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Why you shouldn't be afraid of flying!

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers.

English Vocabulary:15 words English Level: Intermediate - Advanced

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Article

Are you afraid of flying?

Many people are afraid of flying in airplanes, but they shouldn't be. Flying is actually one of the safest ways to travel. In fact, when measured per mile, flying is actually far safer than driving, or travelling by train. Not only is flying the safest mode of transport, but it is also the fastest. Just a hundred years ago if you wanted to travel from China to the United States, you would have to travel by boat for many weeks. Now, you can get there in less than 24 hours. Airplanes are also quite comfortable, and often offer in-flight entertainment, such as movies. This helps explain why travelling by plane is now the preferred choice for long distance journeys. Of course, that doesn't stop some people from being afraid of flying. The idea of hurtling through the atmosphere at hundreds of miles per hour can be intimidating for many. One of the main reasons that people are afraid to fly is that passengers lack any control over the airplane, and have to place their trust in the hands of the pilots. Many people would prefer to remain in control! “Really?”, you ask. Comparing the number of deaths caused by cars, trains, and airplanes is very difficult. Many more people drive than fly. The easiest way to compare deaths is per billion kilometers. This means, how many people will die per billion kilometers travelled? Motorcycles, for example, are very dangerous and 108.9 people will die per every billion kilometers traveled. Cars are less dangerous, with 3.1 people dying per billion kilometers. Trains are quite safe, with only 0.6 people dying per billion kilometers traveled. Subway and metro rails are even safer, with only 0.24 people dying per billion kilometers traveled. Do you know what's even safer? Air travel! Only 0.05 people were killed per billion kilometers. This is far lower than most other forms of transportation. Commercial flying is especially safe. When a commercial aircraft crashes, it gets a lot of attention. Sometimes, hundreds of people can die in a single crash. Yet part of the reason these crashes get so much attention is because they are so rare. In fact, aviation accidents involving civilian aircraft carrying 19 or more people have actually declined over the years. In 1972, there were more than 40 accidents. In 2014, there were fewer than ten. This is especially reassuring given that there are far more people flying now than there were in 1972. Most crashes that do occur actually involve smaller personal planes, which lack the advanced features found in modern commercial aircraft. Another reason people fear flying is “terrorist attacks”. Terrorist attacks are extremely rare, however. You are far more likely to die of the common flu, than you are to die from a terrorist attack. Furthermore, increased security at airports and on airplanes makes it even less likely that a terrorist attack will bring down an airplane.

The safest place to be.

When it comes to traveling, flying is arguably the safest, fastest, and most comfortable way to travel. While the concept may seem scary, the modern aviation industry takes safety very seriously and modern aircraft are now extremely safe. You would be more likely to die travelling by bicycle or even on foot. So don’t worry! As the pilot says, “sit back, relax and enjoy your flight!”

Language Focus

 

English Vocabulary and Expressions

  1. far - (adverb) by a great amount, much
  2. mode of transport - (noun) a method or type of transport (e.g. a train, a bus, a motorcycle)
  3. hurtling - (verb) moving at a high speed in an uncontrolled manner
  4. intimidating - (adjective) describing something that makes you feel frightened or nervous
  5. lack - (verb) to not have enough of something
  6. in the hands of someone - (expression) controlled or owned by someone, the responsibility of someone
  7. remain in control - stay in control, keep control
  8. especially - (adverb) to a greater degree
  9. rare - (adjective) not common, not happening very often
  10. civilian - (adjective) relating to ordinary citizens, not military or commercial
  11. declined - (verb) became smaller or fewer, decreased
  12. reassuring - (adjective) making you feel less worried
  13. bring down - (phrasal verb) to cause to fall
  14. flu - a sickness - a cold
  15. arguably - (adverb) it can be argued (used when giving an opinion that you think can be shown to be true)

Practice Exercises in English

 

Comprehension Questions Find the answers to these questions in the article.

  1. Why do many people prefer travelling by air?
  2. What is the main reason many people fear flying?
  3. Why do commercial plane crashes get a lot of attention?
  4. What is another reason people might be afraid to fly?
  5. Why are terrorist attacks unlikely to cause a plane crash?

Comprehension Questions: True or False ? Say whether the following statements are true or false. If they are false, say why.

  1. Motorcycles are the most dangerous form of travel.
  2. Travelling by car is more dangerous than travelling my plane, but safer than travelling by train.
  3. Subways and metro rails are the second safest mode of transportation after air travel.
  4. There have been more commercial aircraft crashes in recent years than in the past.
  5. You are less likely to die of a terrorist attack than you are to die of the common flu.
  6. You are less likely to die on a bicycle or on foot than flying.

