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Art Scene 1

At an art market, Ash and Stephen find themselves in an argument about who is the better artist. They decide to have a competition, but first they need to find out what art is.

Do the Preparation task first. Then watch the video. Next go to the Tasks and do the activities. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.


Before you watch

Think about the following questions:

  • Are there open-air art markets in your country?
  • Do you have any artistic talents?
  • What do you think makes for good art?

Now watch to find out how Ashlie and Stephen get into their fight.


Ashlie: What about this, Stephen?

Stephen: Typical, Ash. You choose the biggest thing in the market for your tiny flat.

Ashlie: Well, yeah... I guess it is a bit too big. Let's look over there.

Stephen: We can’t take too long. We’ve got to go and say hello to Pete.

Ashlie: Yeah, OK... We're at an art market – it's a kind of market where artists sell their art.

Stephen: Ashlie wants to buy some art for her flat and she’s already seen about ten things she wants to buy.

Stephen: Hi, Pete. How's it going?

Pete: Hi, guys. Great, thanks. It’s quite busy today. There’s lots of people buying things.

Ashlie: Wow... so you're actually making some money?

Pete: Yeah, of course. This is a great place to sell art.

Stephen: Right, well, let me give you a hand. You need a proper salesman!

Ashlie: Right, OK – you stay here. I'm off to find some art for my flat.

Stephen: OK, but don’t be gone too long – and don’t spend all your money!


Ashlie: Hi there. Ooh, how much are these?

Stallholder: They’re twelve pounds.

Ashlie: They’re very cool. Are they all your own designs?

Stallholder: Yeah, they are. Liachild is my own brand.

Ashlie: Good luck with it!

Stallholder: Thanks a million.

Ashlie: Thanks.

Stallholder: Thank you.


Stephen: So what did you buy, then?

Ashlie: Nothing, actually, but I’ve got an idea that could make us some money!

Stephen: What is it?

Ashlie: Well, I'm going to make some art, come back to the market and sell it! Brilliant idea, huh?

Stephen: Yes, excellent idea! Except one thing... You're not an artist.

Ashlie: Well, I can learn, can't I? All great artists had to start somewhere.

Stephen: Well, if it's that easy, why don't we both try and make some art? And then come back next week and try and sell it?

Ashlie: Stephen, I reckon you won’t be able to sell a single thing.

Stephen: Sounds like a challenge. Why don't we make it a bit more exciting?

Ashlie: In what way?

Stephen: Well, the one who sells the most is the winner... and the winner gets to keep all the money we make. Agree?

Ashlie: Agree.

Stephen: Ah! You’re going to be giving all your money to me!

Ashlie: Oh, yeah, right, whatever. Come on then, I need to get some inspiration.


Stephen: So this is art, is it?

Ashlie: Err, yes, Stephen, it is.

Stephen: Looks like a pile of old junk to me.

Ashlie: Art is all about ideas. Try and look at what the artist is trying to say.

Stephen: This is harder than I thought.

Ashlie: Come on, let's have a look over there.


Stephen: So Ash – what do you think of this? I have been trying to understand the message. What is the artist trying to say here?

Ashlie: Well, what do you think, Stephen?

Stephen: I guess he's trying to make us think about the modern world. He’s using a rubbish bin to show how everyday objects...

Ashlie: Stephen – that is a rubbish bin. Come on, you. Let’s make some art!

Task 1

Order the sentences according to the video.


Task 2

Decide if these statements are true or false.


Task 3

Order the words to make useful expressions from the video.



Language level

Intermediate: B1
Upper intermediate: B2


Hello Alexander,

Yes, this question tag is correct. 'is it?' is correctly inverted for a question tag -- were you perhaps asking about why it is affirmative and not negative? This is not uncommon. In this case, Stephen is expressing his doubt -- he is not at all convinced that what he sees is art. By using a question tag, he shows his doubt but leaves open the possibility that he is wrong, which is a way of being polite.

I hope this helps you understand it better. If I've misunderstood your question, please ask us again.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team


Hi there! Can I use 'somewhen' instead of 'somewhere' in this passage ?
Stephen: Yes, excellent idea! Except one thing... You're not an artist.
Ashlie: Well, I can learn, can't I? All great artists had to start somewhere.
Thanks a million beforehand!

Hello alexandeR-Rednaxela,

I'm afraid 'somewhen' is not a word, at least in standard British or American English. The good news is that you could say 'sometime' to refer to an uncertain or unspecified time.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I would appreciate a brief tutorial on the use of the word "would" in the following manner:
(1) "I wish I would have" [instead of "I wish I had"]
(2) "if he would have done it differently" [instead of "if he had done it differently"]

In each case the use of "would" in the sentence is superfluous and redundant, but what, grammaticaly, is wrong with using "would" instead of simply using the past perfect participle or (if I have it right) the future perfect participle?

I hear it and read it often but can't explain the actual grammatical deficiency.

Can some one help with this.

Hello Faustus,

The standard form here is 'I wish I had...' and 'If he had...', as you suggest. The use of 'would have' here is not a standard form and is either an error or a dialectical feature.

We express past hypothetical situations using a backwards tense shift in English (past > past perfect) rather than the modal auxiliary 'would'. The modal auxiliary is used in the counterfactual result clause:

If + past perfect (past hypothetical condition) > would have + past participle (counterfactual result)

If I had received the invitiation I would have gone to the party.

If I hadn't lost my wallet I wouldn't have had such problems.

I can't give you a reason why this is so as, ultimately, all such grammatical structures are arbitrary, of course. This is standard use, however, and the error or non-standard element in the sentences you quote is the use of a form in the condition clause which belongs in the result clause.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Hello again, everyone.
Yes in my country that usually there are few Arts Gallery some of them in the center of the city and another is different parts of the town,There is even a shop with art galleries that open almost everyday, but my favorite one is the market art gallery that is organized by students. They and young people could come here and sell art that they made it,usually here you can find some paintings and objects handmade crafts.
What about me I don't think so I have any art talents but if I think about a few years behaind I think I had, but you know it doesn't matter if you have just the talent, you have to work constantly at that and to develop yourself all the time to be really good at art.
As I said already for a good artist, you have to work really really hard and not just for one week for one year you have to work many many years to be a good painter or a good singer.
Bye for now, good luck and see you next time.

I don't know if there's open air Art markets in my country, May be.
I love dance Tango but I don't think I have any artistic talents in other arts like painting, sculpture, woodworking....
When Art makes you have a good feeling, strong emotions, bad or good, this makes it a good art. ( Hi Peter or Kirk, could you tell me if my last sentence is correct or is there a better way to say it, please, thank you)


Your last sentence is not quite grammatically correct but is clear in terms of what you are trying to say. I would change it as follows:

When art gives you a good feeling, which is to say strong emotions whether bad or good, then I would say it is good art.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team