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Practising English

English, Education, 3 seasons, 198 episodes, 2 days, 6 hours, 4 minutes
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Listening practice for learners of B1 and B2 levels of English (intermediate and upper-intermediate). Includes grammar explanations, examples of vocabulary use, phrasal verbs and collocations help, pronunciation practice, advice and specific help for passing B1 and B2 exams such as Cambridge, IELTS and Trinity. There are also lots of interesting and fun stories, jokes and anecdotes to listen to and enjoy. Start improving your English listening and speaking level today.
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Podcast 198 Dad (full version) B1 story

Send me a text.There are 4 questions for you to answer while you listen to the story:The questions are:1) What did uncle Tom make so he didn't have to get up early?2) When they were on the boat, where did Stephen Liddel put the box of beer?3) What did William's Dad do wrong that made him lose the fish?4) Why did Uncle Tom fall into the sea?At the end of the story, I'll tell you the answers.You can also answer the question:Is there a hero in your family? Who is it?You can send me your answer by clicking on the link above: Send me a Text. You can only do this from your mobile phone.I'll read out answers on next week's podcast - July 29th 2024. Please include a name and the country you are from.At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
7/22/202431 minutes, 12 seconds
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Podcast 197 Story telling from my listeners (B1, B2)

Send me a text.Here are the rules for the story-writing activity.- The story must include at least one of the phrases 1 to 8 shown below.- The subject of the story can be anything you like.- The story should not be longer than 80 words.- The story can only be sent from the link on mobile phones "send me a text" at the top of this page in your podcast app.- Please include your name and the country you are from at the bottom of the text.- The last day for sending the story is 28th July 2024.- I'll read two or three of the best stories on my podcast.1) The voice sounded rather weak, sleepy even.2) I’ve got a few hours. I thought we could meet up.3) Thoughts began to go through Stephen’s mind4) 'Why don’t you come over?' Jane suggested.5) ‘See you in a bit* then,’ she said and hung up.6) On such a small island, everybody knew everybody else7) 'Well, well, well. After all these years!' she said.8) She had to move piles of papers off the sofa, so Stephen could sit down.See the full transcript of the story extract at: https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-197.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
7/15/202424 minutes, 23 seconds
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Podcast 196 Intonation in a Story

Send us a Text Message.Today I have joined the two halves of The Quiet Man together so you can enjoy this story in one complete story. I briefly discuss intonation and give you a task to listen to while enjoying the story.For more podcasts on intonation at Practising English, go to podcasts: 126, 109, 43, 103. See the podcast numbers at my website...https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-content.htmThe Quiet ManFirst part of story. Stressed words are shown in bold:‘Come on, you’ll like them! They really are super people!’Simon Willoughby wasn’t convinced. He had never been keen on theatres and actors.On the only occasion Simon had actually been to the theatre, he had felt terrified. On this visit, he was sitting just two rows back from the front, when, during the play, one of the performers had come down from the stage. She asked if someone would like to come up and take part in the play. As nobody raised their hand, the actress came among the audience to look for someone. For one terrible moment, Simon thought it was going to be him. He closed his eyes, and his heartbeat raced while sweat poured off his face and hands. Fortunately, for Simon, the actress chose another person, who had been sitting right next to him. Simon could breathe normally again. In fact, feeling worried that the same thing might happen later on in the performance, Simon got up and quietly walked out of the theatre. He’d never been back.How he had become friends with his department’s manageress, Simon couldn’t even guess. She seemed to like him. Her name was Phillipa, and she had asked Simon to come into her office to talk about his work in the company. He couldn’t really understand why he deserved the attention. His work as a computer programmer was hardly important, as what he did was simple and even rather dull.At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
7/8/202431 minutes, 49 seconds
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Podcast 195 Uses of SO and REALLY (B1 level)

