Pronouncing numbers in British and American English (1-100)

Pronouncing numbers in British and American English (1-100)

How do we say numbers like twenty, thirty, forty, fifty etc. in English?
Well, it depends. There are some curious differences between how I say them in British English and how Jay says them in American English.

For example, twenny vs. twenty. Jay often drops the middle t in twenty and says twenny. Then there’s thirty. There he says the t but it sounds like very fast d sound – commonly known as a flap t.

Do you ever say free instead of three? We’ll tell you about three vs. free pronunciation in England.

We’ll also show you the difference in how we say numbers like thirteen and thirty, fourteen and forty, etc. and we’ll show you how native speakers change the word stress to distinguish between them.

And best of all you’ll meet Super Agent Awesome for a numbers quiz.


Click here to see some more videos on British and American differences.
Click here to see some more pronunciation videos.

Pronouncing numbers in British and American English

Super Agent Awesome.
Yes Vicki.
I have a question.
What?
Do you like quizzes?
Oh quizzes!
Good because I’ve got some quiz questions for you.
Oh yeah.
Yep. Your first one is very hard. How many hours are there in a day?
Seriously? That’s a piece of cake. There are a total of 24 hours in a day.
He got it easily. OK, next one.
That was a piece of cake.
Your mum said you couldn’t get that one.
I wasn’t sure.

Hi, I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
And there are some differences in how we pronounce numbers.
Curious differences!
Yeah. You just heard one difference from Super Agent Awesome.
Super Agent Awesome is American.

How many hours are there in a day?
Seriously? That’s a piece of cake. There are a total of 24 hours in a day.
He got it easily.

If something’s very easy to do, we say it’s a piece of cake.
Yeah, but what’s this number Jay?
Err. Twenty-four
I say it differently.
Twenty-four
Twenty-four.
Did you hear the difference?
Twenty-four
Twenty-four.
You didn’t say the t.
I did. t – twenty.
No, the t in the middle. Twenty.
Twenty. If I’m speaking very carefully, I’ll pronounce that middle t sound, but normally I drop it.
We have another example.
I think this might be a bit too easy for you because you’re very good at this. How many letters are there in the English alphabet?
Twenty-six.
There you are, twenty six.
Twenty six. So this is a British and American difference. Ok. Another one.

Let me see if I can catch you out with this one. How many times does seven go into twenty-one?
Three.
Three – he got it right.

I have a question. Do you ever say free instead of three in American English?
Free? No, I don’t. Maybe some Americans do, but no, for me it’s a th sound – th- three.
OK, I say three too, but I read something interesting about this recently. When I was growing up we lived just north of London and a lot of people there said free instead of three. But if I said that at home, my mother complained. She said it’s not proper English. But of course languages change and in some recent studies linguists have found a lot of people in England are saying free instead of three now. It’s spread out from London.
So do most people say free in England?
Not most, but a large number. It’s good news if you find the th sound hard to say. If you say free instead, we’ll probably understand you.

Next question. Are you ready for the next one?
Yes Vicki, I’m so ready.
How many days are there in March?
Erm. Erm. Put on the Jeopardy music. Dum dum dum dum, dum dum dum. Oh I got the answer. Thirty. I mean thirty-one, thirty-one, thirty-one!

He’s right again. Thirty-one.
Or as I say thirty-one. There’s a difference again!
Thirty-one.
Thirty-one.
Thirty-two.
Thirty-two.
Thirty-three.
Thirty-three.
So you’re saying a clear t in the middle.
Thirty-three. If you’re a cockney from London you might say firee-free.
You mean thirty-three?
No, fir-ee-free. So the th becomes f, and with the t sound there’s a glottal stop so you stop the t in your throat. Fir-ee. Fir-ee-free. But that’s not what you’re doing?
No, I’m saying thirty.
The t there is like a d in American English. Linguists often call it a flap t. If something flaps it moves up and down or side to side very fast.
The wings of a bird flap.
A flag can flap in the wind.
It’s a very fast movement.
Your tongue has to move fast too to make that sound.
Thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three.
There are different symbols for this sound. But many dictionaries write it as a t because t and d belong to the same family of sounds.
Really?
Yes, Our mouth position is the same, but we add voice to make a d. t. d. There’s vibration here for d.
t. d. Oh yes!

OK, I have another question for you.
What is it Vicki?
This is an addition question. Fifty plus ten equals.
Sixty.
He’s very good.

I’d say fifty and sixty.
Fifty and sixty.
So Americans generally say this flap t in tens numbers.
Thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety.
OK, something different now. This isn’t a British and American difference, but it’s something my students often find hard. It’s numbers like thirteen and thirty.
So fourteen, forty, fifteen, fifty, sixteen, sixty.
If you think these numbers sound similar, you’re not alone.
Native speakers sometimes find them hard to distinguish too.

Do we have a meeting with Kathy, today?
Yes, this afternoon.
Oh, what time is it? I can’t be late again.
Oh yes. She was furious last time.
When is it?
Let’s see. Three fifteen.
Three fifty. I’ll set an alarm for 3.40 so I won’t be late. What?
Oh nothing. See you there!
See you there.

I’m going to arrive late now! You set me up again!
Yes, I didn’t correct you.
To set someone up is a phrasal verb and it means to trick them. You might make it appear that they have done something wrong when they haven’t.
Yeah! You’re going to get into trouble when you’re late again.
Three fifteen, three fifty. They sound very similar. How do we tell the difference?
It’s all about the stress. With numbers like thirty, forty, fifty, the stress is always on the first syllable.
That’s true in British and American English.
THIRty, FORty, FIFty.
SIXty, SEVENty, EIGHTy.
So the first syllable is longer, louder and higher in pitch.
Now have a look at these numbers. Where’s the stress?
With teen numbers, the stress can be on the first syllable OR it can be on the second syllable. It depends what we want to make clear.
If we’re counting where’s the stress? For example: THIRteen, FOURteen, FIFteen, SIXteen.
If we’re counting, the stress is on the first syllable. We want to distinguish between the numbers so we stress the part that’s different. That’s the first syllable.
OK. Now what if the number comes in front of a noun? Where’s the stress? For example THIRteen people. FOURteen years. FIFteen dollars.
The stress is on the first syllable again.
it’s because the number was followed by a noun. But if there’s no noun, it’s different. Listen.

I don’t like the number thirTEEN. It’s unlucky.

So Jay stressed the second syllable there.
I said thirTEEN.

How many days until my birthday? FourTEEN.

Vicki stressed the second syllable there.
When we say the number on its own we stress the teen. One more example.

Which floor?
Fifteen. Thank you.

When we say these numbers on their own, we generally stress TEEN.
It sounds complicated. How can everyone remember which syllable to stress?
There’s a simple way.
Good.
Just remember two things. First one – in numbers like thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, the stress is always on the first syllable.
That’s easy.
And the second thing. If you think confusion is a possibility, put the stress on ‘teen’ in the teen numbers – thirTEEN, fourTEEN, fifTEEN, sixTEEN.
And that’s how English speakers avoid confusion.

I filled your car with gas.
Oh thank you. How much do I owe you?
Sixty dollars.
OK. Ten, fifteen, sixteen. Thanks.
No, I said SIXty dollars.
Oh. I thought you said sixTEEN dollars.

The first time I said SIXteen dollars. But when there was confusion, I stressed the teen.

Oh. I thought you said sixTEEN dollars.

So stress the second syllable in teen numbers
Exactly. SIXty, sixTEEN.
It’s the same in British and American English. SIXty, sixTEEN.
Yes.
But you know, there are some other ways we say numbers differently. Like telephone numbers, and dates.
Yeah. We’ll make another video about them, but I should say goodbye to Super Agent Awesome now.
Oh yes.

So. Super Agent Awesome. Thank you for helping us with this video. Do you have a message for our viewers?
Absolutely. Why wouldn’t I? Hey English learners. Super Agent Awesome here. If you want to subscribe to this channel, hit that icon right here. And if you see the bell icon next to the subscribe button, you can get notified. And what notified means is on your YouTube account you can gat notified everytime Jay and Vicki have released a video. And you can watch it very early. Heck! You can be the first one here! So that’s my special announcemnet and it’s over. I’m Super Agent Awesome and remember, always stay awesome! Peace!
If you want to see another video that Jay and Vicki posted, hit that icon right here. And if you want to see another one because your mind is blown, hit this icon right here. And if you want to subscribe to this channel, hit that icon right here.

 
Click here to see some more videos on British and American differences.
Click here to see some more pronunciation videos.

9 ways to say thank you in British and American English

9 ways to say thank you in British and American English

Learn how to say thank you in English conversation – British and American.
You’ll see lots of examples of thanking in action and enjoy plenty of jokes along the way.

We’ll show you:

  • different ways to tell someone they’re nice
  • how to use the structure Thanks for -ing (with a gerund)
  • some formal phrases like I appreciate it and I’m grateful
  • some informal phrases like thanks cheers and ta
  • some ways to express your delight and say you love a gift
  • how to say thanks aren’t necessary
  • how to say you’ll repay someone
  • how to use the phrasal verb help out
  • how to exaggerate with phrases like You’re a lifesaver or You’re my hero.

Click here to learn more everyday English expressions

Click here to learn the difference between Thanks god and Thank god.

How to thank people in English

We have some very exciting news! We have a hundred thousand subscribers!

What a wonderful way to start the new year!

It’s so exciting and we want to say a big thank you to you all!

Or a hundred thousand thank yous to be precise!

Well, there are a lot of ways to say thank you. In fact, that’s what this video is about.

We’re looking at things we say to thank people today.

And also how to respond to thank you, because that can be tricky too.

Where shall we start?

Let’s have a story.

Hey, it’s looking good in here.

Yes, I’ve been getting the room ready for Kathy’s seminar.

You got all the chairs out.

Yes, I had to find eighteen of them.

And what’s this? Slides?

Yeah, I made a PowerPoint presentation for Kathy.

You’ve been working very hard.

Yep.

You must be tired. Have you had lunch yet?

No, I’ve got to tell Kathy the room’s ready.

I can do that for you. Why don’t you go and take a break? You deserve it.

Well, thank you very much. That’s very nice of you.

You’re welcome.

We saw a very common way to thank someone there.

What’s that? We say the person is nice.

Well, thank you very much. That’s very nice of you.

You’re welcome.

I expect you say something similar to this in your language too.

All over the world we thank people in similar ways. We’ll use different phrases in different languages, but the ideas behind the phrases are often the same. This idea is saying someone is nice.

Or kind or thoughtful or good.

Yes.

That’s very nice of you. That’s very kind of you. That’s very good of you. That’s very thoughtful of you.

I was very thoughtful to you in that story because I was caring for you.

Ah, but the story didn’t end there.

How did Kathy’s presentation go?

Oh very well. How was your lunch?

Great.

Hi!

Oh Kathy, how did you like the PowerPoint slides?

They were excellent.

Oh good.

Thanks for making them, Vicki.

I’m so glad you liked them.

And thanks for getting the room ready. It was great.

My pleasure.

It’s nice to work with someone who’s so helpful and supportive. I really appreciate it.

But I made the PowerPoint slides and I got the room ready.

Yeah, thanks for doing that.

You were mean to me again!

Things aren’t going to change just because we have a hundred thousand subscribers.

I was afraid of that.

OK. Notice Kathy said ‘I really appreciate it’. If you appreciate someone or something, you’re grateful.

We can also say ‘I’m grateful’, but grateful is a more formal word. You might hear it in a formal speech. Or you might see it in writing, like in an email. But it’s less common in spoken English.

Also did you notice this structure? Kathy said it several times.

Thanks for making them Vicki.

I’m so glad you liked them.

And thanks for getting the room ready. It was great.

So after ‘thanks for’ we use a gerund. A gerund is a noun form of a verb. Just add -ing to the verb to form the gerund.

It’s a very common structure.

Thank you for helping me. Thank you for listening Thanks for watching our videos And thanks for subscribing.

Now is there a difference between ‘thanks’ and ‘thank you’?

They mean the same thing. Thanks is a little more informal.

We often say thanks for small things. Like if you give me a dollar, I’ll say ‘thanks’, but if you give me 500 dollars, I’ll say ‘thank you very much’.

