Learn English with TV shows
These TV show courses were written in order to help my online students learn English. They proved to be a popular and effective resource, and so I have decided to make them available here, on my website. It could be useful for two different types of readers. Firstly, teachers of English may find it a fun and effective resource to help their students learn English. The majority of homework exercises that English teachers give to their students are based on reading and writing skills. This course is an attempt to provide at least a 50% bias towards listening practice. The second type of reader is the independent student who enjoys ‘learning by doing’, and understands that fluency is obtainable once one’s reactions are fast enough to respond to everyday speech. Such speech is found in TV shows, and it would be a crime not to use it. I have included grammar and vocabulary exercises in all of the lessons, as well as some comprehension and discussion questions. As a teacher I give the lesson to the students as homework, and he or she watches the show in their free time and retells me a summary of the plot during the next class. I encourage them to use the target vocabulary and grammar forms during this retell, and we then discuss the questions. Other teachers could do the same, or they may prefer to use the material in some other way. The independent student could watch the shows, complete the answers, and then perhaps discuss the show with a friend. I think the retelling part is essential in order to improve speaking skills and learn the new vocabulary by heart.
HARRY POTTER – The Philosopher’s Stone
1) Why did Dumbledore think Harry Potter should live with his Uncle and Aunt in privet Drive?
2) Why was Dudley upset on his birthday?
3) What happened at the zoo?
4) Why does Uncle Vernon like Sundays?
5) What did Hagrid tell Harry when he finds him on his birthday?
6) What equipment did Harry need for school?
7) Where did Harry get his money?
8) What was special about Harry’s wand?
9) What did Hagrid tell Harry about his parents?
10) What did Harry buy on the train?
11) Which places were strictly forbidden to the new students?
12) How were they sorted into different schools?
13) Where had there been an (attempted) robbery?
14) What happened to Neville when he tried to use the broomstick?
15) What did they find when they were on the forbidden 3rd floor?
16) What did they all bump into in the toilets?
17) What was the dog guarding, according to Harry?
18) What happened in the quidditch match?
19) What present did Harry get for Christmas?
20) What magic mirror did Harry find?
21) What did Hermione find out about Nicholas Flamel?
22) What was Hagrid looking after?
23) What happened to Harry in the forest?
24) How is it possible to control ‘fluffy’ the three-headed dog?
25) What did they find under the trap door?
26) Who let the troll in, and cast a spell on Harry’s broom stick in quidditch?
27) Why couldn’t Voldemort kill Harry?
Match the vocabulary with the definitions
|to mention||to do some magic|
|to swear||not to be allowed / not be supposed to|
|to trust s.o||to promise|
|to be allowed to||to be in a better position|
|to be (far) better off||to have permission to do something|
|to levitate||to believe s.o|
|to be awarded||to win (a prize)|
|to be forbidden (‘out of bounds’)||to say|
|to let s.o in||To float in the air|
|to cast a spell||To allow someone to enter|
Put the words on the left in these quotes from the episode (include pronouns where necessary):
1) What happened?
Nothing, I ___. I just looked at it and the glass disappeared
2) Strictly speaking I’m not ____ to do magic
3) Best not to ____ this to anybody Harry
4) At the end of the year, the house with the most points ___ ___ the house cup.
5) The dark forest is strictly ____ to all students
6) I’m guessing that Professor Snape ___ the troll ___ as a diversion
7) Snape has already been here. He has ___ ___ ___ ___ on the harp, so it keeps playing music
Match the vocabulary with the definitions
|a wizard||possibly true stories|
|a scar||a magician|
|rumours||a famous person|
|a feast||a distraction|
|belongings||a great deal of food at a celebration|
|a celebrity||a mark on the skin after an injury|
|a century||something for flying (or cleaning)|
|a diversion||100 years|
|a troll||possessions (things you own)|
|a broom stick||a horrible large monster|
|detention||clothes worn by wizards which hang on the shoulders|
|a cloak||a punishment given to pupils who misbehave (remain in class)|
|a centaur||a mythical horse with one horn|
|a unicorrn||a mythical half man half horse creature|
Put the words on the left in these quotes from the episode:
1) Are the ____ true, Professor?
