can't and not c*nt

2 tricky vowel sounds in British and American English – AH and UH

We made a video a while ago on how we say can and can’t in British and American English. You can see it here.

It was very popular but many of you wrote saying you were worried about saying the right the vowel sound in the word can’t. If you get it wrong you could say can’t and not c*nt – so a rude word in English.

Some of you said you say cannot instead. That’s clear, but it will sound a little strange. Cannot is more frequent in written English than spoken.
The way to solve the problem is to work on the vowel sounds so you can say AH and UH – the ɑːand ʌ vowel sounds.

We’ll show you how to do that in this video and demonstrate some ah uh minimal pairs. We’ll also show you how we pronounce words differently in British and American English.

Click here to see our video on can and can’t.
Click here to see more of our pronunciation videos.

Hi everyone, I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American and this video is long overdue. Why is it overdue?
I’ve been slow. A year ago, we made a video about how we both pronounce ‘can’ and ‘can’t’ in English.
It was nearly two years ago.
We say the negative word ‘can’t’ differently.
She means can’t.
Sometimes when Jay says it, I don’t understand him.

I don’t want you to see.
I can’t see.
Oh well let me try again.
Why? I can’t see?
Do you mean you can or you can’t see.
I can’t see.

Can’t and not c*nt

That video was very popular.
But in the comments a lot of you said you had a problem.
Yes, a lot of people didn’t want to say can’t the British way in case they say c*nt. Oh, I said a rude word.
Lots of people are worried about that. They don’t want to sound rude
Some of you told us you say ‘cannot’ instead.
That’s clear, but it sounds strange.
Cannot is more frequent in written English. We don’t say it much when we’re speaking.
It sounds stilted.
You don’t want to sound formal and strange. So what we need to do is work on the vowel sound – the AH sound.
That way you can say it confidently.
And make sure you don’t get it mixed up with UH. This is going to be useful for pronouncing lots of words, and good for your listening too.
So where should we start?
I think we should look at what’s causing the problem in the first place. Too many English vowels.

Vowel sounds in British and American English

We have five vowels in the English alphabet, but we pronounce them in different ways, so we have lots of vowel sounds. When I was learning Japanese there were just five vowel sounds. It was pretty easy. Spanish is another language that has five.
If your language has fewer vowel sounds than English, of course it’s going to be difficult to hear and say the English ones. You have to train your ear and learn to move your mouth muscles differently.
We have twelve pure vowel sounds in English and we’re going to focus on two that are very similar.
I thought it was eleven sounds.
Ah. No. In American English there are eleven, but in British English we have twelve.
Yes, there’s one you don’t say.
What’s that?
ɒ like in the word lot. We’ve made another video about that.
But we’re focusing on two other vowel sounds today: AH and UH.
So you can say can’t and not c*nt. Ah I did it again.
So let’s look at these sounds. AH… This is the sound I make when Vicki gives me a foot rub. AH.
You wish. And what about UH?
That’s when I’ve made a mistake. UH!


AH is a longer sound. AH.
And with AH there’s a little more jaw drop. AH.
And you press your tongue down a bit at the back. So when your jaw goes down your tongue goes down too.
And there’s a little tension in your tongue.
Now the other sound, UH. This is a shorter sound.
Your tongue is completely relaxed. UH.
And your jaw is a little higher. Say the sounds with us.


Now we need some words to practice.
This is where it gets tricky because sometimes we use these sounds in different words.
It’s an American and British English difference.
So let’s start with a different vowel sound. Aaaa.
Here are some words that we both say with Aaaa.

Can, bag, sad, man, fat.
Can, bag, sad, man, fat.

So we both said the vowel sound Aaaa there.
But there are other words where Jay says Aaaa and I say AH.

Can’t, aunt, past, laugh, class, after.
Can’t, aunt, past, laugh, class, after.

Did you hear the difference? I said AH and Jay said Aaaa.
And then there are other words where we both say AH.

Father, father, llama, llama, calm, calm, bra, bra.

I think your vowel sound was a little longer than mine.
Maybe. We both said AH, but perhaps your AH was a little shorter than mine?
What do you think? Let’s try some more.
Dark, dark, barn, barn, march, march, cart, cart.
Our vowel sounds were the same again but our R sounds were different.
Yeah. I’m from just north of London in England, and we don’t pronounce our Rs in these words. There are parts of the UK where people do, but most people don’t.
We’ve made another video about that.
OK. Now there’s another group of words where you say AH, but I don’t.

Doll, doll, fond, fond, lock, lock, hot, hot, gosh, gosh.

Did you hear the difference?
I said AH – gosh. But you didn’t.
No, I used the other extra vowel sound that we have in British English.
The twelfth vowel sound. It sounds so British!
It’s just what we say. But let’s recap so far. There are some words where I say AH and Jay doesn’t, and some words where we both say it, and some where Jay says it and I don’t.
OK. But what about the other important sound. Now we need to look at UH.
Yeah. UH is more straightforward because we both say this sound in much the same words.

Cup, cup, hut, hut, luck, luck, love, love, come, come, dull, dull.

So UH is a shorter sound and you need to keep your tongue relaxed.

ah uh minimal pairs

Let’s compare UH with AH now.
See if you can hear the difference.

