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Welcome! This site is for students to practice their English and keep up to date with environmental issues.

TEN MINUTES OF ENGLISH A DAY!
You can find a mixture of reading, crosswords, videos and short English lessons: these will normally be vocabulary, but I may also treat you to some grammar!

There are now over 250 lessons on this blog. Look through the Blog archive, Post labels and Popular Posts to find what you want.

If you want to print a lesson, click on the lesson title and then look for the Print Friendly icon.

''Let nature be your teacher''
William Wordsworth, poet, 1770-1850

''Joy in looking and comprehending is nature's most beautiful gift''
Albert Einstein, physicist, 1879-1955

Friday, 20 September 2019

Germany's climate change deal

Level: Intermediate / B1


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On the day of global climate strike, Germany has agreed to set a price on carbon emissions.
Read this article about it and answer the following questions, which focus on numbers.

1) How much does the new climate deal cost? (In pounds please!)
2) What is the 2030 climate target?
3) How many protesters were estimated in Berlin?
4) What is the current cost of carbon under the EU scheme?
5) How long was the 'climate cabinet' in talks for?

Bonus question - what is the population density in Germany? (you will have to do a bit of extra research for this one!)

Answers below!


1) £48bn (''forty-eight billion pounds'')
2) Cutting green house gases by 55% (''fifty-five per cent'') on 1990 (''nineteen-ninety'') levels
3) 270,000 (''two hundred and seventy thousand'')
4)  26.30 (''twenty-six Euros and thirty cents'') per tonne of CO2
5) 19 (''nineteen'') hours

Bonus question:
232/km(two hundred and thirty-two per kilometre squared / square kilometre)

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Good and well: grammar lesson 21

Level: Intermediate / B1


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Time for another grammar lesson!
Last week we looked at Do and Make; today we look at a similar common problem for learners of English...


Good and well


Good is an adjective. Well is an adverb:

               Your English is good.             ×         You speak English well.
               He is a good football player.              ×         He plays football well.

BUT!!
Well is an adjective when used to describe health:

               ‘How are you?‘ ‘I am well thanks.‘
               ‘I don’t feel well.’


Practice: Complete the sentences with good or well:

1.  Our new equipment is running      well      .
2.  She’s quite                                      at languages.
3.  Did you have a                                            meal?
4.  My assistant didn’t work very                                            today.
5.  I’m not a                             cook, but my wife cooks                                 .
6.  Your exam results were very                                              .
7.  You did very                                               in your exams.
8.  How are you? Are you                                            ?
9.  She speaks English very                                         .
10. Her English is very                                                .





Answers below!



1.  Our new equipment is running      well      .
2.  She’s quite good                at languages.
3.  Did you have a                   good                meal?
4.  My assistant didn’t work very       well                  today.
5.  I’m not a                good    cook, but my wife cooks        well      .
6.  Your exam results were very         good    .
7.  You did very          well                  in your exams.
8.  How are you? Are you                   well                  ?
9.  She speaks English very                well                  .
10. Her English is very           good                .

Monday, 9 September 2019

A (virtual) dive into the River Thames

Level: intermediate B1

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The Zoological Society of London (ZSL) has produced a virtual reality dive into the River Thames in London.

Watch this video (two minutes) about it and then answer the following questions:

1) What do most people assume about the Thames when they see it?
2) How long has the ZSL been working on the Thames?
3) When was the Thames declared biologically dead?
4) How many species of fish are there now?
5) What three top predators does Anna Cucknell mention?

And a bonus question:
How long it the River Thames? (You will have to do some extra research for this one!)


Answers below!




1) They assume it is dirty and dead
2) 15 years
3) 1959
4) 120
5) seals, harbour porpoises, sharks

Bonus question:
215 miles / 346 km

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Second and third conditionals: grammar lesson 20

Level: Intermediate / B1
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Yet more grammar! This time conditionals (if you want more conditionals, see grammar lesson 15 and lesson 8).


Second and third conditionals

A. Read this example of the third conditional and answer the questions:

If the US air force hadn't set up Project Blue Book, there wouldn't have been so much suspicion about their involvement in a cover-up.