Send us a Text Message.Extracts from my stories with examples of SO and REALLY Here are the 4 extracts from my stories I use in this podcast to give examples of the use of SO and REALLY as intensifiers. Extract 1:'The fishmonger,' corrected Vanessa again. 'The person who sells fish is called a fishmonger.'  'The fishmonger was REALLY big and fat,' added Jason. 'Then Gran pointed to the fish man and said to me, "Do you know what this gentleman's name is?" And I said, "No, I don't." And Gran said, "His name's Mr Whale!" And Gran laughed, and the big fat fish man looked at me with his big red face and laughed, and everybody in the shop laughed, but I didn't laugh because I didn't understand what was SO funny. Then Gran said it again, "His name is Mr Whale!" So I said "Oh! I see! His name is Mr Whale, and he's REALLY big and fat like a whale!" And then everybody stopped laughing, and Mr Whale went redder in the face, and then looked the other way, and Gran was REALLY annoyed, but I didn't understand why.' 'Stupid!' said Vanessa angrily. 'It was funny because his name is Mr Whale and he's a fishmonger. Don't you see?' For extracts 2, 3 and 4, visit my website at: https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-195.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
7/1/202421 minutes, 4 seconds
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Podcast 194 PET exam writing the article B1

Send us a Text Message.Writing the B1 article.(If you are interested in my podcast about writing the B1 story...https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-128.htm )These are some general, very important words I recommend you learn for writing in any part of the PET exam. You won't be able to use all of them, but try to use some at least:unless, available, suitable, encourage, increase, intend to, involve, keen to/on, supposed to, unable to. (Which words do I use?)These are the usual topics that come up for the article, Try to learn a few B1 words and expressions related to each topic.work (adults only), shopping, Travel and transport.Entertainment.Leisure activities.Sport, health and fitness.Education.News and media. (adults only)Technology.My topic today for the article today: Sport, health and fitness.You see this notice in your school magazine. Write an article about young people and how to be healthy. Do you think it is important for young people to do sport and keep fit? Why?Which are the best ways to stay healthy?The best articles to answer these questions will be published next month.Write your article.Vocabulary for this topic: (which words do I use?)fitnessillnessunfitunhealthydiseaseaches and painsinjurekeep fitrecoverjoin a clubcompetitioncompetecourtpitchSwimming, the best way to exercise.In this world where mobiles and video games are available to everybody, keeping fit isn't always easy. Do you find time to exercise?I'm really keen on swimming, so I joined a club, where I go nearly every day, and I feel great! However, my brother’s idea of leisure is playing video games! Now he has a weight problem, he’s unfit, and complains of aches and pains. He's unable to swim one length of our local pool!Although TV and video games are fine sometimes, I encourage teenagers to swim because it keeps you fit and healthy. Be free of pain and start swimming!So I used the following general B1 words: available, keen on, unable to, encourage.And the following specific words related to the topic: keep fit, joined a club, unfit, aches and pains. At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
6/23/202423 minutes, 52 seconds
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Podcast 193 FCE writing the essay B2

