Category Archives: Level A2

at-the-movies

Going to the movies – vocabulary (A2)

Vocabulary for talking about movies

Here is some language you can use for talking about movies (also called ‘films’ in British English). Also see ‘Going to the movies

Talking about movies in general – positive

  • The acting was amazing!
  • The sets were very impressive (the ‘set’ is the background to the filming)

Talking about movies in general – negative

  • a bit slow-moving (it takes a long time to get to the main part/action)
  • hard to follow in parts (it’s sometimes a bit confusing)
  • a bit of a let-down (quite disappointing)
  • a waste of time (stupid/ridiculous/poorly-made)

Talking about action movies

Genre (type) of movie: ‘Action’ movies

Normally involves: car chases, guns, fighting.

Common examples: Die Hard, Mad Max: Fury Road

Language you can use:

  • full-on (there’s a lot of action)
  • a bit slow-moving (it takes a long time to get to the main part/action)
  • over the top (too much to be believable – a small car accident causing a car to completely explode, for example)

 

Talking about romantic movies

Genre (type) of movie: ‘Romantic’ movies (also informally called ‘chick flicks’)

Normally involves: people falling in love, first dates – can also include negative events like someone dying or being really sick.

Common examples: Titanic, The Fault in our Stars

Language you can use:

  • a tear-jerker (it’s sad)
  • a chick flick (romantic movies are often watched by females – ‘chick’ in an informal word for females. NOTE: referring to a woman as a ‘chick’ can be considered rude)

Talking about thrillers

Genre (type) of movie: ‘Thrilers’

Normally involves: detectives, murders or intrigues, a more complicated plot than an action movie

Common examples: Se7en, Silence of the Lambs

Language you can use:

  • gripping
  • suspenseful
  • intriguing

Talking about comedies

Genre (type) of movie: ‘Comedies’

Normally involves: misunderstandings, funny events (generally positive overall)

Common examples: Dumb and Dumber Too

Language you can use:

  • hilarious (very funny)
at-the-movies

Going to the movies (A2)

Going to the movies

In the following lesson you will learn how to talk about going to the movies. NOTE: ‘movies’ is American English – in British English, they are called ‘films’. Also see ‘Vocabulary for talking about the movies‘.

Asking about the movie you want to see

at-the-moviesHere are some phrases you can use to ask about a movie you want to see:

  • What happens in it?/ What’s it about? (what’s the story)
  • Who’s in it? (who are the actors)
  • Where’s it set? (where does it take place)
  • Is it worth seeing?
  • Is it as good as people say? / Is it as good as the hype? (‘the hype’ is the media about something before it is seen or heard by the public)

Discussing the movie before you see it

  • I’ve heard (a lot) about it.
  • It’s supposed to be.. excellent/very good/pretty good.
  • I’ve heard it’s / It sounds….

Planning to see a movie

  • What’s on (at the cinema)?/What’s showing?
  • Do we have to book? (reserve seats)
  • How much for the tickets?/admission?
  • What rating is it? (for example R18 means you have to be over 18 to watch it: ‘R’=Restricted to)
  • Can I use my complimentary ticket? (a complimentary ticket is usually a free or discounted ticket, but it often can’t be used for a newly-released movie).
  • Are there any concessions? (a concession is reduced price for certain groups of people, such as students or people over 65).

Now practice!

DIALOGUE 1: Find the most suitable vocabulary from the three sections above to complete the conversation.

A: Hey, any idea at the Metro cinema tonight?
B: Well, there’s Mission Impossible 5 with Tom Cruise. I’ve heard that it’s got lots of action. We could see that if you like.
A: Yeah OK, that’s good. I’ve about it from John…it’s excellent. By the way, I’ve got a couple of tickets for the Metro – I won them in a radio competition. Do you think we can use these tickets tonight?
B: No, I doubt it. Mission Impossible is a new release and those free tickets are often for older films.
A: Oh yeah, I see. Will it be busy? ?
B: Yeah, maybe we should – we don’t  want to get there and then not be able to get in!

Show the answers

what’s on?/what’s showing?
heard (a lot)
supposed to be
complimentary
Do we have to book?

 

DIALOGUE 2: Try the same again.

A: I went to see The Hangover 4 last night.
B: Oh yes? So, is it ?
A: Actually I thought it was rather disappointing.
B: Oh, that’s a shame. So where ?
A: It’s mostly set in New York, although they go the UK too.
B: And who ?
A: Bradley Cooper and Kirsten Dunst.

Show the answers

worth seeing?/as good as people say?
is it set?/does it take place?
is in it?

