Friday, December 24, 2010

Audio: checking in /polite questions

B1, B2,  C1

In this audio activity from the Business English pod site, you will learn some vocabulary associated with air travel and some other expressions for making requests. Audio time: 16 minutes. Activity time: 25 to 45 minutes

Task: 1 Match the words and expressions in A with those in B
A  to check in..     baggage..     a tight..     to check..     to be..     a carry-on..     a boarding..     window or..     immigration..
B  ..aisle seat     ..connection     ..and customs     ..over the limit     ..pass     ..bag     ..allowance     ..for a flight     ..your baggage  

2 Listen to the introduction, then to the dialogue in the airport. Stop the audio and check your answers to 1.

3 Listen to the dialogue again. Which of these expressions do you hear?
Can I have....?   Could you tell me....?   Would you mind -ing...?  Could you please...?  Please be sure to.... Do you mind if I.....?  I'd be grateful if you could.... 

4 Listen to the rest of the audio to hear more explanations of the vocabulary and expressions in 1 and 2. 

Go to the activity here.
Check your answers here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Reading: Great Britain Quiz

B1, B2, C1

How much do you know about Great Britain? In this quiz from the OUP site you will answer 30 questions to test your general knowledge. Activity time: 5 to 20 minutes

Task: Select answers from the menus for each question. Then click on "Score" at the bottom of the page, or "See answers" for the correction.

 Go the activity here.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Video: Business emails - making a request

B1, B2, C1

In this Youtube video posted by BusinessEnglishPod, you will look at a business email from a customer to a supplier which contains a number of mistakes. Step by step, you will discover how to
  • correct the language errors
  • change the organisation for more clarity
  • improve the style.
Video time: 9 minutes. Activity time: 30 mins - 1 hour.


Task: 1 Look at the original email on this page. Can you see any language mistakes? Is it clear? How could you change the style or organisation?
2 Watch the video and listen to the commentary. 
3 Re-write the original email including all the changes suggested in the video. Watch the video again to check your answers.


Go to the video here .

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Audio: Interactive pronunciation - the sounds of English

A2, B1, B2, C1, (C2)



Written English isn't phonetic. For this reason, it is often difficult to know the pronunciation of a word from its spelling. The diagram to the right shows the phonetic transcription of the main sounds in English. If you learn them, it will help you to (a) memorize the pronunciation of individual words (b) pronounce individual sounds more easily - especially those that don't exist in your own language.

In this activity you will hear each sound and example words that contain the sound. Activity time: 10 to 30 minutes.  


Task: If you don't have much time, click only on the symbols in yellow. These represent the sounds that pose particular problems for French speakers. 
1 Click on each symbol.  Listen to the sound and the three words which contain the sound. Listen again and repeat. 
2 Come back to the activity a week or two later. Say aloud  the words under each symbol to test yourself. Then listen again to check.


Go to the activity here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Logic Puzzle/verbs with "turn" and "switch"

A2, B1,  B2

Test your logic skills with this puzzle.  Then check your understanding of the verbs "switch" and  "turn".  Activity time: 5 to 20 minutes.

Task: 1  There are three light switches downstairs. Each corresponds to one of the three light bulbs in the attic. You can turn the switches on and off and leave them in any position.  How can you identify which switch corresponds to which light bulb, if you can only go upstairs once?

Check your answers here.

2  What other things can we turn or switch on (or off) ?
What can we turn down or up ?

Check your answers here.