protests and racism vocabulary

Protests and racism – English vocabulary

Learn the English you need to join the conversations on racism and social injustice.

Join Vicki and Jay while they prepare signs for their own protest and learn the words you need to join the global conversation on social injustice.
We’ll look at:
– different kinds of protests: marches, rallies, demonstrations
– violence in the streets: rioting, looting, curfews, pepper spray, tear gas
– how to use the words racism, racist and systemic racism
– African American vs. black
– rights vs. civic duties
– current phrases like black lives matter, racial profiling, white privilege and to be/get woke.
And finally watch Jay and Vicki’s demonstration!

We’re living at a time of huge protests.
Racism, social injustice, police brutality. So in today’s lesson, you’ll learn lots of vocabulary about protests and demonstrations.
So you can follow and participate in discussions and debates.
And make your voice heard.
And make the world a better place.
We live in Philadelphia in the US and there have been huge protests here in the last few weeks.
About the death of George Floyd.
That’s the African American man who died when a policeman in Minneapolis had his knee on George’s neck.
We didn’t join the protests here because of COVID-19 and social distancing.
We wanted to but the global pandemic stopped us.
So we’re going to hold our own protest instead.
Yep. Here’s your paint.
Uh oh.
What were you like in art class when you were a child.
A complete failure.
Why does that not surprise me?
The word protest is tricky because of the pronunciation. When it’s a noun, the stress is on the first syllable.
A PROtest.
But when it’s a verb, in British English, the stress moves to the second syllable. To proTEST.
But in American English, I can say to proTEST, or to PROtest.
It’s a British and American difference.
But American English is easier.
I went to the women’s march in Philadelphia.
Was it dangerous?
No. It was a lot of fun. Erm, and the best thing was the signs. They were very witty. Witty means clever and funny.
A march is a kind of protest where you walk from one place to another.
And we also have rallies. That’s when you stay in one place.
In the UK, rallies are generally protests. But what about the US?
Well some are4 protests, but we also have rallies to show support for political candidates.
I’ve been to one of those too!
Oh yes. What did you think of it?
It was interesting. Very different to the UK.
Another word with a similar meaning to protest is demonstrate. That’s the verb.
And the noun would be demonstration.
Rioting is when a crowd of people behave in a violent way.
In the first few days in Philadelphia, some of the protests were peaceful, but there was also some rioting.
And there was also looting. Looting is when people break into buildings and stores and steal things.
And the city imposed a curfew.
That’s a law that says you can’t go outside at night after a particular time. There are diffferent words we use with curfew.
You can set a curfew. You can violate a curfew.
You violate a curfew if you’re outside past the hour the police have said you have to be inside.
Yes. And at the end of the curfew, they lift the curfew.
Right. That’s when you can go outside again.
But then things started to quiet down, didn’t they?
And it’s actually been very peaceful for weeks now.
There was a brief moment when the police fired tear gas and pepper spray at protesters to get them off the highway, But since then it’s been pretty quiet.
I’ll tell you what though Jay. We had a lot of police helicopters flying overhead.
Well, I think they were mostly news helicopters.
Oh, do you?
Riots and looting make good television.
Yes, shots of peaceful protests don’t attract so many viewers.
So we haven’t felt at all threatened by the protests in Philadelphia, have we?
No, we’ve felt really quite safe here.
We’re more worried about COVID-19.
We’re concerned that two weeks after the protests, a lot of people might be sick.
All the recent protests in Philadelphia have been about police brutality. Brutality means violent and cruel behavior. But I think it’s more than that.
They have been about racism. They have been about….
Black lives matter.
So racism is the belief that people of one race are better than people of another race.
And it’s also the unfair treatment of a race, because of that belief.
And a racist is a person. It’s someone who believes their race is better than others.
And they discriminate against people and treat them unfairly.
The word racist can be an adjective too. We could talk about racist attitudes, racist beliefs.
A racist attack.
Right, right.
And you’ll also hear the term systemic racism.
Ah yes.
If someone doesn’t give you a job because your skin is black, then it’s racism on an individual level. But when being black has meant that you can’t get access to good health care, or housing, or a good education, then it’s systemic racism.
It’s about the racism that’s built into the way society works.
There’s broad agreement that the murder of George Floyd was terrible, but there’s some disagreement about the term systemic racism. And some people say it doesn’t exist.
But things are changing. The Merriam-Webster dictionary is going to update its definition of racism. It’s going to include systemic racism as well.
The way we refer to black people in America has changed over the decades.
Are both these terms acceptable. African American and black.
Yes, they’re both acceptable.
And which one… What’s the difference?
Well African American refers to a person’s ethnicity.
And black refers more to race?
That’s correct.
So it’s more about physical characteristics rather than culture.
And what about in the past? What terms shouldn’t we use?
Well in the 1950s and 1960s we used the term negro to refer to black or African American people.
And we also used the term colored, which was really offensive. So we don’t use that either any more.
Something I’ve noticed about America, Jay, is that American’s are much more conscious of their ethnic identity than we are in the UK.
Well yes. This is a country of immigrants, of course. But we never melted together into a homogeneous society. Instead, we’ve sort of remained separated into our ethnic groups. Irish Americans and Italian Americans and Polish Americans and so forth.
I know but it carries on for generations.
Oh right.
So, I mean, I’ve met people here who’ve said ‘I’m Irish American’ and I’ve said ‘Oh, where are you from in Ireland?’ and they said ‘Oh, no, no. My great grandmother was Irish.’ And then I start thinking about it and I think, wow, I’m more Irish than them. You know, but I never think of myself as being Irish, or German, or, you know, the different sort of roots that I come from. I think of myself as English, or British, or European or whatever.
And then there’s the issue of what right do we have to protest. And that’s quite strong, that feeling in America, isn’t it?
Well, it comes from the first amendment to the constitution, which gives us the right of free speech, the right to protest the government…
The right to assemble in groups…
Right. And a free press.
That’s right.
And we have similar rights, in fact you got those rights really copying the rights we have in the UK.
No, they were invented in America.
There’s something that I’ve become more conscious of here and maybe it’s a British and American thing, or maybe it’s just because I’m getting older.
But, there’s the idea of the right to free speech being your right – it’s something you are able to do – but there’s also the idea here I think of it being a civic duty. It’s the correct thing to do and something you should do, so if you see injustice, you should speak up.
So as a result of the protests after George Floyd was killed, people have become more aware of the effects and the extent of racism in America.
Yeah, they’ve got woke.
That’s my new expression. It has African American origins. If you are woke or you get woke, then you become aware of racism.
Just a few years ago, people disagreed about the phrase ‘black lives matter’.
So if somebody said ‘black lives matter’, other people would say ‘yes, but all lives matter’. Which is kind of missing the point, because it’s the black lives that are being discriminated against. It’s dangerous to be black in America.
If you’re black, you’re much more likely to be stopped by the police and mistreated.
Another phrase you’ll hear is ‘racial profiling’.
That’s when the police suspect somebody has committed a crime because of their appearance, rather than because there’s any evidence.
For example, many more black people get stopped and searched than white people, because of racial profiling.
I think American companies have got more woke as well.
Oh yeah. We’ve seen a series of companies coming out and expressing their new understanding of black lives matter.
There was a really great video on social media the other day put out by a black mother. And she said ‘If you’ve never felt
fear in your heart when a policeman stopped you, then you have white privilege.
A privilege is a special right or advantage that a person or group has. So what is white privilege?
Well, it’s the expectation that you won’t be beaten by police, that if you’re arrested, you’ll be treated fairly, that if you need a loan, you’ll get it. That if you need an education to get a good job, you’ll get it. In the US, African Americans don’t have that expectation.
I think we have a lot to learn about the extent of racial injustice.
It’s good that these discussions are happening.
We need educating.
I’ll tell you something I found very heartening though too, was all the protests around the world.
It was moving, especially when there’s a global pandemic.
Yeah, gathering in large crowds is strongly warned against in many places.
And actually illegal in others.
But I think the message struck a chord, because there were so many protests.
Yes, if a message strikes a chord, it makes people feel sympathy and enthusiasm.
One of the interesting things that’s going on now in the protests are attacks on statues of people who have had negative impacts on the African American community.
It’s been happening all over the world too. In the UK, they’ve been removing statues of slave traders.
And in Belgium, they’ve removed statues of Leopold II.
Historians estimate that he was responsible for ten million deaths in Africa.
And in the US, it’s often statues of generals in the confederate army.
So military leaders from the side that lost the civil war.
But even more recent politicians have had their statues attacked. One of them is here in Philadelphia.
Yes, there was a politician in Philadelphia called Frank Rizzo, and you knew him, didn’t you?
I knew him very well. He was first the police commissioner in Philadelphia when I was a young reporter here. And then he ran for mayor and became mayor for two terms – for eight years.
At one time he told Philadelphians to vote white. He was racist.
He was definitely racist. In fact he attacked the Black Panther party in 1967 and had all its members stand outside naked while he called in the reporters and photographers. He was not a very nice guy.
But he was popular with some people, wasn’t he?
He was extremely popular. Particularly in the white ethnic communities in Philadelphia.
And what happened when you published a negative story about him?
I covered a story about Rizzo and the free press. It was a negative story and his supporters didn’t like it, as I learned later that night. I went outside to my car in the television station’s parking lot and found that all four tires on my car had been slashed flat.
Are those all the signs?
Yes, well done Jay! You were a good painter after all.
So what happens now?
It’s time to demonstrate.
This was a common phrase in the 1960s when we were protesting against the Viet Nam war, but I think it’s still relevant today.
This is the idea that if you see injustice, you should speak up. If you stay silent, you’re part of the problem.
This has become a powerful message for change and it’s struck a chord all around the world.
This is a phrase we use when we think something shouldn’t continue any longer. For example, we’ve been ignoring climate change for too long. Enough is enough.
This is about voting being our duty. If we don’t vote, democracy will be destroyed.
This is about joining together to fight for what’s right.
What does it say in the middle?
When – when we are united. I forgot the n.
This has become a political issue in the US. I don’t know why. Please, just wear a mask.
This is my new favourite phrase. It means get educated so you become aware of racial injustice.
And that’s it everyone, but I have a question. If you made a sign, what would you write on it?
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What do you like doing? The SEVY Awards 2020

What do you like doing? The SEVY Awards 2020

What do you like doing? That was the question we asked members of the Simple English Videos family this year.
We’ve always suspected that we have the world’s most interesting English learners and now we know for sure!
This year’s SEVY awards winners are amazing!
So if you want to meet a photographer, a botanist, a singer, a dancer, athletes, artists, linguists, and so many more creative and talented people, you’re in the right place.

