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

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 260 lessons on this blog. Look through the Blog archive, Post labels and Popular Posts to find what you want.

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''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

''... to find the word, or words, by which [an] idea may be most fitly and aptly expressed''
P.M. Roget, lexicographer, 1779-1869

Monday, 4 August 2014

Cloud appreciation - ten-minute TED talk

Level: Advanced / C1

Please click the 'Print Friendly' icon at the bottom of the page if you want to print this exercise.

How often do you look up at the clouds? You should do it more often because there's lots to see and they help you to relax!

Here is a great talk (ten minutes long) about clouds by Gavin-Pretor-Pinney of the Cloud Appreciation Society.
It is on TED, a great site for listening to English. You can turn on the subtitles and see the transcript.

Watch and listen to the talk, then answer these questions:

1) What English idiom does he mention which describes when someone is down or depressed?
2) And which idiom is used when bad news is in store?
3) Aristophanes described clouds as the goddesses of what?
4) What does the photo of sunlight bursting out of the clouds look like?
5) What type of cloud is named after the Latin for a lock of hair?

Answers below!


1) Under a cloud
2) A cloud on the horizon
3) Idle fellows
4) Two cats dancing a salsa
5) Cirrus

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