Cart cut, carp cup, dark duck, barn bun, calm come.
Hot hut, lock luck, cot cut, fond fund, doll dull.

If you find it hard, you’re not alone.
Yes, it’s tricky. It’s about small movements of the tongue and the jaw.
It just takes practice, but you’ll get it.Now, do we have any sentences?
Yes. I’ve got one for you to say and one for me to say and you can try saying them with us. Your one has UH sounds.
OK. ‘Don’t be unhappy, love. Come to lunch with me and let’s have fun!’
OK, my one has AH sounds. ‘I can’t meet you after class because I’ll be in the bath.’
You mean the bath.
And that’s it for today everyone.
If you’ve enjoyed this video please give it a like and share it with a friend.
See you all next Friday. Bye

Click here to see our video on can and can’t.
Click here to see more of our pronunciation videos.

plate or dish prototype theory

Dish or plate? Prototype theory and English vocabulary

What’s the difference between a plate and a dish in English? In some languages there’s just one word.
It’s not a simple answer because the meanings of words often overlap.
In this English lesson we explain when we say dish or plate and look at the features of:
– plates, dishes, cups, mugs and bowls
– different kinds of games
We show how the meanings of words can be fuzzy at the edges and it leads us to linguistic prototype theory.
We draw on the work of two different writers:
– the philosopher Wittgenstein and his work on words that share a family resemblance
– the psychologist Eleanor Rosch and prototype theory
If you’re interested in this topic, a great book to read is ‘Words in the Mind’ by Jean Aitchison. She explores how we store words in our brain.

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Click these links to see more videos on common false friends: sympathetic and nice, story and history, actually and currently, sensible and sensitive.

Plate or dish?

We had a great question from a viewer called Aurum last week.
Aurum asked what’s the difference between a dish and a plate? Some languages have only one word.
A dish is a container or bowl. It’s usually pretty shallow, so not very deep.
We serve food from a dish and sometimes we cook food in it too.
But sometimes a dish is a particular type of food that’s served as part of a meal.
Like a fish dish or a pasta dish.
A plate is flat and usually round. We put our food on it and eat from it.
And in American English, a plate can also be a whole main course of a meal.
But not in British English.
No. Aurum’s question looked simple, but when you go deeper, it’s quite tricky.
There are lots more words like this. Let’s look at some.

What do we call this in our house, Jay?
This is a mug.
And why do we call it a mug?
Because it has a handle and I drink coffee out of it.
OK. What’s the difference between a mug and a cup?
Well a mug doesn’t have a saucer and it’s taller.
OK. Then what’s this?
Well, this is what we call your coffee cup. Cup!
But it doesn’t have a saucer and it’s tall.
Yes, but it has curved sides and mugs have straight sides.
So we call this a cup because it has curved sides. OK, what’s this?
This is a bowl.
And what’s this?
That’s a bowl too.
So size doesn’t matter.
Well size always matters but in this case what’s important is that they have curved sides.
OK. What’s this?
That’s a bowl.
But it has straight sides.
Yeah, but it’s a bowl.
It isn’t a mug?
No. Cups and mugs have handles and bowls don’t.
OK. So this isn’t a bowl?
Yes, I’d call that a bowl because it’s bigger than a cup.
But you just said size doesn’t matter for bowls. OK. What about this?
It’s a bowl.
And not a plate, right?
No, plates are flat. Bowls are deeper like that. But it’s also a dish.
Well, we share food from it. If we share food from it, it’s a dish.
So it’s a bowl and a dish.

Wow! That was confusing!
Yes. It’s because the meaning of words often overlap with other words. Another meaning starts before one meaning has finished.
So we call this a cup, but we could also call it a mug. It’s part cup and part mug.
Exactly. The boundaries between the words are fuzzy. There’s no clear dividing line between their meanings.
Are there more words like this?
Oh yes, lots. What about the word game? What does game mean?

Wittgenstein and words that share a family resemblance

You mean a board game like Monopoly, or a card game like poker?
Yes. Or a game like football or tennis.
Or computer games.
Or the Olympic Games. What do they all have in common?
Well there’s competition. We compete against another person or another team. If it’s a game we can win or lose.
But there’s also the game of patience.
We call that solitaire. It’s a card game you play on your own.
And what if a child throws a ball against a wall? It’s a game, but it’s not a competition.
OK. Is it that games are all amusing and fun?
Well, that’s often true, but some games are quite serious like chess, or war games.
Is it about skill? We need to learn and practice a game to play well – like chess or football? They require skill.
Skill can be important, but in some games, you can win by chance. Like roulette or bingo. You don’t need skill to win them.
So there are different features of the word ‘game’: competitive, amusing, skillful. But we don’t need all the features to call something a game.
Exactly. The meanings of words are often a group of ideas that are similar. But they don’t all have to be true for the meaning to work. They just have to have a family resemblance.
OK. Here’s a big question. What does this mean if you’re learning English?
It means words you have in your language might not match English words exactly. They could be similar in some ways but different in others.
Because the word boundaries might be different.
That’s right. And there’s some interesting research about that.