1.       Did the US air force set up Project Blue Book?
2.       Was there any suspicion about a cover-up?
B. Complete the following conditional sentences using the verbs in brackets:
1.       If Kenneth Arnold                                                          (fly) his private aircraft near Mount Rainier in June 1947, we might never                                                     (hear) of Flying Saucers.
2.       American space technology would have been different if they                                                      (have access) to alien technology.
3.       Unless you take if for regular walks, you                                                             (buy) a dog.
4.       If you                                        (plant) more trees, we                                        (be) satisfied.
5.       If the students                                                    (tell) us they weren't coming we                                                 (warn) you.
C. Complete the following to form sentences containing the second and third conditionals:
  1. If work on the dam                                                         (begin) on time, it                                                         (finish) by now.
  2. If the project                                                      (improve) the environment significantly, people                                                             (object) to paying for it.
  3. If you                                                    (have) an early night, you                                                         (feel) so tired now!
  4. If the marine toad                                                          (introduce) native species of wildlife                                                      (survive) in greater numbers.
  5. If the politicians                                                             (allowed) wind turbines to be built, most of them                                                              (build) in Scotland.
D. Use one of the conditional link words below to complete sentences 1-6. Use each link ward once only.
as long as          provided          supposing         even if              unless               if
  1.                                      you had missed the train, what would you have done then?
  2. Don’t dye your hair blue                                    you really want to upset your parents.
  3. We'll never get there by lunch-time                                 we leave at ten o'clock.
  4.                                      you let me know what you would like to eat, I'll do the cooking.
  5. You can go to the party                          you don 't walk home alone.
  6. I wouldn't wear that dress to an interview                                    I were you.

Adapted from New English File Advanced OUP

Answers below!






A.
  1. Did the US air force set up Project Blue Book? YES
2.       Was there any suspicion about a cover-up? YES

B. Complete the following conditional sentences using the verbs in brackets:
  1. If Kenneth Arnold HADN’T FLOWN (fly) his private aircraft near Mount Rainier in June 1947, we might never HAVE HEARD   (3rd) (hear) of Flying Saucers. (MIXED)
2.       American space technology would have been different if they HAD HAD ACCESS (3rd) (have access) to alien technology. (MIXED)
3.       Unless you take if for regular walks, you SHOULDN’T BUY (buy) a dog
4.       If you PLANT (plant) more trees, we WILL BE (be) satisfied.
5.       If the students HAD TOLD (tell) us they weren't coming we WOULD HAVE WARNED (warn) you. (MIXED)
C. Complete the following to form sentences containing the second and third conditionals:
  1. If work on the dam HAD BEGUN (begin) on time, it WOULD HAVE BEEN FINISHED (finish) by now.
  2. If the project HAD IMPROVED (improve) the environment significantly, people WOULD NOT HAVE (object) to paying for it.
  3. If you HAD HAD (have) an early night, you WOULD NOT BE FEELING (feel) so tired now!
  4. If the marine toad HAD NOT BEEN INTRODUCED (introduce) native species of wildlife WOULD HAVE SURVIVED (survive) in greater numbers
  5. If the politicians HAD ALLOWED (allowed) wind turbines to be built, most of them WOULD HAVE BEEN BUILT (build) in Scotland
D. Use one of the conditional link words below to complete sentences 1-6. Use each link ward once only.
as long as          provided          supposing         even if              unless               if

  1. SUPPOSING you had missed the train, what would you have done then?
  2. Don’t dye your hair blue UNLESS you really want to upset your parents
  3. We'll never get there by lunch-time EVEN IF we leave at ten o'clock.
  4. PROVIDED / AS LONG AS you let me know what you would like to eat, I'll do the cooking.
  5. You can go to the party PROVIDED / AS LONG AS you don 't walk home alone
  6. I wouldn't wear that dress to an interview IF I were you.

Saturday, 7 September 2019

Past simple and -ed: grammar lesson 19

Level: Intermediate / B1
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Time for another grammar lesson! Back to tenses, and specifically...



