Audiobook (B1): Lorna Doone

One winter’s day in 1673 young John Ridd is riding home from school, across the wild lonely hills of Exmoor. He has to pass Doone valley – a dangerous place, as the Doones are famous robbers and murderers. All Exmoor lives in fear of the Doones. At home there is sad news waiting for young John, and he learns that he has good reason to hate the Doones. But in the years to come he meets Lorna Doone, with her lovely smile and big dark eyes. And soon he is deeply, hopelessly, in love . . .

Grammar: Gerunds After Prepositions

1. Gerund after prepositions that stand alone

  1. afterAfter having a shower, I waited for Steven.
  2. before: The tablet must not be taken before getting up in the morning.
  3. by: I manage it by working much longer than 40-hour weeks.
  4. in spite ofIn spite of studying a lot he didn’t pass the exams.
  5. on: What was her reaction on hearing the news?
  6. without: He told the joke without laughing.

2. Gerund after Adjective + Preposition

  1. afraid of: They are afraid of losing the match.
  2. angry about/at: Pat is angry about walking in the rain.
  3. bad at/good at: John is good at working in the garden.
  4. clever at: He is clever at skateboarding.
  5. crazy about: The girl is crazy about playing tennis.
  6. disappointed about/at: He is disappointed about seeing such a bad report.
  7. excited about: We are excited about making our own film.
  8. famous for: Sandy is famous for singing songs.
  9. fed up with: I’m fed up with being treated as a child.
  10. fond of: Hannah is fond of going to parties.
  11. glad about: She is glad about getting married again.
  12. happy about/at: The children are not happy about seeing a doctor.
  13. interested in: Are you interested in writing poems?
  14. keen on: Joe is keen on drawing.
  15. proud of: She is proud of riding a snowboard.
  16. sick of: We’re sick of sitting around like this.
  17. sorry about/for: He’s sorry for eating in the lesson.
  18. tired of: I’m tired of waiting for you.
  19. used to: She is used to smoking.
  20. worried about: I’m worried about making mistakes.

3. Gerund after Noun + Preposition

  1. advantage of: What is the advantage of farming over hunting?
  2. chance of: There’s a chance of catching a cold these days.
  3. choice between: There’s a choice between flying to London Heathrow or Stansted.
  4. danger of: Peggy is in danger of making a mistake.
  5. difficulty in: He has difficulty in texting.
  6. doubt about: He is in doubt about buying the correct software for his computer system.
  7. hope of: There’s little hope of catching the new Corvette.
  8. idea of: I like the idea of setting up a new email account.
  9. interest in: There’s no interest in writing letters.
  10. method of: This is a simple method of finding solutions.
  11. opportunity of: There’s some opportunity of bringing her parents together again.
  12. possibility of: These wheels offer the possibility of riding tubeless.
  13. problem of: He has the problem of swimming too slowly.
  14. reason for: There’s a real reason for winning the contest.
  15. risk of: There’s a risk of digging too deep.
  16. trouble for: He was in trouble for stealing.
  17. way of: This is a new way of building a wall.

4. Gerund after Verb + Preposition

  1. accuse of: They were accused of breaking into a shop.
  2. agree with: I agree with playing darts.
  3. apologize for: They apologize for being late.
  4. believe in: She doesn’t believe in getting lost in the wood.
  5. blame for: The reporter is blamed for writing bad stories.
  6. complain about: She complains about bullying.
  7. concentrate on: Do you concentrate on reading or writing?
  8. congratulate sb. on: I wanted to congratulate you on making such a good speech.
  9. cope with: He is not sure how to cope with getting older.
  10. decide against: They decided against stealing the car.
  11. depend on: Success may depend on becoming more patient.
  12. dream about/of: Sue dreams of being a pop star.
  13. feel like: They feel like going to bed.
  14. get used to: You must get used to working long hours.
  15. insist on: The girls insisted on going out with Mark.
  16. look forward to: I’m looking forward to seeing you soon.
  17. prevent (somebody) from (something): How can I prevent Kate from working in this shop?
  18. rely on (something): He doesn’t rely on winning in the casino.
  19. succeed in: How then can I succeed in studying chemistry?
  20. specialize in: The firm specialized in designing websites.
  21. stop (somebody) from: I stopped Andrew from smoking.
  22. talk about/of: They often talk about travelling to New Zealand.
  23. think about/of: Frank thinks of playing chess.
  24. warn (somebody) against: We warned them against using this computer.
  25. worry about: The patient worries about having the check-up.



MUCH  indicates a big quantity of an uncountable substance or element  (one that you can’t count).
example: There’s so much snow on the roads at present…


If the quantity becomes too big (a negative opinion of the quantity), much is preceded by TOO : TOO MUCH + uncountable noun = an excessive quantity

example: There has been too much rain and the lakes are very high … 



Another construction describing an excessive quantity is less frequent and is built with an adjective: =

example: This car is much too expensive for me to buy… 
example: This case is much too heavy : you can’t carry it!

In this construction, ‘MUCH’  has here the function of  emphasising and amplifying the adverb ‘too’;   it is equivalent to ‘far too heavy’.


There is even an expression : ‘much too much’. It describes a real excess or exaggerated amount of something and always comes after the verb that it describes.

example: He’s eaten much too much today… He’d better start a diet!




In the following exercise choose between TOO MUCH and MUCH TOO! 