In British English we also say ‘cheers’ and it means the same as ‘thanks’. It’s informal and it’s for small things.

We say cheers when we’re drinking and making a toast in American English.

We do that in British English too, but cheers can also mean ‘thanks’ for us. And we can also say ‘ta’.

Ta?

Yes. Sometimes when parents are teaching their children to say thank you, they’ll teach them to say ta instead. Perhaps because it’s easier to say.

Ta. Ta. Ta. Ta. Ta?

OK, let’s look at another situation.

Happy birthday, Jay.

Oh, thank you. Oh, it’s a bow tie. Oh, thank you! I love it.

Oh I’m so glad you like it.

You didn’t like it?

No! But you did two things there that we often do. First you said ‘Oh’, so you expressed surprise and happiness. And then you said you loved it.

It was a great tie!

So if you receive a gift, you can say things like this.

Oh! I love it! Oh wow! It’s perfect! Oh my! It’s beautiful. It’s just what I wanted. It’s exactly what I wanted.

Let’s look at another one.

Happy birthday!

Yes, Happy Birthday!

Thank you. And presents! You didn’t have to get me presents!

You know, you’re right.

That’s how NOT to give someone a present. But did you notice what Kathy said? She said ‘You didn’t have to’.

So she’s saying that it wasn’t necessary to get her presents.

The idea is you didn’t have to do it, but you did it anyway, so you’re very generous.

Generous means you give gifts to help people, or to give them pleasure. If you say someone’s generous it’ a compliment.

And there’s another thing we say that’s similar. ‘You shouldn’t have’.

Oh wow! You’ve made some soup.

Yes.

You shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble for me. Oh and some wine too. Are you having anything?

Often when we use ‘shouldn’t have’ it’s because we’re annoyed or angry.

Yes, like, ‘You shouldn’t have parked there. That’s my spot!’

‘You shouldn’t have eaten the cookies. They were mine’.

But that’s not what I meant there.

You shouldn’t have gone to all this trouble for me.

The idea here is you’re saying I was too generous again.

Yes, it means it wasn’t necessary to do all that work, but you did and I’m grateful. The soups was terrific, by the way.

You’ve bought me a present? You shouldn’t have. You’ve made me a cake? You shouldn’t have.

So you can just say the phrase ‘You shouldn’t have’. You don’t need to complete the sentence.

There’s another thing that can happen when we thank people.

What’s that?

We offer to repay them somehow.

So what would you like to drink?

No, no. I’ll get them.

No, let me.

OK, thanks. I’ll have a gin and tonic. I’ll get the next one.

OK.

So this means I’ll buy the next drinks. Good. You’re offering to repay me.

Yes, the idea here is to pay people back.

Thanks so much for the loan. I’ll pay you back as soon as I can. Thanks for the ride home. Anytime you need a ride, just ask me. Thanks for your help. I owe you one.

‘I owe you one’. That’s an interesting phrase.

Yes. The word ‘one’ here means a favour – so something you do to help someone.

When we do people favours, we help them out.

Help them out – that’s a useful phrase.

Oh damn!

What?

I can’t remember where I saved this document.

Click ‘file’ and ‘save as’ and it’ll show you.

Oh thank you. You really helped me out a lot. This was an important document.

What is it? It’s a recipe for baked peanut butter and popcorn.

Urgh!

‘To help someone out’ is a phrasal verb. Its meaning is very similar ‘to help’.

We can use it when someone is in trouble or in a difficult situation and we help them get out of it.

Thank you! You really helped me out.

Now there’s another way we thank people that I think happens in some languages but not others. Let’s see an example.

Oh, can I give you a hand with that?

Thank you. You’re a star.

Sure. Where would you like it?

Over there.

So I said you’re a star here.

Like a movie star?

Yes. I mean you’re not really a star, but I was pretending you are.

So we say things that aren’t true.

We exaggerate.

OK.

Oh, are you going to the bank?

Yeah, and it’s pouring with rain.

I’ll give you a lift.

Oh thank you. You’re a life saver!

My pleasure.

You exaggerated again. You called me a life saver.

Yes, he didn’t really save my life. He just stopped me from getting wet.

But these are friendly ways to say thank you English. Someone will do us a small favour and we’ll exaggerate and say they’re a hero.

Thank you. You’re my hero! Thanks so much! You’re awesome! Thanks! You’re the best.

Do you say things like this in your language? I know it happens in some languages, but I’m not sure if it happens in all languages.

Well let’s see. Do you exaggerate like this when you’re saying thank you? Write and tell us in the comments.

OK, before we stop, we should look at some different ways to respond if someone says thank you to you.

We’ve seen some examples in this video.

Thank you. You’re a life saver! My pleasure.

My pleasure. So I was saying I was happy to help.

Yes. The idea here is you did it gladly.

My pleasure. Glad to help. Anytime! You’re welcome.

And another thing we sometimes do is say that thanks aren’t necessary.

I got you some water.

Oh thank you very much.

It was no trouble.

It was no trouble. It was nothing. Don’t mention it! Don’t worry about it. No worries. Not at all!

So if you say thank you and I say ‘not at all’ I mean ‘don’t thank me’.

So the idea here is that the thanks are unnecessary. And that’s it! Now you know lots of different ways to thank people in English.

And we have some important thank you’s to say now.

Oh yes.

We want to say thanks to all of you for watching our videos.

We’re thrilled to have hit the 100,000 milestone.

We really appreciate all your views and comments and subs.

Yes, cheers everyone. And many thanks to all the people who have made suggestions and translated transcripts for us.

You’re the best.

Our heroes.

You didn’t have to watch and subscribe but we’re really glad you did.

Bye now.

Bye-bye.

Click here to learn more everyday English expressions

Click here to learn the difference between Thanks god and Thank god.

2018 memories – our favourite English comedy skits.

2018 memories – our favourite English comedy skits.

We love English comedy skits and sketches at Simple English Videos! They mean you can see English in action, and help us to make learning English fun.

It’s really motivating when you can get a joke in English and they can make new English words and phrases more memorable too.

So in this video Vicki and Jay are looking back and sharing their 2018 memories. They’ll show you their favourite English skits and sketches and tell you a little more about them as they go.

We’re publishing this video as a premiere, so if you’re watched at 3 pm New York Time on December 28th, Jay and Vicki were both in the chat on YouTube and able chat in English!

Click here to see our 2017 and 2016 review videos.

Hello, hello. Is anybody there yet?
I don’t know. Do you think they’re here?
Ooo. Hello everyone.
There you are. Thanks for coming.
Welcome to our 2018 Year Review video.
This is our premiere video, right?
That’s right. So if you’re watching in the premiere, then you’ll find Jay and I chatting in the chat. And you can chat with us.
Right. We’ll be able to type to you live through the keyboard.
So we’re going to show you clips from videos we’ve made this year and talk a little about them.
Where do you want to start?
Perhaps with one of my favourites?
OK.
This one’s a long one and I wrote it for a sketch writing class that I was taking.
This was one where I had a lot of fun and as you might remember, it’s about differences between British and American English.
Well, it’s a lovely conference hotel, isn’t it?
Yes, isn’t it great?
I hope Jay hasn’t overslept again. We never hear the alarms on our phones.
No, he’s up. I saw him at breakfast.
Oh good.
Ah Jay. You’re late.
Sorry. I thought this meeting was on the first floor.
Yeah?
Well, this is the second floor.
No, it isn’t.
Never mind. Have you got the artwork, Jay, for our presentation?
Yes, it was quite a challenge. I couldn’t find all the images you wanted so I had to take the photos myself.
Oh cheers, Jay.
Yeah, cheers.
Ah. Cheers. Cheers.
Show us the pictures.
Sure. Here’s the first one.
I don’t understand.
Yeah. Which picture is this?
Hmmm. Man delivering the post.
This isn’t what we had in mind.
Where are the letters?
You didn’t say anything about letters.
But we wanted a postman.
Let’s move on. Jay, show us the next one.
OK. Well this photo was very hard to take.
I don’t get it.
Me neither.
Well, you said you wanted a suitcase in a boot. Now I couldn’t find a boot big enough for a whole suitcase but I did my best.
Are you taking the mickey?
The mi… What do you mean?
We need to see a suitcase in the back of a car.
Well then why didn’t you say so?
I thought we did.
You did not.
Don’t get shirty.
Sh… What?
What’s the next one?
OK. I put a lot of effort into this one and it’s exactly what you asked for.
It’s a school boy holding a rubber. What’s wrong now?
It’s pants, Jay.
No it’s not. Its a condom.
Vicki, you’re going to have to make all these images again.
Yeah. You’re such a plonker Jay. What time is our presentation tomorrow?
8.30 in the morning. Do you want me to stop by your room and knock you up?
Oh, that would be great. Thanks Craig. What?
So there I was ganged up on by two Brits. Vicki and our friend Craig.
We made some other videos with Craig. Craig came to Philadelphia to go to a conference on podcasting. He has an excellent podcast for Spanish speakers who are learning English, and I’ll put the link in the description. You’ve got to go and check it out.
OK, what’s next.
Well next I think we should play a little game.
What’s that?
Well, I’ve got some clips here that you haven’t seen, and I’m going to play them and we’ll see if you can remember which video they came from.
That might be hard. We make a lot of videos and often I forget.
And while they’re playing, you can see if you can remember them too.
You might do better than me!
If you breathe in helium, your voice goes funny.
So what video was that?
Oh that’s easy. We just made that. That was the zero conditional video.
That’s right. There’s another one from that.
I read the newspaper every day and if I see a good investment opportunity, I call my broker and tell her to buy.
I read the newspaper everyday too, but I start at the back and read the sports pages.
When you snooze you lose.
So there was good advice for you there, Jay.
When you snooze you lose?
Yes, you’ve got to get active and check out your investments and plan for the future.
As soon as I finish the sports page.
Let’s have another.
You need to use the other copier. This one’s not working.
Really? Why not.
They think it’s an electrical fault.
BANG!
Told you.
You need photocopier man to fix that!
No, I just need you to listen to me more! I’m listening.
So what video did that come from?
You know, I don’t remember.
OK, I’ll give you another clue.
Where did you learn to whistle like that?
My mother taught me. It’s a very useful skill.
Your mother?
Yes.
Welcome to the Good Morning Show. In today’s program we’re going to be talking to Hillary Clinton. Oh I’m sorry. That’s the wrong picture. We’ve clearly made a mistake.
Argh!
Have you got it now?
I’ve got it now. It was a video about the things we say when we a mistake.
Yes, we looked at different things we say when we screw up or mess up.
A very useful video!
How did you like being the news reporter in that scene?
Well in the early part of my career I was a television news reporter. OK. Here’s a clip from another video.
Hi everyone, I’ve Vicki.
And I’m Jay.
Jay looks different from normal because he has a moustache today.
Oh, do you want one too?
Yes!
Here you go.
So what video was that?
I can’t remember.
We shot it a while ago. It was about a British and American difference in the prepositions we use after the word different.
Right, I remember. She uses a different preposition than I do.
No, I use a different preposition TO you. Or from you. We both say ‘different from’.
You know those moustaches are fun. The funny thing is you can put them on upside down and give yourself a big eyebrow.
Let’s.. Let’s show you a more recent video that you can remember.
Let’s… let’s show you a more recent video that you can remember.
Oh officer. Is there a problem?
Yes, you can’t park here.
I’m just going to move it.
You’re too late. You should not have parked here.
Oh officer. Oh my. What beautiful brown eyes you have.
Flattery will get you nowhere.
You know I’ve got some donuts in the car. Perhaps I could give you the donuts and you could throw away that ticket.
That’s not flattery. That’s bribery.
Oh!
So what was that video about?
Oh, I know this one. It was about how NOT to give compliments.
That’s right.
I’m not sure if everybody knows this but in American comedies, policemen are often seen eating donuts, so that’s the origin of that skit.
Skit. That’s an interesting word you used.
A skit is like a very short funny scene.
Often it’s making fun of someone.
We made two videos about compliments – one about how to give them and one about how NOT to give them and they had a lot of skits.
Hi.
Hi.
Have you had your hair cut?
Yes, I’ve got a new barber. What do you think?
Oh it’s very smart. It’s so much better than it looked before.
Oh great.
Let me see the back. See! I like what he’s done with your bald spot.
So that video was about backhanded compliments.
Or left-handed compliments.
Now we’ve also learned since we published the video that Americans say both left-handed compliments and backhanded compliments.
And let’s have a look at another one.
Oh and here’s a picture of me and my brother.
Oh wow. Is that handsome guy you?
Yes.
You look great. I nearly didn’t recognize you.
Really?
Yeah, it doesn’t look like you at all.
So sometimes in our skits, I’m sure you’ve seen that Vicki is mean to me, but she’s not really. Are you?
Well sometimes, you’re mean to me in the skits as well.
You’re right.
Kathy said you’ve got my next assignment.
Ah yes.
What is it?
Decisions, decisions! I want you to write a report on the Boston project.
Uhuh.
I thought about asking Andrew to do this, or Jenny, or Sam, but then I thought, no. You’re the right person for this job. I think.
Well, it looks great.
Err. Here’s the report we did on the Chicago project.
Uhuh.
You can use the same format, but this time the structure needs to be completely different.
The same format but a different structure?
Yes, And your report needs to be longer – although it should be more concise, so keep it short.
So longer but shorter?
That’s right. Don’t get too detailed, but you need to go deeper than just the surface? And you can use pictures if you want. Or maybe not, because it needs to be serious… or funny. Funny’s good too.
This sounds hard.
Yes and Kathy wants you to get it right and do a good job, so take your time. But she needs it on her desk in half an hour, because we’re all waiting for it.
What?!
So anyway, I’m going to go get a cup of coffee… or maybe tea.
Decisions decisions!
You had a hard job deciding what to do there.
Well the fun part was watching you squirm.
To squirm has two meanings. One is to move around a lot because you’re uncomfortable or nervous.
And the other meaning is to feel embarrassed or ashamed.
I’m going to make you squirm now.
How?
Can you remember what video that skit came from?
Oh no – now I feel embarrassed. I can’t remember.
It was about connectors and conjunctions, so those little words like ‘and’, ‘because’, ‘so’ and ‘although’ – words we use to connect clauses in sentences.
OK. Do you remember what video this came from?
You’re not getting enough sleep.
Yes, I think I’m working too hard.
I think you go to bed too late.
There’s another one I can’t remember.
Perhaps I haven’t shown you enough of it yet.
Enough. That’s a clue. Enough, huh?
Enough, yeah.
Let’s have some chocolates.
Ooo yes. But not too many.
You can never have too many chocolates.
So it was…
Too many.
And.
Too much.
And.
Enough?
Yes.
Well he was right. You can never have enough chocolates.
He was.
Now this year we’ve also made some pronunciation videos, where we went into the street and we recorded people saying words that are hard to pronounce.
Choir.
Sh.. choir.
Choir.
Oh this is another hard one.
Yes.
Choir.
Hey, she got it right!
Yeah. It doesn’t start with ch or sh sound. It starts with a kw.
Choir.
Choir.
So what does it mean?
A choir is a group of people who sing together. Like a church choir or a school choir.
Let’s show everyone.