Past simple and -ed
A. Past simple
Read this page from an explorer's diary. Write each verb in brackets in the past simple.
We 1       started   (start) our journey in October. Three of us 2                                  (leave) early in the morning and the rest of the group 3                                         (follow) us an hour later. The group 4                                             (walk) all day and in the evening we 5                                   (find) a small lake with fresh water. The desert 6                                          (be) cold but very beautiful. My colleagues 7                                         (photograph) the night sky until finally we 8                                                                  (go) to bed. In the morning the team   9                                          (continue) the journey but it 10                                          (become) harder and harder to walk in the heat...
B. Quiz
Test your knowledge of great explorers. Fill in the gaps with the past simple of these verbs, then answer the questions.
                arrive                     land                        lead                        reach                      sail
  1. Who       reached   the South Pole first?
A Richard Branson                             B Roald Amundsen                             C Robert Scott
  1. Who                                        the first expedition westwards from Europe to Asia via the Pacific?
A Ferdinand Magellan                        B Marco Polo                                       C David Attenborough
  1. Who                                        on the moon?
A Yuri Gagarin                                    B Neil Armstrong                                C Buzz Lightyear
  1. Who                                        to America first?
A The Vikings                                      B The Normans                                   C Christopher Columbus
  1. Which European first                                           in Australia?
A Thor Heyerdahl                               B Captain James T Kirk                     C Captain James Cook

C. Pronunciation: -ed endings
How many syllables are each word, 1, 2 or 3? Which -ed ending is pronounced - [t], [d], or [ɪd]?
  1. invented                 3    (in – vent – ed)              [ɪd]         
  2. danced                                                                                  
  3. discussed                                                                              
  4. decided                                                                                 
  5. travelled                                                                               
  6. arrived                                                                                  
  7. introduced                                                                            
  8. landed                                                                                   
  9. worked                                                                                  
  10. lifted                                                                                     

Adapted from Language Leader Pearson 2008


Answers below!
And for more tense practice, go to grammar lessons 57, 10, 13, and 17



A. Past simple
Read this page from an explorer's diary. Write each verb in brackets in the past simple.
We 1       started   (start) our journey in October. Three of us 2                 left          (leave) early in the morning and the rest of the group 3        followed                (follow) us an hour later. The group 4            walked                   (walk) all day and in the evening we 5 found                     (find) a small lake with fresh water. The desert 6         was                         (be) cold but very beautiful. My colleagues 7        photographed                       (photograph) the night sky until finally we 8                                 went                       (go) to bed. In the morning the team   9         continued              (continue) the journey but it 10                 became                  (become) harder and harder to walk in the heat...
B. Quiz
Test your knowledge of great explorers. Fill in the gaps with the past simple of these verbs, then answer the questions.
                arrive                     land                        lead                        reach                      sail
  1. Who       reached   the South Pole first?
A Richard Branson                             B Roald Amundsen                             C Robert Scott
  1. Who       led                           the first expedition westwards from Europe to Asia via the Pacific?
A Ferdinand Magellan                        B Marco Polo                                       C David Attenborough
  1. Who       landed                    on the moon?
A Yuri Gagarin                                    B Neil Armstrong                                C Buzz Lightyear
  1. Who       sailed                      to America first?
A The Vikings                                      B The Normans                                   C Christopher Columbus
  1. Which European first          arrived                   in Australia?
A Thor Heyerdahl                               B Captain James T Kirk                     C Captain James Cook

C. Pronunciation: -ed endings
How many syllables are each word, 1, 2 or 3? Which -ed ending is pronounced - [t], [d], or [ɪd]?
  1. invented                 3    (in – vent – ed)              [ɪd]         
  2. danced                   1  danced                              [t]           
  3. discussed               2  dis - cussed                       [t]           
  4. decided                  3  dec – id - ed                     [ɪd]         
  5. travelled                2  trav - elled                         [d]          
  6. arrived                   2  a - rrived                            [d]          
  7. introduced             3  in – trod - uced                 [t]           
  8. landed                    2  land - ed                            [ɪd]         
  9. worked                   1  worked                              [t]           
  10. lifted                      2  lift - ed                              [ɪd]