You are here

Episode 06: He's a pest!

Joe the 4-year-old nephew - is he a pest or just a sweet little boy?

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

Pre-intermediate: A2


Hello British Council Team and fellow learners,
I've just joined this forum.

I've 2 doubts.

1)in this podcast there is one sentence..

And you probably shouldn’t have a business meeting in a café!

On this site itself in articles section i've read that there is no article used for the location.
eg. in school, at college, at airport.
In abaove sentence cafe is also location then why 'a' article is used before cafe.

2) My sister can’t get a babysitter.

In above sentence can't is used. I'm confused because her sister couldn't get babysitter on that particular day..that means she can get every other day. In short I couldn't figure out why can't is used here and why not couldn't.ce

Thanks in advance.

Hello HelloAshu,

There is no rule that says an article cannot be used with locations. There are certain locations with which we use no article when using the location for its intended purpose. For example:

I am at university - I'm a student.

I'm at a/the university - I'm visiting it.

I'm in prison - I'm a criminal.

I'm in a/the prison - I'm visiting it.

We would say 'at school' (a pupil) and 'at university' (a student) but not 'at airport' - this one needs an article (a or the, depending on the context).


'Can' is used rather than 'could' because the situation described is true in the present. The sentence would be possible with 'could' as well, of course: 'could' describes her attempt that morning or yesterday; 'can' describes the situation at the time of speaking - it is still true.


Best wishes,


The LearnEnglish Team

Peter M,

First of all thank you so much for your immediate reply. British Council and Team is doing really a great job.
I wish I had joined this platform before.Anyway...It's better late than never.

I Was referring link below for understanding the use of articles. Most of the times I use wrong articles.

Now I understood your explanation for articles for this case.

seems like i need to work hard on can and could.

Thanks once again.


Hi Kirk,
thank you so much for your quick answer! Thanks also for the helpful link!
By the way: This series is difficult for me, because it's real spoken English and not these typical textbook dialogues, which are rarely heard in reality. But that's why I like your work so much!
All the best and God bless you!

Hello Bernd,

I'm very glad you're finding the podcasts useful! I see that Peter has already answered your other question. Please don't hesitate to ask us if you need any further help.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

I used to hate young kids, they wouldn't listen to me and nothing but a nuisance, but now I turned 58, I do NOT think so any more. Young boys are all right. They are just kids, if they want to cry, let them cry. They soon grow up and learn things or have some worries anyway. Until that time, play and make a noise!

Hi there,
Peter said there would be a dictionary tool on right of the page. But - I am sorry - I cannot find it at all! Please can you help me?
Thanks a lot!

Hello Bernd,

I'm afraid our on-page dictionary tool no longer works. The good news is that you can access the same dictoinary for free at the Cambridge Dictionary website.


All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team

Hi LearnEnglish Team,

I can hear from this episode there are some silent sounds for "h" in he and "h" in him, and "h" in her(this is in last episode). After the h, the vowel is pronounced together with the last cosonant of the word before he, him, or her. That's is sound liaison, which I am not sure if I call it correctly. However, I believe there is a rule in such pronounciation when it comes to speaking, like the same cases in French I am studying.

I just heard the "h" sound in he and him is silent in the following sentences.
How old is he?
I don’t have to offend him
I just call him “trouble”!
what’s he up to

Please help to clarify this and let me know if I am right. Thank you very much!

Kind regards,

Hello Kaofeng,

It's great that you've noticed this. In English, words can be pronounced quite differently depending on their position in an utterance and the speaker's intentions, which determine how they stress different parts of the utterance. In all of the examples you give, 'he' or 'him' is unstressed, and unstressed words are the words that are pronounced most differently.

I've not heard the word 'liaison' used very much to speak about this in English, though it's a similar idea. Usually this topic is called 'connected speech' and then there are different ways that we connect words. The BBC Learning English website has a nice page on connected speech that I'd recommend as a good place to learn more about this. But really one of the best ways to learn this is to do what you've already done here: pay close attention to how native speakers speak, and then of course imitate and practise this same pronunciation as much as you can. Our Listen & Watch section is full of audio and video (like this page!) that you can use for this purpose.

All the best,
The LearnEnglish Team