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.

  1. The number of students studying music ………... last year. (became smaller or fewer, decreased)
  2. I was worried about Mary but it was ………... to talk to her on the phone. (adj- making you feel less worried)
  3. Russia is …………... cold in winter. (particularly, to a greater degree)
  4. Bob suffers from a ……….. disease. Not many people have it. (not common)
  5. There were a high number of ………….. deaths caused by the military invasion. (ordinary citizens or people)
  6. Steven Spielberg is ………...the best film director in the world. (it can be argued)
  7. John went …………. down the slope the first time he went skiing. (moving at a high speed in an uncontrolled manner)
  8. A Ferrari is ………. more expensive than a regular family car. (much, a lot)
  9. There are many ………….. of transport to choose from in my city such as buses, trams or metro trains. (types)
  10. The people were hungry because they ………. Food. (didn't have enough)

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Reading Article in English with exercises image

Why Learning English is Essential in Today’s Globalised World

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers.

Language Focus:21 words Level: Intermediate - Advanced

Download Article and Exercises Sheets - HERE

English might not be the most widely spoken language in the world (that honour goes to Chinese), but it is the world’s second most spoken language. It’s spoken as a foreign language by a massive 603 million people - more than double Arabic, in third place. English is the most popular second language in countries as far apart as Suriname, Denmark, Israel and Singapore. If you want to speak to the world, learn English.

English Language in Business:

The trend towards English is being led by international businesses; both Chinese electronics company Lenovo and German airline Lufthansa are now using English as their official language. Using English makes it possible for businesses to recruit the best talent from across the world and opens up their product to new markets. Employees who are hoping for a promotion or want to make their CV stand out should consider sharpening their English skills. If you can communicate with clients and suppliers of a company no matter what country they’re based in, then your skills are invaluable to an employer.

English Language in Education:

English is doubly important to anyone working in an academic discipline. According to research, 80% of the peer-reviewed journals in Scopus, the biggest database of journals, are published in English, and a report by the British Council in 2014 found that in a growing number of countries university subjects are being taught in English instead of the native language. If you want your papers to be read by scientists across the world, or you want to work with colleagues in other countries, you need to be able to talk to them in English.

English Language in Entertainment:

It’s not only academic writing that is mostly published in English. More books are published each year in English than in any other language, and Hollywood and its English-language films still dominates the industry. Of course, you can read translations or watch with subtitles, but these never quite match the experience of the original. The internet, too, is close to 54% English, according to the Web Technology Surveys. If you’re searching for information online then you’re much more likely to find what you’re looking for if you use English.

English Language for Travel:

Travel to most countries is easier if you speak their language, but it’s not possible to learn the language for every single country you might want to visit. It’s fairly likely, though, that you’ll be able to find someone who speaks English in most major cities in the world. People who work in the tourist industry learn English, so you will have no trouble understanding people at your hotel, on the plane or at a tourist site if you speak English.

Conclusion

The world is getting smaller, and globalisation is here to stay. We live in a time when changes in one country’s economy affect markets in the rest of the world, and where pollution from one country can damage everyone’s environment. These problems can only be solved if we co-operate across national boundaries, and to do that we have to have a common language. Whether you love it or hate it, the future is English.

Language Focus 

English Vocabulary and Expressions

1. widely - (adverb) over a large area or range, by the biggest group of people
  • The band’s CD was widely available. It was in many shops in many locations.
2. honour - (noun) a privilege, a very good thing, something of high respect
  • It is an honour to be invited to your wedding.
3. as far apart as - (expression) as distant as
  • There were fans at the concert from as far apart as Iceland and Samoa.
4. trend - (noun) fashion, direction things are moving in or changing
  • The trend these days is for people to get married later in life than they used to.
5. official language - (noun) a language given special status through which business is conducted 6. recruit - (verb: to recruit) to hire or enrol someone as a worker or member of an organisation
  • During the war, John was recruited to the army.
7. promotion - (noun) the action of promoting someone to a higher position in a company, usually with higher wages and more responsibility
  • After five years with the company, Bob got a promotion from assistant manager to manager.
8. stand out - (Phrasal verb: to stand out )be clearly better or more significant than someone or something 9. sharpening - (verb: to sharpen) making sharper, improving
  • Mary took a course in information technology in order to sharpen her computer skills.
10. skills - (noun) abilities, talents
  • John’s skills in the kitchen are terrible. He can’t even cook an egg properly.
11. no matter what - its not important what…. 12. invaluable - (adjective) extremely useful, important
  • The knowledge I gained on the first aid course was invaluable.
13. doubly - (adverb) two times the normal amount
  • Speeding is stupid, but not wearing a seatbelt as well is doubly stupid.
14. peer-reviewed journals - (noun) journals where the research work of an expert is published only after it has been examined by other experts in the same subject (i.e. his peers - people of the same status as the expert) 15. database - (noun) structured data or information stored in a computer and accessible in different ways
  • Google store all your information in a huge database.
16. colleagues - (noun) people you work with
  • Frank gets on well with his colleagues. They are fun to work with.
17. dominates - (verb: to dominate) have power and influence over sth, to be the biggest or best in sth
  • The companies Apple and Samsung dominate the smartphone market.
18. match - (verb: to match) be equal to, to be the same as
  • Swimming in an indoor swimming pool can never match the experience of swimming in the ocean.
19. have no trouble doing sth - it will be easy…... 20. co-operate - (verb) work together to achieve the same results, assist someone or comply with their requests.
  • If we co-operate, we can achieve more than we can alone.
21. boundaries - borders between countries, limits or edge of sth

