Learning Vocabulary: Similarities and Differences
In this week's Premier Skills English Podcast, Jack takes Rowan and Rich to the seaside, Rowan has a school reunion and Rich talks about the return of the Premier League. The language focus is on phrases we use to talk about differences and similarities. In this week's task, we want you to tell us about a place you visited as a child and how some things have changed and some things have stayed the same. Don't forget to listen to the end of the podcast because we have a new football phrase for you to guess.
Podcast: Differences & Similarities
Jack: Hello my name’s Jack
Rowan: My name’s Rowan
Rich: and I’m Rich
Rowan: And welcome to this week’s Premier Skills English podcast
Jack: In the Premier Skills English podcast, we talk about football and help you with your English.
Rich: In this week’s roleplays, we’re talking about things that have changed and things that have stayed the same.
Rowan: We have three roleplays for you this week. In the first, I visit my old school and meet my old teacher.
Jack: In the second, I go back to a childhood holiday spot for the first time in many, many years.
Rich: And in the third, we talk about how watching Premier League football has changed now matches are being played behind closed doors.
Rowan: This week we’re going to focus on words and phrases we use to talk about differences and similarities.
Jack: This type of language is very useful and it’s especially useful if you ever have to take an English speaking exam.
Rich: That’s right. You’re often shown photos in English exams and have to compare and contrast. This podcast will help you with some of the language to do this.
Rowan: After each roleplay, we’ll look at some words and phrases you can use to talk about similarities and differences and then we’ll have a task for you to do.
Jack: This week we want you to tell us about a place you first visited as a child and how it has changed over the years. You need to tell us what is the same and what is different.
Rich: If you’re listening to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or any other podcast platform, you should also check out our website.
Rowan: On the Premier Skills English website you’ll also find the transcript, examples and activities to help you understand the language, and a task for you to complete.
Jack: You’ll also find a community of friendly listeners to interact with, in our comments section.
Rich: And that includes us - we’re always around to answer questions and join in the discussions.
Rowan: But if you listen on Apple Podcasts you can always write answers to our questions or any other comments in the review section.
Jack: A lot to get through today! Before we get into all that we need to look back at last week’s football phrase.
Last week’s Football Phrase
Rowan: If you didn’t hear our football phrase last week we’re going to give you one more chance to guess now.
Rich: Last week’s football phrase was not a phrase but an acronym. The acronym was **** which is used to describe players that are the best ever. Alan Shearer or Thierry Henry might be described as ***** in the Premier League but most people would choose Pele, Diego Maradona or Lionel Messi.
Jack: We’ll give you the correct answer at the end of the show when we give you a new football phrase.
Rowan: The first listener to get it right last week was MoBeckham from Turkey!
Rich: Well done MoBeckham. I think it’s the first time you’ve been first with the right answer.
Jack: Lots of people got the answer last week. A big well done to Mohamed Kuna from Sudan, Hayato from Japan, Marco Zapien from Mexico, Gulmira Kenzhik from Kazakhstan, Idzingirai from Zimbabwe and Max Alex from Vietnam.
Rowan: And well done also to Fabio7010 from Italy, Gergo Nagy from Hungary, Elghoul from Algeria, Lakerwang from China, Mario from Mexico, WSanta from Argentina and Alex & Luibomyr from Ukraine all of you got the right answer.
Rich: Yes, and it was great to see many of you having a go at the task too. Idzingirai thinks Rowan should live in Paris, MoBeckham thinks that Jack should get a job as an English teacher at Arsenal football club and Elghoul doesn’t think I should get a tattoo to celebrate Liverpool winning the Premier League.
Jack: If you haven’t heard last week’s podcast it’s called Learning Vocabulary: Pros and Cons. You can find it on the homepage on the Premier Skills English website or on Apple Podcasts.
Rowan: We’ll have a new task for you to do and a new football phrase later in the podcast.
Introduction to Roleplays
Rich: In this section, you’re going to hear three roleplays. While you are listening we want you to answer a couple of questions.
Jack: After the first two roleplays, we’ll take a look at language connected to differences and similarities.
Rowan: In the first roleplay, I’m visiting my old school. Here are the questions we want you to answer:
Rich: What punishment did Rowan’s teacher use to give to students?
Jack: What’s Rowan's teacher like now?
Rich: Here it is then. St. Mary’s Secondary school. It’s a bit more modern than what I expected. Not really as scary looking as you told me.
Rowan: Can you just come in for a bit? I’ve never been to a school reunion before. It was a long time ago. It’s going to be a bit weird.
Rich: Sure. It’ll all be fine though, as long as you don’t bump into that Mr. Burns.
Rowan: Don’t remind me. He was horrible. I imagine as he’s got older he’s got even worse.
