Author Archives: impact

Talking about Christmas and new year

Talking about Christmas and new year

Talking about Christmas and new year

A short post today to help with conversations you may have over the next 10 days when talking about Christmas and new year. Look out for the words in BLUE – tap or click them to see a definition!

Tip 1: Using ‘Happy’ and ‘Merry’

Talking about Christmas and new yearIn English, we only use ‘Merry’ when talking about Christmas – everything else uses ‘Happy’. Happy new year, happy birthday, happy anniversary etc., but ‘Merry Christmas’.

Tip 2: The Christmas period v Christmas day

Often when talking about Christmas, you need to be clear whether you are referring to Christmas day (December 25th) or the Christmas season. For example ‘What are you doing this Christmas?’ can mean just for a day or for the period around Christmas as well. For many working people, any time from about the 23rd of December to the beginning of the new year can be referred to as ‘Christmas’ as it relates to the period they are not at work. For example: ‘Will you be going away this Christmas?’ – ‘Yes, I’m going to visit some relatives on the 24th and stay with them for a few days, then I’m going to see a friend for a about 4 days’. [simple_tooltip content=’This is often used to refer to something that is correct, but not actually always done. For example… Technically, you should unplug your television at night, but most people do not do so.’] Technically, [/simple_tooltip]the Christmas period extends from December 25th to January 6th.

Tip 3: New year traditions

Many countries have their own traditions for new year (and of course some cultures celebrate new year on a different date entirely), but in most English speaking countries, the new year is focused mostly on December 31st – new years eve. It is common for people to stay up until midnight to welcome in the new year. It is common for their to be fireworks, and many English speaking people will sing an old song called ‘Auld Lang Syne’ (see next section).

Tip 4: Auld Lang Syne

This is an old folk song commonly believed to have been written by a Scottish poet named Robert Burns. In fact, Burns [simple_tooltip content=’to COMPILE (verb) – to put something together from a other sources’]compiled[/simple_tooltip] the poem from a number of different sources and set it the music of an old folk song. With the lines ‘Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon’, many people sing this song for friends or family unable to attend or no longer with us.

 

improve-listening-through-music-3

Level B1 Learning English through music 1

Level B1 Learning English through music 1

John Lennon – Imagine

Level B1 Learning English through music 1Learning English through music is not only fun, it is very effective for improving your listening skills.

Play the video below and as you listen to the words (lyrics), complete the gap fill with the words you hear. When you are finished, click ‘Show answer’ to check your answers.

NOTE: There is only ONE word required for each answer.

Imagine there’s no.1.
Show answerheaven

It’s easy if you 2.
Show answertry

No 3. below us
Show answerhell

Above us only 4.
Show answersky

Imagine all the people
Living for today…

Imagine there’s no 5.
Show answercountry

It isn’t 6. to do
Show answerhard

Nothing to kill or 7. for
Show answerdie

And no 8. too
Show answerreligion

Imagine all the 9.
Show answerpeople

Living life in 10. .
Show answerpeace

Chorus:
You may say I’m a 11.
Show answerdreamer

But I’m not the 12. one
Show answeronly

I hope 13. you’ll join us
Show answersomeday

And the world will be as one

Imagine no 14.
Show answerpossessions

I wonder if you can
No need for 15. or hunger
Show answergreed

A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
16. all the world…
Show answersharing

Show All correct answers

Commonly confused words – LISTEN or HEAR?

Commonly confused words – LISTEN or HEAR?

Although they have similar meanings, there are significant differences that you need to know!

Listen / Hear

We ‘listen’ to something when we focus on it and pay attention to it.

We ‘hear’ something that comes into our ears. It is not necessarily deliberate or intentional.