Welcome to the 2020 SEVY Awards
The awards for students who rise to the challenge of speaking English.
Speaking English to the world!
We’re thrilled to present members of the Simple English Videos family.
People from all over the world who’ve risen to our communication challenge.
People of great courage!
And amazing creativity.
At a time when we’re on lock down from the corona virus.
And many of you are too.
Let’s share and connect.
Hey, this is exciting.
Yeah. For the last two weeks we’ve been waking up and finding amazing videos in our mailbox.
Congratulations to everyone who took part. You’ve all won a SEVY.
That stands for Simple English Videos – Yay, you did it!
This year’s challenge was to answer the question ‘What do you like doing?”
And boy did we get some great answers.
Let’s see the first one.
Hi. My name is Jakub. I’m from Poland. What I love doing is wild life photography. I’ve been photographing wildlife since I was eight. I have recently taken up micro photography and underwater photography. Would you like to see some of my photographs?
Here you go!
Wow. Oh my goodness. That’s beautiful.
I know.
I also make videos. and I use English for the descriptions so your channel is very helpful. Your channel is great. Bye!
Jakub, your photos were amazing.
And you win the SEVY for the best wildlife photography.
If people want to see more of your photographs, I’m going to put the link to your channel below. Go check it out. OK, what’s next?
Hello, my name is Derya. Here’s Onur. He’s three years old. He’s my baby boy and I’m a full-time mother. I know I’m speaking so fast but I know I have a little short time. So I love spending time with my sweetie. Right now we are painting and I’m teaching him English as I can, now Onur is going to say you the colours. Onur, which colour is it?
Good job!
Which colour is it?
Yes. And this is me. I hope you like the video. Bye-bye.
Oh wow. Derya, we loved the video. And Onur wins the prize for being the youngest, cutest English speaker.
And you win the SEVY for being the best parent in a video.
And the best English teacher too.
Right. OK, let’s see what’s next.
Hello Jay and Vicki and hello to those viewers who might watch in the future. And greetings from China. I’m Novem from China. I’m a college student majoring in building automation and I’m a senior this year. I would like to join this speaking challenge but it’s my first time to record such a video so I’m a little nervous, but I do like to answer that question. First I would say I absolutely like the channel of Simple English Videos because they really help me a lot with my English. And also I like playing basketball, swimming, mountain climbing and horse riding. But because of the corona virus these days in China, I can only stay at home, which is really boring. But as you can see behind me, the sky is really blue and the weather is really nice so I get a chance to take a walk in the park and record this video. I really appreciate this chance to join this competition, and thank you again Jay and Vicki, I just can’t thank you enough. OK. Bye-bye.
Bye-bye. You are very welcome.
And thank you for recording the video. Novem that was really interesting. Thank you for sending that. You said you were nervous but you came across… you hid your nerves and came across very confidently.
And you win the SEVY for a great British accent and excellent pronunciation.
Yeah. Next one.
Hey, Vicki and Jay. Great to meet you again, although we meet quite often thanks to your videos. They’re just masterpieces. My name is Bozhena, not Bohdan, because in a previous video you called me Bohdan, but in Ukrainian it’s a male name. But I’m a girl! I’m thirteen years old and I take elective classes in English. Except English, my hobby is drawing. I like to draw sketches. Why do I like to do it?
Because they are understandable and simple positive, like your videos. Our teacher said that we should learn to see simplicity as genius, and I try to achieve, at least, a small success.
Bozhena, did I say that right? Is that correct? Bozhena? I have to tell you that you win the SEVY for drawing. That was spectacular.
And also I want to give you a SEVY for improvement in… not confidence because your were confident last time we saw you, but your fluency was just amazing. Really, really good. Lovely to see you again and thank you for sharing those drawings. We loved them. Manga-style!
OK, let’s see another one.
Now, before you watch this one, it needs some explanation. Marina shot this at an International Women’s Day event in Russia, where she was invited to perform. And there’s some background music, and I’m hoping that the tool YouTube uses to spot music won’t wipe the music out so you can still hear her. But in case you can’t., I’ve put captions up.
Hello Vicki and Jay. I’m an English teacher but besides that, I like dancing belly dancing. Bye.
Oh she’s really good. Marina, you looked amazing. It was wonderful.
You know which SEVY she wins.
What’s that?
The SEVY for belly dancing!
Of course! We loved it. Thank you so much for sending it.
Let’s see the next one.
Hello everyone. I’m Vicki and I’m British.
I’m Jay and I’m American.
So I’ve heard that Jay finds some troubles believing that my accent is the best.
Unfortunately I can’t argue with his because my accent prevents me from being hostile. It’s well known for its quietness and easiness actually. Yeah, it’s well understandable and slowly spoken as well, but…
Wait, wait. Who said that? British accent isn’t at all (like that) but my accent is. And you can witness that by seeing programs and movies. You know, they prefer speaking in an American accent to Vicki’s accent. So I think my accent wins.
No, no. You won’t win. You know we are not in a war of accents. Don’t be nervous, Jay.
Oh, I’m not nervous. I’m just relaxing right now.
You must admit that you love the way I speak…
[An argument breaks out] [French voice]
Before the video ends, I’d like to thank you so much Jay and Vicki for your interesting videos and it doesn’t matter actually what accent you speak, as long as the listener understands. This is the idea of the video. Good luck English learners and bye.
Oh Abdo, that was absolutely amazing! He’s… he’s so funny. He has to win… He has to win the SEVY for the best parody.
Oh, I would agree, but I thought his imitation of you was right on!
And actually you made a really important point about accents. We both agree with you on that one. We loved it. Thank you for being so creative. Next one.
Hi Vicki and Jay. My name is Quyhn. I’m fourteen years old. I’m from Viet Nam. What I love doing in my free time is watching English videos on YouTube. My favourite channels are Simple English Videos and English with Lucy. That’s all. Thanks for watching. Good-bye.
She’s adorable.
It was so mice to see you again, Quyhn.
And we want to give you a pronunciation SEVY, because your pronunciation was so clear. Spectacular job!
And you were so confident. Thank you very much for the video.
Oh hello. Hello Mrs Vicki and Mr Jay. My name is Leven … and I am from Sakartvelo, also known as Georgia. My favourite thing to do is botany. And here am I in my greenhouse now. So I like to take care of my plants. So I’m going to show you something here – a mint family thing – that’s called lemon balm I’m growing here.
So it is here and it looks pretty healthy, huh?
Leven, that’s terrific. Those plants are much better than the ones Vicki grows on the deck.
Leven, you win the SEVY for green fingers. If you have green fingers you can grow things very well.
In America we don’t say green fingers. We say green thumb.
Oh all right then. Green fingers. Green thumb. That’s your SEVY. WE loved seeing your plants. Thanks so much for sharing that.
Hello my name is Alice and I’m French. I love running, reading, writing, learning a lot of things, and greatest above all, watching simple English videos.
Alice, that was so mice. It’s lovely to meet you. Thank you.
Alice, you win the prize for bravery. It can take a lot of courage to make a video in another language and I know you were worried that you might sound ridiculous. You didn’t. You sounded great. It was very clear and easy to understand and thank you for doing that. Bravo!
Hello Vicki, Hello Jay. I’m Christophe from Berlin Germany. I’m 19 years old and I love drinking tea.
He’s got good taste.
Oh I think he should try coffee.
It’s so delicious. Of course I like watching your videos too. They are amazing. Have a nice day!
Thank you Christophe. That tea did look good even though I prefer coffee.
You win the SEVY for excellent English and taste.
And for the best tea cup.
Lovely to meet you. Thank you for sending that.
Good morning Vicki. Good morning Jay. Thanks for this opportunity. I’m Vinicio Fuertes. I’m from Ecuador. I really like watching videos on YouTube – a lot of kinds of videos. For example games, music and songs. But these days I am practicing jogging, and I really like it. However, the most enjoyable thing for me is going for a walk with my dog, because when we are in the park we can play and we can have fun. So that’s it. Thank you so much. Bye.
Goodbye Vinicio. You know what? I always liked walking with my dog too. I understand that.
Vinicio, you win the SEVY for fluency. You just went for it and you were so fluent, it was really impressive. And we think you’re going to go far. Well done!
Thanks for the video.
Hello Vicki and Jay. I’m Pipino from Tblisi, Georgia. I am a dog, as you see. I am also the most beloved in my family and the most kind-hearted. Today I want to tell you what I love doing in my leisure time. I major in eating and devouring a lot of food. I love running and playing, especially with a ball or toys. My favourite hobby is stealing things such as books of jewellry from mommy. Sometimes I get punished, but by licking them, I get forgiven so easily. I love singing, but in dogs language. You can see here. Thank you. Simple English Videos Yay!
Nina, that was amazing. Erm Pipino is adorable….
A star!
And able to speak English, beautifully! I want to see that singing again. Hang on.
Incredible. Nina, you should win a SEVY for creativity. Thank you very much. What a great laugh!
Love it! OK.
Hello. My name is Saad-Ali Khan and I am from Pakistan. I love to make drawing videos and I love Simple English Video’s channel.
Saad-Ali. Nice to meet you and thank you for sending us the video. So he make drawing videos?
Yes, they’re videos about maps and how to draw maps.
Wow! Then he wins the map drawing SEVY.
Yeah! I found them on his channel. I’ll put the link below. Thank you for sending us that video, Saad-Ali.
Hi. I’m Roxana. I’m from Romania. You know, the country from where the Dracula phenomenon spread all over the world. Well today I’m going to share with you two things about me. The first thing is that I’m into arts and crafts. Like these adorable hearts that go so well for Mother’s Day. You can stick it to your T shirt. The second thing is that despite coming from Romania, the home of vampires, ghosts, zombies, you name it, we are nothing else but friendly adorable people, so don’t be afraid of us! Have a lovely day. Bye!