Prototype theory and English vocabulary

In the 1970s a psychologist, called Eleanor Rosch, ran some experiments on prototypes. A prototype is a typical example of something. For example, she showed people lots of dogs and asked them what’s the doggiest dog for you? A sheep dog, a bull dog, a collie, a dachshund, a Pekingese? So she wasn’t asking what dogs people liked. She was asking what kind of dog is most typical of all dogs.
She asked the same question about lots of different categories of things. For example birds, vegetables, toys, pieces of furniture. And she discovered two things. The first one was people kept ranking things in the same way. Their answers were very consistent. For example, most people thought a chair was the best example of a piece of furniture and a lamp wasn’t very good.
And the second thing Eleanor discovered was very curious. People believed the words must share some common features. So for example, they’d look at different birds and say they’re birds because they can all fly. But a penguin can’t fly and an ostrich can’t fly. Flying is a common feature of birds but it’s not a necessary feature. People kept looking for necessary features that don’t exist.

So things in her categories shared some features, but not all of them.
Yeah, and the things that shared the most features were the best prototypes.
It was like the word ‘game’. Different games have some features in common, but they don’t share all of them.
Our brains want to think that words fit neatly into categories and that there are clear boundaries where one word stops and another begins.
But that’s not how it works. The meanings of words are fuzzy at the edges.
You can’t always separate them with clear lines.
And this is something that’s true for all languages.
I have a question.
What’s that?
What’s the birdiest bird for you?
Oh it’s the robin. Definitely.
For me it’s the sparrow.
Really? But robins are such a common bird.
But in the UK, the most common bird is a sparrow.
Wow. So maybe we have different ideas of what a bird is.
And maybe you have different ideas about birds, or what dishes and plates are.
Write and tell us in the comments if you do.
And if you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
And Aurum, thank you for a great question. See you all next week everyone. Bye-bye.

Click here to see more vocabulary videos.
Click here to learn about Fix It – our free checklist to help you fix common mistakes
Click these links to see more videos on common false friends: sympathetic and nice, story and history, actually and currently, sensible and sensitive.

Vocabulary for talking about love – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Vocabulary for talking about love – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Is it possible to fall in love in just one conversation? In this video we ask and answer 11 English questions that can lead to love and explore the vocabulary of love and relationships along the way.
In this lesson you’ll learn vocabulary for talking about love and relationships including:
– words for describing relationships:
compatible, close, treasured
– things lovers might do as they get closer such as:
to impress, to be compatible, to get along, to be trying to hard, to share, to reveal
– euphemisms for death and distress:
to lose someone, disturbing
– adjectives for describing physical appearance:
good-looking, beautiful, pretty, handsome, hot, fit
– adjectives for describing personal qualities:
loyal, sensitive
This lesson was inspired by some real psychological research into questions that can make strangers connect, get close fast and even fall in love.
Here’s a link to the Arthur Aron et al study and a great article about it from the New York Times
If you want to try out the 36 questions with a partner, here’s a website that makes it easy to go through the questions.

Click here to see some more vocabulary videos.

Vocabulary for talking about love

Are you ready to fall in love?
It can happen really fast, in just one conversation.
We’ll show you how it can happen to you.
And you’ll learn lots of vocabulary about love and relationships along the way.
Get ready for Valentine’s Day!
Hello everyone. I’m Jay and I’m American.
And I’m Vicki and I’m British and this lesson was inspired by the science of love.
Some years ago a psychologist called Arthur Aron did a study on relationship building. He was looking at communication and how strangers can connect.
And a very interesting thing happened in one of his experiments. Two strangers met in his laboratory, had a conversation and fell in love.
It happened when they asked one another 36 questions and shared their answers.
So what were the questions? We’ll show you. And we’ll leave some links about the research in the details below.
Be sure to read the article from the New York Times. It’s really interesting
Do you think the questions will help our relationship too? We’re already married.
Let’s try them and see!
OK, what are we doing?

I’ve got 36 questions here. And we’re going to take it in turns to pick them up, read them and then answer them. OK? First one. If you could choose anyone in the world, who would you want as a dinner guest?
Oh that’s easy. Albert Einstein.
Oh right. OK. I don’t think I’d want anyone famous. I think I’d want to see one of my old friends who I haven’t seen for a while.

Impressing and trying too hard

How do you think that first question went?
Very well. How about you?
Hmm. So-so. You said you wanted to meet Albert Einstein.
What’s wrong with that?
Well I think you’re trying to impress me. You want me to think you’re very intelligent.
Well I do want to impress you, but I’d also like to meet Albert Einstein.
Yeah but if I didn’t know you, I’d think you were trying too hard.
Trying too hard. That’s not good!
Be cool! Calm down and just be yourself.
OK. I’ll try to be cool.
Let’s try another question.

What would be a perfect day for you?
Ah, it would be: stay in bed till late and then go out in the evening for a meal with you.
My perfect day, what I’d like to do, I’d like to get up early in the morning, go to the gym and work out, go to work, get important things done, come home and go out to dinner with you.
You’re much more active than me.


How did that question go?
I’m not sure. You said I was more active than you.
But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. We’re just different. People can be compatible even if they’re different.
That’s true. We don’t have to agree about everything to get along.
And I like your energy.
Well thank you! Let’s have another question then.

If you were going to become a close friend with your partner,… Well that sounds really odd. If you’re not already close friends, why would you be partners, but..
Oh no because, no because, these are for strangers to do as well, these questions.
You mean to a business partner?
No no, just strangers. Two people sitting together.
If… If you were… If you were going to become… Oh. Oh two people sitting together like partners in class.
I see.
If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
It would be important for me to tell you that I’m very untidy.
I’d have to tell you that sometimes I snore.