I’m afraid so. The good and the bad
2) You’re a ____ Harry. And so you can do magic.
3) Is it true, Harry? Do you really have the ___ on your forehead?
4) To celebrate the beginning of term the students were given a massive ____ and so no-one was hungry
5) All of your ___ have already been brought up
6) Well, we have a new ___ in this class. ‘Harry Potter’!
7) There hasn’t been a first year in the quidditch team for over a ___
8) How could they let a ___ get into the school. They are horrible!
9) Wow! That’s an invisibility ___ . What an amazing present. They are very rare
10) I found some ___ blood recently. It wasn’t dead, just hurt
Grammar – Present Perfect/Past simple
Present perfect is used to ask questions and make statements about general events in life (if we don’t know when they happened, or we don’t know the details yet). Have you seen ‘Titanic’? Have you read ‘War and Peace’? Have you been to France? Or, from the episode:
No one has ever died playing Quidditch
Mr Filch has asked me to remind you that the 3rd floor corridor is out of bounds
The finest headmaster Hogwarts has ever seen: Albus Dumbledore
It is also used to show results in the present. I have done my homework – here it is! Look! My car has disappeared. It has been stolen. Or, from the episode
No! You have made a mistake. I can’t be a wizard
All of your belongings have already been brought up
Look here everyone! Hermione has done it! Her feather is levitating
Lastly, it is used for long periods of time that continue into the present. These are unfinished periods. We have been married for 5 years and we still love each other very much. For example
There hasn’t been a first year (pupil) in the quidditch team for over a century
Present perfect is NEVER used if we say, ask or know WHEN something happened. If we say WHEN, then we use past simple. With finished periods we also use past simple.
Harry’s parents died when he was a baby
Some words are a signal to use present perfect. Yet, already, just, ever, never, for and since
Some words are a signal to use past simple. Ago, last week, 1998, in August, when
Put the following verbs into present perfect or past simple.
1) How many times ____ you ____ to London? (be)
2) When ____ he ____? (leave)
3) He ____ to me about 10 minutes ago. (speak)
4) I ____ never ____ a car. (drive)
5) Look! The lights ____ ____ .Drive! (change)
6) How long ____ you ____ your computer? (have)
7) I’m afraid he isn’t in the office at the moment. He ___ ___ to Frankfurt (go)
8) I am divorced now. But I ___ ___ for 8 years. (be married)
- Have you ever met a celebrity? When did you meet them? What did you talk about?
- If you were a magician, what spells would you cast?
- If you had an invisibility cloak, how would you use it?
- Have you heard any rumours recently? What did you hear?
- Have you ever had a detention? What happened? Why were you punished?
- Do you have any scars? How did you get them?
- What times of the year (festivals) do you usually eat a feast?
- In which century were you born?
- What places were forbidden (out of bounds) when you were young?
1) Because they are the only family he has. Also, he’ll be a famous magician at Hogwarts, and so he is better off far away from all of that.
2) Because last year he had 37 presents and this year he only has 36.
3) Harry made the glass of the snake tank disappear, and so a large snake escaped (and scared Dudley).
4) Because there’s no post on Sundays, and he hates the owls which keep bringing Harry invitations to Hogwarts.
5) That he’s a wizard, and that he’s invited to be a pupil at Hogwarts. Also that his parents hadn’t died in a car crash.
6) A wand, a cauldron, a quill, some ink, a pet (owl, cat or toad).
7) From the goblin bank.
8) It is one of two wands which were made from the feathers of a phoenix (a bird). The other wand belongs to Voldemort, and he gave Harry his scar
9) His parents were killed by Voldemort and he left the scar on his forehead, when he tried to curse him. Hagrid thinks Voldemort is still alive
10) Lots of Magic sweets for him and Ron.
11) The dark forest and the the third-floor corridor on the right-hand side are out of bounds to everyone who does not wish to die a very painful death.
12) They use a magic hat called the ‘sorting hat.
13) There has been a break in at Gringots bank (the goblins bank).
14) He fell off and lost his magic glass ball. Malfoy then took it, and threw it far away to break it, but Harry caught it, and was then awarded with a position on the quidditch team.