[choir singing]

Wow, we’re good!
I bet they didn’t know we could sing like that.
Those pronunciation videos are always very popular, and we plan to make more next year.
The fun part is how we shoot them. We go out to the Philadelphia Museum or Art which is where Rocky ran up the steps if you’ve seen that movie, and we get foreign visitors who are coming to see the museum or to see the statue of Rocky next to the museum, and we put up a sign that says if you’re a non-native speaker of English, please talk to us. And then people get in a line to talk to us and they’re having fun. It’s really great.
They get in a line on a nice warm sunny day when there’s nothing else to do. But if it’s this time of year it’s very difficult because it’s too cold and nobody wants to talk to us. So we have to wait.
Yes, August is probably the best time for us to shoot those.
But we’ll try and shoot some earlier because I’ve got a lovely long list of words. Thank you everyone that’s sent us words that you want us to film and video.
But they’re not the only pronunciation videos we made this year are they?
No. We made a couple of videos that looked specifically at the ways British and American pronunciation is different.
Hey Jay. Have you seen my keys anywhere?
Yes. Where were they… Ah! Yes. Here they are.
Thank you. You know Jay, you make rhotic R sounds.
Really? Erotic R sounds?
No! Rhotic R sounds. It means you pronounce your Rs strongly.
Oh!
And I was impressed with the fact that I have a rhotic R.
And also ‘o’. We did ‘lot’ – that ‘lot’ vowel.
No we did ‘lot’.
There’s a vowel that I say in British English that Jay doesn’t say in American.
Really?
Yes. I say it a lot.
A lot?
No, a lot.
Lot?
Exactly. You see we say that ‘lot’ vowel differently.
OK. Do you want another?
Yes please.
You know, I think we should buy a big new camera.
Oh what a good idea!
We want one with high resolution.
I agree.
Very high resolution.
Yes, you’re right.
And we want one that films in slow motion.
Oh yes, I agree with you. You always have such wonderful ideas. Wake up. Wake up. Did you fall asleep again, Jay?
Err no, no.
Because we need to talk about the equipment.
Oh right. I think we should buy a big new camera.
What? That’s a terrible idea.
Oh Jay wake up, wake up! You missed the clip.
Was this the one where I get the big new camera?
I know what video that was. It had lots of different ways to agree in English.
That’s right.
Have we made a video about how to disagree yet?
No we haven’t but the script is half written so it’s coming.
Make sure you subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss it.
It’s going to be a good one. Really useful. There’s lots of pragmatics research about this.
What’s pragmatics.
It’s a branch of linguistics and it looks at how meaning is conveyed by more than the words we speak. We made some other videos that were very pragmaticky this year. Like this one:
Hi, I’m British and I’m rather reserved. If we meet somewhere like a railway carriage, I probably won’t talk to you. I think it’s polite to leave people alone, so they can go about their business without me getting in their way.
Hi! I’m American and I’m super friendly. When we meet for the first time, I’m going to tell you my entire life story in the first five minutes. I’m polite so I won’t hold back. I’m going to share and be open.
Well that difference has plagued us all the years we’ve been together and Vicki’s always teaching me how to be more polite from a British point of view, and I’m always trying to get her to open up and share, from an American point of view.
I know it really… I mean it’s the story of our relationship, isn’t it?
Right.
We had a lot of comments on that video.
Yes. And we had a lot on another pragmaticky video too, about grandma.
In some cultures grandma and grandpa is a polite thing to say. It’s respectful and affectionate
But in English it’s different. It could be an insult!
Don’t call people grandad or grandma in English.
Unless they’re your grandma or Grandpa. Then it’s OK.
Yes, or unless you want a black eye.
Get out of the way Grandma!
A black eye is a dark area of skin around your eye that you get if someone hits you.
First of all, I want to thank all of you out there who have asked us to b e your grandparents.
You have to understand that there is now a queue forming and you have to get in line.
Right.
And second we want to say a big thank you to everyone that likes our videos and leaves a comment.
Especially comments where you share information on your culture and customs. I love that. It’s so interesting.
We’ve had some great comments this year.
Absolutely! We appreciate all your thoughts and try to answer everyone, but it has been getting very difficult as our channel’s grown this year.
It’s become a bit overwhelming sometimes and we probably need to take a different approach next year.
But we’ll always read your comments and try to respond where we can. So please don’t stop writing because your thoughts help us know what helps you.
Our goal is to help you learn English and make it as efficient and enjoyable as possible.
So what’s your goal?
I want to make a great English presentation about our new product.
Why?
So I can impress my boss.
Why?
So she’ll think I’m smart. She might give me a promotion.
And why is that important?
It’ll make me happy.?
Yes! Now that’s a great reason.
All your goals should lead to your happiness. It sounds obvious, but we can also be motivated by fear. And fear can work.
What if my English is bad. What if everyone thinks I’m stupid? What if my boss fires me?
The problem with fear is it’s usually only good for the short term. The presentation or exam happens and you do well or badly, but then the fear stops. To learn a lot of English you need to be motivated over a period of time. Happiness is much more powerful than fear for that.
Well I think there was a very powerful message in that video.
Yeah. At the beginning of last year, we created a couple of videos about making plans and setting goals. And they were all about how to be more efficient when you’re learning English. And really I was sharing secrets and tips . Things I’ve learnt from teaching English over the years.
Don’t try to learn lists of words that are very similar. For example, if you want to learn say, eight new words for vegetables, working with a list might sound like a good idea, but you’ll probably muddle them up. Research shows we’re likely to confuse similar words if we learn them together, so space them out over time. Stories are great for learning vocabulary, and that’s another thing. Reading. There’s lots of research that shows reading is a very effective way to learn English. So books, articles, news stories. And reading isn’t just great for vocabulary. It improves grammar as well.
There were some really good tips in those videos.
Yeah, if you have a chance to watch them, you might find they help you to learn more efficiently as well.
OK, we looked at a couple of very common mistakes this year, and tried to help you fix them..
What are you doing?
Nothing.
You need to explain yourself.
I was trying to get ten dollars out of the box.
You were trying to steal ten dollars?!
Oh no! I didn’t explain myself properly. I put twenty dollars in the box and I was trying to get ten dollars change.
I’ll never understand you.
My mother says that too. She’s been trying to explain me for years.
Do you remember what video that was?
No, I don’t.
It was a video about ‘explain’. Explain is a very tricky verb because a lot of students make the mistake where they say ‘Explain me this…”
What should they say?
Explain it to me, or just explain, with no object. Erm… but there is that exception where you can say ‘My mother has been trying to explain me for years.
Absolutely true!
But it’s the exception that proves the rule. Normally we wouldn’t say explain me. Let’s have another one.
OK.
God, I’m late and I can’t find my cell phone! Oh God!
Did you call me?
Who are you?
I’m God.
But I thought God was, you know, a guy.
No, I’m definitely female. What did you want?
I’ve lost my cell phone.
Well, when did you last have it?
I can’t remember.
Hmmm. I’ll call it
Ha! Thanks God.
You’re welcome. Bye.
Thank God she could help.
So that was another video we made about a common mistake. We don’t say “Thanks God’, unless we’re actually thanking God. We say, ‘Thank God!’.
Thanks Vicki!
Thanks Jay!
So that was another video we made about a common mistake. We don’t say ‘thanks god’ unless we’re actually thanking god. We say ‘thank god’.
Actually there are some people we need to thank this year.
Our viewers?
Well yes, of course. But there are some other people too. Our collaborators.
Oh yes. We’ve had some great collaborators this year.
Do you remember Claire from English at Home?
Yes. Claire is British and she made a video with us about English spelling.
Yes, we had a spelling bee…
He means a spelling competition.
And Claire was the judge. She helped us teach a very useful spelling rule.
i before e except after c…
Our competitors are tied, so we will now go to a sudden death round. You will both spell the same word. But if one person makes a mistake, the other person will win. Vicki, please put your headphones on so you can’t hear Jay’s answer.
Jay, the word is neighbour. For example, our neighbour complained about the noise from the party. Neighbour.
NEIGHBOR.
Thank you Jay. Vicki, please take off your head phones and spell the word neighbour.
NEIGHBOUR
That is the correct answer. Congratulations Vicki! Jay, I’m afraid you spelt it wrongly.
But… but my answer was right. That’s how we spell it in American English.
American spelling is weird.
Hard luck Jay and well done Vicki.
That was not fair!
I think it was a very fair contest.
Well that’s just because you can’t spell.
We should make some more videos about American and British spelling differences.
Agreed.
Next year.
Oh look there’s another collaborator!
Oh yes!
In American and British English we often use the present perfect to talk about past actions that have relevance in the present.
I’ve lost twenty dollars.
Oh that’s funny. I’ve just found twenty dollars.
Well then it’s mine.
What was the serial number?
What?
Can you remember what video that was?
I remember that you owe me twenty dollars!
We made a video with our friend Jennifer from Jennifer ESL and it was about the present perfect and how we use it differently in British and American English. It had another clip you liked.
Right.
Did you do it yet?
What?
You know!
What? Oh I forgot.
You didn’t pay the electric bill.
Sorry.
So have you paid the electric bill yet?
Yes. The lights are on again.
Good.
I’ll leave a link to Jennifer’s channel in the comments. Let’s see another clip.
Who designed these calendars?
Oh I did. Do you like them?
How many copies did you print.
Oh, I don’t know.
I ordered 500. Is there a problem?
Yes. Look at February. There are 30 days!
Oh, it’s a mistake.
I’m so sorry Kathy. It’s my fault. I didn’t notice.
It’s my fault too. I didn’t check it before it went to the printers.
We’re both at fault.
Yes.
Thirty days!
Kathy was nice to us there.
Yes, much nicer than normal. Did you hear that Kathy?
Kathy often plays our mean boss.
She has prevented us from flying first class, she has stopped us from getting help, she has insisted we work on deadlines. A really tough lady to work for.
She’s actually a dear friend and really, really fun to work with. We love seeing her. Kathy, if you’re watching this, a big thank you from us.
Thank you very much.
OK, this was a very special collaboration. It’s a long video so we can only show you a little bit.
I need to get to work.
No, no, no, no. You need some ‘lazy skills’.
Lazy skills?
Yes, so when you’re alone and you want to chill out. Let me teach you.
OK.
So show me how you sit on this chair. No. It should be more like this. Yeah. It’s better. You need some practice. Second step. Eat some chips.
No thanks.
Come on…
Mmm. It’s delicious. I love it.
No, but you should eat like a pig. Watch me.
That was one of the videos we got to shoot at the YouTube studios in New York with students at the New York Film Academy.
They were all ESL students so they were learning English as a second language, but they were also interested in film making and performance.
They did a great job, really.
They were wonderful. And they had lots of input into the script and they rehearsed it, they learnt their lines and they were such fun to work with.
They were.
And we mustn’t forget our other fantastic collaborator this year. Craig!
Oh yes, of course.
We made a series of 4 videos where Craig was the examiner in an exam for spoken English.
And we were the examinees. So we were the students that Craig was examining.
The videos were packed with good tips for how to pass the exam.
And it was funny too. I was a very enthusiastic student and Jay was a very strange student.