Commonly confused words - LISTEN or HEAR?For example:

  • I was trying to watch television but all I could hear was my neighbour playing his guitar.
  • I went outside so I could listen to my neighbour play his guitar

Test yourself! Select the correct answer from the list for each gap

  1. When you ask someone for directions, it is important towhat they are saying.
  2. Ia noise outside – perhaps you should go and take a look?
  3. I was trying toto the teacher’s instructions, but she has a very quiet voice and I couldn’ther.
  4. to that! It sounds like John’s car!
  5. Where I work, we canthe radio if we want to.
  6. I think there’s a storm coming – I justsome thunder.
  7. I was talking to friend who is overseas, but she couldn’tme because the phone line wasn’t clear.
  8. The problem with some people is they nevergood advice!
Click here to see the answers
1. When you ask someone for directions, it is important to LISTEN TO what they are saying.
2. I HEARD a noise outside – perhaps you should go and take a look?
3. I was trying to LISTEN TO the teacher’s instructions, but she has a very quiet voice and I couldn’t HEAR her.
4. LISTEN TO that! It sounds like John’s car!
5. Where I work, we can LISTEN TO the radio if we want to.
6. I think there’s a storm coming – I just HEARD some thunder.
7. I was talking to friend who is overseas, but she couldn’t HEAR me because the phone line wasn’t clear.
8. The problem with some people is they never LISTEN TO good advice!

 


 

commonly-confused-words

Commonly confused words – GOOD or WELL?

Commonly confused words – GOOD or WELL?

Even among native speakers, it can be common to hear these two words used incorrectly. Although ‘well’ has other meanings (regarding health or a place where fresh water can be had), the focus here is on the differences between good and well.

Good / Well

‘Good’ is an adjective (it helps describe something) and ‘well’ is an adverb (it helps describe how something is done).

Commonly confused words - GOOD or WELL?For example:

  • Living in an English speaking country is a good way to improve your language skills (‘good’ is describing the way of improving your language skills)
  • I performed well in my job interview (‘well’ is describing how the speaker performed).

Test yourself! Select the correct answer from the list for each gap

  1. It is important to eatif you want to be fit and healthy.
  2. He playedduring the tournament even though he lost.
  3. It’sto check your tyres before going on a long car journey.
  4. Eurgh! This is horrible! I thought you said the soup here was!
  5. Juan can speak English, but he is not soat writing.
  6. She is afriend – she’s always there when I need her.
  7. Most people do not sleep veryif they drink coffee just before they go to bed.
Click here to see the answers
1. It is important to eat WELL if you want to be fit and healthy.
2. He played WELL during the tournament even though he lost.
3. It’s GOOD to check your tyres before going on a long car journey.
4. Eurgh! This is horrible! I thought you said the soup here was GOOD!
5. Juan can speak English WELL, but he is not so GOOD at writing.
6. She is a GOOD friend – she’s always there when I need her.
7. Most people do not sleep very WELL if they drink coffee just before they go to bed.

 


 

participle-clauses-exercises

Participle clauses exercises

Participle clauses exercises

Before attempting these exercises, we recommend you take a look at the introductory lesson first. Click here to read the lesson.

Participle clauses exercisesRe-write the following into a single sentence using a participle clause.

NOTE: More than one answer may be possible. If you have a different answer to those given, post it in the comments section below and we’ll let you know.

1. Sue was lying in the sun. She got sunburned.

Show the answer

Lying in the sun, Sue got sunburned.

2. John has just retired. He is now able to spend more time gardening.

Show the answer

Having just retired, John is now able to spend more time gardening.

3. They bought their cinema tickets. Then they went to find a seat.

Show the answer

Having bought their tickets, they went to find a seat.

4. The student sat in front of the computer and wrote his essay.

Show the answer

Sitting in front of the computer, the student wrote his essay.

5. Some people argue against school uniforms. They feel children should wear what they want to.

Show the answer

Arguing against school uniforms, some people feel children should wear what they want to.

6. Some students are disappointed in their progress at school. These students often do not go into further education.

Show the answer

Disappointed in their progress at school, these/some students often do not go into further education.

7. Children do not have the maturity to make every choice themselves. A parent or guardian is need to make decisions on their behalf.

Show the answer

Not having the maturity to make every choice themselves, children need a parent or guardian to make decisions on their behalf.

7. I didn’t want to break the law. I called the police instead.

Show the answer

Not wanting to break the law, I called the police instead.