 

DIALOGUE 3: And again.

A: Have you heard anything about that new Ben Stiller comedy? I think he’s a good actor but I don’t know anything about the film.
B: Yeah, I’ve heard about it.
A: What ?
B: I think he has to look after 20 dogs or something. I don’t know much about the story.
A: Do you want to go? It might give us a few laughs.
B: Yeah, why not? How much are tickets?
A: Well, we can use our student cards to get the price
B: Ok then, let’s go!

Show the answers
is it about?/happens in it?
concession

 

prepositions-time

Prepositions of time exercises (A2)

Prepositions of time exercises (A2)

Have you read the information pages on prepositions of time?  Click here to read them before you try the prepositions of time exercises.

Remember to register to get email updates!

Complete the prepositions of time exercises below to test your knowledge.

Prepositions of time exercises practice

Complete the prepositions of time exercises by choosing the correct option (a), (b) or (c) to complete each of the sentences with ‘at‘, ‘on‘, ‘in‘, ‘within‘ or ‘before‘.

 

prepositions of time exercises1. I will finish the report __________ the end of the week.

(a) within (b) before (c) on

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is B.

 

2. We always have a family gathering ___________ Christmas.

(a) at (b) within (c) on

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is A.

 

3. I need to make a decision ___________ the next 24 hours.

(a) before (b) within (c) on

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is B.

 

4. They celebrate their wedding anniversary _________ July.

(a) on (b) within (c) at

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is A.

 

5. They said they would let me know __________ the next week.

(a) before (b) within (c) on

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is B.

 

6. I told her to see me ___________ lunchtime.

(a) before (b) within (c) on

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is A.

 

7. I need to finish my studies ___________ the next twelve months.

(a) before (b) at (c) within

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is C.

 

prepositions_of_place_2

Prepositions of place exercises (A2)

Prepositions of place exercises (A2)

Have you read the information pages on prepositions of place? Click here to read it before you try the prepositions of place exercises.

Remember to register to get email updates!

Complete the prepositions of place exercises below to test your knowledge.

Prepositions of place exercises practice

Complete the prepositions of place exercises by choosing the correct option (a), (b) or (c) to complete each of the sentences.

prepositions of place exercises1. We were ___________ the middle of a conversation when she arrived.

(a) beside    (b) by   (c) in

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is C.

 

2. I have worked __________ John for 10 years.

(a) alongside    (b) towards   (c) at

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is A.

 

3. There was a surprising twist to the story __________ the end of the book.

(a) at    (b) in   (c) against

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is A.

 

4. A river runs __________ our garden – it’s beautiful!

(a) against    (b) alongside   (c) at

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is B.

 

5. I left the brush __________ the garage door.

(a) in    (b) towards   (c) against

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is C.

 

6. You can sit __________ me there is plenty of room.

(a) beside    (b) against  (c) towards

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is A.

 

7.  I live __________ a gym so I go most evenings after work.

(a) on    (b) by  (c) towards

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is B.

 

8. I can see him; he’s walking  __________ us now.

(a) at    (b) against  (c) towards

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is C.
use_of_articles

More about articles in English – exercises

More about articles in English – exercises

Have you read the ‘More about articles in English‘ lesson? Click here to read it before you try this articles exercises.

Remember to register to get email updates.

Complete the articles exercises below to test your knowledge.

Articles exercises practice (Level A2)

Complete the articles exercises by choosing the correct option (a), (b), (c) or (d) to complete each of the sentences with ‘a‘, ‘an‘, ‘the‘ or no article ‘Ø‘.

 

More about articles in English - exercises1. My friend doesn’t eat ____ meat.

(a) a    (b) an   (c)  the   (d)  no article ‘Ø’

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is D. Meat is uncountable and does not need an article.

 

2. I don’t play ____ football.

(a) a    (b) an   (c)  the   (d)  no article ‘Ø’

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is D.

 

3. Mount Cook is ____ highest mountain in New Zealand.

(a) a    (b) an   (c)  the   (d)  no article ‘Ø’

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is C. It is a superlative sentence.

 

4. I am cooking ____ chicken and rice for dinner.

(a) a    (b) an   (c)  the   (d)  no article ‘Ø’

click here to see the answer
Correct answer is D. Chicken is uncountable.

 

use_of_articles

More about articles in English

More about articles in English (a, an, the and Ø )

NOTE: This is the second lesson for articles. If you have not completed level A1, we recommend you first look at this lesson (an introduction to articles)

Using articles in English can be very difficult as there are a lot of rules to remember. There are three articles in English ‘a’, ‘an’, ‘the’ and sometimes no article Ø is needed.