Well, first of all we’d like to know something about you. Vicki, do you like cooking?
Oh yes, I love it. I like trying new recipes that I find on the internet and I’m interested in Chinese food. I made some dumplings last week and they came out great.
Thank you. Thank you, Vicki. Jay, do you often use the internet?
No.
Why not?
Because no one ever answers my emails.
Jay, if you could learn a new skill, what would you choose to do?
Oh I’d like to learn Morse code.
Why?
I’d like to communicate with aliens.
OK, so first off, I want to tell everybody, I actually do know Morse code.
It’s true. I’ll give you word to say and… in Morse code. This is a test, all right. I haven’t primed him for this. OK. I want you to say “hello” in Morse code.
di di di di di di dah di di di dah di di dah dah dah.
A special skill of his.
I was an amateur radio operator as a kid. That’s how I learned it. But this was a great series of videos preparing people to take a test.
That’s right. It was for the Cambridge First Certificate Exam, that’s now called B2 First. And we were very lucky because our friend Craig came to stay with us. And he made these videos with us. We had a lot of fun writing the scripts and also filming them.
I think one of the most gratifying things about this series of videos has been the comments from people like you who are telling us how much we helped them prepare for exams.
Yeah.
OK. Are YOU ready for an exam now, Jay?
Urgh! Another test?
Yes, I’ve got another clip where you have to remember the video and say what it was about.
OK. Let me try it!
You can try it too.
Thanks for calling. Yeah, I’ll tell him. OK. Bye now. Oh.
Who was that?
Kathy.
Uh oh. What did she want this time?
She called to wish you a happy birthday.
Oh that was nice of her.
And she wants you to work late tonight.
Oh!
OK, so what video was that?
Oh, I don’t remember.
OK, I’ll give you another clue.
Hey Jay. Happy birthday.
Oh thank you!
I hope you like them.
I’m sure I will. It’s hair curlers?
Yes. Can I borrow them sometime?
Errr. Sure.
Thank you.
Do you know now?
No.
We made a series of videos about the verbs ‘hope’ and ‘wish’.
Oh right.
They’re very tricky verbs, but it was a long time ago, wasn’t it, Jay?
Well and I hope Kathy gives me a raise.
Hey, how’s it going?
Oh I’m feeling a little down.
Oh. Well I just meat our new neighbour.
Oh yeah. What’s he like?
His name is Tom and he speaks six languages.
Wow! How old is he?
About thirty?
Hmm.
What’s the matter?
Well I wish I spoke six languages and I wish I were younger.
Oh, don’t be sad about it. I wish I knew how to cheer you up.
You know I really wish I did speak six languages.
That would be fantastic, wouldn’t it?
Absolutely.
We need to give you a video you really like now. What was your favourite part this year?
Oh that’s easy.
What?
Oh let me help you.
Oh no, I can do it.
No, no, let me help. Oh this artwork looks great. It’s really beautiful. Did you do this?
Yes. I just need one copy.
Oh I can do that.
Ah. It’s jammed. You have to take the paper out at the back. Oh. It’s stuck. Where are you going? Help, help.
Help, oh, you’ve saved me! Thank you.
You’re welcome
Who are you?
I’m photocopier man.
Oh you’re so brave and so strong. Those are really big muscles!
Well, I don’t know about that.
Oh and you’re so handsome. I love your smile.
Well I’d better get going now. Bye.
Oh. Where did you go? You’ll never guess who was here.
Who?
Photocopier man.
That one was a lot of fun to make.
And you know afterwards, people commented on the little curl that was coming from my hair and wondered whether I should keep it there permanently.
When we were making that video, I kept saying to Jay ‘oh let’s shoot this scene next’, and he said, ‘Oh no, we need to shoot that later because of my hair’. And I thought ‘Your hair? Why is that important? And then you arrived on set with the curl, and I understood. I’m so glad you enjoyed it too!
OK, I want another quiz question.
Really? Easy or hard.
Give me a hard one. I might get it this time.
OK.
You know, there are three types of people in the word.
Oh yes.
There are people who can count.
Mhmm
And there are people who can’t.
Mhmm. And?
And what?
So do you know what video that was?
That’s another one I can’t remember.
OK, there were lots of examples there of ‘There…’. Here’s another one.
Waiter. There’s a fly in my soup! What’s it doing there?
Ooo. It looks like the backstroke.
Waiter!
Yes madam.
There’s no soup on the menu today.
That’s right madam. I cleaned all the menus this morning.
It’s awful eating here. The waiter’s terrible.
So ‘There is…’, ‘It is…’ ‘There are…’. That was that video we did.
I thought the waiter was brilliant.
So that was a grammar video about there is and it is.
But we made another video about ‘it is’.
Did we? Now I’m forgetting too.
Yes, it wasn’t about grammar but it was about punctuation.
Can I help you?
I have a gun in my pocket and… Oh dear.
I have a gun.
Yes, that bit’s all right. It’s this ‘its’ that’s a problem.
What?
It needs an apostrophe, see.
I have to be the worst bank robber ever.
You didn’t succeed if I remember rightly.
No.
I think you got arrested. I think I was the policeman at the end with some handcuffs.
But I did learn how to use an apostrophe in its.
Exactly.
Now what about grammar? We tackled some more grammar topics this year.
Yes. We made two videos about countable and uncountable nouns.
What were they?
The first one was about some and any and we talked about how we make lentil soup.
Oh I remember.
It’s interesting because salt and rice are uncountable. But lentils are countable.
Yes, lentils are countable.
One lentil. Two lentils. Three lentils. Four lentils. Five lentils. Six lentils. Seven lentils. Eight…
Sometimes it’s hard to know which nouns are countable and which nouns aren’t.
Yeah, we should make another video about that. But we made a start this year with a lesson on some and any, and also much, many and a lot of. .
I remember that. We went upstairs to the deck.
On the roof of our house there’s a deck where we eat meals in the summer.
Let’s take a camera up and we’ll shoot some video.
Upstairs.
Yes, and you can bring a light too.
This is our deck. We often have dinner up here in the summer.
There are a lot of stairs in this house.
Yes. This is our view. We’re in the middle of the city so there are lots of skyscrapers.
And there’s lots of noise out here.
Well yes. There’s lots of traffic.
Can you believe Vicki made me carry all that equipment up to the deck?
I miss the deck.
It’s a wonderful place in the summer and the spring time for us. And now that it’s cold outside, we really can’t go up there.
OK, so we looked at some, any, much, many, and another important grammar point was modals of possibility.
Oh yes. We made videos about can could and might.
And we experimented with a new genre – horror videos.
Oh sit Carter. Good boy. I didn’t wat to stay in this hotel, but it’s the only place that would take Carter. Such a good boy. I didn’t want to leave him at home. Anyway, I’m going to stop now and take Carter for a walk. It’s windy tonight and it could rain soon. I hope not because we might get wet. And then after our walk, we might just go to bed and have an early night. I’ll speak to you all tomorrow.
We were looking at possibility modal verbs like may, might, could.
You know that was the last video that Carter was in so it’s kind of hard for me to watch.
Of course, something very sad happened this year. We lost our dog Carter.
My best pal. And he was really great on camera with us .
We’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who sent us messages when that happened.
Yes, it really meant a lot. Thank you all very much.
Another thing that happened with our viewers this year was we had a speaking challenge. Do you remember?
Oh yes! So we asked our viewers to send us videos to tell us who they were and where they live and what they do. And we got some incredible responses, didn’t we?
They were amazing.
And we also got to meet our youngest viewer.
I’m Elizabeth. I’m in Malaga, I’m in Malaga, Spain and I’m a student.
That’s Elizabeth from Malaga and she’s a student. How old is Elizabeth?
Four.
Oh I’m impressed.
Apparently she likes to sit on her mother’s lap and watch our videos, and her favourite video is the one we made at Halloween.
I’d like to do something similar again next year.
Oh, that’ll be fun.
The thing is it’s an opportunity for us to get to know you a little better. We really loved it.
And we have a lot more subscribers now than we did last year.
Yeah.
Let’s see another clip
OK.
I’ve got an important job for you Jay.
Yeah?
Mrs. Clarkson’s stopping by today.
Mrs. Clarkson of Clarkson Industries?
Yes.
She’s coming here?
Yes. She’s flying to Chicago and she’s stopping off to see us on the way.
Wow!
I need you pick her up at the airport and bring her to the office.
Great!
Her plane gets in at three. She only has a couple of hours between flights.
Don’t worry. When her plane touches down, I’ll be there waiting.
Good.
Oh no!
What?
I don’t have my car with me today. Vicki gave me a ride to work.
Argh! You can use my car.
Your new Volvo?
Yes, but be very careful.
I will. Thank you, Kathy.
Whose car key is this?
Oh, it’s Kathy’s
The key to her new Volvo?
Yes, I’m going to pick up an important customer at the airport.
It’s got wi-fi and all kinds of gadgets.
I know.
How fast can it go?
Oh, I have no idea.
I’ll find out.
But I have to be at the airport at three.
I’ll be back in ten minutes. I’ll bring you some doughnuts.
Kathy will kill me if I’m late. Oh, hurry up Vicki. Where have you been?
Out and about.
Give me the key.
Jay. Why weren’t you at the airport?
I’m setting off now, Kathy.
You’re too late. Mrs. Clarkson just checked in for her next flight.
I can be there ten minutes.
She’s getting on the plane now.
But it’s not my fault. Vicki took your car key and then she took off.
Jay wanted me to get him some doughnuts. Would you like one?
Jay! In my office. Now!
So watch that video and you can go places!
And you can see how Vicki was mean to me again.
Did you like the doughnuts?
I loved the doughnuts. It was dangerous having them on set when we were filming.
They were too good.
Yeah, we kept eating them. And look at the results.
OK, do you want another?
Yes please!
OK, but we should stop after this because this video’s getting very long.
Let’s have a funny one then.
Oh. Mr Bond.
Yes, the name is Bond. Jay Bond. Nice to meet you.
Ooo. You too. And you’re going to London next week?
Yes. It’s my first international assignment. I can’t wait.
Excellent.
And you have some cool equipment for me.
Well, yes. We have some useful things.
I love gadgets. Hey, look at this. X-ray glasses. If I put these on, I can see through walls.
Well…
Can I?
Oh go ahead. They’re actually just normal sunglasses.
Oh.
They could be very useful if it’s sunny in London.
Sunny in London?
Yes, sometimes it’s sunny at this time of year.
Well I guess then I won’t need this umbrella. Oh but it’s not an umbrella, is it? Let me guess. If I press this button a knife shoots out.
Well, no.
It fires a bullet then.
Err no. When you press the button, the umbrella opens.
It’s just an umbrella?
Yes, but it’s fully automatic.
Don’t you have any high-tech stuff? Like electronic gadgets.
Well, this one’s electrical.
Oh wow! It’s a radio transmitter! If I want to communicate with HQ, I’m going to use this.
Err. No, it’s not a transmitter.
Oh. Is it a bug for recording conversations?
No, it’s a plug adaptor.
Huh?
Yeah. The plugs are different in England. If you need to recharge your toothbrush, it’ll come in handy.
But I need spying stuff. Don’t you have anything dangerous?
Well we have a couple of things that come with safety warnings.
Oh great. Show them to me.
OK, there are these tablets.
Hey this is more like it. They’re poison, right? If I put these in people’s drinks, will they fall asleep? Or die?
No, no, no. They’re travel sickness tablets.
Huh?
It’s a seven-hour flight to England, but if you take two of these, you should be all right. Just follow the instructions on the label.
Oh this is no good. I’m an international spy. I need gadgets – dangerous stuff. What’s this? A water bottle!
Oh no, no, no.
Don’t tell me. It’s a long flight. If I drink this water, I won’t get dehydrated.
No. It’s explosive.
BANG!
Hello. Jay Bond here.
Did you like that part?
Yes. Oh I can see right through to all those people out there. Hi!
Well I think that was one of your favourite characters, wasn’t it?
It was and it was the first conditionals video.
You’re quite right. You’re quite right.
We’d like to say a big thank you to all our viewers for sticking with us this year.
Yes, thank you for watching, commenting and liking the videos.
It’s very encouraging for us.
It’s been wonderful to see our channel grow this year.
Please keep sharing our videos and happy new year.
We’ll see you in 2019 everybody.
Bye now.
Bye Bye.

