Category Archives: Listening Comprehension

205 T-shirts: A memorial for gun violence victims

I was just walking along getting some exercise and I noticed something down the road. Was it a flea market? Was someone selling clothes?

 
As I got closer, I could see for certain there were lots of t-shirts…but it definitely wasn’t a clothing sale.

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Idiom: Beauty is only skin deep

Photo of Lupita Nyong'o

Lupita Nyong’o. Copyright: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

Isbeauty only skin deep?

The English idiomatic expression, “beauty is only skin deep” means that a person’s inner beauty—not their outward physical appearance—is what’s most important.

In English, when we say something is “deep” we are often using the word as a metaphor to say something is important and significant. It is not just something one on the surface (superficial); it’s deeper down below.

English lessonClick here for a guided English lesson that includes an excellent video of Academy Award winner Lupita Nyong’o discussing her personal struggle with feeling beautiful when she was growing up.

To learn many more idioms, click here to go to the main idioms page.

Link

Underh20-Astonishments-screen

Grab your scuba gear and get ready to dive deep for this English lesson. On Tuesdays, we do a lesson on an interesting TED Talk — these are short but entertaining speeches by a wide-variety of different speakers. This talk is about the amazing things deep in the sea.

Click here for the lesson. Enjoy!

Idiom: Third times the charm

third-times-the-charm

Third time’s the charm: Don’t know the meaning of this expression?

2014 Australian Open winner Li Na explained the meaning of this idiom in her victory speech:

“Finally I got her [the Australian Open trophy]. The last two times [in 2011 and 2013] were very close.”

So third time’s the charm means the third time you try something it will work out (you will succeed). By the way, we also say “third time lucky” in English to mean the same thing.

Before her match, Li Na was asked if she’d be “third time lucky” in the final and she replied, “In China, 6 and 8 are lucky.”  I guess it’s a good thing she was playing in Australia and not in China today!

If you haven’t seen her victory speech then you have to watch it (see video below). Li Na is Chinese so English is her second language and she did very well with her speech. Congratulations Li Na! Well done!

Practice the Imperative with Flight Safety Video

Dog-commands-wordpress

 

Hey everyone! Here’s another flight safety instruction lesson (previous lessons include a rapping flight attendant and vocabulary practice). This time we can review some grammar: The Imperative.

The imperative is used to tell someone to do something, or not to do something. It’s a command.

Since airline safety instruction demonstrations are telling people what to do – and not to do – flight attendants use the imperative throughout their speeches.

1.  To form the imperative, use the present tense.

2.  The subject of the imperative is always the same: you.

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Practice Listening with Virgin America Safety Video

Airline crossword puzzle

I traveled last night by plane again and decided to do some more safety video lessons so you can practice hearing different accents. Here you will listen to an American accent. You can listen to an Australian accent here.

In this lesson you will also learn some vocabulary related to air travel. Please note that there are different words for the same things. For example, airplane is the same as aircraft. And, life vest is the same as life jacket. Don’t get frustrated; many of the names sound similar. Continue reading

Lady Gaga criticizes Glamour for making her too beautiful on its magazine cover

LadyGaga-Dec2013-Glamour

NOTEHover your mouse over the blue words to see the definitions of these words.

Lady Gaga was recently chosen as one of Glamour Magazine’s Women of the Year for 2013 and her photo was featured on the magazine’s December 2013 cover above. Instead of wearing one of her outlandish costumes she was dressed more conservatively and looked more like a fashion model.

Perhaps she looks a bit too glamorous and beautiful? Continue reading

Idiom: Window of Opportunity

Impala

What would you do?

Question: It’s another beautiful day in South Africa’s Kruger National Park and you’re hanging out with a herd of your family and best friends. Suddenly you’re about to become lunch for two hungry cheetahs. What do you do?

Answer: Take the first window of opportunity of course!

This video is simply amazing and it’s the coolest visual example I’ve ever seen for explaining the expression, “window of opportunity.” Click below to see the video and learn more about this English expression. Continue reading

Hey! 1 Word 50 Shades of Meaning

50-shades-hey

In English, how you say things can be as important as what you say.

Pronunciation is not just about how we say the individual sounds in words. When we speak the pitch (highness and lowness) and intonation (changes in pitch) of our voices also help us express a wide variety of emotions and allows us to perform different actions (e.g, make offers, get attention, ask for things politely). Stress, volume, rhythm and other factors also help us to convey meaning when we speak.

This is true even when a speaker is saying just one word. Take the word “hey.” Continue reading