops around the hot pot and start vigorously mixing the dough. Finally, using bare oiled hands the hot, steaming dough is shaped by the cook and usually placed in a wide, wooden bowl. Thank you for helping us.

Submitted by Samqaid on Mon, 10/05/2021 - 21:58

It depends what kind of work. if the work is important for me , i have to achieve it on time. if it is not. i chew qat and sat with my friends and talk about situation in my country then my friends comes to their homes. i always check Whatsapp, check my Emails and search and use the internet to useful and suitable subjects. looking at Websites and have funny movies

Submitted by Saeed09 on Wed, 10/02/2021 - 02:39

When I have work that I don’t want to do it I waste time in my computer or playstation

Submitted by May Thida Su on Thu, 04/02/2021 - 11:57

If I've to work to do something, but don't want to do it, I usually go on internet, check my facebook, text with my friends, look kpop videos. That's all I do.

Submitted by Ebtsam121 on Sun, 29/11/2020 - 12:50

When I have a lot of work and I don't know how I can finish it. I start doing useful easy things such as listening to English, reading some articles or just sit down and do nothing. I have a question What's the difference between putt off, put on put in and put up ?

Hello Ebtsam121,

Most phrasal verbs, including the four you ask about, have lots of different meanings and so it's difficult for me to explain them to you without knowing how they are being used, that is, without knowing the sentences and situations they are used in.

I'd suggest you look them up in an online dictionary. There you can see the different meanings they have and also some example sentences.

If you have a specific question about one of them, please let us know. It would be best if you could include the situation it's used in too.

All the best,


The LearnEnglish Team