English Jokes and a Premiere Announcement

English Jokes and a Premiere Announcement

Next week, we’ll be publishing our 2018 review video. Please come and join us at 3 p.m. New York time on Friday 28th December 2018 for the YouTube premiere. This will be the first Simple English Videos Premiere.

The chat will be live and Jay and Vicki will be there to respond to your questions and comments in real time.

And if you miss it, you can also catch us in Facebook the next day at 10 a.m. New York time. Check our Facebook page for details. https://www.facebook.com/SimpleEnglishVideos/

Thank you so much for sending us some great English jokes. We LOVED them! In fact they were so wonderfully bad that we created a groan-o-meter to measure how hard they’d make us groan.

We’re very sorry if you left us a joke that doesn’t appear in this video. We were laughing too hard to include them all.

Click here to see our 2017 review video.

Click here to see our 2016 review video.

English Jokes and a Video Premiere Announcement

We have jokes! Great jokes!
Yes, but first we have something to tell you.
Hello everyone. I’m Vicki.
And I’m Jay and this is just a quick video this week because we’re getting ready for Christmas and we know many of you are too.
But we also have something important to tell you.
An important announcement.
Next week on December 28th we’re going to publish our 2018 review video. It’s always a long video with lots of jokes and we hope that you will come and join us in real time.
YouTube has a new feature called a premiere. Some of you might know it, but it’s new for us.
We’re going to try it at 3 p.m. New York time on December 28th .
What happens is when we publish the video, the chat will be live. So we’ll see messages in real time.
Jay and I will be online watching it as it plays and answering any questions and comments you leave in the chat.
In our review videos, we look back on the year that’s gone and play our favourite comedy skits.
I can put a link here to review videos we’ve made in the past. I love making them.
It’s going to be a fun video and a long video. How long is it?
I haven’t finished editing it yet, but it looks like it could be an hour or more.
Oh wow!
So get yourself a cup of tea and make yourself comfortable.
And the time again is 3 p.m. New York time.
Fifteen hundred hours.
Put it in your calendars.
Or as we say in British English, put it in your diaries.
What happens if they miss it?
Well, the video will be published as normal, so you can watch it later. The difference is we won’t be there in the chat.
So if you’re in Asia and you’re fast asleep at 3 p.m. New York time, you can watch it later
Yes, but we have another announcement. We’re going to try the same thing on Facebook the next day at 10 o’clock in the morning, New York time. December 29th. 10 a.m.
Facebook has a premiere feature as well, so again, while we watch the video, we can talk in the chat.
I haven’t worked out which buttons to press on Facebook yet. There are a lot of options.
You’ll have to do some studying and then you’ll have to teach me.
But we’ll both be there and we hope you can join us.
As well as YouTube, we also post videos on Facebook. So why not check out the Simple English Videos page and give us a like.

Time for English Jokes

OK, it’s joke time. We asked our viewers to share jokes with us last week – we’re talking about the sort of jokes you find in a Christmas cracker. So corny jokes – old jokes that make you go ‘argh’.
And our viewers didn’t disappoint us! They sent us some great ones.
Sometimes when you hear a joke it’s so bad, you can’t laugh. You groan.
So we’ve created a tool to test them. A groan-o-meter.
OK. the first joke comes from green orange. What does Santa Claus say when he walks backwards?
Tell me.
OH, OH, OH!
Good one green orange. Ok I’ve got one from Steffi. She says did you hear about the guy who got hit by a can of soda?
No?
He was lucky it was a soft drink!
Argh! OK, I’ve got another soft drink joke from Emelia. What does the bottle of soda say to the wine?.
The bottle of soda to the wine. Tell me.
Shhhhhhhh.
Argh!
And sent another one too. What does the apple say to the apple?
I don’t know. What does the apple say to the apple?
Nothing. Apples don’t talk.
Good one Emelia. OK my turn. This comes from Nerd Incorporated. Why did the doctor get bored?
Because he wanted to inject some humour?
Mmm, Mmm.
Err. Tell me!
Because he ran out of patients.
Argh! Good one Nerd incorporated. We had a corny joke alert from Salad A$$. What did the traffic light say to the car?
Errr. I have no idea.
Don’t look because I’m about to change!
Ah! All right. My turn. This is from Serena. What do you call an alligator in a vest?
An in-vest-igator.
Argh!!!!! Nice one Serena. OK, Here’s a good one from Steffi. I’m reading a book about anti gravity at the moment. It’s impossible to put down.
That’s really funny.
OK, Ultra NGV says why does a student go to school with a ladder?
School with a ladder. Perhaps he wants to get top marks?
Good try, but no. It’s because he’s going to HIGH school.
Last one for you from Brian. What did the zero say to the eight?
Zero to the eight. I give up.
Great belt.
I don’t get it.
Zero – belt.
ARGH!
I think that one broke the groan-o-meter.
It’s definitely time to stop!
So don’t forget the times for next week’s video premieres.
And get ready for a long video.
See you next week, maybe in the chat. And merry Christmas everyone.
Bye Bye
Bye now. 

The First Conditional in Action – English Grammar

The First Conditional in Action – English Grammar

The first conditional is a useful English grammar structure for talking about future possibilities.

If you watch this video, you’ll see lots of first conditional examples. Hey – we just used a first conditional there! It’s such a useful structure!

First conditionals have two clauses: the condition and possible result. We’ll show you how to form them, make negatives and questions, punctuate them and reverse the order. You’ll learn about a common mistake and the different modal verbs you can use.

And very importantly, you’ll see lots of examples of the first conditional in action.  We have a funny spy story for you to enjoy.

Click here to learn about the zero conditional.
Click here to learn about ‘if’ and ‘in case’.

The first conditional in action

It’s so cold outside.
I know. There’s a big storm coming. They say it might snow.
Oh great!
You want it to snow?
Yeah. If it snows tomorrow, the office will close.
And we can stay home.
And have a day off.

Hi everyone. I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
This lesson’s about the first conditional – a very useful grammar structure for talking about future possibilities.
We have lots of examples and a story for you – a spy story.
You’ll love it. But first we need to look at the grammar.
In fact, you just heard an example.
We use the first conditional to talk about things that might happen in the future. So this means snow is not certain, but it’s a real possibility tomorrow.
The sentence has two parts, two clauses: one is the condition and one is the possible result. You can reverse the order of the clauses and it means the same thing. If the sentence starts with ‘if’, we generally use a comma. If ‘if’ comes in the middle of the sentence, the comma isn’t necessary.
Let’s look at the verb forms here. We have ‘if’ and then the present simple tense, and then the modal verb ‘will’ and the base form of the verb. Notice we use the present tense in the if clause. So we’re talking about the future, but we’re using the present tense. In some languages you can use a future form here, but not in English. This sentence is wrong, so don’t make this mistake.
So we use the present tense to talk about the future?
Yes, but apart from that, the grammar is straightforward.
What about questions and negatives?
They’re easy too.

If it doesn’t snow tomorrow, the office will stay open.
But it might close. What will you do if we have the day off?
I won’t do any work. I’ll have a pajama day.
Me too. And I’ll watch Game of Thrones.
Attention all employees. Even if it snows tomorrow, the office will stay open. Please report to work promptly.

‘Will’ is a modal verb, so to make a question we reverse the word order. Instead of ‘you will’, say ‘will you’.
Negatives are straightforward too. With normal verbs in the present simple, we use don’t or doesn’t.
With will, it’s different, because will is a modal verb. We use the contraction won’t. Will + not = won’t
So that’s the grammar. Let’s have the story now!
Hang on, I have two questions first.
What?
First one. Can you say ‘when’ instead of ‘if’? You can but the meaning is different.
‘If’ means something may happen. It may snow or it may not. It’s just a possibility and you’re not certain. ‘When’ means something will definitely happen. It’s certain.
So with ‘when’ you know for sure that it’s going to snow. Perhaps you’ve seen the weather radar map.
So it’s a certainty. Not a possibility.
Yes.
What’s the other question?
It’s about ‘will’. Is ‘will’ the only modal verb we can use in a first conditional?
That’s a good question. Why don’t we watch the story and then we can find out?
Good idea.
Watch the story and listen for sentences with ‘if’. See how many you can spot.

Oh. Mr Bond.
Yes, the name is Bond. Jay Bond. Nice to meet you.
Ooo. You too. And you’re going to London next week?
Yes. It’s my first international assignment. I can’t wait.
Excellent.
And you have some cool equipment for me.
Well, yes. We have some useful things.
I love gadgets. Hey, look at this. X-ray glasses. If I put these on, I can see through walls.
Well…
Can I?
Oh go ahead. They’re actually just normal sunglasses.
Oh.
They could be very useful if it’s sunny in London.
Sunny in London?
Yes, sometimes it’s sunny at this time of year.
Well I guess then I won’t need this umbrella. Oh but it’s not an umbrella, is it? Let me guess. If I press this button a knife shoots out.
Well, no.
It fires a bullet then.
Err no. When you press the button, the umbrella opens.
It’s just an umbrella?
Yes, but it’s fully automatic.
Don’t you have any high-tech stuff? Like electronic gadgets.
Well, this one’s electrical.
Oh wow! It’s a radio transmitter! If I want to communicate with HQ, I’m going to use this.
Err. No, it’s not a transmitter.
Oh. Is it a bug for recording conversations?
No, it’s a plug adaptor.
Huh?
Yeah. The plugs are different in England. If you need to recharge your toothbrush, it’ll come in handy.
But I need spying stuff. Don’t you have anything dangerous?
Well we have a couple of things that come with safety warnings.
Oh great. Show them to me.
OK, there are these tablets.
Hey this is more like it. They’re poison, right? If I put these in people’s drinks, will they fall asleep? Or die?
No, no, no. They’re travel sickness tablets.
Huh?
It’s a seven-hour flight to England, but if you take two of these, you should be all right. Just follow the instructions on the label.
Oh this is no good. I’m an international spy. I need gadgets – dangerous stuff. What’s this? A water bottle!
Oh no, no, no.
Don’t tell me. It’s a long flight. If I drink this water, I won’t get dehydrated.
No. It’s explosive.
BANG!

