If you have ever wondered why our four-legged friends are so terrified during fireworks, the following public service announcement is probably what you are looking for. You might have some answers through the explanations of one of them, as well a good opportunity to improve your listening comprehension skills and your vocabulary. However, if you need some help click HERE to get the script of the video.
To be on edge: nervous, anxious
Unleash: to free from, to suddenly release a violent force that cannot be controlled
Stampede: an occasion when many large animals or many people suddenly all move quickly and in an uncontrolled way, usually in the same direction at the same time, especially because of fear
Numb: unable to think, feel, or react normally because of something that shocks, frightens or upsets you
Fire hydrant: a pipe usually in the street that provides water especially for putting out fires
To vaporize into oblivion: to cease to exist, to be completely destroyed
Actress Naomi Watts, who was born in England but moved to Australia in her teens, teaches us British and Australian slang in a video for Vanity Fair.
In a previous one, actress Salma Hayek offered in a similar way a lesson on common Spanish expressions and slang in Mexico. If you are interested click HERE
In this compilation video of 100 characters from 100 different movies, revise how to count down from 100 to 0. The full list of movies is available by clicking here.
As you probably already noticed, we do love animals at English For Grown Ups. This time, we encountered an incredibly intelligent border collie named Chaser, who is able to understand and respond to one thousand and twenty-two words in English. Through intensive training and a clever process of elimination, the dog demonstrates her ability to learn a new word in this amazing video.
Everyday, fashion-forward styles emerge in the streets of Paris, London or New-York and make us feel old-fashioned, even older than we really are. Haven’t we all, one day, felt less trendy trying to understand what a teen pop-star meant by saying “My new mate has an amazing fixed gear style and he is bearded as a hispter”? The American illustrator Rob Dobi gives us a useful pictionnary to decrypt the latest dress codes and styles we come across in the streets everyday. His illustration series named “Your scene sucks” is also a good way to improve our fashion vocabulary and knowledge in modern tribes accessories.
If you want to know more about the American illustrator Rob Dobi and maybe find ideas to sharpen up your wardrobe, have a look at Dobi's websites at the following addresses.
trendy: very fashionable or up to date
hipster: a person who follows the latest fashions
to come across: to come face to face with something
sharpen up: improve
For more on the Daily Mail: How humans bred some dogs to be unrecognizable from their ancestors
CONSTRUCTION OF THE PRESENT PERFECT
Subject + auxiliary have/has + past participle
The past participle is the -ed form of the verb.
Humans have changed man's best friend.
In the case of an irregular verb, pick it up in the 3rd column. Irregular verbs have their own forms.
The ambassador has eaten all the Ferrero Rocher chocolates.
- Interrogative form:
As you remember, when you want to ask a question, you need an auxiliary. Make it simple, use have or has.
Have you seen Celine’s incredible show in Vegas?
- Negative form:
Scooby-Doo and Shaggy have not arrived yet and we all wonder where they are.
*Next to come in English for grown ups, when to use the present perfect in three parts.
You can use the present perfect when a past action has an impact on the present situation.
Look, the dog has broken his leg.
The action took place in the past. We don’t care where or when. What matters is the impact on the dog’s present life: he has a plaster and a cone (of shame).
Oh shit, Michael has been to the hairdresser’s!
Again, what is important here, is that a past action (to go to the hairdresser’s) has an effect on the present: he looks very different.
Now, watch this short video and construct a nice sentence describing the final scene:
Our proposition: The astronaut has eaten too many beans. He has farted and will be killed.
Use the present perfect when you want to talk about your life experience. In this case, what is really important is what happened and not when or where it happened. If it was the case, we would have used the preterit. When questioning someone’s life experience, use EVER like in this song by the Standells "Have you ever spent the night in jail?"
Click on this link for the lyrics: the_Standells_Have_you_ever
A 13-year-old Irish boy asks a similar question in a powerful video he posted for Safer Internet Day (February 9th 2016). The teenage boy, who has previously been cyberbullied, made it “to help raise the awareness for other people about how to handle cyberbullying”.
Click on this link for the script: cyber_bullying
And you, have you ever been cyberbullied? Have you ever spent the night in jail? Some answers could be : Yes, I have already been cyberbullied. No I have never spent the night in jail.
