#16 0

This exercise is designed to give you practice identifying very specific information, like numbers, times, places and statistics. This kind of listening is important in everyday life, but also for exams such as IELTS. Please note – if you are writing a number, use numbers instead of words (e.g. write 10 instead of ten).

This clip is from the How I Built This podcast, which looks at the stories behind the creation of well known companies by interviewing their founders. It’s a brilliant podcast to listen to if you are interested in developing your business English! This episode features an interview with Stewart Butterfield, who created Slack. In this section, he is telling a story about leaving one of his first jobs.

Listen as many times as you need to, and see how quickly you can correctly identify all the missing information. Good luck!

And so around the end of of the I quit, I walked away. I thought I was walking away from like $ in equity, and I got bought out for, for $ on my way out. And of course, like later, later was the first dot com crash. And so in the end I got $ more than I would have had I stayed.

…in the end I got $35,000 more than I would have, had I stayed

This is a good example of an advanced third conditional structure, which is often used to make language more formal or serious (especially in writing).

To form this structure, the order of the condition (the ‘if’ section) is inverted (switched) and the word ‘if’ is not used. The normal conditional in this clip would be: I got $35,000 more than I would have, if I had stayed.

So for example, the sentence: If I had studied, I would have passed becomes: Had I studied, I would have passed.

Basically, drop ‘if’ and then switch the first 2 words. Not too complicated, but it’s a very advanced structure.

Can you give me your own example?

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#41 0

This clip is from an episode of The Allusionist, which is a wonderful podcast all about language.

The speaker is talking about his work as a hand engraver – cutting text or designs into objects (usually jewellery) by hand. The speaker has a London accent.

And . .
And there's still for us it's it's . We're people do London.
And for us there's still out there for us it's it's a dying trade. We're the youngest people still do it London.

…it’s a dying trade

If someone refers to a job or profession as a dying trade, then they are saying that it is disappearing due to a lack of demand or need for it.

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This clip is from an episode of The Allusionist, which is a wonderful podcast all about language.

The speaker is talking about the way that the word ‘please’ is sometimes used differently in British and American English.

I say please person I , shouldn't this?
Every I say please to American person I , maybe I shouldn't doing this?

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#39 0

This clip is from an episode of the Adam Buxton Podcast, which is a brilliant, funny and interesting conversational podcast. This episode features an interview with singer-songwriter John Grant.

John and Adam are discussing how they cope with long journeys.

, , Eurostar Paris.
Well, I I'd long day , then I go straight Eurostar Paris.
Well, I mean I'd had a long day of interviews, then I was booked go straight to Eurostar in Paris.

…Well, I mean

These are examples of fillers – words or phrases that we add to sentences while we think or organise our ideas. These are very common in natural spoken English, and an important listening skill is identifying and then ignoring fillers.

…I’d had a really long day

Notice the weak/contracted pronunciation of the past perfect in this sentence: /aɪd hæd/ rather than /aɪ hæd hæd/.

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