To be untidy means I don’t put things away neatly.
And snoring is breathing noisily when you’re asleep.


‘Partner’ is interesting. It can be a confusing word in English.
Yes, it can mean a business partner – someone you own a business with.
Or it can be someone you do something with. Like if you work with a team mate in class, they’re you’re partner.
In British English, we describe someone we live with, but we’re not married to, as our partner.
So there’s a romantic relationship.
Yes. What would you call that in American English?
Perhaps your boyfriend or girlfriend?
But that could also be someone you don’t live with.
Yes, it could be either. But partners for us are generally two people in a gay relationship.
Before Jay and I got married we lived together in the US and I didn’t know about this vocabulary difference. So I talked about Jay to my American friends and said he was my partner. And then when my they met him they were surprised.
They expected me to be a woman. They were very nice to me, but clearly surprised.
So that’s a curious American and British English difference.
I think things are changing though and we’re adopting the British meaning of the word.
So the difference is disappearing?
Yes. Let’s have another question.

What is your most treasured memory?
Erm… Our wedding day was pretty special and I have tresured memories of that.
Erm… What is your most terrible memory?
Oh well I think… there are several of them but it’s losing people we love.
My father or my mother or Carter.
Yeah. Yeah. Me too.

A euphemism

Treasure is something valuable like gold silver or jewels, and if we treasure something we treat it like it’s very valuable.
We could treasure a friendship, or treasure a memory.
And lose?
If we lose someone we love, it means they died.
It’s a euphemism, a gentle way to say they died.
As we worked our way through the questions, they also became more personal.
We had to reveal things about our personal feelings and say how we felt about one another.

Take turns to share a positive characteristic of your partner. Share five items. Erm. I think you’re very hard working. I think you’re funny. I think you’re, erm, very loyal. I think you’re… I think you’re also very kind, and try not to hurt people’s feelings. You’re sensitive like that. And I think… Erm…
All right. Good-looking!

Personal attributes

Good-looking is another way to say attractive.
And we can say it for men and women. Some adjectives are used for females, like beautiful and pretty.
And handsome is for men. We can also say hot. That works for women and men.
We could say that in British English too, but often we say fit.
Like physically fit – strong and healthy?
No, fit is an informal word and it means hot. Sexy.
OK, loyal. If someone is loyal, they always support their friends.
You can be sure that they’ll be on your side.
Sensitive is an interesting word too because it’s a false friend in many languages.
Notice that sensitive doesn’t mean that you’re able to make good judgements. That’s sensible – so a different word.
If someone is sensitive it could mean they get upset easily, but it can also mean that they’re able to understand other people’s feelings and problems.
And then it’s a positive quality.
Have we made another video about sensible and sensitive?
Yes, I’ll put the link here.

Complete this sentence. I wish I had someone with whom I could share …
The work for Simple English Videos. So perhaps the editing or the shooting and all that. I mean there’s you. There’s you. I know that.
Thanks a lot!
I know but I wish we had someone else.
Oh someone else.
OK. What about you?
Yes, I wish we had someone else.

You said ‘with whom’ there, not ‘with who’. That was very formal.
Yes, that was because I was reading the research question aloud.
We’ve made another video on who and whom and I’ll put the link here.
But there was another useful verb there – share.
Sharing is when you’re giving something you have to another person.
We can share information and personal stories.

How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
Well together we have a very large close family. I’d like to be closer to some of them, but they’re very far away.
Erm, and do you think your childhood was happier than most other people’s. I think mine was. I was very lucky.
I suspect mine was not, but that’s OK.
That’s the problem isn’t it. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother. She was a difficult woman, wasn’t she?
Let’s skip that.

Close can mean physically close, so not far away, and also emotionally close.
Close has a lot of different meanings.
If you’re talking about love, you want a close relationship.
A close relationship is a loving relationship.
To skip is a useful verb. If we don’t want to do something, we can say, ‘let’s skip it’.
It’s like missing it. We can skip breakfast or lunch.
There was another question we wanted to skip.

Of all the people in your family – oh – this is disturbing.
OK. Of all the people in your family whose death would you find most disturbing and why? Whoo! Erm. Clearly for me, it would be you.
Right. It’s too disturbing to even think about.
Yeah and I think one of the grandchildren. Well, let’s not think about it.

It’s interesting that they wrote the word disturbing in this question.
If we disturb someone, it usually means we interrupt them and stop them from doing what they’re doing.
Usually if you disturb someone it isn’t serious. It’s a small problem. It’s not a big thing.
In this question disturbing is a euphemism again. It’s a gentle way of saying upsetting or distressing.
If you’re upset, you’re very unhappy and possibly worried. Something bad has happened.
And if you’re distressed something really bad has happened and your very upset.
It was a difficult question, because they wanted us to share sad thoughts.
I expect that’s important for the experiment.
Yes, the questions at the start of the experiment are easy, but then they get deeper.

Uh oh! Share an embarrassing moment in your life. Where do I begin? There are so many. I’ve given a presentation to a large audience and I’ve sneezed and farted at the same time.
Sorry, I’ve never been embarrassed.