The present perfect can be used when something started in the past and is still happening now. I have lived in Paris for 10 years. This example means that you started living in Paris 10 years ago and still live in the French capital city. So it is very important to use the present perfect when you want to express an ongoing action that started in the past and that is still true now. If you had used the preterit, it would have meant that the action is over. I lived in Paris for 10 years means that you lived in Paris in the past, but that you now live somewhere else.
You can also find the progressive, or continuous form of the present perfect. Not many differences with the simple one and quite common when you want to talk about unfinished situations, or stress the fact that the activity is continuing now.
Subject + have/has + been + Vbing
For example: I have been waiting for two hours. We have been living together for too long.
Or less common:
Everybody has heard about Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. and about their fight for Civil Rights in America. But have you ever heard about James Baldwin? James Arthur Baldwin (1924–1987) was an African-American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet and a social critic. Baldwin was also known to be an activist and he dedicated a large part of his life to put up a struggle for black people Civil Rights. Inspired by Baldwin's words and works, Haitian filmmaker Raoul Peck directed in 2016 a masterpiece movie about the black condition in America. “I am not your negro”, is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. To understand Baldwin's punchy and smart fight for rights, have a look at the following trailer of Raoul Peck's multiple award-winning documentary.
If you enjoyed the trailer and want more, “I am not your negro” is now in theaters and also available in streaming or on legal downloading platforms.
Civil Rights: The rights that every person should have regardless of their sex, race, or religion.
Civil Rights Movement: Also known as the American Civil Rights Movement, is a term that includes the social movements in the United States whose goals were to end racial segregation and discrimination against African-Americans.
to put up a struggle: To protest about something over time.
masterpiece: A supreme intellectual or artistic achievement.
Black Lives Matter or BLM: Is an international activist movement, originating in the African-American community, that campaigns against violence and systemic racism toward black people.
Why do cats act so weird?
People love cats because they are cute, and also because they can be cuddly, crazy, curious, wild and in the meantime peaceful.
In the following animated TED-Ed lesson, Tony Buffington shows how cats’ behaviors such as exploring, pouncing on different things and squeezing into tight spaces are all instinctual. In other words, they are not that weird, that bizarre.
To us, the great interest of this video lies in the large number of action verbs that are used. Here is bellow a non-exhaustive list of some them with their explanation.
to pounce: to move suddenly forwards to catch or attack
to bounce: to jump up and down
to cram / to squeeze into: to force sth or sb into a small space
to stalk: to move slowly and quietly towards sb or sth, in order to catch or kill
to claw: to scratch with claws (nails if human)
to chatter: to make a series of short high sounds. To know more about this special phenomenon, have a look at Leo who talks to birds by making cute chattering noises. See how it is different from purring, which is a more low and continuous sound coming from the throat.
to sharpen: to make things sharper, like the blade of a knife or teeth
to baffle: to confuse sb completely
vantage point (from advantage point): a position that allows a clear view or understanding
to be compelled: to be forced to do sth
to rip things to shred: to cut things into small pieces
to thrive: /ai/to flourish
nap: a short sleep
to heal: to become healthy again
stealthy: when you do things secretly or quietly
to outsmart: to gain an advantage over sb by doing sth clever
On the 9th of December 2016, the latest police parade in Kampala (Uganda) was a bit weirder than usual.
To protest against sexual violence, to educate their community and raise money for rape crisis centres, women’s shelters and other sexual prevention and recovery services, some police officers decided to walk a mile in women’s high heel shoes.
This march aimed at shedding the light on the significantly increasing number of rapes, sexual assaults and domestic violence.This kind of demonstration called “Walk a mile in her shoes” was initiated in 2001 by Venture Humanity Inc. (a U.S. based non-profit organisation) to stop violence against women and is now sponsored by U.N. Women – the United Nations organisation dedicated to gender equality.
Congratulations to all the participants in the march, and let’s hope they won’t give up their fight in the 115th country out of 152 in term of gender equality.
shelter: a place where someone is protected
rape: the crime of forcing someone to have sex especially by using violence
domestic violence: violence between members of a family including children
sexual assault: the crime of sexually attacking someone
If you know someone who is about to travel abroad, the best advice you can give them is that they should consider the existing laws in the country they want to go to. Laws are written to rule a society and directly depend on its peculiarities and culture. That is why, they are often difficult to understand or anticipate in a foreign country.The following video of the Sam O’nella Academy is a good illustration of that.
