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Peppy English Lessons

Making Wishes - Learn English with Steve Ford - Peppy 28

Hello! Hello! Hello! Here is part 2 of "Steve in Vancouver". There is a lot of vocabulary to help you improve your speaking in English and I have also included making wishes which is a tricky thing to both learn and teach in English

Making Wishes

Making wishes can be tricky in English and the main challenge is what verbs you are using and if you are making the wishes in the present or about the past. In my lesson we cover some examples for making wishes in the present. So let's look at some examples of "stative" or "non-action" verbs: I wish I had more time, I wish I knew more English and I wish I were taller. All of the previous examples use verbs which are not actions and when you make a wish, you need to put them into the simple past according to the correct conjugation of the subject pronoun. So, I wish I had time, she wishes she had time etc. There is one verb which I am sure you are wondering about which is "be". Why did I say, "I wish I were" and not "I wish I was"? Simple put, we need to use "were" with all of the subject pronouns and yes that includes "I, she/he/it". Why? This is the conditional structure we have to follow when using wishes with "be". 

Why can't I say, "I wish I was"?

You'll hear "I wish I was" or "I wish he/she/it was" in colloquial English. It is a common mistake among native English speakers, however, you need to know that this would be considered a mistake in speaking for writing or formal speaking. So be careful with how you particularly use the verb "be" when making wishes.

What about "if I was and if I were?

There has always been a lot of talk among English teachers about this subject too. If you say, "I wouldn't do that if I was you" it sounds colloquial. Why? Well with if sentences, when the situation is impossible, you need to use "were" as in "I wouldn't do that if I WERE you". You would be able to use "was" in conditional sentences where there is a real possibility. For example, "if I was less busy, I would visit you more". In this last sentence, you can use "was" since the situation is possible. At the end of the day, if you can't be bothered to figure out if the situation is possible or impossible, just use "were" for all subject pronouns in if sentences and you should be fine

What about "I wish that I could fly" and "I wish you would stop"?

As I said previously, when you make wishes for yourself or other people using action verbs you can use "could + verb". So "I wish that I could fly" or "I wish that you could fly". Please note that "that" is optional. In my second example I used, "I wish you would stop". We can only use "would" when making wishes about something in the moment you wished would actually happen. I find many students using would the wrong way, for example: "I wish I would fly". This is wrong since "would" is only used for making wishes about other people and things you wish about them. Wishes using "would" are very real and tangible. So you could say, "I wish you would stop making so much noise" or "I wish you would call me more". That's more of a polite request to ask the person to call you, but maybe they just can't be bothered to. If you said, "I wish you could call me more", the meaning changes to your wishing the person had the ability. Maybe they're too busy or have some other circumstance beyond their control.

Great Descriptive Vocabulary

I have included a lot of descriptive vocabulary in my lesson as I walked through the forest here in Vancouver. I also included some phrasal verbs detailing how I was looking at things which are used a lot by native speakers

Well everyone enjoy the video and I invite you to try the quiz which covers everything I taught in "Steve in Vancouver" part 1 and 2

Bye for now!

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English Idioms and Expressions - Learn English with Steve Ford - Peppy 27

Hello! Hello! Hello! Leda(my wife) and I filmed this video here in Vancouver on Saturday and here it is: a brand new lesson on English idioms and expressions.This video was shot on location at Vancouver tourist attraction Capilano Suspension Bridge. There are lots of fun and useful idioms and expressions.

Outdoor location for our lesson: Capilano Suspension Bridge

We got some great sunny weather to shoot our lesson. The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River in the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The current bridge is 140 metres (460 ft) long and 70 metres (230 ft) above the river. It is part of a private facility, with an admission fee, and draws over 800,000 visitors a year. The bridge has been featured as a setting in episodes of several television series, including MacGyver, Sliders, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven, and Psych. I was quite inspired to make this lesson and there are some golden idioms and expressions that are commonly used by native speakers of English.

Will there be "Steve in Vancouver Part 2"?

I had enough material left over to go over a grammar topic I have always wanted to teach and yes it is part of the master film footage we shot in Capilano Park. I also have some additional expressions and vocabulary left over from part 1. So stay tuned for part 2.


I worked all Sunday and Monday recording and mixing: electric and classical guitar, bass and piano. I improvised the melody on my classical guitar and had originally wanted to sing it, but I changed my mind at the last minute.

So everyone, I hope you love this lesson since I sure did. Feel free to try your luck at the hangman quiz after you watch the video!
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Bye for now!

Learn English with Steve Ford - Peppy 26 - Scary Characters

Hello! Hello! Hello everyone and happy Halloween! This video is a fun video to learn English: idioms, phrasal verbs and also a lot about the culture of Halloween.
Do you believe in ghosts? Is your boss a Vampire in disguise? Does one of your old friends look like a total zombie? I answer many of these questions in my most recent peppy video. EXTRA QUIZZES COMING SOON! Visit this page often! :)

The Tradition of Halloween

It's a time of year in North America and many other countries where people like to put on a costume. For children it's a time to make the rounds of their neighbourhood and say 'trick or treat'. They then go around and ask for candies and if they don't get any they might just play a trick on the resident who refused to give them something. There is an air of mystique as nobody knows who anybody is behind the mask.Likewise, adults also love to go to costume parties so that they can put on a mask and at the same time pretend that they are someone they aren't.Costumes range from simple masks to very elaborate and authentic. In fact, there are many stores now, even department stores that either sell or rent costumes as it has become big business.

So where did Halloween come from? Did it just pop out of nowhere several hundred years ago or is their some chain of events that led up to its beginning?

The ancient Celts believed that the border between this world and the other world became thin on Samhain, allowing spirits (both harmless and harmful) to pass through. The family's ancestors were honored and invited home while harmful spirits were warded off. It is believed that the need to ward off harmful spirits led to the wearing of costumes and masks. Their purpose was to disguise oneself as a harmful spirit and thus avoid harm. In Scotland the spirits were impersonated by young men dressed in white with masked, veiled or blackened faces.

The word Halloween is first attested in the 16th century and represents a Scottish variant of the fuller All-Hallows-Even ("evening"), that is, the night before All Hallows Day. Up through the early 20th century, the spelling "Hallowe'en" was frequently used, skipping the "v" and shortening the word. Although the phrase All Hallows is found in Old English(the feast of all saints), All-Hallows-Even is itself not attested until 1556. The imagery of Halloween is derived from many sources, including national customs, works of Gothic and horror literature (such as the novels Frankenstein and Dracula), and classic horror films (such as Frankenstein and The Mummy).Elements of the autumn season, such as pumpkins, corn husks, and scarecrows, are also prevalent. Homes are often decorated with these types of symbols around Halloween. Halloween imagery includes themes of death, evil, the occult, magic, or mythical monsters. Traditional characters include ghosts, witches, skeletons, vampires, werewolves,demons, bats, and black cats. The colours black and orange are associated with the celebrations, perhaps because of the darkness of night and the colour of fire, autumn leaves or pumpkins. So with all of these modern symbols of creatures and monsters from Frankenstein to Dracula added on, what is so appealing about halloween! For this, we have to go further back in time to the time of ancient Rome and Greece where wearing masks was also part of yearly festivities.

Well now that you have a little background about the tradition of Halloween, let's match that up with how it fits into a modern context. Enjoy the video and the interactive video quiz at the end to help you remember what I teach in the video! Bye for now!

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