Episode 14

Carolina and Emily are in the library to study, but end up chatting. Jo and Adam chat about conditionals – sentences with 'if'. 



Adam: Hello again! This is Episode 14 of Series 4 of LearnEnglish Elementary Podcasts. My name is Adam and, as usual, my colleague Jo will be here later. She'll be talking about some of the language from today's podcast.

Last time we heard Tess and Ravi talking about the BBC or 'The Beeb' as British people sometimes call it. As usual, we asked you to write in and tell us what you think. Can you watch BBC TV or listen to BBC radio where you live? If you can, then what are your favourite programmes? Or maybe you use the BBC website for news or information – or to help you to learn English.

Some of you have problems accessing the BBC in your country, but a lot of you know the programmes well. Wuri Koes from Indonesia used to think the BBC was only for news and documentaries, until he saw a show called Sherlock. I've watched that – it's a very popular modern version of the stories about Sherlock Holmes, the famous detective. It's great fun to watch. Wuri loved the programme and now watches and listens to a lot of BBC drama. Wuri, make sure you listen to the next podcast, Episode 15!

Eminemlik from Turkey used to show his little daughter a BBC children's programme called Balamory so that she could learn English. I've seen that, too. And alibeneshaq from Saudi Arabia watches another children's programme – Nina and the Neurons – every morning with his little sisters. Children's TV can be a very good way to find easy examples of English … and some of it is better made than the adult programmes!

Alibeneshaq and Rui Jesus from Portugal both say how much they like Top Gear, the popular BBC programme about cars. Samssira from Algeria listens to BBC radio every day, especially a programme called Outlook, and thinks that it's 'an excellent way to learn English without being bored'. I love the radio too, although I almost always listen to it as podcasts on the train – or waiting at the station when the train's late!

Nada Ghannoum from Syria used to use the BBC website to learn English, but after listening to the podcast is going to start watching more TV programmes. And bittzza from Romania says 'I haven't listened to BBC radio before, but I think it's a good idea to improve my English'. Krig from Ukraine says 'Of course I've heard of the BBC but due to you I've found out that the website is a great source for English learners'.

The last comment is from Lolachannel from Saudi Arabia who says 'Sorry to say I like you more than the BBC, I think. I like Tess and Ravi and Adam and Jo. I like the BBC a little but I don't listen to news very much – I'm like Ravi'. Thanks for such a kind comment, Lolachannel.

We know that a lot of you enjoy using our podcasts – and the LearnEnglish website in general – to help you learn English, and we get lots of questions after every podcast about how to use the site and get the most out of it. The best place to start is the Help page – there's lots of useful advice, including how to improve your speaking. And Kirk and Peter from the LearnEnglish Team try to answer as many of your questions as they can, so try asking in the comments.

And don't forget the Elementary Podcasts app which will make it easier for you to listen to the podcast wherever you are and has lots of useful features. It's available from the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store, or you can just follow the link from the LearnEnglish website. Happy listening!

And now it's time to find out what's going on with Carolina and her friends Jamie and Emily. It's nearly time for the university's end of year exams and Carolina and Emily are hard at work studying in the library. Or are they?


Carolina – In the library

Emily: Oh, I'm so bored with this.

Carolina: Me too.

Emily: Shall we go and have a coffee?

Carolina: No. We only got here half an hour ago … Another hour and a half. Then we can go for a coffee … Come on, Emily. You know I'm right. Our exams start in two weeks.

Emily: Oh, OK … How's Jamie?

Carolina: He's great. He's really excited about his band. He can't stop talking about the gig last week – how well they played, how everyone loved the band, how cool it was to play with The Electrons.

Emily: I know. I've heard a lot of people say how good they were. My friend Helen said they were nearly as good as The Electrons.

Carolina: Well, I'm not sure about that, but yes, they were good.

Student: Ssssh! People are trying to work here.

Carolina and Emily: Sorry.

Emily: Is it eleven o'clock yet?

Carolina: No.

Emily: So what happens next?

Carolina: Coffee at eleven. Keep studying.

Emily: No, I mean with Jamie's band. Are they gonna do another gig with The Electrons?

Carolina: Well, that's the really exciting thing. The Electrons have asked them to go on tour with them after the summer. In October, I think.

Emily: That's fantastic!

Student: Sssshh!

Emily: Sorry. That's fantastic.

Carolina: I know. And the really fantastic thing is, if his band goes on tour with The Electrons, then Jamie will stay here in England. The band will be a full-time job.

Emily: No Antarctica? No orang-utans? No Borneo?

Carolina: Exactly.

Emily: Poor Jamie.

Carolina: What do you mean poor Jamie?

Student: Look, if you can't be quiet then go outside. This is a library.

Carolina: Sorry.

Emily: Poor Jamie because it will be a really difficult decision for him to make. The environment and conservation is so important for him. I don't think it'll be good for him to give up all his plans and stay in Newcastle.