Send us a Text Message.Expressions to memorize1) There is a decline in the numbers of lynxes. (usually negative)The decline in the number of tourists.2) It is extremely important that we finish this project on time.It is crucial that we finish this project on time. 3) Tigers are an endangered species.Tigers are a threatened species.Bees are becoming threatened by the use of pesticides.4) Forests are disappearing very quickly.Unemployment is increasing at an alarming rate. (usually negative)5) Preventing climate change is becoming more and more difficult.Preventing climate change is becoming increasingly difficult.Language learning has become increasingly important.6) We were very confused trying to understand the menu in Chinese.We were very puzzled trying to understand the menu in Chinese.7) Everybody in our group was unhappy with the service at the restaurant.Everybody in our group was dissatisfied with the service at the restaurant.8) The tourists were all very happy after the party.The tourists were all very content after the party.9) We thought the Swiss mountain scenery was incredibly beautiful.We thought the Swiss mountain scenery was breathtaking.Some of their football was breathtaking, a delight to watch. 10) He didn’t get up in time, so he missed the bus.He failed to get up in time, so he missed the bus.FCE Writing Paper (Part 1)Write an essay using all the notes and give reasons for your points of view.People need to do more to protect the environment. Do you agree?Notes:1, Recycling2. Using bicycles and public transport3. .......... (your own idea)People need to do more to protect the environment. Do you agree?The topic of the environment is an increasingly worrying issue. How much consumers should be involved in caring for our planet is a subject that needs to be discussed.We should all feel dissatisfied with the current situation of waste. Recycling is available to all of us. Providing local governments place bins near our home, surely, the consumer alone must be responsible for their own recycling.Secondly, taking the bicycle or public transport instead of the car is an option we should all choose. On the other hand, if local government fails to provide proper bicycle lanes or transport services, our choice may be limited.Thirdly, as forests disappear at an alarming rate, and animal and plant habitats decline, consumers need to make better choices when shopping to protect our threatened ecosystems. Therefore, it is crucial we buy more goods that come only from renewable forests, and clothing and food produced ecologically.In conclusion, I find it puzzling that so many people believe irresponsible governments alone will take care of our planet. We should not feel content that everything will be done for us. Instead, both governments and consumers must become more involved.(194 words)At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
6/16/202420 minutes, 49 seconds
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Podcast 192 The Breath of the Mosquito (Part 2) B1 story

Send us a Text Message.Introduction to part 2 of The Breath of the MosquitoEmil Zimmermann, professor of astrophysics at Corpus Christi College, Oxford University sat back in his leather chair and studied the colourful feather, he was holding in his hand, through his thick glasses. ‘Incredible!’ he said. ‘You say it comes from an extinct* type of bird, don’t you?’Mathew was sitting the other side of Emil’s huge wooden desk, covered in piles of papers.‘That’s what we believe, yes, Emil. It came from a bird called Geranopterus alatus, we have found them as fossils from the Eocene period. It stood about thirty centimetres high, so it was quite a large bird. If it was still flying about the county of Oxfordshire, somebody would have seen it.’Here are some of the "space" words that you will hear in the story:‘Yes, of course. That’s true, but it’s not exactly what I meant,’ Emil continued. ‘Our Earth, the sun, and all the planets in our solar system are moving through space, as we go round or orbit the centre of our galaxy. In fact, the Earth and sun are moving at 720 thousand kilometres per hour in their galaxy orbit. But, we then also have to consider the speed of the complete galaxy. All the galaxies are moving through the universe at enormous speeds. In 4 billion years from now, we will crash into Andromeda, our nearest neighbour galaxy.’‘That’s amazing,’ said Mathew. ‘But, what are you trying to say?’‘This means that if you travelled back in time on Earth 33 million years and lived to tell the story afterwards, you must also travel back to where the Earth was situated 33 million years ago.’ Emil looked hard at Mathew. ‘Earth, Mathew, was many, many light years away from where it is now 33 million years ago!’ said Emil loudly. ‘A time traveller must also be a space traveller, an astronaut!'I'll also talk about the use of Question Tags.You can listen to how they are used, and why we use them. There are also some exercises on Question Tags at my website: https://www.practisingenglish.com/english-grammar-exercises/question-tags_2.htmAnswer to the question - What does the professor of astrophysics say about the breath of the mosquito?Here is the extract from the story which explains this theory:'If… if something went back in time and existed in the past, something or somebody who was not there before, he/she/it would change time in the present. Things would not be the same when he or she returned. It would take just a moment, the tiniest movement in the past would have the effect like a stone thrown into a pond. The circles of effect would move out, growing and growing for ever and changing the world as they go.’‘But, Emil,’ interrupted his friend. ‘I was only there for a minute or so.’‘Mathew, a minute is a long, long time. Listen to me, even the breath of a mosquito 33 million years ago would change the world and events in history as we know them today. Just one breath of a mosquito.At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
6/3/202431 minutes, 32 seconds
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Podcast 191 The Breath of the Mosquito (Part 1) B1 story