8. John travelled overseas a lot as a teenager. He is more open minded to different cultures.

Show the answer

Having travelled overseas a lot as a teenager, John is more open to different cultures.

english-through-music

Level B2 Learning English through music 1

Level B2 Learning English through music 1

Oasis – The Importance of being idle

Level B2 Learning English through music 1Learning English through music is not only fun, it is very effective for improving your listening skills.

Play the video below and as you listen to the words (lyrics), complete the gap fill with the words you hear. When you are finished, click ‘Show answer’ to check your answers.

NOTE: There are TWO words required for each answer.

 

I sold my soul for the 1.
Show answersecond time

‘Cause 2. don’t pay me
Show answerthe man

I begged my landlord for some 3.
Show answermore time

He said “Son, the bill’s 4.
Show answerare waiting

My 5. called me the other night
Show answerbest friend

He said “Man – are 6.?”
Show answeryou crazy

7. told me to get a life
Show answerMy girlfriend

She said “Boy – are 8. ?”

Chorus:

But I don’t mind

As long as there’s a bed beneath the stars 9.
Show answerthat shine

I’ll be fine, if you give me 10., a man’s got a limit
Show answera minute

I can’t get a life if 11.not in it
Show answermy heart’s

Hey Hey

(Chorus again)

I lost my faith in the 12.
Show answersummer time

‘Cause it don’t 13.
Show answerstop raining

The sky all day is 14. as night
Show answeras black

But I’m 15.
Show answernot complaining

I begged 16. for one more line
Show answerMy doctor

He said “Son – words 17.
Show answerwords fail

It ain’t no place to be 18.
Show answerkilling time

I guess I’m 19.
Show answerjust lazy

Show All correct answers

Level C2 Learning English through music 1

Level C2 Learning English through music 1

Level C2 Learning English through music 1

Gnarls Barkley – Crazy

Level C2 Learning English through music 1Learning English through music is not only fun, it is very effective for improving your listening skills.

Play the video below and as you listen to the words (lyrics), complete the gap fill with the words you hear. When you are finished, click ‘Show answer’ to check your answers.

NOTE: There are three words needed for each answer (contractions count as one word e.g. I’m / We’re / You’re)

I remember when, I remember, I remember when I
Show answer lost my mind

There was something so pleasant .
Show answer about that place

Even your emotions
Show answer had an echo

In so much space

And when you’re out there
Without care,
Yeah, I was
Show answer out of touch

But it wasn’t because I didn’t know enough
I just
Show answer knew too much

Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?
Does that make me crazy?
Probably

And I hope that you are of your life
Show answer having the time

But think twice, that’s
Show answer my only advice

Come on now, who do you, who do you, who do you, who do you think you are,
Ha ha ha bless your soul
You really think
Show answer you’re in control

Well, I think you’re crazy
I think you’re crazy
I think you’re crazy

Show answer Just like me

My heroes had the heart to out on a limb
Show answer lose their lives

And all I remember is thinking, I want to
Show answer be like them

Ever since I was little, ever since I was little it
Show answer looked like fun

And it’s no coincidence I’ve come
And I can die
Show answer when I’m done

Maybe I’m crazy
Maybe you’re crazy
Maybe we’re crazy
Probably

Uh, uh

Show All correct answers

Did you know that Gnarls Barkley is the band name – the singer’s name is Cee Lo Green?

Level C1 Learning English through music 1

Level C1 Learning English through music 1

Level C1 Learning English through music 1

Adele – Rolling in the Deep

Level C1 Learning English through music 1Learning English through music is not only fun, it is very effective for improving your listening skills.

Play the video below and as you listen to the words (lyrics), complete the gap fill with the words you hear. When you are finished, click ‘Show answer’ to check your answers.

NOTE: There are TWO words required for each answer.

