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English conversations: telling an anecdote in English!

How often do you tell anecdotes when you’re talking?

Stories are useful in conversations. They’re fun to listen to, and they can make the conversation more interesting.

Telling stories in English is a very important skill to learn. But how can you become a good storyteller?

One of the best ways is to listen to other people telling stories.

In these short video clips, you’ll hear 3 anecdotes – a story about something that happened to a friend, another about something that affected them personally, and one about something that ruined the start to their day. Can you answer the questions?

Level: Pre-Intermediate to Upper-Intermediate (A2-B2)
Video activity

You’re going to watch some video clips from our fantastic online Complete English Course! Watch the video and try to answer the questions that appear at the start of each clip.

Here are the questions for you to answer. [answers below]
  1. The woman on the left is talking about a friend. What was stolen from this friend?
  2. What’s the worst news the man ever received?
  3. What’s the first item on the woman’s list of bad things that has happened to her?

Watch & read!

After you’ve finished, watch the video and read the script at the same time. This is great for developing your listening skills as you can see the relationship between the spoken and written words.

Video script

Clip 1

Jessica (left): So, you’re not going to believe this. Last night, my friend was going home on the tube, and she got pick-pocketed.
Natalie (right): No way!
J: Mmm… She had her handbag just over her shoulder, and someone just reached in and took her purse.
N: Only her purse?
J: Luckily only her purse, you know. She went to the police afterwards, but you know, all they can do is check CCTV, but the tube’s so busy that they just didn’t have a chance.

Clip 2

Host: Hi there, and welcome to the show! Today we’re going to talk about how to deal with bad news and accept change in your life, but first we thought we’d like to ask a few people on the streets to share their experiences.
Man: Hm, good news, bad news, let me see. I don’t really receive a lot of bad news, but I can think of one time where I received bad news in an email. I really, really wanted to go to King’s College in London, because I had a lot of friends in London, I had all of my favorite cafes and my bars, and I had an awesome band, but I got the bad news. I wasn’t going to school there. But, in the end, as it turns out, I got accepted into Bristol university.

Clip 3

Psychologist: So, Michelle, tell me about your week.
Michelle: It has been a disaster. I’ve taken some notes of all the terrible things that have happened this week.
P: Oh no, I’m very tired… I’m very sorry to hear that, I mean.
M: Well, for starters, this morning I woke up, and there was no milk in the fridge for my cereal or my tea! It was unbelievable. It was a horrible start to the day.
P: Oh no, that is terrible!
M: I know, and on top of that the pool cover… [fades out]

 The Complete English Course

By the way, these clips come from of the High-Level of The Complete English Course. Our 3-level online course will ensure you make real progress, improve all areas of English at the same time and increase your English level. Each level will improve your Speaking, Pronunciation, Listening, Reading, Vocabulary and Writing. For more information on this fantastic course and to try some sample lessons, please visit:  
  1. The woman on the left is talking about a friend. What was stolen from this friend? Her purse was stolen.
  2. What’s the worst news the man ever received? He was told he hadn’t been accepted at King’s College (university) in London.
  3. What’s the first item on the woman’s list of bad things that has happened to her? There was no milk in the fridge for her cereal or tea.

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