1. The indefinite article – A or AN

Examples of use of indefinite articles: Do you have a pen?  I need an umbrella.

2. The definite article – THE

Examples of use of definite articles: The boy lives at home. Here is the book I borrowed.

More about articles in English3. The zero article – this is used when no article is used, often shown as Ø in grammar books

Examples of zero articles: I like (Ø) dogs. (Ø) English exercises can be difficult.

Rules 1 to 4 are in the A1 lesson.

With uncountable nouns, we often use no article (Ø).

Examples:

  • I like wine (not the wine or a wine)
  • I listen to good advice (not the good advice or a good advice)

NOTE: Some nouns can be countable and uncountable.

Example:

  • Sleep is important
  • I am tired. I need a good sleep.

 


 

Articles – rule #6

The is used with superlatives.

Examples:

  • The Pacific Ocean is the largest ocean in the world.
  • Lake Baikal in Russia is the deepest lake in the world.
  • Elephants are the biggest animals in Africa.

 

Articles – rule #7

No article (Ø) is used when talking generally about subjects / topics.

Examples:

  • Rugby is a great game.
  • I don’t like science.

 

Click here to try the ‘More about articles in English’ exercises.

Vocabulary for describing people

Vocabulary for describing people

Vocabulary for describing people

Before you start this exercise, check that you know the meaning of the following words:

  • naughty
  • anxious
  • Vocabulary for describing peoplegreedy
  • disappointed
  • polite
  • diligent
  • cheerful
  • depressed
  • messy
  • adventurous

Once you have checked the meaning of the words in the list above, complete each sentence using one of the words.

1. My friend Tom loves activities like mountain climbing, abseiling, white water rafting, bungee jumping and sky diving. In fact, it seems like dangerous situations excite him! Sometimes I wish I could have no fear like him. He is a veryperson.
Show the answer

Adventurous

2. My friend has a very important job interview today. He is really worried about it. He keeps biting his nails and seems so nervous. I told him to calm down and try to relax but he said he feels too.
Show the answer

Anxious

3. My friend just lost his job and his girlfriend broke up with him. He is feeling very down and. I’m not sure how to cheer him up.
Show the answer

Depressed

4. My friend’s dog never does what it’s told. It always runs in the house and breaks things. It is very. They need to learn how to discipline it better.
Show the answer

Naughty

5. My friend’s niece always smiles and laughs. She seems so happy. In fact, I don’t’ think I have ever seen her in a bad mood. She’s a veryperson.
Show the answer

Cheerful

6. My friend is so untidy. He almost never cleans his room. You should see it! It’s so! I told him he will never get a girlfriend if he doesn’t become a cleaner person.
Show the answer

Messy

7. My friend didn’t like what his girlfriend got him for his birthday. He looked so! But I told him he should stop being so picky and just appreciate the gift. I think he really hurt her feelings.
Show the answer

Disappointed

8. My friend studies so hard. She always gets her assignments done on time and gets great results. She’s so. I think I should try and be more like her.
Show the answer

Diligent

9. Ever since my friend got his new job, all he has cared about is money-money-money!! In the past he was so generous and money and possessions didn’t seem important to him. Now he is a very selfish andperson.
Show the answer

Greedy

10. My friend is a waitress. The job is perfect for her personality because she is always so kind and. Even when the customers are rude to her she keeps smiling and acts very professional.
Show the answer

Polite

 

talk

Speak or talk

Speak or talk

Speak and talk are ‘say’ words. However, there are some differences in when and how we use speak or talk.

Read the tips below about when to use speak or talk then try the practice exercises.

 

speak or talkSpeak or Talk Tip 1: ‘speak’ (not talk) is used on the telephone

  • Who’s speaking please? I’ll put you through to Mr Jones now.
  • Who’s talking please? I’ll put you through to Mr Jones now.

 

Speak or Talk Tip 2: ‘speak’ (not talk) is used in relation to languages

  • I speak English, French and Italian.
  • I talk English, French and Italian.

 

Speak or Talk Tip 3: ‘speak’ is more formal than ‘talk’

Can you see the difference between these two sentences?

  • My teacher wants to speak to me after class.
  • Can I talk to you when you’re free?

 

We often use ‘speak’ when:

  • the situation is a formal situation;
  • we don’t know the person we are talking to very well; and / or
  • the subject to be spoken about is serious / formal.