How many sentences with ‘if’ did you hear? There were eight.
Did you spot them all? Let’s go though them.

We have some useful things.
I love gadgets. Hey, look at this. X-ray glasses. If I put these on, I can see through walls.
Well…

First of all Jay, what’s a gadget?
A gadget is a small tool or device.
And it’s cleverly designed.
And gadgets are useful. I thought the sunglasses could help me see through walls.
Yes, notice the modal verb here. Instead of ‘will’ Jay said ‘can’.
We often say ‘will’ in first conditionals, but it’s not the only verb we use.
We can use other verbs that have a future meaning. We saw another example.

Can I?
Oh go ahead. They’re actually just normal sunglasses.
Oh.
They could be very useful if it’s sunny in London.

So ‘could’ has a future meaning here.
It means you think it’s possible.
Exactly. First conditionals are all about future possibilities.
OK, let’s see some more.

Well I guess then I won’t need this umbrella. But it’s not an umbrella, is it? Let me guess. If I press the button a knife shoots out.
Well, no….
It fires a bullet then.
Err no. When you press the button, the umbrella opens.
It’s just an umbrella?

Now what about this example. Is it a first conditional?
Sort of, but many people call it a zero conditional because it’s a little different. In this sentence we can change the word ‘if’ for ‘when’ and the meaning stays the same.
So it’s not about a future possibility. It’s about a future certainty.
Yes. We saw another example with ‘when’. Every time you press the button, the umbrella opens. It always happens.
We’ve made another video about zero conditionals, haven’t we?
Yes, I’ll put the link here.
OK, let’s go back to the first conditional.

Oh wow! It’s a radio transmitter! If I want to communicate with HQ, I’m going to use this.
Err. No, it’s not a transmitter.
Oh. Is it a bug for recording conversations?
No, it’s a plug adaptor.
Huh?
Yeah. The plugs are different in England. If you need to recharge your toothbrush, it’ll come in handy.

What’s HQ?
HQ is an abbreviation for headquarters. But this is interesting. I didn’t say ‘will’ here. I said ‘going to’.
‘Will’ and ‘going to’ have very similar meanings and you could use either here. They both work.
So we can say ‘will’ instead of ‘going to’ here. Now, what about the if clause? Can we use ‘will’ there too?
No. We use a present tense in the if clause. Here’s another example. We can’t say ‘If you will recharge your toothbrush.’ That’s wrong.
What does ‘come in handy’ mean?
It means ‘to be useful.’ For example, ‘Don’t throw that old box away, it could come in handy.’
So remember the phrase ‘come in handy’. It could come in handy!
Exactly.
Let’s look at some more conditionals.

We have a couple of things that come with safety warnings.
Oh great. Show them to me.
OK, there are these tablets.
They’re poison, right? If I put them in people’s drinks, will they fall asleep? Or die?
No, no, no. They’re travel sickness tablets.
Huh?
It’s a seven-hour flight to England, but if you take two of these, you should be all right.

You used a different modal verb again. You didn’t say will. You said ‘should’.
Yes. When we have a good reason to believe something will happen, we can say ‘should’.
We know that travel sickness pills are often effective, but not always
Exactly. So I’m not certain that you’ll be fine, but I think it’s very possible. It’s a future possibility again.
So in first conditionals we can use the modal verbs will, can, could and should.
Yes, and we can also say may and might. If a modal verb has a future meaning, we can use it But the most common verb we use is ‘will’.
Now I asked a question with ‘will’ there.
Yes. ‘Will’ is a modal verb, so to form a question, we change the word order.
And what about negatives?
We saw an example of that too.

Don’t tell me. It’s a long flight, but if I drink this water I won’t get dehydrated.

So in the negative, we say ‘won’t.’ It’s the contraction of will and not.
Yes, and that’s it. Now you know how we form the first conditional, and you’ve seen lots of examples.
I have a question. What’s the difference between the first conditional and the second conditional?
That’s a great question because first and second conditionals are both about future possibilities.
First conditionals are about things we think could happen. They’re real possibilities. Second conditionals are more imaginary or unreal.
They’re for possibilities that we think won’t happen or that can’t happen. We’re making another video about them
So be sure to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss it.
See you all next week everyone.
Bye-bye.
Bye!

Click here to learn about the zero conditional.
Click here to learn about ‘if’ and ‘in case’.

What’s inside a Christmas cracker? Let’s see!

What’s inside a Christmas cracker? Let’s see!

What are Christmas crackers? They’re a British tradition. Just about everyone has a cracker with their Christmas meal.

And what’s inside a Christmas cracker? Watch us pull a cracker and we’ll show you. You’ll also learn some Christmas cracker vocabulary along the way.

There are always three things in a cracker – a paper hat, a joke and a novelty.

We’ll show you hats that don’t fit, corny cracker jokes with puns that will make you groan and some typical Christmas cracker novelties.

You’ll learn the history of Christmas crackers and lots of vocabulary like puns, corny and fickle.

Click here to see another video about Christmas traditions. 

What’s inside a Christmas Cracker?

Do you know what this is?
Hi everyone. I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
We’re going to tell you about a British tradition today.
And you’re going to learn lots of vocabulary along the way.
This is a British Christmas cracker and it’s an important part of a British Christmas dinner.
They’re not a tradition in the US, though Vicki’s found some in the stores here.
Yes. But I never know if I’ll be able to find them here so I get them delivered from England, just to be sure we’ll have them.
She orders them every year.
They’re very pretty. Sometimes we put them on the Christmas tree as decorations, but when we’re having our Christmas meal everyone gets a cracker.
Cracker means something different in American English.
What’s that?
Well, it’s something you eat. This is a cracker.
We call them crackers in British English too.
And we also have firecrackers They’re fireworks that go bang!
We usually call them bangers. But I think the explosion is how crackers got their name.
In 1847 there was a confectioner in London called Tom Smith. A confectioner is someone who makes cakes and sweets.
She means candy.
He introduced London to French bon-bons, sweets wrapped in paper and tied with a twist. And they were very popular. He had competition though, so to increase sales he added a motto – a little piece of paper with a message.
Like you find inside a Chinese fortune cookies.
Then later, Tom Smith had another idea. He took out the sweet and put a gift inside instead.
It was a very good idea.
And then in 1860 he added an explosion and the cracker was born!
Bang!

Oh, so that piece of card had some chemicals on it.
Yeah. There’s one inside every cracker. A cracker is just a hollow cardboard tube.
Can you pull a cracker on your own?
No, you have to pull it with someone else. One person holds one end and the other person holds the other, and we tug at the same time. To tug means to pull hard.
Ready?
Ready.
One, two, three!
When you pull a cracker, one person always wins, and you won.
Yes, I won this one. Now there are always the same things inside a cracker. There’s always a hat.
A paper hat, huh?
Uhuh. It’s like a crown. And you wear them when you’re eating your Christmas dinner. Like this. They’re always too big for you. They always gradually go down like this.
Yeah. They are always too big for me.
They fall off a lot of people’s heads. They’re average size and they don’t fit anyone.
And there’s always a joke inside, right?
Yes, yes, yes. OK. Hang on. There’s a joke here. What delivers presents to baby sharks at Christmas?
Err, Err. Shark-Claus?
Well think about… think about the sharks.
Err, Err. Tooth-Claus? I give up. What?
Santa-Jaws.
Oh right, of course. I’ve got another one here. What does Santa suffer from if he gets stuck in a chimney?
Claustrophobia.
The jokes are often puns. A pun is a joke that’s a play on words.
Perhaps there’s a word that has two different meanings. Or perhaps there are two different words that sound the same.
Like Santa Claus – claustrophobia.
Claustrophobia is a fear of being in very small spaces.
Like a chimney.
Exactly. Erm. I’ve got some more. OK, what do you get if you cross Santa with a duck?
Err. A… a Christmas cracker. A Christmas quacker.
Yes.
I got it. I almost never get them.
I know but you’ve got better over the years.
Cracker jokes are often corny jokes, so old jokes you’ve heard before.
They’re the sort of jokes where you might not laugh. You might groan instead.
A groan is a long deep sound you make when you’re in pain.
And you can groan with pleasure too. Let’s have another one.
What did Adam say the day before Christmas.
OK. We call the day before Christmas Eve – Christmas Eve. So he said ‘It’s Christmas Eve!’
Urgh! That’s terrible!
What do you get if you cross a bell with a skunk?
A bell with a skunk.
Yes.
A bell skunk.
And your clue is it’s a popular Christmas tune.
Errr jingle smells.
Jingle smells!
I got it!
Listen. If you have any good jokes for us everyone, please leave them for us in the comments. And we can share them perhaps in a video.
Right.
They don’t have to be about Christmas.
And there’s always a novelty inside – so some kind of small object. This came flying out of the cracker.
Oh well this one is a top. You spin it.
So I’ve got some things here that I saved.
Where did you get these?
I kept them from last year’s Christmas dinner.
You kept them?
Yes. I knew I wanted to make a video about them. They’re very typical novelties. So we often find toys in the Christmas cracker. There you are.
Oh. A deck of cards.
And what about these. I don’t know if you can see them. They’re marbles and they’re little glass balls that you can play with. Did you play with marbles when you were a child?
I did. We played with marbles when I was a kid and you would always shoot them out and try to hit the other kids’ marbles.
That’s right, and if you hit the other one’s marbles, you could win their marble.
That’s right.
I used to play with my brothers and I never had any marbles left at the end of it.
I thought you lost your marbles a long time ago.
What? To lose your marbles means to go crazy. OK. If you’re hot at the dinner table you can have a fan to cool yourself down.
I bet you can use it to cool the turkey.
If your dinner’s too hot.
The novelties are normally very cheap so they’re not something you keep.
And here’s another one that’s very common. There’s a little jigsaw puzzle here. You see. You’ve got all the pieces. So the children can sit at the dinner table and they can do the jigsaw puzzle if they start to get bored.
Sometimes I’ve seen expensive crackers with expensive novelties, like silver penknives or gold jewelry but I don’t want them.
You don’t want nice gifts?
No, I want games you can play – novelties that are fun for the kids.
So don’t spend your money on expensive crackers.
Yeah.
This is my favourite. It’s actually a fish. It’s red and it’s like a piece of cellophane. And what you have to do is put it on your hand and we see what happens. And then according to what happens I know what you’re lik, you see. This is a fortune teller fish.
Oh, the tail’s going up. OK, the tail…
Look it twisted together. Both ends. Look at that.
OK, a moving tail means you’re independent.
Mmhm.
But if the head moves as well, it means you’re jealous.
Uhuh. Is there something you want to tell me?
No. And if it’s both… hang on. Oh. And if it’s both then it means you’re in love.
It’s both. Enough. Enough.
Do you want me to try it?
Oh Jay. The sides have curled in.
Oh curling sides means you’re fickle.
Fickle! Fickle means I can’t be trusted. I keep changing my mind. I’m not reliable.
The thing about Christmas crackers is they solve a problem.
What’s that?
Christmas dinner is a long meal and you’ve got adults and children and sometimes the kids get bored. But the jokes and novelties keep them amused.
They’re things to play with.
So that’s it. Now you know about Christmas crackers.
Do you have anything similar in your country?
And how do you keep the kids amused when you’re having a big family meal?
OK, we should wrap this up.
Yeah. If you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
See you all next Friday everyone. Bye-bye.
Bye.

How NOT to pay a compliment in English (back & left-handed compliments)

How NOT to pay a compliment in English (back & left-handed compliments)

In our last video we looked at six different ways to pay someone a compliment and you can see that video here: https://www.simpleenglishvideos.com/6-easy-ways-to-pay-compliments-in-english/
In this video we’re looking how NOT to give compliments. We’ll show you examples of things that can go wrong, and suggest ways to avoid them.
For example:

  • Complimenting a woman on her appearance in the workplace could be seen as a sexual advance or even sexual harassment.
    There are gender differences in how we give compliments and we’ll pass on some research.
  • If compliments aren’t sincere, they can be seen as flattery and that can be a problem.
  • And finally, you want to avoid backhanded or left-handed compliments. These are compliments that are half insult and half compliment and nobody likes them. We’ll show you a variety of back and left-handed compliment examples so you can see if you can the spot what’s wrong with them.