Roxana, you have a wonderful sense of hu mor. Thank you for that.
I want to meet Roxana. Roxana, we’re going to give you the SEVY for being entertaining. We loved it. And you’re not scary at all.
Hello Vicki, hello Jay. My name is Dicky and I’m from Indonesia. So this is my second time joining the SEVY. I love learning languages, including Japanese and English. I learn English a lot from your videos. Thank you for your videos. They’re all very useful for me. Thank you. Bye!
Dicky, thank you so much. It’s good to see you again. Thanks for submitting another video.
And we think your English is getting even better so we want to give you the SEVY award for improvement this year. Well done.
Hello. Speaking of my hobbies. I actually love learning languages, especially Chinese and English. And I fall in love… I’ve been falling in love with language learning for many years. And I always turn my bedroom into a learning library – a language learning library. You can take a look at my learning library, that supports who I am today.
Now that’s Bank. Where’s Bank from?
Bank’s from Thailand but he’s learning Chinese and English.
You know Bank, that’s a really impressive set of books you’ve got in that library.
I loved looking at them and I recognised some of the publishers. That was fun to see. Bank you earn the SEVY for the best independent language learner. Congratulations!
Hi. I’m Wiktor and I am from Poland. I live in Lodz in the middle of the country. I like recoding and watching films on YouTube, especially Simple English Videos. I like scuba diving. I;m very good at this sport. And for the end, I play in a volley kicks team. I really love playing with my friends from school. Bye!
OK, so Wiktor, I understand what scuba diving is, but what’s volley kicks?
I looked… I googled it and it’s like football where you don’t let the ball touch the ground.
You mean like soccer but you don’t let the ball touch the ground.
You have to be very athletic to play it, ’cause you can’t just kick the ball along the ground. Wiktor, we’re going to have to give you the athletic SEVY because you’re clearly really athletic. Well done, we loved your video.
Thanks a lot.
Hello Miss Vicki and Mr Jay. Thanks for this nice challenge. This is Marcello from Chile and what I love doing is playing basketball. It’s an excellent exercise. I’m used to playing basketball alone, both for relaxing and for exercising a little bit. And finally I’m going to score a basket, for you guys. And before, I want to say that exercise bouncing the ball is really useful. It has… It has low impact. Perhaps if you suffer from stress of your knee or things like that, this exercise of bouncing a ball and scoring a basket is great. Let’s try. I’m going to jump. Wow! I enjoy it so much. OK, thank you very much guys.
That’s some of the best dribbling I’ve ever seen. When you bounce the ball it’s called dribbling in basketball.
Yeah, all right. Marcello, it was lovely to see you again, and thanks so much for that, and for the tip as well.
Now Marcello, you get the SEVY for the best two pointer.
What’s a two pointer?
Well, when you score a basket, when you get the basketball through the net close to the basket, it’s worth two points.
The best two-pointer. Thank you, Marcello.
Hello. I’m Gala from Russia. I’m a typical woman and I like doing simple things such as knitting or cooking while listening to the radio. One day there was a quiz on the radio about Abba. The Abba.
The group.
And I happened to win a prize – a trip to Sweden.
I hadn’t got a visa and I had to fly to Moscow to provide my biometric data.
Ah yeah.
And then I was waiting for a visa at home, and then they called me and said I need a code. And so I should go back to Moscow to provide my biometry again.
Oh no!
I should, but anyway, it would be too late to be on time for the trip.
Unlucky me.
A few days ago, I received a totally unexpected package with a T-shirt, a bag …
Oh yeah.
And a few other things.
Oh terrific.
And some other things with symbols of Abba.
And that’s fine.
Go Gala!
I do like the group and I also like dancing to their music and singing along to their songs… along with their songs.
Oh Gala! That was such a sad story. Our daughter-in-law is Russian too, and she has trouble getting visas as well so I really sympathize with that story. I’m so sorry you couldn’t go to Sweden.
So what is the SEVY that we can give to Gala?
Well, Gala it has to be the SEVY for the best story. We did enjoy it and it had a sort of happy ending.
I did love all the gear you got.
Thanks for sending us that.
Welcome. This is Javier. Thank you for watching my presentation. Maps and geography are my passion. Like a geographer, I’m focusing now on helping people to discover the world walking through the geography. I’m an enthusiastic person when it comes to hiking. And that’s it. I love geography and see you soon. If you want to know more about my work, that is my hobby, you can visit my website Bye-bye.
You know that was actually really very interesting. Thank you, Javier. What place did he mention?
He mentioned a place in the Pyrenees, so between France and Spain. And he arranges walking experiences for people designed specially for them.
I would enjoy that very much. Now what SEVY should we give Javier?
It’s enthusiasm, isn’t it? It’s got to be enthusiasm. It shone right through Javier. Thanks for talking to us about that.
Good evening Jay and Vicki.
Good evening.
My name is Michael. I’m speaking from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. So as requested by you, I’m recording this video from my work. I work in a hotel as a receptionist. I work in a small city whose name is Itacuruca. It’s a beautiful city located in the state of Rio de Janeiro. I love o study English. I love to speak in English. I love, too, watching some English movies. I’ve been learning English since I was twelve years old. I’m now 45 years old. I’m still learning English, and I’m learning from your videos. I’m learning from you and I can see the difference between British English and American English from your videos. Thanks for this opportunity you are giving me to record this video for your channel. So I’m sharing your channel with my friends who are learning English here in Brazil. And I love to listen to music, and I love watching movies, and I love to learn English. God bless you, Vicki. God bless you Jay. Thanks for teaching me the difference between British English and American English. God bless you. Thanks for this opportunity. This is my by little. God bless you. Thanks for this opportunity. Your friend from Brazil, Michael Alexandre.
Thank you Michael. Now we’ve been to Rio de Janeiro, but have you been to that town?
Oh really?
Yeah, without you.
Without me. Very interesting. Michael thanks so much for that and we’re really glad we can help you learn English.
What SEVY should we give Michael?
Michael is a long term persistent learner who’s going up and studying regularly. So you get the award for being a long term learner Michael, because you’re keeping at it. A little bit every day. It works.
Thank you very much Michal for sending us that video.
Good work! For some people this speaking challenge is extra difficult because for religious or for personal reasons, they can’t appear on camera.
So some of our viewers have some up with amazing creative ways to send us a video. Let’s look.
Hi, I’m Sarah. I’ve been watching your videos for a very long time and they’ve been helping me a lot. I would like to thank you for that. So to the question what I love doing. I love drawing and writing. Most of the time I come up with a story and then, after that, I start drawing the characters to it. Here are a few pictures.
Wow, look at that! Amazing. Another artist.
Well, my absolute favourite thing to do in my free time is learning new things about the English culture. I love England so much – everything about it really and I’m looking forward to going there for the very first time this year. I can’t wait. I’ve been learning about how much importance English people attach to politeness and the weather, not to mention. I’m just living for it. All the new types of tea I will get to learn about. All of the amazing people. So yeah, that was it I think. Thank you ever so much and have an amazing day.
Thank you Sarah. Once again, as we mentioned last year, you have an accent that is so beautifully English. I would never guess that you’re not a native speaker. That’s so impressive.
I think you’re going to have a wonderful time in England and we must say a special congratulations to Sarah because she passed her C1 exam this year. Yay! Go Sarah!
Now my the way, that artistic work was also spectacular. Thanks for sharing that with us.
Yes, you should have a SEVY for paintings as well.
Thanks again Sarah.
Hi Vicki. Hi Jay. I’m Farshid. I love doing my architecture projects. These are what I did last semester for my university. And this is what I do in my free time. And I also like drinking tea.
Another tea drinker.
And with Winnie the Poo on his cup!
You know what was amazing Farshid was the perspective that you’re able to get into your designs. That’s really terrific.
I thought your designs were really interesting. I did so enjoy those glimpses. And that’s what you must have the SEVY for this year, I think. Design.
Thanks a lot Farshid for sending us that video.
Hi! Dear Vicki and Jay, Super Agent, Steffi and everyone. I am Simone from Italy. C’est une chanson. Qui nous resemble. Italy, not France. Our lovely teachers honoured me by putting my presentation in last year’s video. É o pau, é a pedra, é o fim do caminho. There I didn’t film myself, because my face shows my frequent headaches. [Italian folk Song] OK, that’s an Italian folk song. Now Vicki and Jay asked what we like doing. Summertime, and the living is easy. Can you guess? Although my voice has lost its power I still can’t… not can’t sing. I wish you all a life full of music and joy and health, since 2020 will be remembered for the corona virus. Bye!
Simone. I have to say that your voice hasn’t lost anything. When you were singing Gershwin, you really got to me.
It was wonderful. And it reminded me of some of the images we’ve seen this week coming from Italy where everybody is on lock down, and of Italians on their balconies. Singing in solidarity as a community.
It’s really amazing.
And I have to say, Simone has been an important part of the Simple English Videos community for some years now and I personally want to thank you for all your efforts.
And to give you the singing SEVY. And congratulations to everyone who took part in this challenge.
We’ve been blown away by your videos.
It’s been very motivating for us to meet you and learn more about you.
Especially at this time when we’re on lock down and feeling very isolated.
If you’ve enjoyed this video, please share it with a friend.
And don’t forget to subscribe to our channel.
And now go call your grandma orgrandad and see how they’re doing.
See you soon everyone. Bye-bye.