 

We often use ‘talk’ when:

  • we are talking to someone we know quite well, or
  • we may not know the person all that well but the subject we want to talk about is not serious / formal.

 

Speak or Talk Tip 4: ‘speak’ is used in relation to one person (the speaker), ‘talk’ is used to in relation to more than one person (a conversation)

Can you see the difference between these two sentences?

  • The boss will be speaking later about the proposed changes to company policy.
  • In today’s meeting, the team will be talking about new ideas for next year.

 

Speak or Talk Tip 5: The noun form of the verb ‘talk’ is ‘talk’, the noun form of the verb ‘speak’ changes to ‘speech’

  • He will be making a speech  after dinner.
  • She is giving a talk this afternoon.

Note: a ‘speech’ is more formal than a ‘talk’.

Also note the differences: ‘make’ a speech / ‘give’ a talk.

 

Speak or Talk Tip 6: ‘speak’ and ‘talk’ prepositions

The sentences we have used as examples so far all use the preposition ‘to’: talk to (someone), speak to (someone).

To make the sentence more formal / polite, we can use the preposition ‘with’.

  • “I must speak with you about your performance at work as soon as you are available.”

We also use the preposition ‘about‘ to talk about the subject of the conversation / speech / talk.

  • He will be making a speech about climate change at the conference.
  • She is giving a talk about healthy eating this afternoon.
  • Can I talk to you about our holiday plans?
  • I must speak to you about your progress with that report.

Now practice!

Read the sentences below. Are they correct? Should we use speak or talk?

1. (on the telephone) “Hello, I’d like to make an appointment for a haircut please.” “Sure, who’s talking please?”.

Show answerThis is incorrect. It should be: “Sure, who’s speaking please?”

2. He speaks Japanese fluently as he lived there for 10 years.

Show answerThis is correct.

3. ‘Hi, how are things? Are you free now? I want to speak with you about our plans for Saturday night.

Show answerThis is not correct. This is an informal situation involving people who know each other. It is better to say: I want to talk to you about our plans for Saturday night.

4. ‘Hello, it’s a pleasure to finally meet you. If you have some time I’d like to speak with you about a business proposal.

Show answerThis is correct.

5. It is a tradition for the groom, the bride’s father and the best man to give a speech at the wedding reception.

Show answerThis is incorrect. We should say ‘make a speech’ not ‘give a speech’.

6. We can speak about what food we need for the party later on.

Show answerThis is incorrect. The situation is informal involving a conversation. It is better to say: “We can talk about what food we need for the party later on.”

7. We have both lived in Australia, so we were talking to our experiences there.

Show answerThis is not the correct preposition. It should be: We have both lived in Australia, so we were talking about our experiences there.
say-and-tell

Say or tell

Say or tell

Say and tell are similar in that they both mean to talk or give information to someone verbally. However, there are differences in sentence construction and exact meaning.

Can you see the difference between these two sentences?

  • John told me you were sick last week.
  • John said you were sick last me.

Fill in the gaps below with either ‘tell’ or ‘say’ to show the first rule:

You ________ someone something but you _________ something to someone.

Show answersYou TELL someone something but you SAY something to someone.

Say or tellHere some more examples:

Jane said she liked my new shirt > Jane told me that she liked my new shirt

His boss said David had to stay late > His boss told David that he had to stay late

She said she loved me! > She told me that she loved me!

 

Tip 1: Using ‘that’ with told

When using told, you do not have to say ‘that’. For example, both of these are correct:

Jane told me that she liked my new shirt > Jane told me she liked my new shirt

His boss told David that he had to stay late > His boss told David he had to stay late

She told me that she loved me! > She told me she loved me!

 

Tip 2: Direct and reported speech

When you are using reported speech, you can use say and tell.

For example:

He said he would be late home. CORRECT

He told me he would be late home. CORRECT

However, when you are using direct speech, tell is used only when giving a command or instruction.

‘Take seat over there’ he told me.  CORRECT

‘Take a seat over there’ he said. CORRECT

‘It’s good to see you’ he told me. INCORRECT

‘It’s good to see you’ he said. CORRECT

 

Tip 3: When the person being spoken to is not mentioned.

He said he needed another few days to finish the job. CORRECT

He told that he needed another few days to finish the job. INCORRECT

He told Bob that he needed another few days to finish the job. (We know the person being spoken to is Bob) CORRECT

 

Now practice!

Are the following sentences correct?

1. He told me I had to work on Saturday.

Show answerThis is correct.

2. Dave told that he would be here soon.

Show answerThis is not correct. It should be ‘Dave said that he would be here soon.’ or ‘Dave told me that he would be here soon.’

