Short forms

It happens often that I have students who are very good at grammar, writing and speaking. However, when it comes to doing a listening task, they panic. Why is this? The problem is that they expect to hear each and every word spoken clearly. The truth is, a native speaker doesn’t talk this way. LearnersContinue reading “Short forms”

BBC News: How Covid conspiracies, ‘fake news’ and misinformation spread in 2020

Here’s a news item from the BBC which we will use for today’s listening activity: First, read the instructions to help you get the most benefit from the task: Click on the link – BBC news – and watch without subtitles Watch it again but this time with subtitles in English. Don’t worry aboutContinue reading “BBC News: How Covid conspiracies, ‘fake news’ and misinformation spread in 2020”

Where do superstitions come from?

Are you afraid of black cats? Would you open an umbrella indoors? How do you feel about the number 13? Whether or not you believe in them, you’re probably familiar with a few of these superstitions. But where did they come from? Follow the link to watch and do the video comprehension task:

Desert Island Discs – Nile Rodgers

Language learning should also be fun, don’t you think? And for fun, here’s an interview with Nile Rogers –  musician, record producer and Chic co-founder. It’s an episode from the classic BBC series – Desert Island Discs. Enjoy! Over to you … If there’s a film / TV series / documentary / podcast whichContinue reading “Desert Island Discs – Nile Rodgers”

Lijia Zhang: Lotus

This month BBC World Book Club comes from Beijing with Lawrence Pollard. The programme is a guest of the Bookworm, three rooms and a roof terrace full of books in Chinese and English, a fixture on the literary scene here for over a decade. Bestselling Chinese writer Lijia Zhang answers questions about her novel Lotus.Continue reading “Lijia Zhang: Lotus”

Leon’s Frozen Custard “English only” policy

Use the news item about Leon’s Frozen Custard “English only” policy to help you improve your vocabulary. Follow these steps: Watch Read the questions and answer any you know Watch again Look at the unanswered questions and try to guess the meaning from context Watch one last time Use an English only dictionary to checkContinue reading “Leon’s Frozen Custard “English only” policy”


Listen to James Fenton reading the first part of his poem “Jerusalem”. Every 4th word of the text is missing. Can you fill in the 11 blanks. Answers in the comments box below.   Stone cries to ___(1)___, Heart to heart, ___(2)___ to stone, And ___(3)___ interrogation will not ___(4)___ For there is ___(5)___ eternalContinue reading “Jerusalem”

Malta’s minimum wage below EU average

Listen to the recording and fill in the gaps – numbers only! Use the comments box to send in your answers. With an income of €_____(a)_____, Malta’s national minimum wage is below the European Union average. As of this year, _____(b)_____out of the _____(c)_____member states of the European Union have national minimum wages. The averageContinue reading “Malta’s minimum wage below EU average”

Beating a sore throat

Listening instructions: Read the text to get a general understanding (don’t worry about the gaps) Read again, this time thinking about the type of missing words (noun, verb, adjective, …) Listen to the recording without looking at the text Listen again, this time while reading the text Repeat step 4 as often as necessary Send inContinue reading “Beating a sore throat”

A listening activity: Is Drinking Caffeine Good Or Bad For You?

Listen carefully and choose the correct word. Write your answers in the comments box below. Now I absolutely love / abhor / adore coffee Here in the UK we drink 70 million / millions cups of this stuff every day Three to four cups of coffee a day shouldn’t / couldn’t / wouldn’t cause anyContinue reading “A listening activity: Is Drinking Caffeine Good Or Bad For You?”