Send us a Text Message.This is a B1-level short story in two parts.Professor Mathew Pearson, a paleontologist and professor at Oxford University, made an incredible discovery when he found a skull. Tests are done and the results are extremely surprising...Technical vocabulary in the storyPrehistory / A prehistoric scenepaleontologyfossilsThe Jurassic period (finished 145 million years ago)The Eocene period (finished 33m years ago)skullThe prehistoric animal mentioned in the story is a sarkastodon.B1 vocabulary I discuss at the beginning before the story startsThe weather forecast seriously hurting the planetspectacularly beautiful buildingsA friend had introduced them to each other.Christine had encouraged him to keep on going.explain in detailWe must keep it a secret.changed the subjecttaking all this extremely seriouslySorry, if I kept you waiting!'I don’t think I’ve had the pleasure,’ said Mathew.There was an embarrassing pause.without any doubtListen for these phrases and enjoy the story.At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
5/26/202426 minutes, 19 seconds
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Podcast 190 The Harmonica Players (Part 3) B1, B2 story

Send us a Text Message.This is the third and final part of the story 'The Harmonica Players'. Here are the B2 phrases I discuss in the podcast.1) This was not the familiar peaceful atmosphere of Oxted.2) He found London rather threatening. 3) An awful lot of unfamiliar people who packed the streets.4) You were swept along by dense, hostile crowds of total strangers.5) A black man in a hat, moving quickly towards Jeffrey in the opposite direction, bumped straight into him. 6) Jeffrey, although in his fifties, was quite a well-built man, so managed to keep his feet.frostilycoldlyicilyWhich one do I use in the story?7) 'That’s my wallet!' said Jeffrey ????. 'What do you want from me?'8) Jeffrey felt he had no choice. He reluctantly took out his own harmonica from his pocket. 9) While Jeffrey was still trying to figure out what he had meant by that comment.10) He wasn’t ready, but he wanted to give it a go. (I also use give it a try, which has the same meaning,)At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
5/12/202428 minutes, 48 seconds
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Podcast 189 The Harmonica Players (Part 2) B1, B2 story

In Part 2 of my story, The Harmonica Players, I’ll be talking about racial prejudice. That means the irrational distrust and dislike of people from other countries. My motive for bringing up this topic and creating Jeffrey, a man who is very prejudiced against foreigners, has been from the unfortunate policy by the current Conservative party in the UK, who have proposed and are about to carry out flying immigrants, who have arrived illegally into the UK, to the African country of Rwanda. This is a B1 to B2 level English story.B2 vocabulary discussed in the podcast:foreignernative English"I don’t know what this country is coming to. More foreigners than native English."In contrast toprimarily"In contrast to the London area, Oxted was primarily a small town of white people."respectable"All respectable, traditional people. Proper English people, Jeffrey would say. "upbringing"His upbringing had always been in country areas, away from cosmopolitan* cities. "distrusted"He distrusted foreigners in his country, in general. "superior / inferiorWhat does he say about these words? (see answer 1 below)raise their voicesWho don't raise their voices? (see answer 2 below)take it for granteddecency and fair play"In England, you could take it for granted that you would find decency and fair play*. deceit and dishonesty"Unfortunately, the deceit and dishonesty, which so many immigrants brought with them from elsewhere was giving this country a bad name. "discourage"The current government’s policy of sending them all to Rwanda was obviously a practical solution which would discourage others, tempted by England’s superior standard of living, from attempting the crossing of the English Channel. ""immigrants giving the country a bad name"Answer 1) His main argument was that why would anyone from another country wish to live in England unless his or her own origins were somehow inferior*. Here, in England, everybody enjoyed a superior* culture, a better welfare state: medical care, friendly doctors (such as his own Doctor Feelgood, for instance). Answer 2) The English didn’t raise their voices* or shout at each other like they did on the Continent. (By the term ‘the Continent’, Jeffrey referred to all of Europe excluding* Britain.) At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
5/6/202422 minutes, 41 seconds
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Podcast 188 The Harmonica Players (Part 1) B1, B2 story