Exercises

Comprehension Questions

Find the answers to these questions in the article..
  1. Why is there a trend for English to be used in international businesses?
  2. How is speaking English beneficial for someone working in an academic discipline?
  3. What is the relationship between English and entertainment?
  4. Why is it good to learn English for travel?
  5. How can English help the effects of globalization?

Comprehension Questions: True or False ?

Say whether the following statements are true or false. If they are false, say why.
  1. English is the most widely spoken language in the world.
  2. Some companies based in non-English speaking countries have made English their official language.
  3. Many universities is non-English speaking countries are teaching subjects in English.
  4. English is the second most popular language for book publishing.
  5. The majority of the internet is in English.
  6. It is difficult to find someone who speaks English when travelling.

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES

Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.
  1. The ………… ………….. of Ireland are English and Irish. (accepted languages)
  2. There are many ………… …………..  available in my university’s library. (research papers reviewed by experts)
  3. The soldier considered it an …………….to have fought for her country. (privilege, sth of high respect)
  4. Mary has a policy to never date her ……………. (people she works with)
  5. Frank spent many hours on the gun range …………… his shooting skills. (improving)
  6. Game of Thrones is one of the most …………… known TV shows, it is watched all over the world. (over a large area, by the biggest group of people)
  7. Mary was …………… by Citibank as a financial analyst. (hired)
  8. You need a passport to cross most national ……………. (borders)
  9. After five years with the company, Bob got a …………… from assistant manager to manager. (a higher position in the company)
  10. The police asked the witnesses to …………… with the investigation. (assist someone or comply)

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The origins and meaning of Thanksgiving

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers. English Vocabulary:13 words English Level: Intermediate - Advanced

Download Article and Exercises Sheets - HERE

Article

Thanksgiving is one of the most important holidays in the United States and Canada. Unlike many other American holidays, Thanksgiving isn't about gifts, fireworks shows, or games, it’s about being with family, and giving thanks and celebrating your blessings. Christians pray and give thanks to God but many non-Christian Americans celebrate Thanksgiving too. The modern Thanksgiving holiday is based on the Thanksgiving harvest festival celebrated by the Pilgrims, who were early English settlers. The Pilgrims landed in Plymouth Bay in modern-day Massachusetts in 1620. They celebrated Thanksgiving after their first successful harvest in 1621. That first holiday lasted for three days, and was attended by both Pilgrim settlers and Native Americans and celebrated the friendship between them. During the previous winter, the Pilgrims had struggled to survive. Their crops had died in the sandy soil and they had trouble finding food. The winter in Massachusetts was much harsher than the winters back in England. Half the Pilgrims died and many more were at risk of dying. The local Native Americans provided the Pilgrims with food and supplies during the winter. The next summer, they also taught the Pilgrims several important survival skills, such as how to grow corn and catch eel. This festival marked one of the first friendly exchanges between European settlers and Native Americans. Historically, Thanksgiving was celebrated at a time when most farmers were finished harvesting their crops. They would have a big dinner with their family and closest friends to celebrate their blessings and harvests. President Abraham Lincoln later established the tradition of a national and annual Thanksgiving holiday. While most Americans are no longer farmers, the tradition of celebrating blessings and food remains and the holiday is still held at harvest time, on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States.