Carolina: But very good for me. You know I don't want him to go to Antarctica or Borneo while I stay here. I know it seems selfish of me, but you're going away next year, Emily …

Emily: Yeah, but only to do a year in France. That's not the same as Borneo.

Carolina: I know. But I'm going to miss you so much. And if Jamie goes away too …

Emily: You can come and visit me in France.

Carolina: I know. Thanks. Now stop talking, Emily. Revision! Revision! One more hour before coffee.

Student: For heaven’s sake!


Jo and Adam

Adam: And now Jo's here with us again. Hi Jo.

Jo: Hello. Well, that's good news about Jamie's band – maybe a tour with The Electrons.

Adam: Yes, but what a difficult decision for him to make – his band or his conservation projects.

Jo: Hmmm. Carolina and Emily aren't studying very much, are they? Maybe the library isn't the best place!

Adam: I get distracted very easily when I’m studying at home, so a library is quite a good place for me. What works for you?

Jo: Well, when I was at university I shared a house with six other girls, so I had to study in the library. But these days, with laptops and tablets, I think you can study anywhere if you can find a quiet place.

Adam: I suppose everyone studies in different ways. What about you, listeners? How do you like to study? At home? In a café?

Jo: With music? At night or in the morning?

Adam: Why don't you write and tell us? The address is www.britishcouncil.org/learnenglish. Now it's time to look at some of the language from the podcast.

Jo: And this time we're talking about the future. Emily and Carolina are talking about Jamie. Listen to what Carolina says.

Carolina: And the really fantastic thing is, if his band goes on tour with The Electrons, then Jamie will stay here in England.

Jo: 'If Jamie's band goes on tour with The Electrons, Jamie will stay in England.'

Adam: He won't go to Antarctica or Borneo.

Jo: This is a sentence about the future, using 'if'. It's a conditional sentence. Some people call it the 'future conditional'.

Adam: And some people call it the 'first conditional'.

Jo: Notice the forms of the verb. We use a present tense after 'if' – 'If Jamie's band goes on tour' – and 'will' or 'won't' ...

Adam: or 'might' ...

Jo: ... in the other part of the sentence – 'Jamie will stay in England'. 'If' can be at the beginning of the sentence – 'If the weather's good, I'll go to the beach'.

Adam: Or in the middle – 'I'll go to the beach if the weather's good.

Jo: And don't forget 'might', when you aren't sure – 'I might go to the beach tomorrow if the weather's good'.

Adam: There are exercises on the website to help you with this, and other language from the podcast. And that's all we've got time for today. See you next time.

Adam/Jo: Bye! 

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Submitted by Ahmed Hesham A… on Sun, 26/09/2021 - 16:30

I prefer to study at home because it is a good place to study at. I have to concentrate more and may I have a cup of coffee or tea while I'm studying.

Submitted by jmajo on Wed, 17/03/2021 - 15:37

In my case I prefer to study at home rather than in a café or other public place because I need some quiet place to concentrate, in the high school or at the University I used to study in the library because they were very quiet places to do it. Most of the times I prefer to study without music because I need to listen what I am thinking and If I'm listening music I can't do that, but sometimes I listen to instrumental quiet music to help me concentrate, though. When I was younger I tried to study listening to music with vocal and lyrics but I got distracted paying attention to the lyrics rather than concentrate on the texts I needed to study, so I started to listen instrumental music. During the morning is the best time for me to study because I have the mind fresh and because I work in the afternoon and during part of the night. Thanks for the episode. Great site!!

Submitted by February on Thu, 18/02/2021 - 01:19

I definitely like to study at home. I can't focus in a library where many people are studying. Even if I'm at home I can turn off or set my smartphone to silent in order to concentrate on my study. I don't even watch TV or lie on bed. But when I feel tired of studying, or can't focus any more, I stop studying and take a break. I manage my studying time schedule this way. About music, I like to study WITHOUT music. I like to study in a silent place.

Submitted by Alan Singer on Mon, 18/01/2021 - 07:53

At night or in the morning is ok for me. And I love to study alone in a quiet place. But I don't have my own room. So, I usually go to the library to study.

Submitted by danisep on Fri, 23/10/2020 - 17:51

I prefer to study in my room without any loud noise that could disturb me. I don’t like crowded places like libraries because sometimes there are many people there and it is impossible to get silence there. I prefer to study in the morning almost always and I use my computer or phone to accomplish my work.

Submitted by Mazoon AL.Ghssani on Wed, 14/10/2020 - 04:44

I think studying at home is better for me specially in the quiet room. I don't like to study in crowded places even if it is a library.

Submitted by Marey Saad on Sat, 10/10/2020 - 06:20

I'd rather study at home than library,because in the library you have to keep silent and I like studying aloud and the best time I like to study is at night.

Submitted by SamerTJ on Tue, 16/06/2020 - 07:24

In my opinion, it depends on your situation, for instance, sometimes your study resources are available in the library only so you have to go there. But in general, the internet, nowadays, is an effective way to do researches and to find resources and references for your field of study. In my case, I always use my laptop for studying and I don't care about the surrounding environment. I sit in front of the window where I have an amazing view which gives me peaceful feelings and if I hear a loud noise that can disturb me, I will use my headphone which can make me focused on what I do.