Practice Speaking English

Speaking English Challenge – Be in a YouTube Video

This is your invitation to practice speaking English with us and appear in one of our videos!

Make a short video where you’re speaking in English, and we’ll share it with the world.

Here’s how it works:
1. You make a short video of yourself speaking – just a few sentences. Tell us who you are and what you love doing.
2. You upload the video and send us a link where we can download it.
3. We put your videos into one longer video that we publish on our channel.


Keep your video short – just a few sentences is fine. Tell us:
1. Who you are:
What’s your name? Where are you from?
2. What you love doing:
Maybe you love your job. Or perhaps you

If you have a YouTube channel, post your video there as unlisted or public (not private) and send us the link. The deadline is Monday March 9th, 2020.
Please check the video for Vicki’s email address or use the contact form on our website:

Here are links to some videos our viewers sent us in previous years:

It’s not easy to find ways to practice speaking in English and this is your chance! We can’t wait to see your videos! Thank you so much!

Are you feeling brave?
We hope so because we have a speaking challenge for you.
We’re going to make another SEVY awards video.
A SEVY is our version of the Oscars. They’re awards for students who rise to a speaking challenge.
SEVY stands for Simple English Videos YES!
Or Simple English Videos YAY!
Here’s how it works. You record a short video of yourself speaking English and send us the link.
Then we download them and put them together in one long video that we publish on our channel.
And share for the world to see.
It’s a great way for you to practice speaking English.
And to get to know other people in the Simple English Videos family.
We love seeing you and learning more about you.
OK, so are you ready for this year’s topic?
We want you to answer this question:
What do you love doing?
Maybe you love your job?
Or perhaps there’s a sport you like playing.
Or a hobby you enjoy.
Maybe it’s something you do with your family or a friend?
Whatever it is, tell us about it in a few sentences.
Perhaps we need some examples.
Hi I’m Vicki and I’m British and this is my kitchen. I love cooking! I think I’ll make some onion soup today.
Hi I’m Jay from Philadelphia and I’m an amateur radio operator, sometimes called a ham radio operator. And I love talking to people all around the world. This is WA2UAR. Listening.
If you want some more inspiration, I’ll put links to previous SEVY award videos in the description below.
You can watch videos that other people have sent us in the past. They’re really good!
And if you want to put a picture or two in your video, that’s awesome.
We can’t wait to learn what you love doing.
OK, some filming tips. Remember to make sure the camera is horizontal when you shoot, and not vertical.
It should be landscape, not portrait.
And this is important. No music please.
We need to make sure we have copyright permissions for any music we use.
And if any other people appear in your video, make sure you have their permission too.
OK. The next thing is how to get it to us. If you have a YouTube channel, upload your video there.
Make sure to post it as an unlisted or public video, not a private video.
If it’s private, we can’t see it!
Then send the link to this address.
This is me! I’ll email you back to confirm I’ve received it.
And if you don’t have a YouTube channel, it’s no problem.
Just write to me and we’ll work out another way for you to send it.
OK, are you ready for your deadline?
It’s Monday, March 9th.
That’s not long.
It’s just 10 days.
So get your cameras out and get busy!
Remember. Keep the video short and simple. Just a few sentences is fine.
And if it’s good, you might win a SEVY.
We can’t wait to see your videos. Have fun everyone, and see you soon!

top comedy sketches

2019 Rewind – top comedy sketches

Come and join us on a trip down memory lane. Join us on a trip down memory lane and review some of our top comedy sketches from 2019. You can laugh and learn English at the same time.

We’ll also plan the videos we want to make in 2020 and you can let us know your thoughts too. What would you like to see?

This video is longer than normal because we’ll look back at our favorite English comedy sketches. Play along with Jay and see if you can name them. (You might beat Jay!)

We’re publishing this video as a premiere, so if you’re watching at 1 pm New York Time on December 31st, Jay and Vicki will both be live in the chat, responding to questions and comments. The great thing about a premiere is we can chat in real time!

Hello everyone. I’m Vicki
And I’m Jay.
And welcome to our 2019 review video.
We’re publishing a little early this week, because we wanted to catch the end of the year.
And wish you all a very happy 2020.
Every year we look back on what we’ve done, and look ahead to the next year.
And make plans.
So come and join us because you can help.
Thank you all so much for your support in 2019.
And a big welcome to all our new subscribers.
A warning before we begin. This is going to be a much longer video than normal, so you might want to get a cup of tea and make yourself comfortable.
We’re going to be looking at lots of the comedy sketches we made this year.
And we’re going to play a game.
Yes, I’m going to show you a clip and you have to name the video it came from. What language point were we talking about?
Well this sounds like fun. You can play along too.
OK, Let’s roll the first clip.

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.

I don’t know what we were teaching but I remember we had a lot of fun shooting it!
It was a parody of a cold medication commercial.
A parody is when you copy the style of something for comic effect.
And you don’t know what language point we were teaching?
Something about steel pans?
No. It was vocabulary for talking about illnesses and sickness.
There has to be a better way to cure a cold than that steel pan.
How’s your headache?
I’ve recovered. OK, give us another clip.

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.

You’re so mean to me!
Yes. The meeting was at 3.15, but when I said 3.50, you didn’t correct me!
I must have misheard you.
Right. I know what the language point was though.
It was about the pronunciation of numbers that people often confuse, like fifteen and fifty.
Correct! OK, let’s see if you get the next one.

There’s something wrong with that thermostat.
You know, I’ve noticed that too. The temperature keeps shooting up.
Did you say up?
That’s weird. I thought it went down. It should be 75 degrees.
Why do you want it to be 75 degrees?
It’s a comfortable temperature.
Yes, for you. But I like it at 65.
Yes, but you can take your jacket off if you get too hot.
Why don’t you wear more clothes?
65 is freezing!

I have no idea what we were teaching but I recognize the argument.
We have different opinions about the temperature in our house.
65 degrees is good. I’m right, aren’t I?
And you don’t know what we were teaching?
I’ll give you another clue. This clip came from the same video.

Is this the design?
Oh nice! You should do it in colour.
I like black and white.
No, you don’t. You’re only saying that because I suggested colour.
Well, you’re always wrong.
So whatever I say, you’re always going to disagree?
You know, you’re absolutely right.
Yep. Black and white is perfect.
You think so?
Yeah. Don’t change a thing.
Then I’m going to make it in color.
What just happened there?

I’m the victim of reverse psychology – and I still don’t know the language point.
It was the video we made about how we disagree.
Then how would I know. We never disagree!
That’s true because I’m always right.
Give me an easy one now.
OK, this is really easy.

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.

Who, whose and who’s. I knew that one!
Well I should hope so. The words were on the screen.
I liked your wig. You should wear it more often.
Thank you.
It covers your face.
Speaking of wigs, I have another one for you.

With all this choice, I’m never going to get fed up with wearing the same wig again.
I’m amazed at the prices. They’re very reasonable.
There are lots of other beauty products here. I’m not very good at makeup.
This one would be excellent for Halloween.

Do you know what we were teaching?
I’m not sure.
We were looking at adjectives.
I was going to say that, because we said reasonable, excellent, amazed…
‘Amazed’ is interesting because we have amazed and amazing and they’re both adjectives.
Some adjectives can end with -ing OR -ED.
I have another clip for you about that.

Imagine you’ve found a great book. It’s so good you can’t stop reading it.
You can’t put it down. What would you say about it.
I’m very interested in this book.
I’m very interesting in this book.
We use interested to say how we feel. We use interesting to describe the person or thing that causes the feeling.
This is a very interesting book.
And I’m very interesting in this book.
This is a book about me.

That was about the adjectives interesting and interested
Saying ‘I’m very interesting’ is a very common mistake and it sounds funny in English.
But we shot that scene in bed when we were much younger.
We made a series of three videos this year called ‘how good is your English’, and they were all quizzes about common mistakes.
And sometimes we used clips from old videos.
Yes. That series was very popular.
I think we should make some more quizzes like that next year.
I’ll put it on our list. I’m actually thinking of writing a book about common mistakes.
Hey, what about your book? Tell everyone how it’s going.
Mmm. Not well. I’m afraid I’ve been slow!
I think you were overambitious.
I started out wanting to tackle English grammar – which is an enormous topic.
You were trying to do too much
Yeah, I just need to rethink and work on smaller segments.
But you’re still going to write a book?
Oh yes. So please stay tuned everyone.
And we’ve had a lot of other things happening this year so we’ve been busy. Like we decorated the house and we went on vacation.
Speaking of which, I have another clip.

If your flight is departing from B or C gates, please board the next available train from either platform. The first stop will be for all B gates and the second stop will be for all C gates.
The tech is getting more and more advanced.
Her eyes seemed to follow me as I moved around. But the funniest signs were in the subways – the exit signs that tell you how to get out.
You loved them.
Yeah. They made me think of hippies in the 1960s. When something was cool they’d say it was ‘far out’ or ‘way out’.
It’s far out man. Way out there.

I know this one. It was about funny things about England. England’s a very strange country.
But what grammar point were we looking at?
I don’t know. I’m the video guy. Not the language guy.
It was comparative adjectives.
And we went to Spain and shot some video there too.
That video’s in the works. First I thought it should be about adverbs but then I thought it should be about passives.
What would you like most?
Tell us in the comments.
So what’s next?
It’s very short, so pay attention.

Oh, do you need a hand?
Well it’s quite heavy.
Oh, all right.

I know this. It was the ‘quite’ video and how we use the word differently.
You’re right.
I’m American so for me quite means ‘very’, but for you…?
It can mean ‘very’ in British English, but often it means fairly.

What did you think of my report?
It’s quite good.
Did you want to make some changes then?
No, it’s quite good. You can send it to everybody now.
But it needs to be VERY good.
It is. It’s good to go.

Quite is the trickiest word for me to understand in America.
We used to misunderstand one another a lot with this word.
Well, words are very interesting things.

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.

I don’t know what video that was but I’m really confused now.
It was about prototype theory and how we grade words in categories.
Oh yes. Words don’t have clear boundaries.
Yes. OK, see if you can guess this one.

Help! Help!
Super Agent Awesome!
That is me. You mess with the lady, you mess with me.
Oh no!
Oh yeah!
Thank you Super Agent Awesome. If it hadn’t been for you, he’d have gotten away.
If I’d been faster, he wouldn’t have caught me.
If I hadn’t stopped him, he would have escaped.

I know this one – the third conditional.
And you saw Super Agent Awesome and his Dad.
A lot of you asked if Super Agent Awesome is our grandson.
And he is.
He’s been in a lot of our videos recently, because we made a series about British and American words.
We published a lot of them in the last two months because of COPPA – that’s the Child Online Privacy Protection Act.
It’s a law and its goals are really good.
Under COPPA, you can’t track children online. In fact you can’t collect any data about them without their parents agreeing first.
It had big implications for YouTube. Officially you can’t sign up to YouTube and watch videos unless you’re 13, but in practice, a lot of kids did.
And YouTube tracked what they watched, so it could deliver more videos they’d like, and also deliver advertising that targeted them.
So then the FTC got involved.
The FTC is the Federal Trade Commission. It’s a government agency that protects consumers
They said hey YouTube, you can’t track kids. That’s illegal and YouTube agreed to pay a penalty of $170 million.
And then, for 2020, YouTube changed its rules. For each video that’s uploaded, you now have to say if it’s directed at children.
At first we thought, this isn’t relevant for us, because we make videos for adults, not children. But when we read the first guidelines, we were confused.
They had a list of things that could appeal to kids. For example, music.
We love music.
And play acting.
We act out a lot of comedy sketches so you can learn English grammar and vocabulary in context.
And child actors.
Usually we have adults on screen but sometimes Super Agent Awesome appears.
And they also listed games.
We love games too.
It was worrying. It seemed that if we said a video was for adults but the FTC said it appeals to kids, we could get fined $42,500.
$42,500 per video!
We just couldn’t risk that!
So we thought, crikey. We should stop making videos until we understand what this means.
But then, just before Christmas, the FTC gave clearer guidelines.
It doesn’t matter if some children watch our videos as long as they are designed for adults. So we can carry on using music and acting out scenes and playing games – just like before.
It was like an early Christmas present because it meant we could carry on making videos.
Yeah. So are you ready for another clip?
Do you remember this?