Rich: What was wrong with him anyway?
Rowan: It’s hard to describe. I don’t know. He was slightly taller than everyone else, a bit less friendly than other teachers but in class he was a nightmare.
Rich: I’m sure he wasn’t that bad. What’s the worst thing he did? Detention?
Rowan: Don’t mention that word. I remember those rows of desks like it was yesterday - all of us sitting in silence. One word and he’d be ‘Jones’! Detention! Nobody ever said a word.
Rich: I’m sure he wasn’t that bad and things are a little different now. He’s probably retired anyway. Sorry, I’ve got to take this. Yeah, I know. Sorry, I’ll meet you after - I’m sure it’ll be fine. Remember you’re a bit older now. Good luck.
Rowan: School reunion in the main assembly hall. I think I can remember where that is. It even smells the same as it did before.
Jack: Rowan Jones! Jones!
Rowan: Oh no! It’s him. Mr Burns!
Jack: I thought it was you. How lovely to see you! The reunion is in the assembly hall - I’ll accompany you. I can’t believe you can’t remember where it is - there is a great turnout - I retired years ago but I love coming to these reunion events and finding out how everyone turned out - you were such a brilliant student, what do you do now? Do you have a family? Do you still live locally?
Rich: Hey, sorry everything took a bit longer than I thought.
Rowan: Don’t worry about it. I was fine and everybody was lovely.
Rich: No Mr Burns then?
Rowan: He was there and he is absolutely nothing like I remembered him except he was wearing exactly the same suit as he used to but he’s more or less the same height as me and not really as scary as I told you. He was adorable actually. Such a lovely man.
Roleplay 1 Language Focus
Jack: Before the roleplay, we asked you two questions.
Rich: The first question was: What punishment did Rowan’s teacher use to give to the students?
Rowan: The answer is detention. Detention is the punishment of being kept at school for a period of time after normal school hours.
Jack: The second question was: What’s Rowan's teacher like now?
Rowan: Well, he’s really nice and friendly, not at all how I remembered him.
Jack: Let’s focus on some language. This week we’re focusing on language we use to talk about things that are different and things that are the same.
Rich: Let’s start with what you just said, Rowan. You said Mr Burns was nice and friendly, not at all how you remembered him.
Rowan: We can use this phrase ‘not at all’ to describe something that is very different. Another phrase we could use here is ’nothing like’. I could have said ‘he’s nothing like how I remembered him’.
Jack: This means he is very different to how Rowan remembered him. It’s a useful phrase. Here is an example:
Rich: Jack’s nothing like his brother. He’s much better looking.
Jack: Thanks, Rich.
Rich: Not at all.
Rowan: We used some more phrases to talk about differences and similarities in the roleplay. Let’s look at some phrases we use to talk about little differences or things that are the same.
Jack: We often use comparatives to talk about differences. One thing is bigger, smaller, taller, more intelligent, or more expensive than the other. We can add words called quantifiers to comparatives to talk about how different two things are.
Rich: We did this in the roleplay a few times. I described the school as being a bit more modern than what I expected.
Rowan: We use a bit followed by the comparative to describe a small difference. I said Mr Burns was a bit less friendly than the other teachers.
Jack: We can use quantifiers such as a little and slightly in a similar way. Rowan described Mr Burns as being slightly taller than everyone else and Rich said that things were a little different now.
Rich: We also used a few phrases to say things were the same. We can actually use the same to describe similarities. Rowan and Jack are the same age. Jack and Rowan come from the same city.
Jack: We often use the same as to compare two things that are the same. Rowan said the school even smelled the same as before.
Rowan: We often add the word exactly if we want to emphasise a similarity. In the roleplay, I said Mr Burns was still wearing exactly the same suit as he used to.
Jack: We might use the phrase more or less to describe something that is the same or when there are little differences that are not so important. Rowan said Mr Burns was more or less the same height as her.
Rich: Let’s move on to our second roleplay. While you are listening we want you to answer a couple of questions.
Jack: In this roleplay, I’m taking Rich and Rowan to the seaside - to a place I visited a lot as a child. Here are the questions we want you to answer:
Rich: Why does Rowan want to visit Blackrock?
Jack: Why is everyone happy in the end?
Rich: A day at the seaside. Brilliant! Sun, sea and sand! Thanks for inviting us, Jack. Do you think they’ll be donkeys on the beach? A traditional British seaside town.
Rowan: Rich? Have you been to Northend-on-Sea? It’s rubbish.
Jack: I heard that Rowan. It’s not rubbish. It’s brilliant. I used to come here when I was little. It’s totally different from any other seaside place. Loads to do and see.
Rowan: When it’s not raining.
Jack: I haven’t been here for years.