Click here to see our video on how to give a compliment.
Click here to learn how we might respond to compliments differently in the US and UK.
Click here to learn more everyday English expressions.

How NOT to pay a compliment in English

Hi.
Hi.
Have you had your hair cut?
Yes, I’ve got a new barber. What do you think?
Oh it’s very smart. It’s so much better than it looked before.
Oh great.
Let me see the back. See! I like what he’s done with your bald spot.

Hi I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
Our last video was about compliments and when I posted it, Jay was a bit worried.
Well you didn’t tell everyone what we DON’T say if we’re giving a compliment.
I didn’t want the video to be too long. I’ll put a link here if you haven’t seen it yet. And we’re going to talk about compliments that don’t work now.
OK.
So what was your problem?
Well there are compliments that guys can’t give. I might compliment you on your appearance because we’re married, but I’d be very careful about complimenting the appearance of another woman, especially at work.
But I could compliment a female colleague on her appearance – if she looked nice.

Hi everyone.
Hi Geri. Your hair’s looking very pretty today.
Thank you. I just had it cut.
It’s gorgeous. And you have such beautiful brown eyes.

That was creepy.
Yes, men have to be careful. If we compliment a woman on her appearance we could make her uncomfortable.
We could think you’re trying to make a move on us.
Exactly! And it’s sexual harassment if we do it in the workplace in the united States. We could lose our jobs.
So it’s serious.
Yes, don’t do it guys! Not in the US.
There’s a lot of linguistic research on compliments and they’ve found the kinds of compliments that men and women give are often different. Men are more likely to say things like ‘Good job’ or ‘Nice work’. Their compliments are more impersonal.
That sounds right to me.
And women give more compliments to other women than men give to other men.
That makes sense too.
Well women are very nice.
I think another important thing with compliments is that you can’t lie. You have to tell the truth.

Oh officer. Is there a problem?
Yes, you can’t park here.
I’m just going to move it.
You’re too late. You should not have parked here.
Oh officer. Oh my, what beautiful brown eyes you have.
Flattery will get you nowhere.
You know, I’ve got some doughnuts in the car. Perhaps I could give you the doughnuts and you could throw away that ticket?
That’s not flattery. That’s bribery.

Well that didn’t work. I tried flattery but you saw through me.
Yes, flattery is praise that we don’t really mean.
When we flatter someone, we try to persuade them to do something by saying nice things about them.
But flattery isn’t sincere. It’s just a show.
Yes. And what about bribery?
Oh well, that’s when we give someone something to do what we want and it breaks the rules.
Yes.
So it’s something dishonest
Or illegal.
OK, there’s another thing we have to do right to give a good compliment, and it’s very important.
What’s that?
We have to be totally positive. You can’t mix in any negative things.

Oh nice jacket. Is it new?
Yes, I bought it last week.
I love the way you go your own way instead of following the fashions.
Oh, well.
And it hides your belly well too.

That was not a compliment!
I know. I said something nice because I said you go your own way, so you’re independent.
But you also suggested I’m not fashionable.
Yeah. That’s not nice.
And then you drew attention to my belly!
Yeah. Definitely not nice!
So it was a compliment and an insult at the same time.
We have a term for this. In British English we call it a backhanded compliment. But you have a different name for it in American English.
Yes, we call it a left-handed compliment. It’s when it’s half compliment and half insult.
We had a request to talk about backhanded compliments from a viewer called Nick. Great idea Nick!
Then let’s look at another one.
Yeah. Watch another example and see if you can recognize the compliments and the insults.
Yes, try to spot what’s nice and what’s rude here?

Well, that was an interesting meeting.
Mmm. Where do you get the energy to talk so much?
Oh thanks. Do you think I talked too much?
Oh no, I love listening to your ideas Jay.
Oh good.
Listening to you makes me feel so intelligent.

So I said ‘Where do you get the energy to talk so much?’ That could be a compliment because it means I think you’re energetic.
Yes that’s positive, but you also said I talk so much. Maybe you meant too much.
And then there was another. I said I liked listening to your ideas. That’s positive. But then you said they make you feel intelligent. I was drawing a comparison between your ideas and my ideas
And suggesting yours are more intelligent than mine.
I was being a smart-arse there.
A smart-ass is someone who behaves as if they know everything.
Yes, we say smart-arse in British English.
Smart-ass in American English.
Your arse – or ass- is a slang word for your bottom. If you want to be more polite you could say smart aleck
A smart aleck thinks their very clever and they’re very annoying.
Let’s have another example.

Oh and here’s a picture of me and my brother.
Oh wow. Is that handsome guy you?
Yes.
You look great. I nearly didn’t recognize you.
Really?
Yeah, it doesn’t look like you at all.

So I said two nice things here. ‘You look great’ and I called you handsome.
Yes, but the problem was you also said the guy in the photo didn’t look like me, so that implies that I don’t normally look great or handsome.
Yes. So it’s really important. If you’re paying someone a compliment, you have to stay 100% positive. You can’t add negative stuff.
If someone pays you a left-handed compliment, what should you say?
I’ve no idea. How should you reply?
I don’t know either. But if anyone has any ideas about that, please write and tell us in the comments.
Perhaps you should say nothing.
And then go and find some new friends.
I find responding to normal compliments hard sometimes too.
A lot of people do.
Let’s make another video about that.
OK. Next year perhaps. If you liked this video please share it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss our future videos.
Bye everyone.
Bye-bye.

Click here to see our video on how to give a compliment.
Click here to learn how we might respond to compliments differently in the US and UK.
Click here to learn more everyday English expressions.

6 Easy Ways to Pay Compliments in English

6 Easy Ways to Pay Compliments in English

Learn 6 easy ways to pay compliment in English a make the world a happier place!

We’ll show you lots of compliment examples and talk about which compliments mean most to us. (They have to be genuine and can’t be manipulative!)

We’ll also show you six easy grammar structures for compliments:
look/be + adjective
love/like + noun
Good job/work
nice + noun
What + adjective + noun
good at + noun, good at + gerund

Click here to learn how we might respond to compliments differently in the US and UK.
Click here to learn some more everyday English expressions.

6 ways to pay compliments in English

Hello everyone. I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
And today we want to help you make the world a happier place.
We’re going to look at compliments and how we tell people what we like about them in English.
The grammar is pretty easy. You can learn the structures you need very fast.
And we’ll show you lots of examples.
So you can find some nice things to say to people you like.
Let’s start with some vocabulary. We can give a compliment or pay a compliment. It means the same thing. Pay and give collocate with the word compliment.
What does collocate mean?
It means we often use the words together. So we often say the verbs ‘pay’ and ‘give’ with the noun ‘compliment’. They’re common collocations.
OK. Let’s get cracking now and see some compliments in action.
Yes, we have a story for you. See how many compliments you can spot.

Oh let me help you.
Oh no, I can do it.
No, no, let me help. Oh this artwork looks great. It’s really beautiful. Did you do this?
Yes. I just need one copy.
Oh I can do that.
Ah. It’s jammed. You have to take the paper out at the back. Oh. It’s stuck. Where are you going? Help, help.
Help, oh, you’ve saved me! Thank you.
You’re welcome
Who are you?
I’m photocopier man.
Oh you’re so brave and so strong. Those are really big muscles!
Well, I don’t know about that.
Oh and you’re so handsome. I love your smile.
Well I’d better get going now. Bye.
Oh. Where did you go? You’ll never guess who was here.
Who?
Photocopier man.

You gave photocopier man lots of great compliments there.
Well, he was very cute!
Like me.
Let’s look at the grammar. What structures did we use?

Oh this artwork looks great. It’s really beautiful. Did you do this?
Yes.

Here’s a very common structure for giving compliments. We use the verb ‘look’ or the verb ‘be’ with an adjective. And we can add emphasis with ‘really’.
We often use the adjectives great, beautiful, pretty, nice and good. They are all very common.
But there are lots more like wonderful, cool, cute, clever. Compliments are about spreading love so be positive.
In the UK we often say brilliant and it means very clever. ‘That’s a brilliant idea.’ ‘You’re brilliant’.
In the US we often say awesome. ‘You’ve done a really awesome job’.
We say awesome in British English now too.
Yeah?
Mmm. We got it from the US.
OK, let’s look at another common structure now.

Oh and you’re so handsome. I love your smile.
Well, I’d better get going now. Bye.
Oh!

Again it’s simple. Just use the verb ‘like’ or ‘love’ and then say what you like or love. ‘I love your dog.’ ‘I like your hair.’ ‘I love your sense of humour.’
And again you can say ‘really’ to add emphasis. ‘I really love your smile’.
I really like your new glasses.
Thanks. You know there’s another structure that I use a lot. Well it’s a phrase really.
What’s that?
Good job! When someone does something well, I say ‘Good job’. Or ‘Great job’.
So for example, if they hit a golf ball into the hole.
Yes, good job. Or if you park the car in a small space.
Yeah.

We finished on time and on budget.
Well done everyone. Good job!
Yeah, nice work!

Nice is similar to good. We can say ‘Nice work!’ ‘Nice job!’
Or ‘Nice phone!’ ‘Nice computer! Nice – anything really.
And there’s another very simple structure like that. We say ‘what’!
What?
Yes!

Come in. Come in.
What a lovely apartment!
Thank you.
What a beautiful piano. It’s so pretty.
It’s a pretty colour, isn’t it?

So we just say ‘what’ and then the thing
‘What a lovely apartment!’
‘What a beautiful piano!’
‘What a great team we are!’
‘What a beautiful baby!’
So the grammar is very simple again.
Yes, I think forming compliments is pretty easy. Thinking of nice things to say is more difficult because you want to find things that matter to the other person and they have to be true.
What can we give compliments about?
There are lots of things, aren’t there? We can compliment people on how they look. Their clothes, their hair.
And their possessions. ‘What a great looking car.’ ‘What a nice yard.’
I’d say nice garden in British English. But what do you think are the nicest compliments to give to people?
What do I think?
Yeah.
Well, they’re probably not about appearance. How you look is how you look. And clothes and possessions – they’re just material things. Maybe the nicest compliments are about their achievements, about the things they do.
For example?
Well maybe they give a good presentation and you say ‘You did a really great job. or ‘You’re really good at giving speeches.’
Yeah or if they create something, like some artwork. Or their cooking. We often compliment people on a meal they’ve cooked.

This soup is delicious. Did you make it?
Yes, it’s a family recipe.
I love it!

Another nice compliment is when we can say something positive about someone’s character or personality, like, ‘You’re always so helpful’. Or ‘You’re very thoughtful’.
Or ‘You’re very imaginative’, or patient, or ‘You’re really well organized’.

You did a great job on this event Vicki.
Thank you!
You’re so well organized. It’s been a pleasure working with you.
You too!
But I organized this event!
Yes. I really love working with you too.

I like these compliments because they’re about skills. They’re saying ‘You’re good at your job’.
That’s another useful structure: ‘good at’. You’re really good at giving speeches.
Or you’re really good at English.
Notice what follows ‘good at’. It’s always a noun. If we want to use a verb, we have to add -ing to turn it into a gerund – a noun form of a verb.
So you’re really good at giving, -ing, – giving speeches.
Let’s have one more example.
OK.

You know you’re so good at making coffee Jay.
Thank you!
Could you make me another cup?

But that wasn’t really a compliment.
I know. I just wanted more coffee. But it illustrates the most important thing about giving compliments. They have to be true.
That’s right. If you lie, people might think you’re trying to manipulate them.
They might think you’re lying in order to get them to do what you want.
Compliments have to be truthful.
We’re making another video about how not to give compliments, because some compliments don’t work.
So make sure you subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss it.
And if you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
And see you all next week everyone. Bye.
Bye-bye.

Click here to learn how we might respond to compliments differently in the US and UK.
Click here to learn some more everyday English expressions.

The Zero Conditional in Action – English Grammar

The Zero Conditional in Action – English Grammar

Zero conditionals are a really useful and simple English grammar structure. We often use them to talk about scientific facts, but that’s not their only use.