The Harmonica Players. The story of two people who are very different from each other, yet there is something that unites them.Words and expressions discussed in the podcast:bedsit - accommodation, which is very basic, and is usually just one room.meter - a machine you put money into which controls the amount of electricity is consumed.-        Somehow, he couldn’t face starting his day without a hot shower-        All of a sudden, the ceiling light, television, fridge and electric heater all came on* at once.-        work as a musician had been difficult to get hold of-        From time to time, he gave harmonica lessons online…-        Martin always kept his eye out for a job that he could do.-        Every once in a while, he’d found work doing what he really loved-        a chance of a lifetime-        he dropped out of college-        struggling to make ends meet-        Jeffrey had a strong dislike of mobile phones-        They should be behind bars.-        [She] gazed out of the window at the daffodils in the snowhttps://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-188.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
4/29/202424 minutes, 58 seconds
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Podcast 187 The River (B1, B2 story)

This is a B1 and B2 level podcast with a new story about the ages of Man. (See link to audioscript of story below.)B1 words discussed:sunriselandscapevalleys scenerywaterfallcave the cool shadesetting sun (sunset)B2 words discussedyouthbounced alonglife was a gift, which he would grab for himselfmake the most ofthe lines around his eyesa bald areamaturehis  body was curved and bentslow, clumsy and tiredleaned awkwardlyhis old legs struggling to make the final stepsTo see full transcript, visit my website:https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-187.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
4/15/202421 minutes, 33 seconds
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Podcast 186 Cambridge Speaking Test (part 3)

I'm listing below the phrases I explain in the audio.This is a B1-level story. Below, are the phrases I explain from the story.Vocabulary expressions for the storyToday's story is B1 level. I'm listing below the phrases I explain in the audio.The point of this podcast is to explain that the language you use in your speaking exam must sound authentic.These are the B1 expressions I suggest you use in the speaking:some kind of - when you are describing something, or identifying somethingThat must be... I suppose - this means you are quite sure what something isvery fond of - likeI've changed my mind - I don't agree with what I said beforeI think that's a... isn't it? - easy to use question tagGood point! - You have said something which I agree withkeen on - likeIt's difficult to please everybody - to please means to make somebody happyI mean, - say this to explain something you have said in a better way, or add more informationSee the picture and transcript for the speaking test at:  https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-186.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
4/7/202423 minutes, 54 seconds
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Podcast 185 On The Edge (B1 Story)

In Telmah's life, very little happens. His garden is really the only thing he seems to care about. But one day, a neighbour loses her dog, and Telmah's life suddenly becomes much more complicated than he would like.These are the B1 expressions I explain from the story:be just about to do sthbelieve it or notfeel sorry fora sense of humourstraight awaybe fond of sb/sthkeen on sthshortly afterwardsjust in caseWhat do you think about Telmah. Is there a little of him in all of us?At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
3/25/202427 minutes, 25 seconds
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Podcast 184 Drawing Conclusions (B2 Story)

This is a B2 story in the genre of mystery or thriller. It's called Drawing Conclusions, which is one of the expressions I explain before I start the story.B2 phrases:- drawing conclusions- Mrs Robinson had neither seen nor heard Lorna since- take great pride in sth- to go into more detail- he couldn’t look her in the eye- was very absorbed in everything- as far as she knew, - ideas had crossed Mrs Robinson’s mind - gossip- the trouble with- was on the point of - it’s common knowledge - sooner or laterImportant words:- greenhouse (a glass house in a garden, where you keep flowers)- boot (the back of a car, where you put suitcases etc.)- to split up (to separate from your partner, husband or wife)At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
3/18/202426 minutes, 41 seconds
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Podcast 183 Doghouse Reilly Part 2 (B1 B2 Story)