Rowan: Neither have I - for good reason. I thought we were going to Blackrock down the coast.
Rich: Is this the place? Northend-on-Sea.
Jack: Yeah, come on let’s take a stroll on the promenade.
Rowan: Blackrock’s prom is much bigger Jack. There’s not much to do here.
Rich: It’s quite a bit smaller than I expected.
Jack: Don’t be silly. There’s everything you can wish for. Look at this - a telescope I remember this being here 20 odd years ago. 10 pence. Who’s got a ten pence piece? I want to look out to sea. We can zoom in on that sailing boat over there.
Rowan: There are loads more boats in Blackrock. It’s got a harbour. You can even take a boat out and go dolphin watching.
Jack: What do you need all that for? There are far fewer people here. No queues.
Rowan: I wonder why there are no queues here.
Rich: Here. I’ve got 10p.
Jack: Thanks, Rich. Here we go. We’ll probably be able to see France or Belgium from here.
Rowan: I don’t think we’ll be able to see anywhere near as far as that. This telescope looks like it’s older than my nan … but maybe we can see as far as the sailing boat.
Jack: Oh … doesn’t seem to be working.
Rich: Can I have my 10p back?
Jack: I think it’s stuck. It doesn’t matter. Let’s go on the beach. Come on guys.
Rowan: It’s really pebbly. The one in Blackrock is loads sandier.
Jack: That’s part of the fun of the beach - rocks and pebbles. I remember playing in all these rock pools as a kid. They haven’t got nearly as many in Blackrock, have they?
Rowan: No, you’re right Jack. But they do have an aquarium though, which is miles better than a rockpool.
Rich: Jack I’m starting to think that maybe Blackrock is better than Northend On Sea and I’m getting hungry. Shall we go there for fish and chips?
Jack: Turn around my doubting friends and look at that sign.
Rich: Prize-winning chip shop!?
Rowan: Best fish and chips on the East coast!?
Jack: I knew you’d like this place.
Roleplay 2 Language Focus
Jack: Before the roleplay, we asked you two questions.
Rich: The first question was: Why does Rowan want to visit Blackrock?
Rowan: Well, I wanted to go to Blackrock because there are more things to do and see. I thought Jack’s place was a bit boring.
Jack: And our second question was: Why is everyone happy in the end?
Rich: Well, I was a little hungry and Jack pointed out the best fish and chip shop on the east coast. You know that the way to man's heart is through his belly.
Rowan: Let’s look at some phrases we use to talk about big differences. Again, like with small differences, we often use quantifiers to modify comparatives. Two common quantifiers are much and far.
Jack: Rowan said the promenade at Blackrock was much bigger than the one at Northend on Sea.
Rich: And Jack said that there were far fewer people in Northend compared to Blackrock.
Rowan: We could use other quantifiers such as so much, a lot, loads, and even in a similar way.
Jack: Rowan said that the beach in Blackrock is loads sandier for example.
Rich: We used a few other ways to describe big differences in the roleplay. Rowan said that an aquarium is miles better than a rockpool.
Jack: Rowan said I don’t think we’ll be able to see anywhere near as far as that.
Rich: We can use the structure as plus adjective plus as to compare two things that are the same. We often use similies to do this. Here are some examples:
Rowan: That book is as old as the hills. It’s as hot as the desert today. As cold as ice
Jack: However, this structure is more commonly used in negative comparisons to talk about differences.
Rich: A mini is not as expensive as a Mercedes.
Rowan: We often drop the second part of the structure when the meaning is clear.
Jack: I want to buy a mini because it’s not as expensive.
Rich: The phrases anywhere near or nowhere near can be used to describe big differences.
Rowan: We could say there are nowhere near as many pebbles on the beach at Blackrock.
Jack: In the roleplay, we used another phrase, Rowan said they haven’t got nearly as many pebbles at Blackrock.
Rich: One other way to describe big differences is by using adverbs such as really, totally, completely and very plus different from.
Rowan: In the roleplay, Jack said Northend on Sea was totally different from any other seaside place.
Jack: So there is some language we use to describe big differences. You are now going to listen to one final roleplay.
Rich: We’re talking about the football we watched on TV last night and a few differences and similarities.
Rowan: While you listen we want you to do two things. Firstly, what are the differences and similarities we talk about?
Jack: And secondly, what words and phrases do we use to compare football behind closed doors and football in front of fans.
Rich: The Premier League is up and running again.
Rowan: I know. I watched Manchester City against Arsenal last night. Arsenal were as good as before the break!!
Jack: Yeah, yeah. Same old Arsenal wasn’t it. A defensive mistake, a red card and a 3-0 defeat. They were nowhere near as good as City.