 

There’s a fire starting in
Show answer my heart

Reaching a , it’s bringing me out the dark
Show answer fever pitch

Finally I can see you
Show answer crystal clear

Go ‘head and sell me out and I’ll lay your ship bare
See how I leave with of you
Show answer every piece

Don’t underestimate the things that I will do

There’s a fire starting in my heart
Reaching a fever pitch
And it’s bringing me out the dark

The scars of remind me of us
Show answer your love

They keep me thinking that we almost had it all

The scars of your love, they breathless
Show answer leave me

I can’t help feeling
We could have had it all
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
Rolling in the deep
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
You had my heart inside of your hand
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
And you played it, to the beat
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)

Baby, I have to be told
Show answer no story

But I’ve heard one on you
And I’m gonna make your
Show answer head burn

Think of me in the depths of
Show answer your despair

Make a home down there
As mine sure won’t
Show answer be shared

(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
The scars of your love remind me of us
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
They keep me thinking that we almost had it all
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
The scars of your love, they leave me breathless
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
I can’t help feeling
We could have had it all
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
Rolling in the deep
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
You had my heart inside of your hand
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
And you played it, to the beat
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
We could have had it all
Rolling in the deep
You had my heart inside of your hand
But you played it, with a beating

Throw your soul through every (woah)
Show answer open door

Count your blessings to find what you look for (woah)
Turn into treasured gold (woah)
Show answer my sorrow

You’ll pay me back in kind and reap just what you sow (woah)
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
We could have had it all
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
We could have had it all
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
It all, it all, it all
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)

We could have had it all
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
Rolling in the deep
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
You had my heart inside of your hand
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
And you played it to the beat
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)

We could have had it all
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)
Rolling in the deep
(Tears are gonna fall, rolling in the deep)
You had my heart inside of your hand
(You’re gonna wish you never had met me)

But you played it
You played it
You played it
You played it to the beat.

Show All correct answers

Did you know that Adele only quit smoking in 2015?

Level B2 Learning English through music 2

Level B2 Learning English through music 2

Level B2 Learning English through music 2

Pharrell Williams – Happy

Level B2 Learning English through music 2Learning English through music is not only fun, it is very effective for improving your listening skills.

Play the video below and as you listen to the words (lyrics), complete the gap fill with the words you hear. When you are finished, click ‘Show answer’ to check your answers.

It might seem what I’m about to say to you (1 word)
Show answer crazy

Sunshine she’s here, you can take a (1 word)
Show answer break

I’m a (3 words) that could go to space
Show answer hot air balloon

With the air, like I don’t (1 word), baby, by the way
Show answer care

Uh

[Chorus:]
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like a room without a (1 word)
Show answer roof

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like happiness is the (1 word)
Show answer truth

Because I’m happy
Clap along if you know what happiness is to you
Because I’m happy
Clap along if you feel like that’s what you wanna do

[Verse 2:]
Here come (2 words) talking this and that, yeah,
Show answer bad news

Well, give me all you got, and don’t (3 words), yeah,
Show answer hold it back

Well, I should probably (2 words) I’ll be just fine, yeah,
Show answer warn you

No (1 word) to you, don’t waste your time
Show answer offense Here’s why

[Chorus]

Hey
Go
Uh

(Happy)
Bring me down
Can’t nothing
Bring me down
My level’s too high
Bring me down
Can’t nothing
Bring me down
I said (let me tell you now)
Bring me down
Can’t nothing
Bring me down
My level’s too high
Bring me down
Can’t nothing
Bring me down
I said

[Chorus 2x]

Show All correct answers

Did you know that Pharrell Williams received only $2,700 for over 43 million streams of this song?

Level B2 Listening practice 1

Level B2 Listening practice 1

Test your listening skills with this listening exercise.

We strongly recommend that you do not pause the recording during this listening exercise. If you cannot answer all of the questions the first time, play the recording again.

Number of correct answers:

  • Level B2 Listening practice 11-3 correct: go back to Level A1 to build your skills.
  • 4-6 correct: you need more practice
  • 7-8 correct: well done!
  • 9-10 correct: great! You might be ready for Level C1

Background:
You will hear a speaker talking about train journeys in New Zealand and Australia.


Questions 1-10

Complete the tables below. If there is no information given, write X.
Write NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER for each answer.