3. ‘I think you should leave’ he told.

Show answerThis is not correct. This should be ‘said’.

4. ‘I’ll miss you’ his girlfriend said.

Show answerThis is correct.

5. Tell him to come in if he has time.

Show answerThis is correct.

6. Tell him to come in if he has time.

Show answerThis is correct.

7. She told to me to stay after class.

Show answerThis is not correct. After tell you don’t use ‘to’.
learning_new_vocabulary

10 tips for learning new vocabulary

10 tips for learning new vocabulary

Learning new vocabulary is crucial to improving your ability to communicate in English.

Linguists say that to ‘survive’ in any language, a speaker needs to have a vocabulary of about 120 basic words – this would enable you to do the basics like order food, give / understand directions etc.

10 tips for learning new vocabularyResearch shows that an average learner is capable or retaining 10-20 words per study hour. Assuming just 15 minutes of self-study per day, that would give a possible weekly vocabulary goal of 20-25 words and phrases.

Did you know that even a native speaker who has graduated from university still only has a vocabulary an average of about 30,000 words? Learning new vocabulary should be a life-long process for everyone!

Finding time to study, especially for people with full time jobs can be a challenge, but using certain stratagies can help to make learning new vocabulary easier and more enjoyable.

The video below has 10 useful techniques for learning new vocabulary.

If you follow these techniques, you will find that learning new vocabulary becomes more effective and your vocabulary will quickly expand.

Having a good vocabulary in English allows you to express yourself more clearly and accurately. The more you learn, the easier it becomes to expand your vocabulary.

Tip 1: Don’t try to learn too many new words at once

Making long lists of words is often not a very successful technique. Words and definitions can become mixed and confused. Focus on only 10 new words at one time, practicing and using them as much as possible. When you are confident you know them, find another 10 words and repeat the process.

Tip 2: Keep a vocabulary list

Make a short list of words that you want to learn, and keep that list with you wherever you go. A pocket-sized notebook, or the ‘notes’ function on a mobile phone, is a good way to start. You can also pin short lists of words around the house – above your bed, next to your computer, even in the back of the bathroom door! Keep your list well organised, with a clear structure. For example:

WORD WORD FAMILY SENTENCE
keyboard Noun I think it is easier to use a keyboard than write by hand.

 

You can also add a translation of the word in your own language, but be careful. Although this can be useful at a lower level of English, the more advanced your English becomes, the more you will find that words are not exact matches between languages, and you can miss subtle differences.

Tip 3: Use the words in a sentence

Research has proven that putting a word in context in a sentence is much more effective than trying to learn a word on its own. Create sentences that are true about you and your life. For example, if you were trying to learn the word ‘garden’, then think about where you live – do you have a garden? Does anyone you know have a garden that you like? Your example sentence should be about something personal to you.

Tip 4: Use a dictionary

Although this is an obvious tip, you can make a dictionary more effective for you by getting into the habit of looking up new words. We recommend using a paper dictionary, as you can then put a clear mark beside the word in a bright coloured pen and look through the dictionary from time to time refreshing your memory. If you find you have forgotten the word, put it back on your list and write another sentence to help you.

Tip 5: Test yourself

Free vocabulary tests are widely available on the internet, on this website and on our free app. You should also ask a friend to help you (if you followed Tip 4, you can hand them your dictionary and ask them to find a word you have marked and ask you for the meaning – or they can give you the meaning and you tell them the word).

Tip 6: Use the new word

When you learn a new word, it is common to find that you suddenly start hearing or seeing the word a lot more, and it becomes easier to remember. However, there are also times when you learn a new word and then don’t see it or use for a long time, and this will cause is to forget. One way to help you remember the word is to repeat it 5 or 6 times in a row, repeating this pattern every day for three or four days – this will help seal the new word in your long term memory.

Tip 7: Use word families

If you learn a new word – for example, happy – then find all the words in the same family (happily, happiness). That way you can quickly expand your vocabulary.

Tip 8: Read widely

This is definitely the best way to learn new words. It is also good practice to check what the word may mean in context.

Tip 9: Use a variety of ways to remember new words.

You don’t have to write new words to remember them. Some words are better drawn as pictures or acted out like a play, and flash cards, with the word on one side and a definition on the other, can also be very handy. Don’t feel you need to use the same techniques over and over again.

Tip 10: Find your vocabulary level

It can be helpful to find out your level of vocabulary, so you have some idea of what level you are. English vocabulary can be split into different levels, so take a look at the vocabulary section.