In this video your see lots of zero conditional examples and learn how you can also use it to talk about habits and routines and even the past.

Zero conditionals have two clauses: the condition and result. We’ll show you how to form them, make negatives, punctuate them and reverse the order. You’ll learn about when and if in zero conditionals and cause effect relationships.

And just to check that all is clear we finish with a zero conditionals quiz.

Click here to see more grammar videos.

Click here to learn about if and in case.

The Zero Conditional in Action – English Grammar

If you breathe in helium, your voice goes funny.

Hello everyone. I’m Vicki.
And I’m Jay and this lesson’s about the zero conditional.
It’s a really useful and really simple structure. You’ll love it.
We often use it to talk about scientific facts.
Let’s see some examples.

If you heat water, it boils.
If ice gets warm, it melts.

So it’s really easy. The sentences have two parts, two clauses. One is the condition, and one is the result. The condition, the result.
We use the present simple in both clauses. It’s if with the present simple, and then the present simple again.
And we can reverse the order of the clauses. These sentences mean the same thing.
But notice the punctuation is different. If the sentence starts with ‘if’, we use a comma. The comma separates the condition and the result. But if ‘if’ comes in the middle of the sentence, the comma isn’t necessary.
That happens in other conditionals too. We can change the order of the two clauses.
Yeah, but you know what we need to look at next .
What?
How to form negatives.
Let’s see.

What’s this ice cream doing here?
Oh, I might have some later.
If you don’t keep it in the freezer, it melts.
I forgot about it.
And the cream?
What about it?
If you put it in the fridge, it doesn’t go off.
Well, I’m going to have some now.

You heard two examples. If you don’t keep it in the freezer, it melts. If you put it in the fridge, it doesn’t go off.
So how do we form the negatives? It’s the present simple tense, so we use don’t and doesn’t.
To go off means to go bad so you can’t drink it.
In American English we’d say spoil. The milk spoiled.
We could say that in British English but it sounds old fashioned to me. We say go off.
Say spoil.
Now there’s something very special about zero conditionals. It’s something that only happens in this kind of conditional.
What’s that?
We can switch the word ‘if’ for ‘when’.

If you breathe in helium, your voice goes funny.
When you breathe in helium your voice goes funny.

So if, when, they’re both correct here and these sentences mean the same thing.
It’s a special feature of this conditional.
In other conditionals ‘if’ and ‘when’ mean different things, but in zero conditionals they mean the same.
It’s because we’re talking about things that always happen.
If you breathe in helium, the result is always the same.
So if you do it, when you do it, it doesn’t matter because the same thing happens every time.
With zero conditionals one thing always leads to another.

I’m back.
Oh. What did you buy?
Chocolate brownies. You’re going to love them
Wow. But if we eat too many brownies, we put on weight.
Oh. Do you want me to eat yours then?
Heck no!

There’s a cause effect relationship here. Brownies cause weight gain.
Yes, brownies are the cause and the effect is we put on weight.
It’s a sad fact of life.
And that’s why we use a zero conditional. We use them with facts and in situations where something always happens.
That means that we can also use them to talk about habits and routines.

I read the newspaper every day and if I see a good investment opportunity, I call my broker and tell her to buy.
I read the newspaper every day too, but I start at the back and read the sports pages.
When you snooze, you lose.

So here I used the zero conditional to describe a habit, a routine of mine.
And did you notice this one? ‘When you snooze you lose.’ It’s an idiom.
To snooze means to have a short light sleep.
‘When you snooze you lose’ means you have to act fast to get what you want. It’s another general truth. A fact of life.
OK, the next thing we need to talk about is the past.
Ah yes. We usually use zero conditionals to talk about the present, but we can also use them to talk about things that were true in the past.

When I went to school in England, we had to wear a uniform.
In my school we could wear whatever we wanted.
Mmm. When we forgot our tie, we were in trouble.
I didn’t wear a tie.
And if our skirt was too short, the teachers sent us home.
And I didn’t wear a skirt either.

So again, these sentences are about general truths, but they’re things that that were always true in the past.
The structure is the same as before, but instead of the present simple, we use the past tense. And again, we can switch ‘if’ for ‘when’, and ‘when’ for ‘if’.
So we’ve looked at the present and the past. Are we finished now?
No, there’s another very important question. How is the zero conditional different from the first conditional?
They are similar. Let’s look at some examples and see if you can work out the difference.

If you don’t put ice cream in the freezer, it melts.

Was I talking generally about ice cream here? Yes. All ice cream melts if it gets warm. So this is a general truth. Now let’s look at a different example?

If you don’t put this ice cream in the freezer, it’ll melt.

Was Vicki talking about ice cream in general here? No. This one’s different. She was talking about a particular carton of ice cream.
We use the zero conditional to talk about what happens in general, and the first conditional to talk about a particular situation.
So the zero conditional is about what always happens, and the first conditional is about what happens in a particular case.
In many situations we might use a zero or first conditional, but there’s a difference in meaning. General – particular.
We’re making another video about the first conditional. So make sure you subscribe to our channel so you don’t miss it.
I think we should have a review now. Let’s see what you can remember.
We use zero conditionals to talk about things that are always true. We use them when one action always follows another.
In zero conditionals ‘if’ means the same as ‘when’. We can say ‘if’ or ‘when’ and the meaning doesn’t change.
The word ‘if’ comes at the start or in the middle of a sentence. Just remember to use a comma if you start the sentence with ‘if’.
We use zero conditionals to talk about what’s true in all situations. They’re general truths, We don’t use them if we’re thinking of specific or particular situations.
We can use zero conditionals to talk about routines and habits in the present and the past.
They just have to be things that always happen in the present or always happened in the past.
And that’s it! Now you know how we use zero conditionals in English.
If you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
And see you next week everyone. Bye.
Bye-bye.

7 things to say when you make a mistake

7 things to say when you make a mistake

What do we say when we make a mistake? Maybe it’s an expletive. (Did you you know the pronunciation of expletive is different in British and American English?) In this video we look at some swear word alternatives like bother, shoot and damn.

You’ll also learn the phrasal verb screw up and the more polite phrasal verb mess up.

We also look at the expressions ‘by mistake‘ meaning by accident and ‘It’s my fault‘, meaning I accept responsibility. And you’ll see examples of the word fault as a countable and uncountable noun.

Click here to learn some rules for when we use make and when we use do.
Click here to learn more everyday English expressions

Things to say when you make a mistake

Welcome to the Good Morning show. In today’s program we’re going to be talking to Hillary Clinton. Oh, I’m sorry. That’s the wrong picture. We’ve clearly made a mistake.
Argh!

Hi everyone, I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
And this lessons about things you can say when you make mistakes.
Where should we start?
Well the first thing we say is often an expletive.
She means expletive.
Expletive. The pronunciation’s different in British and American.
Say expletive.
An expletive is a word that shows you’re angry or upset.

Argh!

Argh! Oh….
The next thing you’d say is not polite.
Yeah, expletives are generally rude words. I’m sure you know these ones. They’re common curse words.
Be careful though because they are very rude.
Yes, don’t say them to your boss or peoplke you don’t know well.
What are some polite alternatives?
Hmm. I’ve heard some people say ‘oh bother’, but that’s normally if it’s a small thing.

Oh bother, I’ve spilt my tea.

‘Bother’ sounds very British. In the US we might say ‘shoot’.

Oh shoot, I left my wallet at home.

Again, we say this for small mistakes.
Yes, if you want to add some emotion, I think ‘damn’ is a useful word.
Is it rude?
It’s a little rude but it’s better than the curse words if you’re at work or something, and it shows you’re upset.

Oh damn. I forgot to put petrol in the car.
Damn. I just made a mistake.
What?
I just sent everyone the wrong dates for the meeting.

Notice that Jay said ‘I just made a mistake’. We use the verb ‘make’ with mistake.
In some languages it’s do a mistake’, but not in English.
Yes, so don’t make that mistake with mistake! ‘Make’ and ‘mistake’ both start with the letter m. Perhaps that will help you remember.
OK. Now are there other ways to say ‘I’ve made a mistake’?
Yes. We often use phrasal verbs. Let’s see one in action.

Oh no, I’ve screwed up again!
What have you done?
I forgot to press save before I closed the document.
He’s always screwing up like that.

The verb is ‘screw up’. It’s slang and it’s a bit rude.
Again, you probably don’t want to say it to your boss. But there’s another verb you could use instead – mess up.

Can I try it?
OK but be careful. It took me ages to get this far. Don’t mess it up. …
Oh sorry

Mess up means to do something badly.
It’s a phrasal verb again and it’s a little more polite than screw up.
And another phrase you can use is ‘by mistake’.

Urgh!
What?
I drank your coffee by mistake. How much sugar is in that?
5 teaspoons. I like it sweet.

So ‘by mistake’ means ‘by accident’.

Hi.
Hi. Your pay check has arrived.
Oh good. Hey! Somebody’s already opened this.
Yeah, sorry, I opened it by mistake. You didn’t earn as much as me last month.

So by mistake – by accident.
By mistake means you didn’t intend to do it. Or did you?
Now the word mistake is a noun here, but it can be a verb too. And then it means you think one thing is another.
For example, you have to keep your pills safe because children might mistake them for candy.
Mistake is an irregular verb – mistake, mistook, mistaken.

Oh Mary.
Do we know each other?
Oh sorry, I mistook you for someone else.
No problem.

I mistook you for someone else means I thought you were one person, but you were another.
Yes, it sounds a little formal to me. I think normally I’d say it differently.

Oh Mary.
Do we know each other?
Oh sorry I thought you were someone else.
No problem.

That sounded more natural.
Yes, and there’s another thing we often say when we’ve made a mistake.
What?
Sorry.
Let’s look at how we do that.

Who designed these calendars?
Oh I did. Do you like them?
How many copies did you print?
I don’t know.
I ordered 500. Is there a problem?
Yes. Look at February. There are 30 days.
Oh, that’s a mistake.
I’m so sorry Kathy. It’s my fault. I didn’t notice.
It’s my fault too. I didn’t check it before it went to the printers.
We’re both at fault.
30 days!

Now here’s a very useful phrase. When we say ‘it’s my fault’, we’re saying we’re responsible.
We accept the blame for what went wrong.
We admit we did the wrong thing. And if we don’t want to accept responsibility, we can use the negative.

You need to do this again.
Why?
It’s full of spelling mistakes
It’s not my fault. My spell checker doesn’t work
Then use a dictionary.
Humph.

So ‘it’s not my fault’ means it’s not my responsibility. Don’t blame me.
Fault is an uncountable noun here, so it has no plural form. But the word fault has other meanings where it’s countable.
For example?
Well, people can have faults.

Good luck with your presentation. Are you nervous?
No, I’m going to be fantastic. They’ll love me.
Jay may have some faults, but lack of confidence isn’t one of them.

So here faults is plural and it means the bad or weak parts of someone’s character.
I don’t really have many faults.
Yeah right. And faults can also mean other things that are wrong. Machines can have faults. Faults are things that stop them working correctly.
A fault in the design.
A structural fault.

You need to use the other copier. This one’s not working.
Really? Why not?
They think it’s an electrical fault.
Hmmm.
Told you.

OK, I think it’s time to review, don’t you?
Yes, let’s see what you can remember. When we make a mistake, the first thing we say is often an expletive.
Or an expletive.
An expletive is usually a swear word or curse word. But there are some more polite alternatives. For example in the UK we could say ‘Oh bother!’
And in the US we could say ‘Oh shoot!’
Here’s a really useful one: Oh damn!
We usually use the word mistake with the verb make.
And we use phrasal verbs too like ‘I’ve screwed up’.
And we can also say ‘I’ve messed up’.
If we think we’re responsible for a mistake we’ll say ‘It’s my fault’.
And if we think we’re not responsible we’ll say ‘It’s not my fault’.
And that’s it. Now you know what to say when you’ve screwed up and made a mistake.
If you’ve found this video useful, please share it with a friend.
And make sure you subscribe to our channel.
See you next Friday everyone. Bye Bye.
Bye.

Click here to learn some rules for when we use make and when we use do.
Click here to learn more everyday English expressions