Kerfuffle. I… I heard this years ago from Vicki and it really confused me. It means something that’s very, very difficult. So, if
something is very complicated, it’s a kerfuffle to do.
Ah, nice try. No. No, it’s when there’s when there’s a lot of noise and activity and commotion and for no good purpose. It, it’s…
There’s lot of disturbance and making a fuss and getting excited about things. So like when Jay’s cooking a meal in the kitchen,
there’s often a lot of kerfuffle. There’s a lot of activity and commotion but nothing much gets done.
I always thought it was because I had so many things happening at once. I had rice here, I had water here, I had pasta here. That’s a
kerfuffle, right?
That is a kind of kerfuffle when you’re in charge. A kerfuffle is when there’s a lot of noise and activity and excitement. And it’s an
unnecessary fuss. We might ask, ‘what’s all the kerfuffle about?’ And it’s like asking ‘what’s all the fuss about?’

I know that one. It was about British English and you tested me on slang expressions.
You’re right.
My British English was quite good.
He means quite in the British sense.
I was just kerfuffling along.
You can’t use kerfuffle like that. It’s not a verb.
Hmm. Now didn’t I test you on American slang?
Yeah, we made two videos on British slang and one on American.
Then we need to make another American one next year.
Write it down!
Here’s your next one.

Oh, this is a good one. Um, John Hancock. And it means, I think, your signature. So you might put your John Hancock on a document.
Exactly. But do you know who John Hancock was?
Oh, I think so. I think he was the first person to sign the declaration of independence. So he was the first traitor in America.
Well actually, he was president of the continental congress right here in Philadelphia in 1776. And when the declaration was first printed, he signed his name so large, the legend goes, so that King George III could see it without his spectacles.
So he was the first traitor to commit treason and betray his country.
He was a great American patriot.

We have a different view of American history.
Yes, I think they taught some of the stories a little differently in English schools.
We live in Philadelphia and it’s an important place in American history.
I think we should make some videos about it because we can show you some of the sights.
And it could help people who are taking the US citizenship exam.
And it’s interesting too.
Then put it on your list with a question mark and let us know what you think.
OK. Next one.

I need to know about my job interview. What questions are they going to ask me?
Oh this is interesting. Well I never!
Is it good news?
Yes. Do you have shares in Acme Corp?
Well buy some.
I can’t. I just gave you all my money.
That’s a shame. They’re going up tomorrow. Well, that’s it then.
But you haven’t told me about my job interview.
Just let make a note of that. Buy Acme Corp ….

I remember. We had fun shooting that one!
Yeah, but what grammar point was it?
And you were a fraud. You didn’t answer any of my questions.
I wasn’t a fraud.
You took my money.
My crystal ball may have been faulty. The video was about going to, will and the present continuous.
So how to talk about the future.
OK, let’s have another clip.

What’s your favourite room in your home?
My bedroom.
And why’s that?
I like it.
And is it a large room?
Jay’s answers are too short here. One way to extend your answers is to give reasons.
I like my bedroom because it’s where I keep my pet spider.

You were a terrible candidate
That came from a series we made about the IELTS exam.
We made it with Keith from IELTS Speaking Success.
Have we finished the series?
We’ve done part one and part two but Keith and I would like to make another couple of videos about part three.
We should do that. A lot of you have written to us and told us they’ve been very helpful.
It’s on my list.
English exams can be very stressful.
And we love it when we can help.
There’s a shot at the start of those videos where it looks like you and Keith are in the same room, but in fact he was in Spain and you were here in Philadelphia.
We used a green screen, so I could put me in his shot. It worked fine.
Green screens are terrific
We use our green screen a lot because then we can put different backgrounds behind us.
It’s quite big, but it just about fits in our living room.
You know another funny thing happened to us this year. A local television station made a video about us.
Oh yeah. We live on Arch Street in Philadelphia in a little row home.
That’s a little terraced house in British English.
And channel 10 moved in just up the street, into a big new skyscraper, so I welcomed them to our street.
He was very cheeky. He sent them an email saying welcome to the new kids on the block from the old video production studio on Arch Street.
I was playing around because Simple English Videos is tiny. It’s just Vicki and me, and Channel 10 is enormous.
It’s owned by the Comcast empire. But they watched some of our videos and then brought their news cameras along to make a news story about us.

In a world filled with millennials making money by posting videos online (Hi. Hi.) You can consider them above average. (Hello everybody. I’m Vicki and I’m British. And I’m Jay and I’m American.) A couple who spent decades carving out their own careers found a new way of showcasing their wealth of knowledge. And now they’ve got a worldwide reach. (Oh no, what happened?) And now in their sixties and seventies, Jay Silber and his wife Vicki Hollett are senior YouTubers and they teach people how to speak English properly on their channel called Simple English Videos. (So I said two nice things here.) For now they’re just happy helping new English speakers sound their best.
People tell us how we’ve changed their lives, how we’ve helped them, and in fact there’s a long queue, to borrow a British English term, developing now of people who want us to be their grandparents.
Of course. You’re lovable.
How awesome is that?
Well Jay has a career creating instructional videos and even reported for NBC 10 many years ago. Vicki has a background in English speaker training and writing textbooks, so you see people of all backgrounds are getting in on YouTube.

They took up the angle of us being old, but young at heart.
Yeah, I like the young at heart, but I’m not sure how I feel about the old bit, but it was fun to have them here.
I liked the boxing clip they used. I didn’t have to go to the gym that day because I worked out on the set.
That came from this video.
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.
Did I get that green thing out?
And I know the language point too. It was about when we use who and whom.
If you find who and whom hard you’re not alone.
Lots of native speakers find it difficult too.
I’ll put a link here.
OK, next clip.
You’ll know this one.

I can’t come home yet. I’m literally up to my ears in work.
It was so funny, we literally died laughing.
I’m leaving.
No wait. It’ll literally only take me two seconds to get to you. See! Literally two seconds.

OK that one was about how we use the word literally.
And possibly overuse it.
But it’s very common these days.
We had some really interesting comments on that video.
We get lots of really interesting comments on our channel. And thank you so much to everyone who writes to us. It’s really motivating.
Someone wrote a comment last week saying we should also make a video about the word basically.
Oh that’s interesting, because that’s another word that some people think is overused.
We try to respond to all the comments we get, but it’s become harder this year because there are a lot of them.
But we read them all and we really appreciate them.
And we love it when you give us ideas.
I’ll put the word basically on our list and research it.
So basically we’ll try to make a video about that!
And please keep sending us ideas. It means a lot to us.
And telling us what you like helps us to plan.
Yes. Some of our most popular videos this year were these.

Youth…sss, Youth-s. Yous. Ah, it’s kind of difficult this one.
Yeah, it IS difficult.
What does it mean?
A youth is a young person and the plural is youths.
We often say youths when we disapprove, so we might complain about a gang of youths who started a fight or something.
Oh my god. Youths.
They pronounced it very well.
This word is like work out for your mouth. It gets your face muscles moving.

Have we made a video about that ‘th’ sound yet?
No, but it’s on my list. We know you want it and we’ll try to make it.
The YouTube algorithm seems to love videos like that and it recommends them to lots of people.
And we love it when you recommend tricky words. We’ve had such good suggestions in the comments.
People sometimes wonder how we make those videos.
What happens is we go to a place that’s popular with foreign tourists.
We’re lucky because people from all over the world come to Philadelphia.
We set up our camera in front of the Art Museum.
That’s a popular tourist destination because the Rocky statue is nearby.
Then we put up a sign that says if you’re a non-native English speaker, please stop and talk to us.
Then we explain what we’re doing and the fun begins.
But sometimes we wait for ages and nobody talks to us.
But if we get one person to stop then other people see that we’re having fun and then they stop too.
Yeah, it’s very unpredictable, but we’ll try to make more of these videos.
It has to be a nice sunny day with good weather. Not too hot but not too cold. The summer is best.
And we’ve met such nice people.
Thank you to everyone who has stopped and talked to us. We really appreciate it.
OK, Next clip.

Hey, it’s looking good in here.
Yes, I’ve been getting the room ready for Kathy’s seminar.
You got all the chairs out.
Yes, I had to find eighteen of them.
And what’s this? Slides?
Yeah, I made a PowerPoint presentation for Kathy.
You’ve been working very hard.
You must be tired. Have you had lunch yet?
No, I’ve got to tell Kathy the room’s ready.
I can do that for you. Why don’t you go and take a break? You deserve it.
Well, thank you very much. That’s very nice of you.
You’re welcome.

What were we teaching?
Was it how to thank people?
And what happens next? I can’t remember, but I’m sure something bad happens to me.
I’ll show you.

How did Kathy’s presentation go?
Oh very well. How was your lunch?
Oh Kathy, how did you like the PowerPoint slides?
They were excellent.
Oh good.
Thanks for making them, Vicki.
I’m so glad you liked them.
And thanks for getting the room ready. It was great.
My pleasure.
It’s nice to work with someone who’s so helpful and supportive. I really appreciate it.
But I made the PowerPoint slides and I got the room ready.
Yeah, thanks for doing that.

You got me again! You’re always getting me into trouble or putting me down!
Some of you have asked me when I am going to get Vicki back for all the trouble she gets me in and I’m working on it.
It’s never going to happen. Dream on! OK, next clip.

Take me out to the ball game. Take me out to the park.
You’re in a good mood.
Well, The Phillies are playing the Dodgers today and I’ve got tickets to the game. Oh, do you want to come?
Oh yes! But I thought it was an afternoon game.
It is. If we leave at 2.30, we’ll be there for the start.
But what about the office? If we left at 2.30, Kathy would go crazy.
Nah! She won’t care.
She never lets us leave early.
Kathy. Can we go to the Phillies game today?
Absolutely not! Forget it.
Told you.

I love that sketch but I’ve no idea what language point we were teaching.
It was the second conditional.
Of course. If we left at 2:30, Kathy would go crazy.
That’s it – the imaginary situation. There was another funny sketch in that video, so I’ll put a link to all our conditional videos where you can watch it.
We’ve done the zero, first, second and third conditionals now. Are we finished?
Officially yes, but I’m wondering about adding another video about mixed conditionals.
They’re tricky. Let us know in the comments if you’d like to see a video about them next year.
Yeah. OK, we’re near the end now and I’ve been saving my favourite sketch for last
Your favourite?
Uhuh. It’s very long, so I’m just going to show you part of it.

Hey, I have a meeting with management in five minutes.
It’s my performance review.
Oh yeah.
Have you had yours yet?
Yeah, I had mine yesterday.
I want to do really well. Do you have any tips?
Well yes.
What are they going to ask me?
Well, the first question is always ‘Have you achieved your goals this year?’
Oh great.

Oh no. I know what’s going to happen now. You’re going to give me such bad advice.
But what was the grammar point? It was a really useful one.
I can’t remember.
I’ll give you another clue.