Overlander
Distance / km (1)
Highlight 3 volcanoes
Time / hours 11

 

Transalpine
Distance / km 223
Highlight (2) 16
Time / hours (3)

 

Transcoastal
Distance / km (4)
Highlight (5)
Time / hours 5 hours

Show answer 11681 Show answer 12Tunnels Show answer 135 Show answer 14X (note that the instructions stated that ‘If there is no information given, write X.’ Show answer 15Whale watching

Questions 6 to 10

Complete the summary below USING NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS OR A NUMBER.

Taking three days to complete, the (6) Show answerIndian Pacific is one of the world’s longest train journeys. The Ghan is shorter, passing through towns built by the (7) . Show answerEarlier / early settlers There is also a sculpture designed to mark the laying of the (8) Show answerMillionth concrete sleeper. The Overland was the first train to travel between the capital cities in two (9) Show answerStates and it is also the oldest journey of its kind on (10) . Show answerThe continent

Show All correct answers

Click here to read the transcriptWhen thinking about beautiful countryside or stunning views, it has long been accepted that Australia and New Zealand have few equals. What is perhaps slightly less well known is what these countries can offer to the avid train enthusiast. Both countries have railways which pass through breathtaking scenery in the utmost of comfort.

In New Zealand you can travel from the country’s biggest city, Auckland, to where a third of the population lives, its capital, Wellginton, on the longest passenger rail service in the country – the Overlander. Crossing 681 kilometres, the train winds through the lush farmland of the Waikato and up the Rarimu Spiral onto an amazing ‘volcanic plateau’ surrounded by native bush. On a clear day you will be able to see three of New Zealand’s most famous volcanoes — Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro. The whole journey can be completed in 11 hours, but for those keen to see a little more of the country, the trip can be extended over three or four days. This gives travellers the opportunity of seeing the famous Waitomo caves, relaxing in the mud pools of Rotorua, or skydiving over Lake Taupo.

Moving on to the South Island, you can take the Transai£i1ne through the Southem Alps, travelling from the South Pacific Ocean to the Ta an Sea. Climbing from Christchurch right into the alps, this 223 km trip is particularly impressive as the train passes through 16 tunnels before descending to Greymouth at the end of the line. Taking only five hours, this is a relatively short trip, but it is worth noting that this journey has been listed as the sixth most scenic rail route in the world. For those that are not so keen on mountains, the South Island has a second option —the Transcoastal. With the sea on one side and the mountains on the other, it again shows some of the best scenery New Zealand has to offer. Also taking five hours, one of the highlights of this journey is the opportunities for whale watching. The fortunate few that see whales are well rewarded, but there are more common sights which are just as enjoyable, such as penguins and seals.


Although these three train journeys are undeniably breathtaking, some travellers prefer the longer journeys on offer in Australia. The Indian Pacific, for example, which travels from Sydney through to Perth and has been dubbed ‘the adventure that spans Australia’. With three nights on board, the train takes in the Blue Mountains and the Nullarbor Plains, and, as the name implies, the Indian Pacific shows you two oceans. This train journey holds two world records: covering 4352 km, it is one of the world’s longest train journeys. it also travels the world’s longest straight stretch of railway track (478 km). For those who find these distances a little daunting, passengers can stretch their legs at a number of different stops such as Kalgoorlie, famous for gold, and Broken Hill, first founded as a silver mine.

If three days on board a train seems a little excessive, there are alternatives. The Ghan, for example, which travels from Adelaide in the south to Alice Springs in the centre of the continent, taking 20 hours. Passing through Crystal Brook, Port Augusta and Woomera, this journey gives an indication of what life was like for the earlier settlers as the discovered the country. Along the way. you can also see the Iron Man sculpture, F which was constructed by railway workers to commemorate the one millionth concrete sleeper laid during construction of the line.

Finally, just a quick word about the Overland, which runs between Melbourne and Adelaide. As the first train to travel between the capitals of two states, it is a historic as well as relaxing way to travel, and is famous for being the oldest long-distance train journey on the continent.

With so many memorable journeys to choose from, the only problem you will have is knowing which one to do first.