Stories like that can make us feel nervous, uncomfortable and ashamed.
Thy make us vulnerable.
Yes. We’ll think ‘are you going to laugh at me?’, ‘will you think I’m stupid?’
Maybe we have to become vulnerable to fall in love. What do you think?
Tell us your thoughts in the comments. And share what you think of the experiment and the questions.
And we love it when you share our videos with your friends too.
Yes, please go and do that now!
Yeah, this video is getting very long. It’s time to stop.
We haven’t finished all the questions though.
We can look at some more another time.
OK, see you next week everyone.
Happy Valentine’s Day. Bye-bye.
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sickness and illness vocabulary

Sickness and Illness Vocabulary in British and American English

Watch this English lesson to learn vocabulary for health and sickness.
We’ll also show you how some words we use to talk about illness are different in British and American English.

You’ll learn vocabulary for:
– cold and flu symptoms like fever, sore throat and blocked or runny nose
– germs and bugs
– symptoms like feeling nauseous, having diarrhea and having constipation
– different kinds of aches in English
– different ways to say vomit in English
– the different meanings of sick and ill in British and American English
And on top of all this great stuff, you’ll also see a funny parody ad for cold medication. Enjoy!

Click here to see more vocabulary videos


Funny parody ad

Do you have a fever, stuffiness, sore throat?
It’s cold season again. Have you protected yourself against this year’s germs?
Are you ready to fight against coughs and sneezes?
Nothing protects you from a cold like a big steel pan.
And when you’re all done your steel pan rinses clean.
Call or go online to get your big steel pan today.

Hi everyone I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American and today we have a vocabulary lesson.
We’re going to show you lots words and expressions we use to talk about common illnesses and sickness in English.
And there are some words that we say differently in British and American English.
We’ll tell you about them too. Where shall we begin?
Oh. Let’s start with the commercial.

Do you have a fever, stuffiness, sore throat?

I don’t want to get into another elevator with someone like you there.
Yeah, I had a bad cold, or the flu.
With a cold you feel ill for a few days. But the flu is more serious. You might need to spend a week in bed.
Flu is short for influenza. In British English we can say ‘He has the flu’ or ‘He has flu’. Both are correct and common. But notice we always say ‘a’ with ‘a cold’. He has a cold.
American English is a little different because we say ‘the’ with flu. ‘He has the flu’. But colds are the same. We use ‘a’. And we can use ‘a’ with other symptoms. He has a sore throat. He has a fever.
Your throat is a passage inside your neck. And if it’s sore it’s painful.
It can hurt to swallow if you have a sore throat.
A fever is an interesting word because we can use it in British English but I’d normally say ‘He has a temperature’.
And a temperature means a high temperature.
Yeah. When I first came to the US, the doctors would ask, ‘Do you have a fever?’ and I didn’t know what to say because I associate a fever with a very, very high temperature, like if you have malaria or something really serious.
A fever just means a body temperature of say 101° Fahrenheit or more.
He means 38°Celcius. So high, but not life threatening.
Another cold symptom is stuffiness – a stuffy nose.
It’s when your nose is blocked and you can’t breathe easily.
Congestion is the formal word, but normally we say ‘I’m stuffed up’.
And in British English we can also say ‘I’m bunged up’. It’s means my nose is blocked.
And what’s the opposite?
It’s having a runny nose.
Oh it’s the same in American English.
If it’s runny, mucus is coming out.
Mucus is the formal word. The informal word is snot.
Yeah. Snot is not a polite word
It’s not?!
But we say it.
Let’s see some more of the commercial.

It’s cold season again. Have you protected yourself against this year’s germs?

You were dangerous with all those coughs and sneezes.
Yeah, I was spreading germs there.
Germs are very small living things that can make you ill – like bacteria or viruses.
We should cover our mouth when we cough .

Jay, what are you doing wearing a face mask?
There are a lot of bugs going around. I don’t want to get sick.
And gloves too.
Yes, I don’t want to pick up any germs. Would you like some?
No thanks.

You were being very careful there.
Well, there were a lot of bugs going around.
A bug is an illness that people can catch very easily from one other.
And ‘going around’ means spreading from one person to another.
Bugs aren’t nice, but they’re not usually serious. We could say ‘I have a flu bug’, or ‘I have a stomach bug’.
If you have a stomach bug, you might feel nauseous.
You mean nauseous.
No. Nauseous.
Nauseous. OK. There’s a pronunciation difference here.
If you feel nauseous, you feel like you’re going to throw up.
To throw up is when your food comes back up. BLAH.
A more formal term is to vomit, but in everyday conversation we usually say something like throw up.
We have lots of other ways to say it.

To vomit.
To throw up.
To puke.
To barf.
To be sick.
To hurl.
To do the technicolour yawn.
To lose your lunch.

Sick and ill in British and American English

I want to test the British expression there. If I say ‘I was sick’, what does it mean to you?
Oh. It means you weren’t well. Perhaps you had a fever or a cold or something.
OK, in British English it could mean that but often it means I threw up.
That’s interesting. If I feel nauseous, I could say I’m going to be sick.
So like British English.
Well no, because I’d only say it just before it happens. Like ‘Pull the car over, I’m going to be sick’.
And then after you’re sick?
I’d say I threw up. I wouldn’t say I was sick.
And what do you call the stuff that comes out of your mouth?
I’d usually call it sick.
In American English we use sick to talk about feeling generally unwell, so not just nauseous.
We can do that too, but we use the word ill a little more than you. So often I’ll say someone is ill when Jay will say they’re sick. We mean the same thing.
For me, ill is a little more formal than sick. And if someone is ill, it’s probably more long term and serious.
OK, another symptom of a stomach bug is diarrhoea.
Are we going to talk about that?
Yeah, it’s a useful word to know. Diarrhoea is when you go to the toilet and …
You mean the bathroom
And your poo is watery.
We have a few other ways to describe that too.