I’ve met all my sales targets. In fact, I’ve just won the top sales person award.
What’s wrong with that?
Well, you’ve got to be careful. You don’t want to appear too big-headed.
Big headed?
Yes, you don’t want to sound like you’re boastful or conceited. That’s very bad.
Then what can I do?
Tell them your co-workers have helped you achieve your sales targets.
Yes, it shows you’re a team player.
Oh I get it. Praise the team.
Exactly. Say you couldn’t have done it without them. Management will love that.

You’re going to get me in trouble again, but I know the grammar point now. It’s the present perfect.
You’re right. Good job. When we’re making videos, Jay’s focused on the video production and I’m focused on the English so that’s why he doesn’t remember a lot of these. But you did well there.
It was a funny video.
You were very gullible.
I believed everything you said. I should never trust you, but next year, perhaps I’ll get my own back.
So keep watching folks.
So 2019 has come to an end. Thank you so much for all your support and we hope you’ll stick with us in 2020.
We wish you all a very happy new year and we want to help you take your English to new and wonderful heights.
We have a list of ideas to start us off, but please add your ideas for videos you’d like to see in the comments.
Now, how should we finish this video.
We need Super Agent Awesome.
He’s so amazing at sign off messages.
Yeah, when I’m working with him. I never know what he’s going to say, but he’s always so funny.
Then let’s let him sign us off today. Bye everyone.

Bye now.
Bye…wait! We almost forgot something really important.
The subscribe button.
Oh. Could you tell them about that?
Yes. Hi ladies and gentlemen. Super Agent Awesome here. If you really like our videos and you want to stay informed on this channel, then hit the subscribe button below this video. It’s the red button. Do it in Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one. Did you hit it yet? Congratulations. You just subscribed and you’re a new member of Simple English Videos. And that’s the end of the video. We are about to say goodbye. Super Agent Awesome signing off. PEACE!

ielts speaking test

IELTS speaking test video link – see Vicki as a candidate

We don’t have a new video for you today, but we’ll be publishing a new video next Friday.

In the meantime, check out this link to a video made by a friend of ours, where Vicki takes on the role of a candidate in an IELTS speaking test.

Keith has a great website for student’s who are preparing for the IELTS speaking test which you can find here:

And here’s the video he made with Vicki as a the candidate:


english publishing vocabulary

Publishing plans and a new (temporary) schedule

Learn about our publishing plans and our new (temporary) schedule for YouTube English lesson uploads.

We’re excited to announce that we plan to self-publish an e-book for English learners. The writing has started and we’re experimenting with tools we can use to make it available on smartphones, tablets and computers.

To allow time for writing we will be publishing videos every other week. So we’re continuing with our plans to make new YouTube videos, but for a while we’ll be publishing a new video every other Friday instead of every Friday.

We really appreciate all the support and love we receive from our viewers and hope you will keep watching and learning from our videos. We have hundreds of videos on our channels and we hope you’ll explore them.

Some of the English publishing vocabulary that comes up in this video includes:

English publishing vocabulary

When Vicki gets an idea she has to write it down right away.
Hello everyone. I’m Jay.
And I’m Vicki and we’re talking about publishing this week.
And we have an important announcement!
You probably don’t know this but Vicki used to write text books for people who are learning English.
A lot of the books I wrote are very old now.
Which was your first book.
This one. It was published in 1982.
That was long before we had digital publishing.
Books were all made of paper back then. And there was no internet and no Amazon website.
We didn’t have computers in our homes either, so how did you write it?
In long hand. So just writing with a pen and paper.
Didn’t you type it?
Only when I’d finished. I didn’t have a typewriter so I borrowed one to type the manuscript.
The manuscript is the document.
It’s a book before it’s been printed.
And how did you publish it?
Well, I didn’t publish it. I wrote to a publisher and said I’ve got an idea for a book and I sent them a sample.
And they liked it?
No! They said we’re not interested in your idea but they liked my sample and they said we want a book on different topic. Can you write it?
So you got a commission.
Yeah. A commission is when an author gets a request to write a book and they get paid.
And they paid you royalties?
Yes, every time they sold a copy, I got a percentage.
How much?
Not much. I can’t remember. Perhaps 10%? And we didn’t have email back then, so I had to post the manuscript to them.
You sent it by mail?
Yeah, it was a big pile of papers and I went to a shop and made a copy.
Luckily photocopiers had been invented.
And when I had to make changes, I literally cut and pasted the manuscript.
You know how on a computer we have the commands copy and paste. Well, they come from the time when we did it by hand.
But the publishing industry was pretty quick to adopt computers.
So what was the first book you wrote on a computer.
I don’t know. Let’s have a look. Perhaps this one! Hang on. I’ll tell you the date. 1991. I had an Apple Mac and it was great because I could save the manuscript on a disk. It fitted in an envelope so I could post it to my publishers and I didn’t have to spend hours in the photocopy shop. And then email came along a few years later, and also video. I wrote some video courses.
Not YouTube videos because YouTube didn’t exist back then.
No. But I wrote a lot of English courses for Oxford University Press and they used to have a video department.
They published the videos on cassettes like these.
Yeah, and then later DVDS. Videos were very expensive to make back then. We had lots of actors and a big crew. So different people for cameras, sound, lighting ….
One of the reasons we can make videos for YouTube now is because the cost of video equipment has come down.
Yeah, and we’re the crew. You’re my crew!
Cost isn’t a big problem.
Finding the time is our problem.

Publishing Plans

And that brings us to our announcement. Vicki wants to write another book.
This time I want to write an e-book that we’ll publish ourselves – so I’m going to try self-publishing this time.
This project is different to our normal YouTube videos.
The great thing about a book is it can be more structured and organized. So we can design it to help you progress.
We want to make an even more powerful learning tool for everyone who likes Simple English Videos.
It’s a very exciting project but there’s one big problem. I need time to write.
And we want to go on vacation this summer, so time is short.
If only there were 30 hours in a day ….
So we’ve been looking at Vicki’s schedule and looking for ways to make more time.
It’s hard because we want to keep making YouTube videos too.
We feel like we’ve gotten to know many of you and we’ve made a lot of new friends here and lots of you have told us you look forward to our videos every week.
And we really appreciate all your encouragement and support. It’s very inspiring for us and you give me lots of ideas.
Did you go back to sleep?
No, but we do need to make time so here’s the thing. We’re going to make a new video every two weeks instead of every week.
That way we can stay in touch with you AND I’ll have time to write.
And we can carry on making videos. There are lots we want to make.
Yeah. I have a big list.
So that’s our plan. We’re going to publish a new video every other week.
And in between, we hope you’ll watch some of our other videos.
There are hundreds of videos on our channel so you probably haven’t seen them all.
You have no excuse to stop watching and learning!
And then in not too many months Vicki’s new book will be available online as an e-book.
I’ve already started work on it and we’re experimenting together with tools we can use because we want you to able to use it on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
So we’re not going anywhere. We’re working on a great project, and we’ll be making a new video every other week.
So make sure you’ve subscribed to our channel and clicked the notification bell so you don’t miss them.
Does that bell work? Because some viewers have said they haven’t been getting notifications.
YouTube has been making improvements to their notification system. They say it’s better now but it works best if you allow them to send messages to your phone.
So click that notification bell and please share our videos with your friends. Bye-bye now.

SEVY speaking challenge awards with Vicki and Jay

The SEVY Awards 2019 with Vicki and Jay

Vicki and Jay are very proud to welcome you to the 2019 SEVY (Simple English Videos, Yay!) Award Ceremony, where you’ll meet students from many different countries who are learning English.

Speaking in English is a challenge. You’re bound to think, ‘Am I making mistakes?’ or ‘Am I saying this right?’ Now imagine you’re not just talking to one or two people, but you’re talking to the world!

A few weeks ago we set our viewers a challenge. We asked them to record a video where they’re speaking in English and we’ve been blown away by the response.

So now we’re very proud to share their work and introduce you to some of the wonderful people who watch our channel, and to learn about why they’re learning English and their goals.

Click here to see some hang out videos with Vicki and Jay.
Click here to see some more Simple English Videos.

The SEVY Awards 2019

We’re very proud to welcome you to the 2019, SEVY award ceremony.
Speaking in English is a challenge. You’re bound to think, ‘Am I making mistakes?’ or ‘Am I saying this right?’
Now imagine you’re not just talking to one or two people, but you’re talking to the world!
A few weeks ago we set our viewers a challenge. We asked them to record a video where they’re speaking, that we would share with the world.
And we’ve been blown away by the response.
And today we’re very proud to share their work and introduce you to some of the wonderful people who watch our channel.
And to learn about why they’re learning English and their goals.
Congratulations to everyone who took part! You are all winners of the Simple English Videos award for rising to this challenge.
It’s the Simple English Videos ‘Yay! You did it’ award.
Otherwise known as the SEVY.
So now it’s time to see what they said.

Hi Vicki and hi Jay, and hi everyone. My name is Wan. My name is Rian. We are English teachers from Palang Singkawang, Indonesia. I learn English because I want to study in the UK. And I learn English because I want to study in Australia. Thank you. Bye.

Well I reckon they should win the SEVY for wonderful positive energy.
And for team work. They were well rehearsed.
They must be great teachers.

My name is Mehli Khusnaliana and I’m a student. I’m Indonesian and I’m Muslim. OK. I like… I like the English language. Ok, Thank you. Simple English Videos! Yes!

I think she’s adorable.
And I think she should get the SEVY for enthusiasm.
And maybe the best giggle.

Hi there. I’m Alex and I’m from Russia. I’m studying English for several years because I need it for my work and also I want to pass an IELTS exam this year because I want to move to some warm country, um, for example, to Canada. Wait, what? Canada is not a warm country? So anyway, I’ll pick something else.

OK, he’s got to win the SEVY for the best joke.
If you can crack a joke in another language, you’re doing very well!

Hello, I’m from India. My name is Siddhant and English is my favorite subject. Love from India.

Love to you in India too, Siddhant!
That was short, sweet and very clear.
He could also get a SEVY for the cheeky grin. I was looking for something that would help me teach the phrase cheeky grin the other day. I wish I’d had this video then.

Hello Vicki and Jay. My name is Dan. And my name is Ann. We live in Russia in Novosibirsk. We are both lawyers. I am learning English because I want to watch films in English. And I’m learning English because I want to read in English. Goodbye. Bye.

Those were great goals.
They are great goals. And did you see the book she was reading?
It was Sherlock Holmes, my favorite detective!
I think you get the reading prize. And actually that is a great book for everyone to read.