These are the dog expressions I mention today:Dog Eat DogRaining cats and dogsTeach an old dog new tricksAnd these are the B1 and B2 expressions I explain, and that you will hear in the story:B1It didn’t look like they were expecting me.They were definitely up to something.He walked in and I went after him. I glanced around.Rocky close on my heels. Somehow, I had to get rid of him.Winning that dog food would be a dream come true.B2‘Weather seems to be getting worse and worse, this winter.'The sight of those tins brought back fond memories‘It was raining cats and dogs yesterday. Not to mention the cold. A dog can’t get warm at night.’I wasn’t about to make a fool of myself.I was under the impression something was going on.‘Nice-looking collar,’ said Bozo. ‘Fair enough. You’re in.’See the picture that inspired the story at: https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-183.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
3/4/202423 minutes, 46 seconds
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Podcast 182 Doghouse Reilly (B1 B2 Story)

Today's story is B1 level with lots of B2 phrases added. This let's you improve little by little without getting lost because the text is too difficult to understand. I'm listing below the phrases I explain in the audio.I also talk about ellipsis, which is where you omit words from a sentence in an "economy of words". We still understand the meaning - only the grammar is affected. Ellipsis is common in informal prose and speech. The examples are:- Not a nice place, the street.- No nice mat by the fire to sleep on either.- Got to keep away from the police.The expressions I talk about are:B1 level.take it easymake a facein case (of) keep somebody waitingbe willing to do somethingkeep something a secretB2 level.taking everything into considerationmake your wayin actual fact / as a matter of factthe look of somebodybe out of practicebe a disgracenone of your businessListen for these expressions and examples of ellipsis as you listen to the story.You can see a better version of the painting which inspired my story at my website:https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-182.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
2/26/202422 minutes, 6 seconds
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Podcast 181 The Octopus's Garden (Complete Story)

This is a special edition podcast. Today I’m publishing The Octopus’s Garden as one complete story. If you have listened to this story in the two parts I published two weeks ago (podcasts 179 and 180), you’ll remember that I have dedicated this story firstly, to the children of Gaza, who are suffering so terribly during this horrific war. Secondly, I’ve also dedicated this story to my brother Nick Bilbrough and the HandsUp Project team, who worked for so many years to give the Gazan children a voice in the world. Please see the introduction of podcast 179 for more details of the HandsUp Project.For this special edition, which is a B1 and B2-level story, I include eight comprehension questions for you to read before you listen. You can find the answers below the questions.I hope you enjoy this story in its complete form.Questions1) What was Dunya drinking while she was sitting in the courtyard?2) In what season of the year did the action take place?3) According to Yousef Hussan Omar, Dunya's father, what are the two reasons why the reception room should belong to him?4) What happened immediately after Dunya's mother spoke?5) In which part of Dunya's house did the drone land?6) What do you think is the symbolic meaning of the box where the mouse was kept?7) How many bombs fell on the street where Mohammad and his family lived?8) What was waiting for Dunya when she walked into the sea? Answers1) Dunya sat on a rug in the corner almost hidden by the rubber plants, drinking a glass of honey lemonade...2) The warm autumn sun shone through the opening above the courtyard...3) ‘I’m just saying that the reception room, which is at the entrance on my side of the house (and always has been), should belong to me in the testament - officially. Furthermore, I am the older brother.4) There was a scream above. Dunya lifted her gaze to the sky above the courtyard. A bright flash. Everything went white. Then, an enormous bang split the world. 5) The doctors also said the drone had landed in the reception room of the house and exploded killing every member of her immediate family...6) [The box represents Gaza.] She wondered how people could live in a place, from where no friendly countries could be seen. It was like being shut in a room where the only window was too high up to see out of. 7) The block of flats in front has been hit, and so has the block at the end of the street. [two bombs]8) The water came up to her waist, and it was then that she saw the octopus. He was sitting on the seabed looking up at her with his seven legs stretched out At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
2/16/202430 minutes, 40 seconds
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Podcast 180 The Octopus's Garden (Part 2)