15) A very large 3 headed dog which was sleeping on a ‘trap door’. Hermione suggests the dog was guarding something.
16) They bumped into a troll, and had a fight. Ron beat the troll by managing to levitate his wooden club (stick), and drop it on his head.
17) The dog is guarding the same thing which Hagrid took from Gringots bank at the start.
18) Harry Potter caught the ball (in his mouth), and his team (Griffindor) won. However, Professor Snape seemed to be cursing Harry’s broomstick during the match. Hermione stopped him with a spell which made his jacket catch fire.
19) He got an invisibility cloak.
20) He found a mirror which always shows the viewer whatever he most wants . In the mirror he sees his parents.
21) She found out he is the creator of the Philosopher’s stone (He is also the man Hagrid accidentally mentioned earlier). This is something which can make you immortal.
22) He’s looking after a baby dragon (which is forbidden) but Malfoy sees this.
23) He saw Voldemort drinking the blood of a unicorn, and then a centaur came and saved him.
24) Play him some music and he will fall asleep.
25) Flying keys, and a life size game of chess. Ron had to sacrifice himself, so they could continue.
26) Professor Quirrell. He is being controlled by Voldemort. Professor Snape was actually trying to protect him.
27) Because he was protected by the power of love. His Mother had sacrificed her life for him.
|to mention||to say|
|to swear||to promise|
|to trust s.o||to believe s.o|
|to be allowed to||to have permission to do something|
|to be (far) better off||to be in a better position|
|to levitate||to float on air|
|to be awarded||to win (a prize)|
|to be forbidden (‘out of bounds’)||not to be allowed / not be supposed to|
|to let s.o in||To allow someone to enter|
|to cast a spell||To do some magic|
1) What happened?
Nothing, I swear. I just looked at it and the glass disappeared
2) Strictly speaking I’m not allowed to do magic
3) Best not to mention this to anybody Harry
4) At the end of the year, the house with the most points is awarded the house cup.
5) The dark forest is strictly forbidden (out of bounds) to all students
6) I’m guessing that Professor Snape let the troll in as a diversion
7) Snape has already been here. He has cast a spell on the harp, so it keeps playing music
|a wizard||a magician|
|a scar||a mark on the skin after an injury|
|rumours||possibly true stories|
|a feast||a great deal of food at a celebration|
|belongings||possessions (things you own)|
|a celebrity||a famous person|
|a century||100 years|
|a diversion||a distraction|
|a troll||a horrible large monster|
|a broom stick||something for flying (or cleaning)|
|detention||a punishment given to pupils who misbehave (remain in class)|
|a cloak||clothes worn by wizards which hang on the shoulders|
|a centaur||a mythical half man half horse creature|
|a unicorn||a mythical horse with one horn|
1) Are the rumours true, Professor?
I’m afraid so. The good and the bad
2) You’re a wizard, Harry. And so you can do magic
3) Is it true, Harry? Do you really have the scar on your forehead?
4) To celebrate the beginning of term the students were given a massive feast and so no-one was hungry
5) All of your belongings have already been brought up
6) Well, we have a new celebrity in this class. ‘Harry Potter’!
7) There hasn’t been a first year in the quidditch team for over a century
8) How could they let a troll get into the school. They are horrible!
9) Wow! That’s an invisibility cloak. What an amazing present. They are very rare
10) I found some unicorn blood recently. It wasn’t dead, just hurt
Present perfect/past simple
1) How many times have you been to London?
2) When did he leave?
3) He spoke to me about 10 minutes ago.
4) I have never driven a car.
5) Look! The lights have changed. Drive!
6) How long have you had your computer?
7) I’m afraid he isn’t in the office at the moment. He has gone to Frankfurt.
8) I am divorced now. But I was married for 8 years.
More of these vocabulary courses coming soon…
Learn English with my other courses for TV shows, including Sherlock, IT Crowd and Willy Fogg:
English with the IT Crowd: intermediate level
English with Sherlock (UK): upper intermediate level
English with Sherlock (US): advanced level
English with Willy Fogg: pre intermediate level
English with Father Ted: intermediate level
English with Blackadder: upper intermediate level