Submitted by Bruno2020 on Tue, 02/06/2020 - 16:19

I think studying at home is good,even so in a library is good too.I prefer study at home with no music and other noise.

Submitted by Sergey Sh on Wed, 16/10/2019 - 23:50

Being home and studying you have to have loads of bothering thing around making you turn off. Library seems to be enough quiet and appropriate place to study. Many people thing so I guess, but in my own opinion that’s no matter where you are, cause it all depends on your willpower. If you have a strong one you’ll study hard and efficiently both at home or in the library or even at café. That’s a good idea to study while music’s playing. It more fits when reading, but when I try to learn something by heart, I’d better do without music, whatever it is. Definitely in the morning. Why to get you study at night when you probably tired and wanna sleep? As far as I know, students do this way being late in their study, I mean having debts so as they have to.

Submitted by User_User on Fri, 26/07/2019 - 18:42

Hello How I study I have a separate room where I study. It is almost always quiet there. Just as I listened to the current podcast a relative was very loud like the two girls in the podcast. This was very annoying. I interrupted my studies then. Bye

Submitted by ali aiad ali shanan on Thu, 10/01/2019 - 22:28

I like study at home I prefer to study without music any time

Submitted by cuneyt on Mon, 10/12/2018 - 06:42

Hi Everday and Good morning, I never study to a day. Actually I prefer study last day When I was at Unıversity. I hate study lesson I like study to my favourite lessons. I could't stand math while I was going to at school.But I like to study english everytime. I always study at home and at night because of very silent. I can listen to enstrumental musıc if I study numerical lesson: I still same about study lesson.

Submitted by mehrazin on Wed, 21/11/2018 - 18:19

I prefer to study in a quiet place without any distraction because get distracted in a second,So my bedroom is the best place to study.The library can be a good place to study I recall that when I graduated from the university I worked as an interpreter and I translated various documents and articles into the library because there are many specialized dictionaries and references are very diverse. I never listen to music or watch Tv during my study, but I like listening to soft music at work it makes me be fresh and calm.

Submitted by krig on Wed, 12/09/2018 - 05:53

I ended up study many years ago. Now I'm studying only English - it's my hobby. I do this in the morning before going to work (and sometimes at the work). I prefer study in quiet.

Submitted by AL-Mustafa on Sat, 09/06/2018 - 11:34

I prefer study in quiet place and people around without make noise like library at university , desk at work .

Submitted by Shiiya on Fri, 08/06/2018 - 12:28

I´ve been studying english at home , at kitchen because the table is big and I can put all my stuff on it , when I was younger I studied in a library at university or in my dorm , and sometimes with a friends , but I didn´t like to study with them bacause we chattering more than studied , definitety is doesn´t work , like Emily and Carolina in the library

Submitted by Hal55 on Sat, 19/05/2018 - 23:58

How do I like to study. It depends on what I study for. When I was a student, I used to study in a library. but I'm studying at home now. because I'm living alone. So nobody disturb my work. and I don't want spend time to go out for studying. there is another reason why I study at home. I would feel embarrassing, If someone hear me practice speaking english. So I like studying at home.

Submitted by blueroses on Sat, 23/12/2017 - 15:27

Hello family. Have any difference between how tall and how high?

Hello blueroses,

We use 'tall' to speak about some things (e.g. people, trees) but 'high' to talk about others (e.g. a plane, a mountain). There is a page in the Cambridge Dictionary just on this topic which I think will clarify it for you.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Submitted by Tomoaki Hachiya on Sat, 04/11/2017 - 10:37

Oh, you talked about Sherlock Holmes, I read almost all of his series, of course in Japanese since I was so young and had not studied English yet. Now that I'm so fluent in English, I might as well read again in English this time. Perhaps after reading Jo Nesbo, which is the material of my translation work...

Submitted by Mariam33 on Sat, 01/07/2017 - 13:25

I like study in a quiet place like my room or in the living room when i am alone. Usually i prefer study in the morning because my mind is empty. Sometimes i listen soft music, it helps me out to be more concentrated .

Submitted by ejossue on Fri, 31/03/2017 - 19:10

When I wast at university I used to study at night-early morning in my home, when there was no noise or anything that could distract me because I always get distracted in a second. I didn't use to listen to music or watch the tv for the same reason. I didn't like to study at school (I mean the library) because my classmates (and friends) always led me to the dark side, they said,.. let's go for a beer, we can study later.. haha.. a bad decision. XD

Submitted by FRADJA on Thu, 16/02/2017 - 07:12

When I was a student at high school I was always studding in a café, it’s easier than at home, I can meet my classmates to studding in group but at university my studding was at home or in library. I ‘have never studied with music, I find that’s not helpful and it can make me unfocused on my study, I prefer the silent area.

Submitted by Aissa LABCHEK on Mon, 06/02/2017 - 08:24

I like to study at home where i can concentrate and find the calm