When I first moved to Paris, I couldn't even parallel park properly. If you can't parallel park in Paris, you may as well leave your car at home. So I quickly learn to be an expert at parallel parking and at parking anywhere and everywhere. (And at hooting and shouting at other drivers, but that's another story...) My car was only towed away once, which I think is not too bad considering I lived there for 6 years.
Here's a clip from a film called Bedtime Stories that I watched with the family last night. (It's actually a very funny film - I recommend watching it if you have kids. Or even without kids!)
In this part of the film, Adam Sandler's character has to make a presentation about his ideas for a new hotel. Just before the presentation, a bee stung his tongue when he was eating an ice cream, so he can't speak properly. His friend can understand him, and translates for him.
It's a good listening exercise, but above all, you can really hear the "song" of English - the intonation going up and down and the stressed words stronger than the others. If you want to improve your English pronunciation, trying to imitate this rhythm and intonation will really help you speak more naturally in English.
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
(Prince, Let's Go Crazy, 1984)
I'm from the generation that grew up listening to Prince. I forgot just how many good songs he has, and what an incredible musician and lyricist he was.
Enjoy dancing to the song.
Here's a nice, short listening practice from the lovely Liam Neeson.
First of all listen as far as 0.56 minutes and decide what is the story about. What do you think will happen next in the story?
Then you can listen to the whole video and do the worksheet for some focussed listening practice. You might need to listen a few times - that's ok.
You can check your answers on the transcript.
A very interesting video about equality and inequality - what would happen if you were to shrink the whole world down to only 100 people.
Many of my students get confused with trip, travel and journey. So when do we use each one?
Here's an unusual story from the Guardian for some reading practice:
The great escape: Inky the octopus legs it to freedom from aquarium
Staff believe the common New Zealand octopus fled its enclosure when the lid was left ajar and headed to freedom down a pipe that leads to the sea
An octopus has made a brazen escape from the national aquarium in New Zealand by breaking out of its tank, slithering down a 50-metre drainpipe and disappearing into the sea.
In scenes reminiscent of Finding Nemo, Inky – a common New Zealand octopus – made his dash for freedom after the lid of his tank was accidentally left slightly ajar.
Read the rest of the article and watch a video of the great octopus escape here.
to leg it - walk or run away quickly (informal)
ajar - a little bit open
to head - to go (towards somewhere)
brazen - shameless, bold
drainpipe - a pipe that carries away water
slightly - a little bit
One of the worst things about coming back from a holiday is finding 1245 unread mails in your inbox. Daimler have introduced a great solution - out-of-office auto-delete. That means zero mails on your return!
Here's an article from Time about the initiative and you can practise your prepositions at the same time as reading it: Try and fill in all the gaps with the correct preposition and then check on here on the Time website to see if you're correct.
And then why not talk to your boss about auto-delete for your next holiday...
Yesterday was siblings day in the US. Being British, I didn't even know this day existed until this morning, but it's quite nice to think about my lovely sister and two brothers (even though growing up as the eldest of four was not always fun - you know what I'm talking about if you're the eldest child.)
How about you: do you have brothers and sisters or are you an only child?
Do you get along with your siblings?
Do you think that your position in the family gives you certain character traits?
siblings - brothers and sisters
eldest - this is the same as oldest but only for people who are related (we can also use elder instead of older.)
get along with sb - have a good relationship with sb
traits - personal qualities or characteristics
Here's a nice video about things only siblings understand:
Here's another song by Adele. Try the gapfill worksheet and then you can check your answers on azlyrics.
This is a song about nostalgia more than about love. Try and answer these questions about the song:
My blog has changed! If you're looking for my English-practice exercises, they're all still here, just look in the archives.
Catherine: blogging about learning, language, culture, France and more...