I have diarrhea.
I have the runs.
I have the trots.
I have an upset stomach.
My stomach is acting up.

OK. What’s the opposite of diarrhoea? It’s constipation. Constipation is when you can’t do a poo or it’s very hard.
Enough! Can we go back to the commercial now.
Are you ready to fight against coughs and sneezes?
Nothing protects you from a cold like a big steel pan.
How’s your head?
Terrible! I’ve got a headache now.
Headache. An ache is similar to a pain.
Parts of our body can ache.
So ache can be a noun and a verb in English. We have five main aches and Jay will now demonstrate them for you.

Aches in English

I have a headache. I have backache. I have earache. I have stomach ache. I have toothache.

Good job.
Notice that we have to say ‘a’ when we’re talking about a headache. With earache, toothache and stomachache and backache it’s optional.
And there’s also another word you’ll hear for stomach ache: tummy ache. Tummy is another word for stomach and we often use it when we talk to children.
We might also say I have indigestion. Indigestion can give us stomach ache or tummy ache.
Great. Are we finished?
Nearly. But there’s one more thing that’s useful to know.
What’s that?
If someone sneezes, what do we say?
Oh yes!
It’s polite to say ‘bless you’.
It’s not a religious expression. It’s just something we say to acknowledge that someone sneezed. Atchoo!
Bless you!

Knock knock.
Who’s there.
Atch who?
Bless you!

And that’s it! Now you know how to describe lots of common illnesses in English.
If you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.
Stay healthy everyone! See you all next week. Bye-bye.

Click here to see more vocabulary videos

who or whom

Who and whom – when and how to use them

Learn the difference between who and whom in this English grammar lesson.
Who is a subject pronoun and whom is an object pronoun. We’ll show you:
– how who and whom work
– a test to see if who or whom is correct
– when it’s appropriate to use whom in formal writing
– when it’s not appropriate to use whom (Whom can sound pompous)
– how we use whom in constructions with prepositions
We’ll also show you lots of examples of who and whom in action.

Click here to learn the difference between whose and who’s

Who and whom – when and how to use them

Knock knock
Whose there?
To who
No, it’s to whom.

Hi everyone. I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American.
We’ve had a lot of requests for a video about ‘who’ and ‘whom’.
It’s taken us a long time to make it. Why is that?
It’s because of the word ‘whom’. We don’t use it much these days. We usually say who instead when we’re speaking.
And what about written English?
That’s different. There are particular documents where we use whom.
We’ll tell you more about that later. But first we’ll show you how ‘who’ and ‘whom’ work.
Yeah, you need to know about subjects and objects.

Oh no, what happened?
I don’t know! Someone hit me!
Who hit you?
I’ve no idea.
Oh dear.
But I’ll be ready next time.

So what happened there?
Someone hit me!
So someone, we don’t know who, did the action and Jay received the action. Someone is the subject in this sentence and Jay is the object.
Yeah! But it won’t happen again.

You hit someone!
Who did you hit?
That guy over there!

So this time you hit someone else.
Yeah, I got that guy!
So in this sentence Jay’s the subject because he did the action, and the other guy’s the object because he received the action.
Vicki asked me two questions. First she asked about the subject. And then she asked about the object. She used the pronoun ‘who’ both times. When we’re speaking, we use who to ask about the subject and the object.
But according to a rule of formal grammar, I made a mistake here. The rule goes we should use ‘who’ to ask about the subject, and ‘whom’ to ask about the object. So ‘Who hit Jay?’ and ‘Whom did Jay hit’?
So that’s the difference between ‘who’ and ‘whom’.
Who is a subject pronoun and whom is an object pronoun.
We need another example.

Hey, stop that man.

