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My father used to smoke. He got very ill. The doctor told him that he had to quit smoking. My father tried for a long time to quit. It was very difficult for him. Smoking is an addiction. After many months, my father finally gave up smoking, but he still craved a cigarette once in a while. He says that quitting smoking is the hardest thing that he has ever done. When my father did smoke, he smoked everywhere. He smoked in restaurants, stores and many public buildings. Now, you are not allowed to smoke in a lot of public places. When my father smoked, the rules were not so strict People could smoke just about anywhere. It really wasn't fair to the people who didn't smoke. Their clothes always smelled like smoke, and they breathed in second-hand smoke. Some people think that second-hand smoke is actually worse for you than if you smoke yourself. People would smoke in their houses, and very young children would inhale the smoke that was in the air. Some people still smoke in their houses, and their children breathe in the smoke. Some restaurants have areas for smokers and nonsmokers. But usually the smoke drifts from one area to the other. There are some businesses that have banned smoking altogether. Personally, I think that smoking in public places should be completely banned. I don't think that I should have to breathe in another person's smoke. If I choose not to smoke myself. It wouldn't be fair for a nonsmoker to get lung cancer. Because they had to be in a place where smokers were allowed to light up. I know that smoking is a powerful addiction And that it is very difficult to quit. But smokers should restrict their smoking to places where there is nobody else around. Lung cancer is an awful disease. Nobody should have to suffer with lung cancer. People should be educated about the dangers of smoking. Smoking should be banned in public places, but eventually I would like to believe that fewer people will smoke. It would be nice to live in a smoke free environment.
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  |  9015 learners#Social #Speeches

It is going to be my father's birthday. What can I give him? I don't have much money. I have looked all through the stores, and I have not found anything that I think he would like, or that I can afford. I have thought very hard about what to buy for him. I thought that he might like some candy, but my father really doesn't eat many sweets. I thought that he might like a new shirt, but he has lots of clothes. I can't afford a new car or computer for him. I was watching him on the weekend. He cut the grass, washed the car, took out the garbage, weeded the garden and watered the plants. I got an idea. I went to my room and took out some paper. I cut out pieces of paper, and I wrote on them. I wrote on one piece of paper that I would wash the car every weekend for the summer. I wrote on another piece that I would take out the garbage every week for the summer. I also wrote that I would cut the grass, weed the garden and water the plants every week for the summer. I made a birthday card for my dad, and I put the pieces of paper inside it. I went downstairs and gave my gift to my dad. My dad thought that the gift was very thoughtful. He said that it was a gift from the heart. I did all those things for my dad all summer. He said that he had a lot of free time because I helped him so much. My dad and I are good friends. I don't mind doing things for him because I know that he is always there to help me out. A good gift doesn't have to be something that costs a lot. My dad says that the best gifts are the ones that show how much you care for the other person. I'm glad my dad liked his gift.
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  |  8995 learners#General #Statements

Many of my friends have dyed their hair different colors. I don't mean normal hair colors like brown or black. My friends have dyed their hair orange, purple and blue. I told my mother that I would like to dye my hair green. I explained to my mother that I would only use food coloring. The green would not last forever. My mother said that dyeing your hair was a silly fad. She said that I would not look good with green hair. I said that if I couldn't dye my hair green maybe I could get a nose ring. My mother said no. I said that maybe a tattoo on my arm would be nice. My mother said no way. My mother said that she did some crazy things when she was a young girl. She said that she used to iron her hair to make it straight. That sounds quite boring to me. My friend Joan came over. Her hair is dyed bright pink. My father said nice hair Joan. I don't think that he really meant it. My mother says that when I am an adult I can dye my hair whatever crazy color I like but for now she would like me to leave my hair its natural color. I tried to tell her that all my friends were doing it. if all your friends were jumping off a cliff would you do it too. I said no. I think I'll have to wait to have green hair, but maybe by the time I'm old enough to dye my hair green. I won't want it that color. My mother says that fads change all the time. One day something might be popular. One day something might be popular, and the next day it's not in style at all. I'll just have to live without green hair for now. I wonder what the fad will be next month.
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  |  9002 learners#General #Statements

How do you improve your English listening skills? If you ask this question to English teachers they will tell you the same thing. They will tell you to go watch movies. They will say that watching movies is a great way to improve your listening.

But there's a problem. A lot of English learners watch movies with subtitles. Some people use English subtitles. Other people use subtitles in their native languages. Now it doesn't matter what kind of subtitles you use. Watching movies with subtitles is a really really bad way to improve your listening and in this video, I'm going to explain to you why it's such a bad idea.

But first let me share with you my personal experience. So back when I was in college I wanted to improve my English listening skills. So what did I do? Well, I started to watch movies with English subtitles. I thought that was the best way to improve my listening. I was really optimistic I thought in two or three years. I would be able to understand native speakers. Unfortunately it didn't work. After six years of doing that I still could not understand native speakers. I still needed subtitles when watching a movie. I was really disappointed. I watch a lot of movies. But I still could not understand native speakers at that point. I didn't really know why didn't work. But now I do so let's talk about that right now.

First there's one thing about listening that you need to know. Listening and hearing are not the same. If you want to improve your listening make sure that when you practice listening you are really listening and not just hearing. So what's the difference between listening and hearing? Well the difference is whether or not you are paying attention. If you're paying attention then you are listening. If you're not paying attention then that's just hearing. So let me give you an example. If you turn on the radio and pay attention to the sound from the radio then that is listening. But if you turn on the radio and that you do something else like reading a book then that's just hearing. You can hear the radio but you're not paying attention to it. You are not listening. And again, if you want to improve your listening, make sure that you are really listening and not just hearing. You need to make sure that you are paying attention.

Now let's talk about watching movies with subtitles. What's wrong with it? Why doesn't it work? As you might have guessed, it doesn't work because you're not listening. You're just hearing, so let me explain when you watch a movie. Your brain is trying to understand the movie but there isn't just one way to do that there are two ways or two options. The first option is to focus on reading the subtitles. The second option is to focus on listening to the sound.

Now I have a question for you. Which option do you think your brain will choose reading or listening? How the answer is obvious your brain is going to focus on reading the subtitles? Why because it's much easier that takes on the screen is clear? So it's very easy for your brain to process. The sounds of people talking on the other hand are not that clear, so it's much more difficult for your brain to figure out what people are saying. As a result, your brain will pay attention to the subtitles and not the sounds, so when you watch a movie with subtitles, you're not really improving your listening. You are actually improving your reading. And that's why it doesn't work. So the best way to improve your listening is to just listen. Don't read and listen at the same time. If you watch a movie in English remove the subtitles, so that your brain will have to focus on listening. If you do that, your listening will improve much faster. That said, there is still a problem. If you remove the subtitles then you won't understand the movie and if you don't understand the movie that is going to be boring so what should you do?

Well here's my suggestion. Don't try to improve your listening by watching movies just watch movies for fun. There's a better and faster way to improve your listening and that is the subject of the next video. In the next video, I'll share with you the method I personally use to improve my English listening skills. So I'll see you again in the next video, and if you don't want to miss that video, make sure you subscribe to this Engfluent channel. And if you want even more advice on how to improve your English, go to Engfluent dot com and sign up for the newsletter or just click these two boxes.
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  |  9346 learners#Education #Lectures
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