If you are interested in the topic, you can also have a look at this article from the Daily Mail.
No sleeping donkeys in the bath after 7pm in Oklahoma Illegal to be overweight in Japan, the country who brought us sumo Turn that frown upside down if you're in Milan, Italy When travelling around the world, it's not always a bad idea to do your research on local laws and traditions.
And remember: wherever you go around the world, the law is harsh, but it is the law.
abroad: In or to a foreign country or countries
peculiarity: A strange or unusual feature or habit
harsh: Cruel or severe
In this brutally honest FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) poster about pregnancy, discover some of the most sarcastic answers given by an OB (obstetrician).
moody: bad tempered, grumpy
reliable: s.o or sth that can be trusted
alimony: (especially American) The money that a court orders sb to pay to their former husband or wife once they are divorced.
diaper: American word for the British nappy. The material you stick on the baby's bottom to absorb their pee and poop.
In 2013, after an arrest in which he participated, PC Peach was asked by the British CPS (Crown Prosecution Service) to write a report about it. The thing is that PC Peach is neither a fruit nor a policeman, he is a police dog from a K9 (canine /'keinain/) unit. When CPS persisted with their demand to get a statement, officers from the West Midlands Police, fed up with not being listened to, decided to send them the following document they so badly wanted.
PC Peach, pictured with his handler:
You probably noticed that the Brits pronounce the letter Z as /zed/, but how is it that the Americans say /zi:/ (= zee) instead?
Simon Whistler of Today I Found Out will give you the answer in the following very interesting video.
In the world we live in today, rape and sexual assaults are some of the most common forms of crime against women. Sometimes inappropriately referred as the « weaker sex », women used to be considered easy targets. But not anymore!
In this ABC News video below, check how self-defense tactics has helped this 36 year-old woman to defend herself and ensure her own safety.
To fend off: To defend yourself against someone who is attacking you
Weak: not physically strong
Chills: a feeling of sudden fear; apprehension
Battered: beaten with successive hits
Frantic: feeling a lot of fear and worry
Expletive: a syllable, word, or phrase inserted to fill a vacancy
Stall: a small enclosed place (in this case a public restroom)
Surge: a sudden, large increase (in this case, of adrenaline)
Overwhelming: very great in number, effect, or force
Harassment: to annoy or bother (someone) in a constant or repeated way
Stitched: wound or large cut closed or joined with a special piece of thread (string)
Bruise: colored area of the skin that is caused by an injury
To celebrate Saint Patrick's Day on the 17th of March and add some culture in your beer, have a look at the following video about the origins of this celebration day. If you are not too thirsty after that, you can also test your knowledge of this very Irish topic and, who knows, win some pints of black Irish stout by betting with your friends at the pub.
1/Saint Patrick was born in Ireland: true/false
2/The first Saint Patrick's Day parade took place in Dublin: true /false
3/The original colour associated with Saint Patrick is green: true /false
4/Saint Patrick’s Day is the Ireland’s national day: true/false
Patron saint: holy person who is supposed to give a special protection to something in particular.
To be thirsty: to feel that you need to drink.
Stout: (in this context) a strong dark beer.
To bet: to risk something on the results of a competition.
Shamrock (Irish) or clover (GB): a small plant with three green leaves.
Roses are red, violets are blue, cops eat doughnuts (donuts in American English).
In a very interesting and instructive episode, Today I Found Out comes back on the probable reason why the idea of American police officers (the boys in blue) eating doughnuts is such a widespread stereotype.
In the mid 20th century, establishments selling food were all closed at night. That’s why there were only two options left for those working night shift : diners and doughnut shops.
A diner is a small restaurant that serves cheap meals.
In 1964, a certain David Jones, who will later be known as David Bowie, was the leader of the band The Manish Boys. To gain visibility and publicity, they created the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-Haired Men. And it worked, as they appeared for the first time on the BBC in a show called “Tonight”. A good opportunity for us to learn or practice some good English like the following:
They are tired of losing their jobs
Can I carry your handbag?
To have long hair
Some like it long, others like it short
Please also note the beautiful quality of the interviewer’s questions and the use of question tags.