1) Your sister’s __________________ clever to make this mistake twice.
  1. much too much
  2. too much
  3. much too
2) Tom’s __________________ shy! He’ll never speak in front of so many people …
  1. much too
  2. much too much
  3. too much
3) I think there’s __________________ snow on the roads to let the family go now.
  1. much too
  2. much too much
  3. too much
4) There we are again ! You’ve had __________________ chocolate again and now you’re feeling sick!
  1. much too
  2. too much
  3. much too much
5) You must be kidding! This car is __________________ expensive for me just to look at it, let alone buy it!
  1. much too much
  2. much too
  3. too much
6) These schoolboys are __________________ lazy to volunteer for extra work for the community.
  1. much too
  2. much too much
  3. too much
7) Sheila is __________________ fluent in French to take an ‘Intermediate Course’… She must follow the ‘Advanced Course’.
  1. much too much
  2. too much
  3. much too
8) No, Sam ! I won’t take it, I won’t! There’s far __________________ money for me to accept it.
  1. much too much
  2. too much
  3. much too
9) Look at this poor kid! He’s had __________________ computer time and is exhausted!
  1. much too much
  2. too much
  3. much too
10) I haven’t had __________________ sleep recently … I’d need a good night’s rest !
  1. too much
  2. much too
  3. much too much


1) much too
2) much too
3) too much
4) too much
5) much too
6) much too
7) much too
8) too much
9) much too much
10) too much

Audiobook (B1): Psycho

Psycho-1960-film-streaming-italiano-in-alta-definizione-gratisSecretary Marion Crane is on the run after stealing $40,000 from her employer in order to run away with her boyfriend, Sam Loomis. She is overcome by exhaustion during a heavy rainstorm.
Traveling on the back roads to avoid the police, she stops for the night at the Bates Motel and meets the polite but very tense owner Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins), a young man with an interest in taxidermy and a difficult relationship with his mother…

Reading: Girl Scouts

BEC Vantage Reading Part 3

Read the text and then answer questions 1-6.

The idea that a sales team can learn something from Girl Scouts will come as a surprise to many.  What has this out-dated organisation got to do with the fast-moving, corporate world of today? But in the girl scouts’ annual cookie drive, two hundred million units are sold per year, and their revenues exceed $700 million. And these figures are achieved only in a three-month period in the spring.

True, the organization has changed greatly in latter years, ever since the appointment of CEO Kathy Cloninger in 2003. Her mission was to revitalize a 95-year tradition-bound icon, famous only for camping, crafts and cookies. She has worked on instilling leadership qualities in the girls, developing new funding opportunities, creating an efficient organisational structure and developing a reinvigorated brand which is relevant to the modern world.

And nowhere are these changes more noticeable than in the annual cookie sale.  No longer relying on neighbourhood door-to-door sales to obtain a meagre revenue, the organisation now utilises a wide range of savvy, modern methods which businesses worldwide can learn from.

Firstly, the girl scouts organization focuses on providing the girls with life skills.  By investing in the girls, the organization creates a team with strong leadership and communication skills.  ‘Cookie College’ training courses develop the scouts’ business acumen, providing them with presentation, marketing and money management skills; skills which will be invaluable in their future lives.  Through role-playing, case studies and tasks, the girls become inspired and passionate about their role as a salesperson.

And the proof of the pudding – or should I say cookie – is in the eating. These well-trained salesgirls can turn out exceptional results. Scout Markita Andrews sold over $80,000 dollars worth of cookies in the twelve years she was a girl scout.  Her success is for the most part due to the incentive. By selling the greatest number of cookies, Markita won a trip around the world.  Rewards are not only given to the lucky winners, however.  Scouts earn reward points as they sell more cookies. 1,500 cookies gets the scout a Wii game system.

But Girl scouts are not only training and motivating their workforce, but they are also changing their tactics.  Gone are the days when girls went door-to-door around the neighbourhood selling to family and friends.  They now go in for the bulk sales strategy.  They sell to large organisations and businesses, where cookies can be offered as sales incentives or part of corporate gift baskets. This way, girls are able to shift a greater number of cookies and maximise their sales time.


Answer questions 1-6.

1. When do the Girl Scouts sell cookies?
a) all year round
b) for three months per year
c) Every three years
d) Every spring since 2003

2. What was the view of the girls scout organisation before Kathy Cloninger became CEO?
a) not well-known
b) old-fashioned
c) efficient
d) surprising

3. Which of the following is not taught at ‘Cookie College’?
a) how to look after finances
b) how to promote your products
c) how to bake cookies
d) how to speak in front of other people

4. A girl scout can get a trip round the world if she…
a) gets a certain number of reward points
b) sells cookies for twelve years in a row
c) sells $80,000 worth of cookies
d) sells more cookies than anyone else

5. A new selling strategy used by girl scouts is…
a) Selling cookies outside local businesses
b) Giving scouts free cookies as an incentive
c) Selling from door to door
d) Selling large amounts of cookies at once

6. Which of the following sales techniques is NOT mentioned in the passage?
a) motivating the sales team
b) finding new avenues for sales
c) offering discounts for bulk orders
d) training the sales team


Listening Activity: Trains & Travel

First, listen to this audio file then complete the following activities


Activity 1

Match the vocabulary with the correct definition:

platform  a small piece of paper to allow you to use a train or bus
ticket the place in a train station where people get on and get off trains
single (ticket) a ticket to travel to a place but not to travel back.
return (ticket) a ticket to travel to a place and back again.
Activity 2

Where does each person want to go?

Oxford Manchester London
Cambridge Exeter
Listening A: The speaker wants to go to _______________
Listening B: The speaker wants to go to _______________
Listening C: The speaker wants to go to _______________
Listening D: The train is going to _______________
Listening E: The passengers want to go to _______________

Activity 3
  1. Which platform does the 10:15 train to Cambridge leave from?
  2. How much is a single ticket to Manchester? (e.g. 15.95)
  3. Which platform does the 12:30 train to Manchester leave from?
  4. What time does the train arrive at Exeter?
  5. What time is the train back to London?
  6. Which platform does the train back to London leave from?

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