Hi! My name’s Milena. I’m 15 years old. I’m from Brazil and I live in Campo Grande, Mato Grosso do Sul. Next year, I finish my high school and after I want to study English in the USA. Thank you. Bye-bye.

She gets the SEVY for confidence. And I also want to give a shout out to her mum, Mariza, who also tried to make a video for us. And Mariza has gone back to university after 28 years and she’s studying to be an English teacher.
We have both gone back to university in our later years and we know what a commitment that is so good luck to you Mariza.

Hi everyone. I’m Abdurrahman Dala. I’m from Nigeria. I’m a teacher. I teach English. I’m a fan of a British accent. I love the accent. I love it. I love to pronounce words like you do, Vicki. Thank you. Bye-bye.

He gets the SEVY for best costume and best smile.
And I like the way he walked into the shot.
I liked his taste in accents. I loved your accent too.

Hi Vicki. Hi Jay. My name’s Derya. I’m from Turkey. I’m thirty four years old. I’m not working. I’m a housewife. I have three children – two daughters, one son. And my English goal is speaking like a native English person. I love speaking so much. And that’s all. I love you. Thanks for your videos.

She gets the SEVY for perseverance
Yes. This is because Derya had difficulties send us the video, and when I spoke to her, she said she’d recorded it about 50 times before she was able to make something that she felt she could send us. Well done Derya, it was great.

Hi Vicki and Jay. I’m Dicky and I’m from Bogor, Indonesia. I’m a student and I’m studying English. My English goals are to chat with my friend in English and to teach my friend who can’t speak English. Thank you. Bye-bye.

Well done!
Yeah. He must get the ‘Friendly’ SEVY because he’s learning to chat with friends, but also he’s going to help his friend learn English! Well done Dicky!

Hey, I am Kaei from the Czech Republic. I am a charity volunteer here, and English is my passion. Thank you so much for your videos.

Kaei, we’re so glad you like our videos.
And you get the SEVY for giving back to the community with your charity work.

Hi, my name is Ashish. I am from India. I was working in Samsung Electronics as a promoter. I want to learn English so I can feel confident when I am speaking with my customers and colleagues.

Ashish, you get the repeat performance SEVY.
Ashish was in our video last year and it’s great to see you back, Ashish. And we’re sorry to hear you’ve been ill and we wish you better soon and it’s great to see you’re still supporting England.

Hello Vicki and Jay. My name is Melany and I’m from Colombia. Now I live in New York and I am an English student. I have lived here for a short time and your videos have helped me a lot to learn more and improve my English. And thank you very much. I love your videos.

Wow! Melany. I grew up in New York and I know how difficult it can be in that great big city to find your way, especially when English is not your first language. Good for you.
You get the ‘Traveller SEVY’.

Hello Jay and Vicki. I’m Martin. I live in a small European country named Slovakia, and I’m a graphic design student. My goals in terms of learning English is to improve myself in fluency and vocabulary, and I’ve been to England once, however, I really would fancy to go there again.

Martin, that was really interesting. I could hear a British accent in your Slovakian accent.
Your pronunciation was great. You get the SEVY for that.
He’s in school, right?
Yes, but he’s studying graphic design.
Oh, not English.
Yeah. Really good Martin.

Hello, I am Meg, and this is my brother. We are Georgians. Now I study icon painting and I learn… study English because I love learning languages so much. And I love you so much Vicki and Jay.

I think I saw an icon painting behind her. And Meg, you have to get the SEVY for the best big sister.
And the youngest SEVY award goes to your brother.

Hi. My name is Arthur. I’m from Brazil and I learn English after being one year in New Zealand in 2015, and my goal is to be able to communicate with people all around the world and to understand them properly. And that’s all! Thank you very much, and your channel has been very helpful. I just love your tips. Thank you.

Thank you Arthur. That was a great compliment. By the way, you spoke very clearly.
Yes, your pronunciation was good, but I’m tempted to give you the SEVY instead for set design.
Did you see all the posters behind him?
Yes, apparently he’s studying for an exam. Good luck in your exam.

Hi Vicki and Jay. I am very honored for being seen by you and I’m a little bit nervous. OK, I’m Michelle and I’m from China. I’m a pharmacist working in the hospital. I learn English just for fun and interest. I love watching YouTube videos from English teachers like you. I hope that some day I could speak fluently and confidently with native English speakers, or maybe some day I could participate in some jobs that involve English. That’s all. Hope you like my video! Bye-bye.

That was really very fluent. Thank you Michelle.
Do you know that that was the first time she’d spoken English in public!
Yeah. And she was nervous about it. Michelle you get the prize for courage. You did really well!

Hello Jay and hello Vicki. I’m Wesley. I’m from Sao Paolo, Brazil. I’m a biology student at the last year and I want to improve my English and teach my girlfriend too. I love England and Scotland. I support Liverpool. And I love you both. Bye.

Bye-bye. He’s supporting Liverpool.
Wesley, you get the SEVY for being the best boyfriend, because he’s helping his girlfriend learn English too.
Good for you!

Hello, I’m Olga. I’m Russian. I used to work in finance but these days I stay at home. I take some time out to take care of my little one. And it’s a great time for me to dive into learning English. I learn English mainly for fun but I also have a dream to become an English teacher someday, and I also hope to go to England and to the United States some day again. Thank you for your wonderful lessons and for this challenge. Bye-bye.

We heard the little one there.
Olga, you get the SEVY for vocabulary because we heard lots of great phrases there like time out, little one, dive into. Good job!
Excellent, thank you.

Hi Vicki and Jay. I’m Eduardo from Catamarca, a northern province of Argentina. Well, I’m studying English at University and my big goal is to get my degree as an English teacher. I hope to get it in a couple of years. Well, thank you so much for your work. You are doing a really great job. Thank you so much, and see ya.

Another great compliment. Thank you very much. I think he gets the SEVY for being warm and friendly.
I know. I would love to have you as my teacher. I think you’re going to be great.

Hello. This is Gala from Russia. I started learning English when I was already 46, from scratch. It was 7 years ago. I was told it was too late, but look at me now. I can speak and in a month help others. I am an aspiring pronunciation tutor for beginners. From my experience, you can communicate successfully even if your English is just basic. Sincerity and simplicity always work. And thank you Vicki and Jay. I learn from you.

Galina, you get the inspiration SEVY – the award for inspiring us all.
Yes, I’ve had lots of students who have asked me ‘Am I too old to learn a language?’ and you are a wonderful example of how you’re never to old. And I also think that your advice about being sincere and keeping things simple is very valuable too.
Thank you.
And bravo! Good job!

Hello. My name is Tahir Shafiq. I am from Pakistan. I live in Lahore which is the second most populous city in Pakistan. It’s famous for its ancient buildings and gardens. I run my own provisioning store which includes a variety of items like soaps, detergents, grocery items, beverages, etc. I have 3 objectives for learning English. Firstly, I can use my writing skills with correspondence with my suppliers. Secondly, I can use my listening skills while watching movies because I love watching movies. Lastly, I can use English when I visit other countries for tours. I love tourism. OK. Take care, Bye.

Tahir, that was so well organized.
Yes, in fact you win the SEVY for structure, because all your thoughts were clearly laid out and it meant you could convey a lot of information in a short time, and that’s an excellent skill, and a very good business skill too.
Thank you very much.
Great job!

Hello Vicki, hello Jay, hello everyone. My name is Quynh. I’m 13 years old and I’m from Vietnam. Today I am really happy to share with you my English goal. My goal is to reach a higher level of English fluency which is advanced. This includes my grammar and my vocabulary. As you see, my grammar is not so good. I always make a mistake when I’m talking. And my vocabulary is not enough to cover all of my thoughts. The only thing for me to do to reach my goal is to study more and do more exercises in English. Also, watching Simple English Videos is a good way for me to expand my vocabulary and to know more rules about grammar. Thank you so much for listening.

Well thank you for submitting that video. It was very impressive. In fact I think she gets the SEVY for being impressive.
She is, isn’t she! Fantastic job, Quyn! I mean your grammar was great, your fluency was great, your pronunciation was great. Impressive is the word, and she’s only 13!

Hi Vicki and Jay. Zdraveite! Hola! My name is Galina, and I am from Bulgaria but I’m currently in Spain. I have diverse work experience, in many fields of life. Actually, I would be glad if I can work for you guys. If you think that I can contribute in any way to Simple English Videos, I’ll be glad to help. What I want to achieve in English is to gain more self confidence, because I still freeze whenever I meet a native speaker and have to speak to him or her, no matter the topic. Well, that’s for now. Thanks for listening and watching. See you, I mean I will see you. Adios, ciao.

Well you didn’t freeze there. That was just terrific!
It was fantastic. Well done Galina! I.. yeah, what do you want to give this SEVY for?
For the best location shoot!
Because you saw the Spanish beach! I’d like to give a SEVY as well for being most helpful! We wish we could give you a job. Wow! We’ve got to work out a way to earn money Jay.

Hi Vicki and Jay. I love your channel so much. My name is Nick and I’m living in South Korea. I’m a business …. who works for a Korean commercial company. I first started learning English for practical purposes, such as joining the meeting without a translator, and getting a global career in the future. But nowadays, it became one of my pleasures in daily life. I hope that I will be able to lead meetings with international co-workers at the end of this year. I’m so excited because I can go on this journey with you guys. Let me finish the video with a sentence that I read nowadays like a mantra. The repetition of a little tiny effort will make me stronger.

The repetition of a little tiny effort makes me stronger. That’s the best mantra we’ve heard today.
It’s a very good mantra for language learning as well. Because there’s nothing very difficult about learning English if you break it down into small steps and keep repeating them.
I also liked his story. How he started learning English for his work, and then it became a pleasure in his life. Yes.
So he gets the SEVY for …
Best mantra. Well done Nick.

Hello Vicki, hello Jay. My name is Maja Terese. I’m 15 years old. I’m from Norway. I’m in my last year of secondary school and next year I’m moving on to high school, where I’m going to go the specialized studies and general line. I like the English language and I’ve learned it for 10 years now, ever since first grade. And I wish to study it and get better at it in university. When I grow up I want to become a teacher – an English teacher. I enjoy talking English. I do it all the time. And I write English with my friends. My English goal for the year is to improve my pronunciation. I always pronounce words wrongly, I feel. And I also need to settle on whether I want to speak American English or British English which I both wish to do. That was my English goal and a bit about me and I’m sorry this video is long. Goodbye.

We’re still deciding which accents to use as well!
I recommend the American accent!
By the way, you didn’t mispronounce any words in that video. It was really good. There must be a very high standard of English in Norway.
I know and you were very fluent too, and she’s only 15.
Spectacular. Thank you so much for the video.
I think you should get the SEVY for fluency.

