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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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Learn English with Steve Ford - Peppy 25 - Time Travel 2

Hello! Hello! Hello Everybody! Here is my latest video about travelling in time. Only this time, we are travelling into the past. If you enjoyed our last video about travelling to the future to see what kind of crazy technology we will be using for communication, food and entertainment, you are going to love this one. However, even with all of the mind bending technology we now have and are soon to have, there is nothing that can replace human genius. I’ve done quite a bit of research on how geniuses come up with their inventions and masterpieces and more than often they have said that they come from a moment of inspiration.

Leonardo Da Vinci

In Peppy 25 you will be able to hear things “straight from the horses mouth”(directly) about what Da Vinci was working on back in the 15th and 16th century. This man was a “polymath”(expert in many fields)  and his few pieces of artwork are true gems. It’s no coincidence that a man whose painting the Mona Lisa, which was painted hundreds of years ago, is part of pop culture. This painting has been featured in everything from TV commercials, products and posters. But Da Vinci was not just a painter, he was also an inventor as we will see in the video.


The da Vinci Code and the Dark Guard

The dark guard was very aware of Da Vinci’s genius. His ideas were revolutionary for the time and it’s not a coincidence that he wrote backwards so that his ideas could not be investigated easily. If you have a chance to read Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code, you will understand there is a strong chance that Mr. Da Vinci was working on two separate levels with what he was trying to say with his paintings. Analysts of his drawings and paintings have proposed that there is a great deal of advanced geometry and mathematics involved. Regardless of whichever theory, the more you look at some of Da Vinci’s paintings, the more you will see the depth of his work.

  Prepositions of Location

One of the main focuses in the end part lesson of my video deals with prepositions that you might have always been in doubt about. I have also used them with modifiers just as native speakers do so that should be a huge help in regard to how you can use them in a natural way. Even very advanced English students find prepositions to be a pain in the neck. If you have problems with them too, don’t worry as everyone’s in the same boat!


Phrasal Verbs, Idioms, Vocab.

You are going to learn a load of new English in this video and because there is so much, I have posted definitions throughout the video. I suggest you keep note and watch the video once for entertainment purposes and a second time try to write down as many as you can and put them into practice when you’re speaking. At the end of the video, I try to highlight the English that I liked most in the video.


The Subjunctive

Over the past 20 years I’ve noticed that English teachers shy away from(avoid) teaching the subjunctive because it’s hard to explain. Watch out for a part in the video where I show how the subjunctive is used by the ship’s captain and the explanation in writing that I give for it. Keep in my mind that the subjunctive is a more formal verb tense and is often used by professionals who are “the voice of authority”. Some examples of the subjunctive would be:

We suggest that she rest for the next few days.

We recommend that he take two aspirins tonight.

Notice how the third person singular does NOT take an “s”


Steve’s Music

In Peppy 25 I have included instrumentals of my own music. In particular watch out for an instrumental I played on classical guitar called “Medieval Dance”. I wrote this piece many years back and after receiving classical guitar training, I tried to make it sound as Medieval/Renaissance as possible. There is a short trumpet instrumental when Peppy Spaceship crew arrive in Florence, Italy. I have no idea where I got the idea for the “Leonardo Da Vinci” song. I came up with it strumming away on my guitar and then I proceeded to record guitar, bass and vocals. It took me a good two days to do. :)

Quiz Answers are here

Additional Quizzes coming soon!!



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Fun Vocab. Quiz!