Take a look at these questions. If you follow the traditional grammar rule, one question should start with ‘who’ and the other should start with ‘whom’.
Can you work out which is which? You need to think about subjects and objects.
So we’re asking a question about who did the action here – the chasing. So this question is asking about the subject of the sentence. We use ‘who’ because ‘who’ is a subject pronoun.
And this question is asking about who received the action – the object.
If you think it sounds complicated, you’re not alone. A lot of people find it hard.
Native speakers often get confused.
These days, when we’re speaking, we use ‘who’ in both questions so a lot of English speakers don’t know when to use whom.
But don’t worry. There’s a trick for working it out.
It’s the ‘he-him’ test.
We’ll show you how it works.
If you’re not sure whether to use who or whom, try answering the question with another pronoun that you already know. You probably know these. They’re all subject pronouns. And you probably know these too. They’re all object pronouns.
We can use ‘he’ and ‘him’ to test whether ‘who’ or ‘whom’ works. Notice that ‘he’ and ‘who’ are both subject pronouns and ‘him’ and ‘whom’ are both object pronouns. And also notice that ‘him’ and ‘whom’ both end with the letter M. That will help you remember that they go together.
Here’s an example. Should you say ‘who’ or ‘whom’ here? No idea? Then try answering with ‘he’ or ‘him’. He follows me on Twitter – that sounds possible. What about him? ‘Him follows me on Twitter.’ No, that sounds wrong. So ‘who’ is correct.
Here’s another example. Is the missing word who or whom? Well, let’s answer the question with ‘he’. ‘I follow he’. No, that sounds wrong. Let’s try ‘him’. ‘I follow him’. That sounds OK. So the answer here is whom.
So that’s a way to test if it’s who or whom.
But remember, we don’t normally follow this rule in spoken English. We use who as an object pronoun these days.
But some people get upset about it, if they see who instead of whom.
Yes, like Twitter has a feature called ‘who to follow’ and some people complained and wanted them to call it ‘Whom to follow’.
‘Whom to follow’– that’s technically correct.
But we’d never say it. I think it’s a silly idea.
Whom sounds very old fashioned.
And very, very formal.
Whom can sound pompous.
Exactly. ‘Whom’ creates a social distance between you and your listener.
You don’t want to sound pompous. It’s not a good thing.
Another word that’s similar to pompous is pretentious. Whom can sound pretentious.
You don’t want to seem like you’re pretending to be more sophisticated than you are.
So be careful with the word whom.
Don’t say it in questions when you’re speaking.
Yeah. But there’s another grammatical structure where we could use whom.
What’s that?
Relative clauses.
Oh let’s see some.

Now before we start the conference, there are some people whom we must thank. There’s Mr. Jones, who sent the invitations and Mrs. Smith, who organized the accommodation. And then there’s Mr. Peters, whom you will meet later when he will explain the conference schedule. And then there’s something green in your teeth.

Has it gone?
Yeah, you’re all right. Let’s see how those relative clauses work.
We use relative clauses to add information about someone we’ve just mentioned. The same rules for who and whom apply. We use who for subjects and whom for objects. And if you’re not sure, you can use the ‘he-him’ test again.
So with Mr Jones? Did ‘he’ send the invitations or did ‘him’ send the invitations? He did, so we need the subject pronoun here – who. And it’s the same with Mrs Smith. She did the action so we say who.
And some more examples. ‘We must thank some people’. We must thank ‘he’? That doesn’t sound good. We must thank ‘him’. That works so we need an object pronoun. And the last one, Mr Peters. Are we going to meet ‘he’ later or ‘him’ later? It’s him so we say ‘whom’.
You’ll only find whom used like this in very formal spoken English. Normally we’d say who in these examples.
Languages change over time and in spoken English ‘whom’ has been disappearing. In fact it’s almost gone.
And what about written English?
It’s hanging on there. We still use it, but only in formal writing.

Whom in formal writing

In emails and texts, we’ll use who instead of whom.
But some companies have a house style for formal reports where they use ‘whom’.
And whom is still the house style for the New York Times.
I did a search of my computer and I found ‘whom’ in two kinds of documents.
What were they?
Legal documents like contracts.
Ah yes. Contracts are written in a very formal style.
And academic papers. So research papers that are published in journals.
That makes sense. They’re formal too.
Oh and I also found it in a reference.
A job reference?
Yes, I’d written a reference for someone and I didn’t know the name of the person I was writing to, so I addressed it ‘To whom it may concern’.
That’s a standard phrase – I often use it when I submit job applications. And again, it’s very formal.
And it’s interesting, because a lot of the time, we can write who instead of whom these days and it’s fine and appropriate, but here we wouldn’t write who.
It would sound strange. It has to be whom. Is it because it comes after a preposition?
Yes, in formal writing it’s better to write whom in constructions with prepositions. In fact the most common way we use whom is in phrases like one of whom, some of whom, most of whom.
So we’d write whome here, not who, because it comes after ‘of’.
Yes. Whom often follows a preposition: of whom, with whom, from whom, and to whom of course. But that’s formal writing. In spoken English ‘to whom’ sounds silly.

Now settle down children. We’re going to do some grammar. To whom does this sock belong?

According to the traditional grammar rule, this question is correct.
But we would never say it. We might say who does this sock belong to – but then the question ends with a preposition.
Yeah. That’s fine.
But when I when I was in school my teachers said you shouldn’t end a sentence with a preposition.
That rule is stupid. If you want us to make another video about silly English grammar rules, tell us in the comments.
Do you think the who-whom rule is silly?
Errr no. The word whom is disappearing, but there are still places where it’s appropriate to use it – like in formal writing.
We hope this video has been useful for the writers who we teach – whom we teach – who we teach…
It’s time to stop. If you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.
See you next week everyone. Bye.

whose and who's quiz

Who, whose and who’s – an English grammar lesson

In this video lesson we  compare the pronoun who with its possessive form, whose, and show examples in action. We look at:
– how to use who and whose in questions
– how to use who and whose in relative clauses
– the important difference between whose and who’s
To make most nouns possessive in English, we add apostrophe ‘s’. However the pronoun who is different because its possessive form is whose.
To check you’ve understood, we finish with a whose and who’s quiz.

Click here to see more grammar lessons.
In a future video we will be looking at the difference between who and whom.