Hello, dear listeners!This is part 2 of my story, The Octopus's Garden, which I'm dedicating to the children of Gaza and my brother's HandsUp Project team that has been working with Palestinian children to help them have a voice in the world by producing plays in English online. You can find out more about the HandsUp  Project here... (https://www.handsupproject.org/)Most of the language of this story is B1 with some B2 words added. You can find the audioscript at https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-180.htm The B2 words mentioned in the introduction are shown below.It smashed(b2), silently, into pieces on the floor. A dreadful(b2) feeling of guilt(b2) rushed(b2) into her head.Dunya bent down(b2) and picked up two of the larger pieces of broken glass.They assumed(b2) Dunya could not hear their conversation, but now she could hear perfectly(b2) clearly. ‘He’s not a rat,’ Ali assured(b2) her. ‘He’s a real mouse. She just collapsed(b2) from tiredness(b2) and hunger(b2).At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
2/6/202425 minutes, 7 seconds
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Podcast 179 The Octopus's Garden (Part 1)

Dunya Yousef Hussan AL-BARGHOUTI sat on the white sand and looked out across the deep blue of the Mediterranean Sea. Somehow, at last, she had found comfort here...This is a B1 to B2-level English podcast about my story dedicated to the children of Gaza.I will introduce a lot of new B2 words for you to listen for during the story. I also include a full AUDIOSCRIPT of the story at my website: https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-179.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
1/30/202424 minutes, 2 seconds
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Podcast 178 Lunch of the Boat Party (B1 English)

A painting by Renoir inspired today's story. The painting is famous, and is called "The Luncheon of the Boat Party" (I have used the simpler word "Lunch").These are the adjectives to talk about people's personality that I mention at the beginning:miserablelivelykeenlonelyexhaustedembarrassedeasygoingreliablecharmingsensiblecheerfultalentedAnd I discuss these two B1 expressions:a sense of humourin tearsThe question I ask is that you identify Angèle in the story, in the painting. You can see the full painting by Renoir at my website. https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-178.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
1/15/202422 minutes, 57 seconds
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Podcast 177 Never Go Back (Part 2) B1 level

Part 2 of my short story for B1 learners of English - Never Go Back. I'll look at the vocabulary I used, related to suspense.Here are the words I explain for you to listen for:Benjamin looked up, shocked at this unexpected and rude behaviour. Why all this unfriendly behaviour, when this morning the hotel staff he had met had been so kind.Her face looked sour and unfriendly.‘Your card, sir,’ she said. But her look was cold.He felt anxious and confused.Benjamin left the room angrily and walked to the lift.…the whole world had gone mad.The idea was crazy…Benjamin became annoyed.A face with fear written across it. (I forgot to mention this one in the podcast. 'Fear' the noun of 'afraid'. Notice the collocation ‘fear written across her face’ = she felt very afraid.)The doorman gave a shout and fell two or three steps, his sunglasses sent flying.He fell badly and screamed in pain…There are two words I will explain so you can better understand the scene on the stairs. In most European hotels with several floors, there are stairs used usually only in emergencies, for example, fire. They are built in a spiral going from one floor to the other from the top to the bottom floors. In the middle of this spiral, there is a big drop or space going all the way down – this is called a stairwell.Stairs have a construction you can hold on to so you don’t fall off them, this is called a handrail.At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
1/7/202423 minutes, 36 seconds
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Podcast 176 A Christmas Carol

In this podcast I thank my listeners for all the times you have downloaded Practising English Podcasts in 2023. I'll talk a little about an English Christmas and read my B1 version of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.You can read the entire transcript at my website: https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-176.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
12/18/202317 minutes, 16 seconds
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Podcast 175 Never Go Back (short story) B1 level

Today is part 1 of my new story Never Go Back. It's in the thiller, suspense or even horror genre. I mention some useful B1 adjectives and other B2-level words and one swear word in English. Here we go...At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
12/11/202322 minutes, 19 seconds
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Podcast 174 Somebody for Jenny (B1 story)