Rich: Same old Arsenal haha! Lots of other things were exactly the same. Everybody was complaining about technology in the Villa-Sheffield United game. There were even more complaints than normal!
Rowan: But watching the match was totally different from before. Not as many fans for one thing.
Rich: Actually many more fans but they were all watching at home. Did you see those Zoom fans on the big screen behind the goals? That was really strange.
Jack: There were lots of differences. The atmosphere was the biggest difference. Hearing the managers shout and the ball being kicked was very strange.
Rowan: Kick-off was a very memorable moment. There was a minute’s silence for people who have died from Covid-19 and when the referee blew his whistle all the players from both teams went down on one knee.
Rich: And there were no player names on the back of shirts - all the names were replaced with ‘Black Lives Matter’.
Jack: Lots of changes and quite a few differences but many things are still the same.
Rowan: This week’s task is to tell us about a place you visited as a child and how it’s changed over the years.
Jack: It could be a place you went to on holiday.
Rich: It could be a different city, town or village where you have relatives and visited a lot.
Rowan: Or you could even tell us about your football club. What big and small changes have taken place over the years at the club and at the stadium?
Jack: Write all your answers in the comments section on the Premier Skills English website and try to use some of the language connected to differences and similarities we’ve introduced in this podcast.
Rowan: or write your answers in the review section on Apple Podcasts if that’s where you listen to us.
Rich: It’s your turn with the football phrase, Rowan.
Rowan: OK, so this week’s football phrase is * ********* ****. * ********* **** is something which looks impressive, but doesn't usually achieve very much. It involves kicking the ball to a teammate who is on the other side of the pitch by playing a long ball, usually over the opponent's heads. It’s often very risky because an attacker could intercept the ball. Instead of doing this, it is better to give the ball to a teammate who is closer.
Rich: Here’s a clue: the phrase is connected to films and movies in America.
Jack: Right, that’s all we have time for this week! Don’t forget to write your answers to our questions and make a guess at our football phrase in the comments below. If you get it right, we’ll announce your name on next week’s show.
Rowan: If you have any questions or comments or suggestions for the podcast or anything football or English related, you can leave them on the website in the comments section, on social media, on apple podcasts or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rich: Bye for now and enjoy your football!
How much did you understand?
Here is the vocabulary you saw at the top of this page and how Rowan, Rich and Jack used it in the roleplay. Do you know the words in bold?
I’ve never been to a school reunion before. It’s going to be a bit weird.
I retired years ago but I love coming to these reunion events.
He was adorable actually. Such a lovely man.
Come on! Let’s take a stroll on the promenade.
We can zoom in on that sailing boat over there.
That’s part of the fun of the beach - rocks and pebbles.
The Premier League is up and running again.
Everybody was complaining about technology in the Villa-Sheffield United game.
Listen to the roleplays again to hear how Rich, Rowan and Jack used these words and phrases.
In the first roleplay, Rowan went to a school reunion. During the roleplay, Jack, Rich and Rowan used a few words and phrases to talk about similarities. Have a look at the following sentences that we used in the roleplay and think about the phrases in bold:
The school even smells the same as it did before.
He was wearing exactly the same suit as he used to.
That book is as old as the hills.
A new phone can be just as expensive as a new computer these days.
Jack, Rich and Rowan also used a few words and phrases to talk about small differences in the first roleplay. Have a look at the following sentences that we used in the roleplay and think about the phrases in bold:
Mr Burns was a bit less friendly than the other teachers.
Mr Burns was slightly taller than everyone else.
Rich said that things were a little different now.
Mr Burns was more or less the same height as me.
Houses in my city are not much more expensive than flats.
She's almost as old as I am.
In the second roleplay, Jack took Rich and Rowan to the seaside. During the roleplay, Jack, Rich and Rowan used a few words and phrases to talk about big differences. Have a look at the following sentences that we used in the roleplay and think about the phrases in bold:
The promenade at Blackrock is much bigger than the one at Northend on Sea.
There are far fewer people in Northend compared to Blackrock.
The beach in Blackrock is loads sandier.
An aquarium is miles better than a rockpool.
I don’t think we’ll be able to see anywhere near as far as that.
There are nowhere near as many pebbles on the beach at Blackrock.
A mini is not as expensive as a Mercedes.
Northend on Sea was totally different from any other seaside place.
Differences & Similarities
In this week’s task, we want you to tell us about a place you visited as a child and how it has changed over the years.
- It could be a place you went to on holiday.
- It could be a different city, town or village where you have relatives and visited a lot.
- Or you could even tell us about your football club. What big and small changes have taken place over the years at the club and at the stadium?
Try to use some of the words and phrases we’ve introduced in this podcast. Write all your answers in the comments section below and don't forget to make a guess at this week's football phrase!