Hi, my name is Miriam Keller. I’m from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I live in Sao Paulo. I’m a retired secretary but I still work because I have to, and English is my working tool. So, I’m always… I’m always trying to find interesting things, review things, learn more, and so on. And your videos are fantastic. I always recommend them to friends and colleagues. And I always… I always try to watch them. Well, I’m retired, but as I say, I like very much languages, and I like very much to read, and go to the movies, and so on, listen to music. So, English is very important to me. Thank you very much. Bye-bye.

Miriam I know exactly what you mean about having to go back to work after you’re retired.
Yes, but you know you’re a wonderful example for us all, because you’re finding things that you like, like movies and reading, and making English fun. So I feel like Miriam should have another inspiration SEVY.
Excellent. Thank you Miriam.

I am 12 years old and I am studying in the seventh grade. About myself I can say that I am a fun, clever, industrious and friendly girl. I want to speak fluently in English – from my native language, Ukrainian. I like to draw. I have a sister. Her name is Sasha. She is studying in the pedagogical college. In the future she will be an interpreter or English teacher. She is a friendly, compassionate and clever girl. I love my sister but sometimes she takes away our notebook and it is bad because I can’t watch English cartoons! By the way, Vicki and Jay, we use your lessons in our English lessons. We like your videos and you’re like real actors. Thanks for your work.

I think we’ll have to talk to your older sister about taking away your notebook computer.
Bohdan. you get the SEVY for having a great attitude. You’re going for it. You’re using what you’ve learnt and trying it out and it’s great to see. Keep it up.
I have to say your personality came right through in that video. Thank you very much.

Hi Vicki and Jay. This is Marcelo. I always enjoy watching your videos.
I learn a lot and I have fun at the same time. And, well, I’m from Chile. I’m…I’m not a student, yeah, I’m not a student. I’m working nowadays redacting (drafting) some reports for a company. And my English goal basically is to have fun and, perhaps, English will help me in a moment for this job or another one. I don’t know. I have to say that I lived in Australia when I was a child, but I have been studying English since some years ago. But…and I’m trying to take my English back, right? So, I guess that that is another of my main goals. OK, well those were your questions. Thank you very much for this great opportunity to talk to you guys. You are really lovely. I always watch every single episode from you both. Ok thank you very much. Bye-bye.

Thank you Marcelo. You are certainly doing a good job getting your English back.
Indeed. One of the things that struck me was how clear your speech was. In fact that’s your SEVY – clarity. And then you mentioned that you’d been in Australia when you were a child, and I thought, oh that’s why. But that’s going to be a great help for listening as you’re learning English.
Thanks Marcelo, great video.
Now before we carry on I just want to mention that for some people, this challenge was extra difficult because for religious reasons or for other personal reasons they didn’t want to appear on camera. But they found a way round it and we’re going to watch some of these videos now.

Hi Vicki and Jay. I’m Farshid and I’m Iranian. I am a student of architecture. I hope to learn English in order to have better communication with people around the world.

I want to give you the linguist SEVY, Farshid.
Because of the certificate on his book shelf. Did you see?
What did it say?
Pahlavi. It was a language – an ancient Persian language.
And it’s now extinct?
Yes. But although he’s studying architecture, he’s obviously a linguist too.

Hello there Vicki and Jay! This is Steffi and I’m sending you a thousand warm hugs from Erfurt, which is right in the middle of Germany. And with this small video I want to send you a few pictures of where I love to live. Reading my comments you may have noticed that I am quite a chatterbox, and I love to connect with people from all around the world to learn more about their country and their culture and my bucket list is incredibly full with all the spots I want to travel to and that’s why I want to speak proper and fluent English. Congratulations for over 100,000 subscribers Vicki and Jay and thank you so much for being the most creative and astounding English teachers I’ve ever met. Simple English Videos Yay! And this is my hamster, Carla.

Very good Steffi, and it was a pleasure meeting Carla, too.
Steffi sounded exactly as I expected. If you look at the comments at Simple English Videos you’ll see that Steffi is often there contributing and it’s really nice that you’re a chatterbox Steffi. We appreciate it.
So what’s her SEVY.
OK. Ahhh, I don’t know, what can we give her the SEVY for?
For the cutest pet!
I’ll tell you what though. I’d like to give her an intonation SEVY, because her pronunciation was superb.

Hello. Good day to you. My name is Sarah, and I am from Germany. I’ve been studying English for a year teaching most things to myself. English is for me not only a language. For me it is what makes me – me. I love England and English more than anything really. And my goals are to live in England when I’m grown up. I’m a student and I see myself working in connection to the English language. In December, this year, I’ll be passing the exam for the language level ‘C-1’ hopefully. And after this I’d like to continue with the next and final level.

Sarah, if I didn’t know you’re from Germany, I’d have assumed you’re from London because your accent is so good!
For someone who’s self taught, it’s amazing and you get the pronunciation SEVY.
Really good. Thank you very much.
And good luck with your exam. I think you’re going to do really well.

To be or not to be photogenic, that is the question. In the age of selfies I’m afraid I’m not. That’s why I chose a picture of my parent’s kissing before my nickname “Maninima” which is how I call my mom. Yet, when you invited your followers to send a video, I thought I could take this chance to thank you, Vicki and Jay, and other teachers on YouTube. By the way, my name is Simone. I’m Italian, and I fell in love with English when my dad made me listen to his favorite music, spirituals, jazz, Gershwin, and I discovered the Beatles. I began singing those songs and I found I could express my feelings better if I didn’t use my mother tongue. Maybe because I was very shy. I started at university to learn the language more deeply. But soon I had to give up for a series of troubles. My dad got cancer. My vocal cords developed a rare disease. A guy molested me. A car accident ruined my spine, just to name a few. So, thanks a lot Vicki and Jay, Aly from “Papa Teach Me”, Tom from “Eat, Sleep, Dream English”, “Love English” with Leila and Sabrah, and many more for keeping my mind working and for making me smile with your sense of humor and kindness. Love you all.

Thank you Simone. That took a lot of courage and we really appreciate it.
And I appreciated your sharing too, and sharing the names of other great YouTube channels, so more people can find them.
By the way, you had us at Gershwin and the Beatles. We love them. Thanks again Simone.
Congratulations to everyone who took part in this challenge.
You were all amazing.
We can’t thank you enough for sharing your life and goals with us.
We loved meeting you and it’s been very motivating for us.
Yes, we need to make some more videos now.
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-bye.
Click here to see some hang out videos with Vicki and Jay.
Click here to see some more Simple English Videos.

Your English Goals – Speaking Challenge 2019

Your English Goals – Speaking Challenge 2019

This is your invitation to practice speaking English with us and appear in one of our videos!
Make a short video where you’re speaking in English, and we’ll share it with the world.
Here’s how it works:
1. You make a short video of yourself speaking – just a few sentences. Tell us who you are and your English goals.
2. You send the video to us, or send us a link where we can download it.
3. We put your videos into one longer video that we publish on our channel.


Keep your video short – just a few sentences is fine. Tell us:
1. Who you are
For example: Where are you from? Are you a student? What are you studying? Or are you working? What’s your job?
2. Your English goals:
For example: Do you have an exam you want to pass or a job where you need English? Or maybe you’re planning to travel somewhere or perhaps you’re learning English for fun?
If you have a YouTube channel, post your video there as unlisted or public (not private) and send us the link. The deadline is Monday March 24th, 2019.
Please check the video for Vicki’s email address or use the contact form on this website.

Click here to see last year’s SEVY awards video.

Practice speaking in English with us

Hi! In today’s video we want to set you a speaking challenge!
Will you come and practice speaking English with us?
Last year we set our viewers a challenge. We asked them to send us a video of themselves speaking English.
We were thrilled when 13 people responded.
It was wonderful.
We met people from all over the world, doing lots of different things.
We loved it because it helped us to get to know you a little better. So we want to do it again!
It’s not easy to find ways to practice speaking in English. This is your chance!
We want you to make a very short video where you’re speaking in English, that we’re going to share with the world.
We’ll put your videos together in one video that we’ll share on our channel.
So are you up to a challenge? Here’s what we want you to do. Make a short video – just a few sentences, telling us where you’re from, what you do and something you want to be able to do in English.
We’re really excited to know more about you.
Are you students? What are you studying?
Or are you working? What’s your job?
And what are your English goals? Do you have an exam you want to pass or a job where you need English?
Or maybe you just want to chat with friends in English and you’re learning for fun?
So that’s your challenge. Tell us who you are and what your English goals are.
And video it!
It means you’ll get speaking practice and we’ll all get to know one another better.
Have we got any examples we can show everyone?
Yes. At the end of this video, I’ll put a link so you can see the videos we received last year.
Great – And if you do a good job you’ll get a SEVY award!
So what is a SEVY?
This is our version of the Oscars. It’s an award for students who rise to the speaking challenge.
The videos we received last year were so good that we created this prize! The SEVY!
SEVY stands for Simple English videos YES!
Or Simple English videos YAY!

Tips for making a video of yourself speaking

Do we have some tips for filming?
Yes. First one – keep it short and simple. Just a few sentences is fine.
And feel free to share photos if you want, but if anyone else appears in your pictures, make sure it’s OK with them first.
Yes. Because we’re going to be putting your videos on YouTube for the world to see. Oh and this is very important – no music, please. We need to make sure we’ve paid for any music we use.
Now make sure the camera is horizontal when you shoot it and not vertical
Yes, it should be landscape not portrait. And that’s it!
So your task is to tell us where you’re from, what you do and why you’re learning English – in other words, your English goals.
Are you ready for your deadline? It’s Monday March 24th.
That’s not long. Just ten days. So get your cameras out and get busy!
OK, the last thing – how to send their videos to us.
The best way to do it is to upload it to YouTube and send us the link.
You need to publish this as public or unlisted. This is important. Don’t keep it private, or we can’t see it.
Yes, and send the link to this address.
That’s me! I can’t wait to see what you send us. This is very exciting.
And if you do a good job, you might win a SEVY!
If you have any problems sending us links to your videos, or if you don’t have a YouTube channel, email me.
And now we want to show you another award.
Oh yes, this is very cool.
We’ve received a button from YouTube for having 100,000 subscribers.
Thank you everyone for clicking that subscribe button. This is the result. It’s very pretty.
Where are we going to put it?
We can hang it on the wall – see – there’s a hole here.
My office, above my exercise equipment.
I thought it could go in my office.
We need to have a private conversation about this.
My office!
See you all next week everyone. Bye-bye.
Click here to see last year’s SEVY awards video.

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.