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Episode 01: Fingers crossed

The old friends are gathering around in Tony's café to share some good news. But the café might be closing down soon!

Do the Preparation task first. Then listen to the audio. Next go to each Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Language level

Intermediate: B1
Pre-intermediate: A2


Olivia says that: "what's this all about, Tony?". What does she mean? Can anyone tell me please? Thanks!

Hello Steven,

Olivia wants to know why Tony is down and why he says the café might be closing soon. It's a form of the basic expression 'What is this about?', which is a way to ask someone to explain something you've heard mentioned.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Tony said : "I'm rushed off my feet here".
I don't understand. Could you explain to me the meaning of this sentence, please.

Hello Evgenia111,

You can look up phrases like this in any online dictionary and you will get definitions, examples, grammar information and more. For example, here is the entry for this phrase.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

I want to practice syllable and stress in more detail. Where do I find details to learn, practice and understand? Could you help me to find details?
Thanks in advance.

Hello daizykiran,

We are working on a section with pronunciation materials for LearnEnglish, but I'm afraid it's going to be some time before they are available.

My first advice would be to consider a class at a British Council Centre near you, but if that's not possible, then there are still a few things you can do. First, most good online dictionaries (such as the Cambidge Dictionary) have audio recordings of the pronunciation of words, which you can use to practise word stress. The BBC also has a unit on Word stress that could be useful for you.

Finally, you can also work on sentence stress and intonation by continuing with Big City Small World. After you listen to an episode, look at the transcript and choose a number of sentences that you think might be useful for you to memorise. Listen to them carefully and imitate them, including their intonation, as best you can. Think of them as songs that you are learning to sing. The more you do this, the more you will internalise English intonation patterns. It's slow work, i.e. you probably won't feel you're making much progress at first, but over time your fluency, the accuracy of your pronunciation, and even your listening comprehension should improve.

Good luck and please let us know if you have any other questions!

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

"she spends too much time watching soap operas on tv". What does that mean? Could you please explain more about this sentence?

Hello ngoc han,

I'd suggest you look up 'spend' and 'soap opera' in the dictionary – there's a search box in the grey box on the right side of this page. Be sure to look at the entry related to time when reading the definitions of 'spend'. Together, I think those entries will help you understand this sentence, but if not, please feel free to ask us again.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you very much

I think that Sarah and Magda move in for a Jhony's old flat... not for a Harry's old Flat... Because Jhonny went to Chongqing and he said that they could be in his flat after he move out. It was in the serie 1 episode 12 (good news and bad news). In this episode they are talking about " We moved into Harry’s old place..." Please answer me if I'm correct or not.