martes, 23 de abril de 2013

What's the time, please?

What's the Time in English?

(A general review for asking the time in English).


There are two common ways of telling the time.

Formal but easier way

Say the hours first and then the minutes.
Example: 7:45 - seven forty-five
For minutes 01 through 09, you can pronounce the '0' as oh.
Example: 11:06 - eleven (oh) six

More popular way

Say the minutes first and then the hours. Use past and the preceding hour for minutes 01 through 30. Use to and the forthcoming hour for minutes 31 through 59, but .
Example: 7.15 - fifteen minutes past seven
Example: 7.45 - fifteen minutes to eight
Another possibility of saying '15 minutes past' is: a quarter past
Another possibility of saying '15 minutes to' is: a quarter to
Another possibility of saying '30 minutes past' is: half past
Example: 5:30 - half past five



Use o'clock only at the full hour.
Example: 7:00 - seven o'clock (but 7:10 - ten past seven)
In English ordinary speech, the twelve-hour clock is used.(i)
Beispiel: 17:20 - twenty past five
For times around midnight or midday you can use the expressions midnight or midday / noon instead of the number 12.
Beispiel: 00:00 - midnight
Beispiel: 12:00 - midday or noon
To make clear (where necessary) whether you mean a time before 12 o'clock noon or after, you can use in the morningin the afternoonin the eveningat night. Use in the morning before 12 o'clock noon, after 12 o'clock noon use in the afternoon. When to change from afternoon toevening, from evening to night and from night to morning depends on your sense of time.
Example: 3:15 - a quarter past three in the morning OR a quarter past three at night
More formal expressions to indicate whether a time is before noon or after are a.m. (also: am - ante meridiem, before noon) and p.m. (also: pm - post meridiem, after noon). Use these expression only with the formal way of telling the time.
Example: 3:15 - three fifteen a.m.
It is not usual to use a.m. and p.m. with past/to.
Example: 3:15 - fifteen minutes past three OR a quarter past three

American English

Beside past Americans often use after.
Example: 06:10 - ten past/after six
But: in time expressions with half past it is not usual to replace past by after.
Beside to Americans often use beforeof or till.
Example: 05:50 - ten to/before/of/till six

A couple of videos about this topic:

Here, another video:

sábado, 6 de abril de 2013

Golden Gate Bridge Still Shines After 75 Years

Attention Technical Groups and Night Groups:  Listening to practic

Golden Gate Bridge Still Shines After 75 Years

(Click here for audio)

This is the VOA Special English Technology Report.
The Golden Gate Bridge is celebrating its seventy-fifth anniversary. The bridge opened to vehicle traffic on May twenty-eighth, nineteen thirty-seven. Since then, more than two billion vehicles have crossed the world famous structure between San Francisco and Marin County, California. As many as one hundred twelve thousand cars make the trip each day.

The Golden Gate Bridge had the longest suspension span in the world, at the time it was built. The suspended roadway stretches one thousand two hundred eighty meters between the bridge’s two tall towers. Today it still rates among the top ten longest bridge spans in existence.
Mary Currie works for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District. She says the bridge is one of the most extraordinary engineering projects of all time.
MARY CURRIE: “The Golden Gate Bridge is an engineering marvel certainly, and it gets award after award after award for what it means in civil engineering and structural engineering. It’s also a place where things happen first. For example, we were the first suspension bridge to have to change the roadway deck.”  
The Golden Gate Bridge is named after the Golden Gate Strait. That narrow passage of water connects the San Francisco Bay to the Pacific Ocean. Joseph Strauss was the chief engineer of the Golden Gate Bridge project. Work began in nineteen thirty-three. The project took four years to complete.
Builders at work on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1935Builders at work on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1935

The bridge is two thousand seven hundred eighty-eight meters long from one end to the other. It is twenty-seven meters wide. Two large cables pass over the top of the bridge’s towers. These structures stand two hundred twenty seven meters above water and one hundred fifty two meters above the road. Each cable holds more than twenty-seven thousand five hundred strands of wire.
Two hundred fifty pairs of vertical suspender ropes connect the support cables to the suspension bridge. This is part of what enables the bridge to move up and down by nearly five meters.
The Golden Gate Bridge weighed eight hundred eleven million five hundred thousand kilograms when it was completed in nineteen thirty-seven. The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper called the finished project, “a thirty-five million dollar steel harp!”
Architect Irving Morrow gets credit for the bridge’s bright orange color. The Navy wanted the bridge painted in yellow and black. The Air Force had suggested red and white.
MARY CURRIE: “But we were fortunate that Irving Morrow knew that that color would blend with the environment, it would contrast with the ocean and the air above, and it would also allow the art deco styling to really stand out.”
And that's the VOA Special English Technology Report, written by June Simms. Transcripts, MP3s and podcasts of our reports are at We're also on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. I'm Steve Ember.

A Cool Way to Keep Food From Spoiling

Technical Groups and Night Groups:
This is the complete transcript listen again and practic.

(Special for the Industrial Cooling and Air Conditioning students)

A Cool Way to Keep Food From Spoiling

(Click here to go the Audio's page)

This is the VOA Special English Development Report.
A few degrees can make a big difference when it comes to food storage. Foods can go bad if they get too warm. But for many of the world's poor, finding a good way to keep food cool is difficult. Refrigerators are costly and they need electricity.
Yet spoiled food not only creates health risks but also economic losses. Farmers lose money when they have to throw away products that they cannot sell quickly.
But in nineteen ninety-five a teacher in northern Nigeria named Mohammed Bah Abba found a solution. He developed the "Pot-in-Pot Preservation/Cooling System." It uses two round containers made of clay. A smaller pot is placed inside a larger one.
The space between the two pots is filled with wet sand. The inner pot can be filled with fruit, vegetables or drinks. A wet cloth covers the whole cooling system.
Food stored in the smaller pot is kept from spoiling through a simple evaporation process. Water in the sand between the two pots evaporates through the surface of the larger pot, where drier outside air is moving.
The evaporation process creates a drop in temperature of several degrees. This cools the inner pot and helps keep food safe from harmful bacteria. Some foods can be kept fresh this way for several weeks.
People throughout Nigeria began using the invention. And it became popular with farmers in other African countries. Mohammed Bah Abba personally financed the first five thousand pot-in-pot systems for his own community and five villages nearby.

In two thousand, the Rolex Watch Company of Switzerland honored him with the Rolex Award for Enterprise. This award recognizes people trying to develop projects aimed at improving human knowledge and well-being.
A committee considers projects in science and medicine, technology, exploration and discovery, the environment and cultural history. Winners receive financial assistance to help develop and extend their projects.
The award is given every two years. The most recent one was given last year.
And that's the VOA Special English Development Report, written by Jill Moss. You can learn more about the Rolex Awards at And you can learn more about technology and the developing world at  This is Shep O'Neal