1. Talking About Things You Really Like
Justin: So, what kind of music are you into?
Stephanie: I’m a big fan of blues, classic soul, things like that. I really love Billie Holliday and a lot of stuff from that era. What about you?
J: I listen to a lot of different stuff, but what I really like is hip-hop.
S: Do you listen to music a lot at home?
J: Oh sure, all the time. My favourite thing to do at the end of a long day is put on a record and just chill out on the sofa with some good tunes.
S: Record? You mean vinyl?
J: Of course! There’s no other way to listen.
S: I wouldn’t go that far! Music makes me happy wherever I am. I can listen on my phone, at home, on vinyl, on CD. I don’t care. I just like it!
Here, you heard several useful phrases to talk about things you really like. Can you remember any of them?
If you really like something, you can say:
- I really love…
- I’m a big fan of…
- What I really like is…
- My favourite thing to do is…
- … makes me happy
In the gap, you can put a noun, or an -ing verb. For example:
- I really love seafood.
- I really love swimming in the sea.
This is true for all these phrases. Look at two more:
- I’m a big fan of 80s glam rock.
- I’m a big fan of listening to music when I go jogging.
You can also vary some of these phrases, to make them stronger or weaker, or just to add variety. For example:
- What I really enjoy is getting up late on a Sunday and going for coffee with friends.
- My absolute favourite food is spicy chicken wings.
- Doing yoga in the morning makes me feel good.
What about you? Can you make some sentences using these phrases? You can talk about music, or any other topic you like. Pause the video and write down two or three sentences, using the language from this section.
Learn more with this Oxford Online English listening lesson on arguing about music.
Ready? Let’s move on to part two.
2. Talking About Mild Likes and Dislikes
J: Where shall we go? How about pizza?
S: Errgh… I’m not keen on the pizza places around here. There’s a Chinese place nearby which is supposed to be alright. Want to check it out?
J: Honestly, I don’t like Chinese food so much. I quite like Japanese food, though.
S: Are there any Japanese places around here?
J: No, don’t think so.
S: That doesn’t help then. Indian?
J: Spicy food isn’t my thing.
J: Yeah… KFC’s alright. [positive intonation] Let’s go to KFC.
S: So, we live in a town with all these great restaurants, and we’re going to KFC? Seriously?
J: What’s wrong with KFC? It’s not bad.
S: Fine, let’s go.
In this dialogue, you heard phrases to talk about low-level likes and dislikes.
If you like something, but not that much, how can you say that?
Here are the three ways you heard:
- I quite like…
- It’s alright.
- It’s not bad.
The word alright doesn’t mean that something is good by itself. However, with a positive intonation, it can mean that you like something.
Again, you can use these phrases with a noun or an -ing verb, like this:
- I quite like going for a short walk after lunch.
- The film was alright.
- This garlic sauce is not bad!
What if you don’t like something? What could you say?
Here are the phrases you heard in the dialogue:
- I’m not keen on…
- I don’t like ___ so much
- … isn’t my thing
Let’s see how you could use them:
- I’m not keen on horror films.
- I don’t like going to the gym so much.
- Getting up early isn’t my thing.
Again, you can use many of these phrases in different ways, by changing or adding words. For example:
- I quite enjoy cycling.
- I’m not massively keen on that plan.
- Spending hours sitting on the beach isn’t exactly my thing.
What about you? In our dialogue, we talked about food. Can you use the language you’ve seen to make two or three sentences about yourself? You can write about food, or any other topic.
For extra practice, say your sentences out loud. Say them several times, until the pronunciation is comfortable. Try to remember them, so that you can say them without reading. This way, you’ll remember the language better.
Pause the video and write your sentences now; start again when you’re ready.
Okay, you’ve seen how to talk about things you like a lot, or things you like a little.
But what if you really don’t have an opinion about something?
3. Meh: When You Don’t Have Strong Feelings
S: What a great movie! What did you think?
J: It was okay.
S: You didn’t like it?
J: I didn’t mind it. I’ve seen better; I’ve seen worse.
S: You’re difficult to please, aren’t you? I thought it was amazing! Don’t you think he’s a great director? I really like everything he’s made.
J: I don’t have strong opinions about him.