Jenny is looking for a relationship. Will she ever find somebody suitable?  Today's B1 story comes with a test. The story contains around 60 B1 words, which are useful for B1-level English study, and some of them are not easy to learn as they are not very intuitive (false friends).I include below a list of thes B1 words in the order they appear in the story:disappointedallowattempted advertisingkeen tosuitablerefusedadvisedabroadencouragedadviceexploredregionssearchingsuitableintroducedhandsomeunablefall in loverefusedrelationshipunlessmade contactsupportdisappointmentcomplainedaverageannoying sillynone ofvegetarianno longerinvolvedpersuadedonce moresuccessfulpartnersalthoughcompletelyconvincedarrangedthe following daypartnervegetariankeen onmagnificentmatchamazedin facthanded (to)anxiousListen to these words in the story and look for the meaning of those you don't know.There is then a test on some of them. You can find the answers to the test at my website:https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-174.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
12/3/202316 minutes, 16 seconds
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Podcast 173 Tsunami (Part 2)

The second part of Tsunami (See Podcast 172 for Part 1). Story for B1 and B2 learners of English.The words and expressions I describe today are:frighteningstrike fear into human heartsthe heart beats fastermysterious giant horsescreaming with/in fear, happinessbe in shocka totally hopeless situationThe three questions for the story area:1, What else screamed besides the children?2, Which animals are named in the story?3, Which two Greek gods are named?At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
11/19/202322 minutes, 53 seconds
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Podcast 172 Tsunami (Part 1)

B1-level story with questions and a grammar point. For the audioscript, please go to my website: https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-172.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
11/13/202320 minutes, 41 seconds
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Podcast 171 The Picnic (short story)

I discuss some important language for part 1 of the reading paper of the Cambridge Preliminary B1-level exam and include those words in a story called The Picnic.The formal phrases for you to change to a more informal version are the following:1) ‘I’ll make the arrangements,’ Marvin had then said.2) I’m sure I have a few eggs available. 3) Actually, I’m not sure I have suitable ingredients for tiramisu. 4) Would you be available at six o’clock?5) I suppose you have an announcement to make. 6) I imagine you won’t be able to attend.I'll give my versions at the end of the podcast.At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
10/29/202321 minutes, 26 seconds
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Podcast 170 Bigfoot (B1 Short story)

Advice for story-writing at B1 and B2 levels for Cambridge exams, and my short story Bigfoot for you to enjoy. You can follow the story this week on the transcript I include here and on at my website.  https://www.practisingenglish.com/podcast-170.htmAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
10/15/202321 minutes, 33 seconds
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Podcast 169 Three Hours between Flights Part 2 (short story)

The second part of my adaptation to B1-level English of the short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald "Three Hours between Flights". I'm going to include a transcript tomorrow 3rd of October 2023 showing all the B1 words. At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
10/2/202318 minutes, 7 seconds
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Podcast 168 Three Hours between Flights Part 1 (short story)

A B1-level version of a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I talk about aeroplane and airport language before starting this romantic story of two people, who haven't seen each other since they were at school, meet again when adults.At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
9/25/202317 minutes, 46 seconds
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Podcast 167 "Dad" part 2 (short story)

This is the second part of the story "Dad" by M.A. Bilbrough. A story written for B1-level students of English. The verbs we are studying today are:realizedropcall outweighadmireencouragediveappearbreathehugAt https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
9/12/202321 minutes, 46 seconds
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Podcast 166 Dad (B1 short story - part 1)

This is part 1 of a B1-level story for learners of English, especially Cambridge English. The story is called Dad. It's about a family fishing trip in Spain. Vocabulary about the sea, boats and fishing equipment...At https://www.practisingenglish.com/ I offer learners of intermediate-level English, grammar help and exercises and other English learning pages.https://www.practisingenglish.com/My latest novel for learners of B2 English is called The Tudor Conspiracy. You can see it on Amazon here: https://amzn.to/33Axu2Nhttps://amzn.to/33Axu2NBe back soon with another podcast!Mike Bilbrough (Secondary school English teacher and Doctor in English philology)
9/3/202319 minutes, 34 seconds