Who, whose and who’s

Now settle down children. We’re going to do some grammar. Who threw this sock?
Jay did.
Vicki did.
Whose sock is this?
It belongs to him. miss.

Hi everyone. I’m Vicki and I’m British.
And I’m Jay and I’m American. Today we’re looking at who, whose and who’s.
It’s pretty easy. You’re going to get this very quickly.
You just saw an example of who.

Who threw this sock?
Jay did.
Vicki did.

‘Who’ is a pronoun that we use to ask questions. It means ‘what person’.
You saw an example of ‘whose’ too.

Whose sock is this?
It belongs to him miss.

We use ‘whose’ to ask who something belongs to.
It could be a physical thing or something abstract.

This design is terrible. Whose idea was it?
Mine. Don’t you like it?
Oh. Whose turn is it to put the rubbish out?

‘Whose’ is the possessive form of ‘who’ and we use it to ask who things belong to.
But we don’t just use these words in questions. We use them in relative clauses too.
What are relative clauses?
Don’t worry. We’ll show you.

Are you busy?
Uh huh.
I just I met a guy who’s looking for a job.
Uh huh.
Well, we need somebody who will answer the phones and make our coffee.
You mean an assistant?
Yes. We need somebody whose job it is to take care us.
I already have an assistant whose name is Jay and he doesn’t do any of those things.
I’ll get you some coffee.

We use relative clauses to give more information about something we’ve just mentioned. The relative clauses here all begin with ‘who’ or ‘whose’. Just like before, we use ‘who’ to talk about a person, and ‘whose’ to talk about possession.
And that’s how we use ‘who’ and ‘whose’.
It’s very straightforward.
Yes. But there’s a mistake my students sometimes make. They get ‘whose’ muddled up with the contraction for ‘who is’ and ‘who has’.
Oh yes. Native speakers sometimes do that too. Whose. Who’s. They sound the same.
Yes, so it doesn’t matter if you muddle them up if you’re speaking, but it IS a problem if you’re writing.
It’s confusing because the apostrophe ‘s’ can indicate a possessive form. Like this is Jay’s coffee.
No this is Vicki’s coffee. That’s yours. But it can be confusing.
To make most nouns possessive we add apostrophe ‘s’. But we don’t do that with ‘who’. The possessive form of who is whose.
If we write who’s with an apostrophe we’re writing the contraction of ‘who is’ or ‘who has. The apostrophe replaces the missing letters.
So have you got it?
Let’s have a quiz and you can check and see.
Good idea.

Do you know whose car this is?
Do you know whose car this is?
Who’s eaten all the cookies?
Who’s eaten all the cookies?
I found a dog in the road and I don’t know whose it is.
I found a dog in the road and I don’t know whose it is.
Who’s calling please?
Who’s calling please?
Whose job is it to clean your kitchen floor?
Whose job is it to clean your kitchen floor?
Whose idea was it to turn the heating down?
Whose idea was it to turn the heating down?
Who’s responsible for technical support?
Who’s responsible for technical support?
Anyone who’s been to Rio will tell you it’s beautiful.
Anyone who’s been to Rio will tell you it’s beautiful.
Never go to a doctor whose office plants are dying.
Never go to a doctor whose office plants are dying.
Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Spell who.
Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Spell who.

Did you get them all right? You can go back and look again if you didn’t.
Now there’s another form of who that we’ve been asked about.
Ah yes – whom. That’s a little trickier so we’re going to look at that in another video.
So make sure you’re subscribed to our channel so you can see it.
If you’ve enjoyed this video please share it with a friend.
And see you all next week everyone. Bye-bye.

pronouncing numbers in British and American English

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.
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.
Did you hear the difference?
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?
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 – 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!
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, firee-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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.

Pronouncing numbers in British and American English

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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
You look great. I nearly didn’t recognize you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Too much.
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.
Sh.. choir.
Oh this is another hard one.
Hey, she got it right!
Yeah. It doesn’t start with ch or sh sound. It starts with a kw.
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.
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.
Yes. I say it a lot.
A lot?
No, a 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?
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.
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.
So I can impress my boss.
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?
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.
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.
Thank you Jay. Vicki, please take off your head phones and spell the word 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.
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?
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.
Did you do it yet?
You know!
What? Oh I forgot.
You didn’t pay the electric bill.
So have you paid the electric bill yet?
Yes. The lights are on again.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
We need to give you a video you really like now. What was your favourite part this year?
Oh that’s easy.
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.
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.
You know, there are three types of people in the word.
Oh yes.
There are people who can count.
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.
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.
It needs an apostrophe, see.
I have to be the worst bank robber ever.
You didn’t succeed if I remember rightly.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Let’s see another clip
I’ve got an important job for you Jay.
Mrs. Clarkson’s stopping by today.
Mrs. Clarkson of Clarkson Industries?
She’s coming here?
Yes. She’s flying to Chicago and she’s stopping off to see us on the way.
I need you pick her up at the airport and bring her to the office.
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.
Oh no!
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.
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.
Can I?
Oh go ahead. They’re actually just normal sunglasses.
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.
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.
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.
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 2018 Review Video Premiere

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.

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.
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?
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.
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.
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. 

First conditional 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.
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.
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.
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.
Can I?
Oh go ahead. They’re actually just normal sunglasses.
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.
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.
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.

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.

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.
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.
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!
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.
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.

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