Language Focus

English Vocabulary and Expressions

1. fireworks shows - (noun) a show where fireworks are used - also known as firework displays. Fireworks -  explosive rockets that shoot up into the air and explode with loud noises, bright colours and different shapes. They are used at various celebrations and festivals.
  • We went to see a fireworks display at Halloween.
2. blessings - (noun) something that you are grateful for
  • To be healthy is a blessing. Good health is something to be thankful for.
3. harvest - (noun) the time of year when crops (food grown on a farm) are gathered or collected.
  • There is always a lot of work to be done during the harvest.
4. settlers - (noun) people who settle/decided to stay in in a place and make it their home English settlers - first English to arrive and settle in America
  • The settlers treated the natives very badly.
5. lasted - continued for a period of time, have a duration of.. (past simple of verb: to last)
  • The strike lasted 5 days.
  • The football match lasted 90 minutes.
6. struggled - tried hard to achieve something with great difficulty (past simple of verb: to struggle)
  • The passenger struggled to carry his heavy bags.
7. crops - (noun) plants that are grown commercially on a farm, such as fruit, grain and vegetables
  • Harvest is the time when the crops are gathered.
8. harsher - (adjective) more harsh, more difficult to survive in, more severe
  • The higher the wind speed, the harsher the sea is during a storm.
9. survival skills - (noun) skills, knowledge or abilities that help you to survive, that help you to stay alive
  • In the army, soldiers must use survival skills they have learned to stay alive in the wild.
10. eel - (noun) a fish which lives in the water and is long and thin like a snake which can be caught and eaten as food 11. annual - (adjective) happening once a year
  • My birthday is an annual event.
12. no longer - not anymore
  • John no longer lives in London, he moved to New York in 2014.
13. Held - to organise an event in a place , to have an event (past simple of verb: to hold an event)
  • The concert was held in the stadium.

Practice Exercises in English

Comprehension Questions

Find the answers to these questions in the article.
  1. What is the origin of the modern Thanksgiving holiday?
  2. What was celebrated at the first Thanksgiving?
  3. Why did many Pilgrims die in 1620-1621?
  4. How did the Native Americans help the Pilgrims in Massachusetts?
  5. Why is Thanksgiving still celebrated every year nationwide in the United States?

Comprehension Questions: True or False?

Say whether the following statements are true or false. If they are false, say why.
  1. Thanksgiving is celebrated all over the world.
  2. Thanksgiving is a Christian holiday.
  3. Popular traditions on Thanksgiving include gift giving, firework shows and games.
  4. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated by English settlers in 1621 because they had a successful harvest that year.
  5. Because most Americans are no longer farmers, Thanksgiving is no longer celebrated during harvest time.
  6. Thanksgiving is not celebrated at the same time in Canada and the United States.

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES

Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.
  1. Our vacation ………... 2 weeks. (had a duration of)
  2. Frank and Mary are …………….. married. They got divorced last year. (not anymore)
  3. Many European …………. arrived in America in the 15th century. (people who decide to live in a place)
  4. Frank the farmer grows ……... such as corn and carrots. (plants grown on a farm)
  5. Cockroaches can live in ……... environments than humans. (more difficult)
  6. Children who join the scouts learn a lot of new ……… …….... (things you learn which will help you survive)
  7. Your children are a ………….. .They bring you a lot of joy. (sth that you are grateful for)
  8. When John graduated from college during the financial crisis, he …………. to find a job. (found it difficult)
  9. Our city has a ……….. ………... every New Year’s Eve. (event to celebrate sth with small rockets)
  10. An example of an …………... holiday is Saint Patrick’s Day. (happens every year)

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A Brief History of the Olympics

*Reading articles in English will help you improve your English reading and writing skills. These articles by Absolute English will also help you learn English vocabulary and phrases to help you improve your fluency. *After reading this article, see the reading comprehension exercises with answers.