S: So, what do you like?
J: Honestly, I haven’t seen many movies that have impressed me recently. I saw that new “Blade Runner” film.
S: And, you didn’t like it?
J: Meh… I could take it or leave it.
S: You’re annoying. Anyway, what shall we do now? Get a drink, or something to eat?
J: I’m not bothered either way, to be honest.
In that dialogue, I did not have a lot of strong feelings about, well, anything really.
Can you remember the words and phrases I used to express this?
Often, you can express this kind of idea just with a word or a gesture.
Imagine you’re watching something on TV, and someone asks you if it’s a good show or not. You can express that it’s neither good nor bad by making a ‘meh’ noise and shrugging.
However, there are also some useful phrases you can use, such as:
- It’s okay.
- I don’t mind…
- I don’t have strong opinions about…
- I can take it or leave it.
- I’m not bothered either way about…
Like the phrases you’ve seen in other sections, you can use these with a noun or an -ing verb, except for I can take it or leave it, which is a fixed phrase, meaning that you use it as a response to someone else’s question or suggestion.
Let’s see how you could use these phrases to talk about different things:
- The modern art museum was okay.
- I don’t mind doing housework.
- I don’t have strong opinions about which curtains we buy.
- I’m not bothered either way about where we go.
When you use okay, like the word alright, a lot depends on your intonation.
The word okay literally means “not good and not bad”. However, with positive intonation, it can have a positive meaning, like quite good.
With negative intonation, it can mean something like not very good.
Listen to the difference:
- It’s okay! [positive intonation]
- It’s okay. [neutral intonation]
- It’s okay. [negative/disappointed intonation]
In this way, okay can mean different things.
Also, the phrase I’m not bothered either way is more informal, and could sound rude or dismissive if you use it in the wrong situation, so think about where you are and who you’re talking to before you say it.
So, it’s your turn to practice again! Can you think of a movie or TV show that was just okay’not that good, and not that bad?
Your job is to write two or three sentences about yourself using the language from this section. If you can’t think of a movie or TV show to talk about, you can choose a different topic.
Pause the video and write your sentences now.
Okay? Finally, let’s see how you can talk about things you hate.
4. Talking About Things You Hate
S: That’s IT! I’m finished with that place. I’m definitely quitting this time! I can’t work there another day.
J: What happened now?
S: He is the worst manager ever! I can’t stand working with him. I used to like going to work, but now I absolutely hate it! I have to find another job.
J: You know you’ve been saying that for.. Ooh… Since I met you?
S: Yeah, but this time I mean it. Even the little things are starting to drive me crazy, like the way he fidgets with his coffee cup when he talks.
J: So, have you started looking for a new job?
S: Not yet, but I will. I need a change.
J: What about your colleagues? I thought you got on well with them.
S: Some of them are alright, but I have no time for that woman in the accounts department. I really dislike the HR guy, too, whatever his name is.
J: You know, maybe you should be less negative. If you go to work with that kind of attitude, I’m not surprised you clash with people.
S: What do you mean, negative? I can’t stand people telling me what to do! What are you even talking about? I have no time for people like you and your stupid advice!
Here, you heard a lot of phrases to talk about something, or someone, you strongly dislike. Can you remember any of them?
If you really dislike something, you can say:
- I can’t stand…
- I absolutely hate…
- … drives me crazy.
- I have no time for…
- I really dislike…
As before, you use these phrases with a noun or an -ing verb. For example:
- I can’t stand people who cut in line.
- I absolutely hate every song he’s ever made.
- Walking behind someone who walks really slowly drives me crazy!
Some of these phrases are more general. You can use I can’t stand…, I absolutely hate…, or I really dislike… to talk about anything: things, people, or activities.
However, with the other two phrases, you would use them to talk about people and their habits. For example:
- She’s always late, which drives me crazy.
- I have no time for people who say nice things to your face, then gossip behind your back.
What about you? It’s your last practice: pause the video, and write three sentences about things you strongly dislike. Use the language from this section, and start again when you’re ready.
How was that? Could you use the language easily? Did you check to make sure you didn’t make any mistakes?
Finally, we have a question for you: what do you like or dislike most about studying English? Please tell us in the YouTube comments!
Thanks for watching!