English Vocabulary:24 words English Level: Intermediate - Advanced

Download Reading Exercises Sheets - HERE

Article

There is no such thing as a “brief” history of the Olympics. That's because the Olympics started thousands of years ago in Ancient Greece. Greek city-states used to send athletes to compete against each other with the reputation of the city and its people on the line. These ancient games helped create peace among the cities by bringing people together for friendly competitions. The modern Olympics began in 1896, but the first one was very different to the Olympics we know today. Only 14 countries and 176 athletes, all of them men, competed in the games, which were hosted in Athens. Still, the Olympics were successful and helped to improve cooperation between nations. Just four years later women competed in the 1900 Olympics in Paris. Over time the Olympics grew more popular and more nations started sending competitors. In 1924, the winter Olympics was started. The first winter Olympics was hosted in Chamonix, France. Only 16 nations and 258 athletes participated, competing in just 16 different events. Like the summer Olympics, however, the winter games gradually became more popular. Following World War II, the Olympics became an important part of the Cold War and were vital in maintaining world peace. During the Cold War, the world was divided between communism and capitalism, with the Soviet Union and United States competing intensely with each other. The Olympics were one of the main ways in which these two nations competed. At the same time, many new nations were coming into existence. With the colonial empires of France, the United Kingdom, and others crumbling, new countries were founded. Many of these countries wanted to prove themselves to the world, and the Olympics was one way to do so. From humble beginnings, the Olympic games have evolved into the grandest games on earth. In fact, the Rio Olympics saw 205 countries and over 10,000 athletes competing in 302 separate events. Furthermore, while the Olympics was predominantly hosted by developed countries through much of their modern history, the recent games have been hosted in developing nations, such as Brazil and China. Many up-and-coming nations now view the Olympics as a way to announce their prosperity to the world.   Currently, the United States dominates the world stage, and has taken home the most medals in nearly every summer Olympics over the past few decades. During the Beijing Olympics in 2008, China came close to taking home the most medals but couldn't quite beat the United States. Recently, criticism over the costs and burden of the games has increased. Norway pulled out of a winter Olympics bid just a few years ago because its citizens didn't want to deal with the hassle. Meanwhile, the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro faced many setbacks and challenges. So, what does the future hold for the Olympics? They'll almost certainly continue to be hosted, but given these issues, reform may be inevitable for the games.  

Language Focus

English Vocabulary and Expressions

  1. brief - (adj) short, not lasting a long time
  2. to compete against sb - (verb) to try to be better than someone in sth
  3. on the line - if sth is “on the line” it means it at risk or in danger of sth bad happening to it
  4. gradually - (adverb) - slowly, sth happens over time
  5. the Cold War - war between 1947 and 1991 between US and Soviet Union
  6. vital - (adj) - essential, absolutely necessary or extremely important
  7. crumbling - to crumble - (verb) to fall apart or break down - the empires were slowly falling apart or breaking down
  8. founded - created or established - to found - to create or establish (verb)
  9. prove themselves to the world  - to prove oneself - (reflexive verb) to show your ability in sth to others
  10. humble beginnings - starting off small or with little money
  11. grandest - (superlative adj) most magnificent
  12. furthermore - (adverb) in addition, besides
  13. predominantly - (adverb) mainly
  14. Up-and-coming - new and starting to become successful in sth
  15. prosperity - (noun) state of being successful
  16. dominates - (verb) has power and influence over
  17. burden - (noun) responsibility causing worry or distress
  18. pulled out - (phrasal verb) to withdraw participation in something - decide not to take part in something
  19. bid - (noun) effort made to try to win (contract) or buy something
  20. to deal with - (phrasal verb) to handle or cope with something
  21. hassle - (noun) problem, inconvenience
  22. meanwhile - (adverb) in the intervening time
  23. setbacks - (noun) something that reverses progress -  a difficulty or problem.
  24. inevitable - (adj) certain to happen, unavoidable.

Exercises in English

Comprehension Questions Find the answers to these questions in the article.

  1. Why were the Olympic games invented?
  2. Why do developing nations like to host the olympics?
  3. Were the winter olympics an instant success?
  4. What role did the olympics play in the Cold War?
  5. What country has had the most success at the olympics?

Comprehension Questions: True or False ? Say whether the following statements are true or false. If they are false, say why.

  1. Women only recently were allowed to compete in the olympics
  2. The summer and winter olympics became more popular over time.
  3. China always win the most medals at the olympic games.
  4. Norway didn’t host the Olympics because of financial problems
  5. Developing countries don’t want to host the Olympic Games.
  6. There were many problems in Rio de Janeiro for the Olympics.
  7. The Olympic Games are unlikely to change in the future.

Complete the sentences: EXERCISES Complete these sentences with a highlighted word or phrase from the article.

  1. When I was starting my business I had many …………………(difficulties, problems)
  2. In the early 1970’s Steven Spielberg was just an …………………. Filmmaker. (new and starting to become successful in sth)
  3. Ireland is a ………………. Catholic country. (mainly, for the most part)
  4. Young men often feel they have to ………… ……………. to their friends. (show their ability in sth)
  5. The 2008 economic crisis in the USA and Europe was ……………. (certain to happen, unavoidable)
  6. The president’s speech was very ………….(short)
  7. Mary didn’t change Bank because it was a ……………. (problem, inconvenience)
  8. Having a mortgage for a house is a big financial ………….. for families. (responsibility causing worry or distress)
  9. The singer ………… ………  of the music tour due to personal problems. (decide not to take part in something)
  10. Although he is a billionaire today he came from…………. ………… (a family with little money)

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