English Listening Exercises for B1 – Young and homeless

1. Complete the paraphrases with the words below.

effort      eye      get      give      hand      have

life      make      time      touch      turn      word

1) to try hard

  = to ________. a big ________.

2) to contact somebody

  = to ________. in ________. with somebody

3) to ignore something

  = to ________. a blind ________. to something

4) to talk to somebody

   = to ________. a ________. with somebody

5) to enjoy yourself a lot

   = to have the ________. of your ________.

6) to help somebody

      = to ________. somebody a ________.

Show answers

1) make, effort   2) get, touch   3) turn, eye

4) have, word   5) time, life   6) give, hand

Listening Strategy 1

When you listen to a recording, remember that many ideas will be expressed differently in the task. For example, a simple verb in the task may be expressed by a phrase in the recording: sleep well -> get a good night’s sleep.

2. Read Listening Strategy 1. Then listen to four people and circle the correct summaries.

1) For the past two weeks, speaker 1 has been _____________

a sleeping well

b sleeping badly

2) He’s got a new neighbour, but speaker 2 hasn’t _____________

a seen him

b spoken to him

3) Speaker 3’s husband is in the mountains and nobody can _____________

a find him

b phone him

4) Speaker 4 couldn’t take part in the race, although he really _____________ to be fit for it.

a tried

b expected

Show answers

1) b   2) b   3) b   4) a


1) I got a new bed two weeks ago, and to be honest, I don’t think I’ve had a good night’s sleep since I got it!

2) I’ve got a new next-door neighbour. I saw him carrying some chairs into his flat last night. I was just going out, so I didn’t have time to have a word with him.

3) I’m sorry, husband is on a camping trip in the mountains this weekend. There’s no way to get in touch with him until Monday.

4) I couldn’t take part in the race last weekend. I made a big effort to get fit for it, but I wasn’t ready – and 42 km is a long way!

Listening Strategy 2

Pay attention to whether the language you hear is formal or informal. This can be an important clue to the context.

3. Read Listening Strategy 2. Match the phrases (1-6) with similar meanings (a-f). Then circle the formal phrase in each pair.

1) increase sharply

2) need help

3) find a job

4) currently

5) very important

6) make a proposal

a gain employment

b at the moment

c a high priority

d go up a lot

e suggest something

f require assistance

Show answers

1 d (increase sharply)   2 f (require assistance)

3)  a (gain employment)   4 b (at the moment)

5 c (a high priority)   6 e (suggest something)

4. Listen to three recordings. Which two are formal? Which formal phrases from exercise 3 did they include?

Recording number ______ is formal and includes the formal phrases:

1) _____

2) _____

3) _____

Recording number ______ is formal and includes the formal phrases:

4) _____

5) _____

6) _____

Show answers

Number 1 require assistance; currently; a high priority

Number 2 increase sharply; gain employment; make a proposal


See exercise 5.

5. Listen again and circle the correct answers.

1) In recording 1, we hear a man

a asking for a form to complete.

b asking for help in completing a form.

c returning a form that he has completed.

2) In recording 2, what is the main intention of the speaker?

a To persuade people to make donations to a charity.

b To advise people against giving money to homeless people on the street.

c To suggest ways of helping homeless people which do not cost money.

3) In recording 3, when the speaker took part in the Big Sleep Out, she

a felt much colder than she had expected.

b did not feel as cold as her friends.

c did not feel as cold as she had expected.

Show answers

1) a   2) a   3) c



Woman Can I help you?

Man Yes, I’d like an application form for housing benefit.

W Certainly. This is the form you need.

m Thank you. Do I return it to you?

W No, you don’t. You need to complete the form and then send it by post to the local authority. But if yo u require assistance in completing the form, we can offer that here.

m Thank you.

W Is there anything else?

m Yes, there is one thing. Is there currently a long delay? I need the money quite urgently.

W All new applications are treated as a high priority. There shouldn’t be a delay of more than a week.

m Thank you. You’ve been very helpful.


Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for coming to this event organised by Rooftops, our local charity for homeless people. I know that many of you are regular supporters of our charity and we are extremely grateful for that support. Without it, we simply couldn’t do the work we need to do. As many of you are aware, there are over a hundred people who regularly sleep rough in our town centre. You probably give money to some of them. And I know that many of you also show your support in ways that do not involve money: for example, talking to them, giving advice, treating them as human beings. But we all know that there is only one long-term solution to their problem: they need a job. That is why today, I am appealing for money for our charity’s new project called Back to Work. This project has one main aim: to help homeless people to gain employment. But I’m not here just to ask for money: I’m here to make a proposal – I want you to become our partners.


Last year, I took part in the Big Sleep Out with a group of friends from school. I was quite anxious about it, to be honest. The weather forecast said the temperature was going to be –4°Celsius that night! In fact, I was so worried that I almost didn’t turn up – but I didn’t want to let friends down. So I found all warmest clothes – I had about four jumpers on! And I borrowed brother’s sleeping bag. And in fact, I wasn’t cold at all. Well, only face. But it was fine. We had a great time because there were about fifty people doing the Sleep Out altogether and we knew quite a few of them. And the fact that it was freezing cold made us feel like we had really achieved something.

Extra exercises


When doing a gapfill task, you will sometimes be able to use the exact words that the speaker uses. Often, however, you will have to paraphrase what the speaker says by using fewer words to express the same meaning.

1. Read the Strategy above. Then read the extracts from five different recordings and complete the missing words in the sentences.

Liam   I made a big effort to meet new people and form new friendships.

Sally    I’m sorry, but I’d rather not empty the rubbish bins right now.

Arlo    We had the time of our life in Paris.

Julia    I’ll have a word with the nurse.

Marty I hate the fact that bedroom has purple walls!

1) Liam w______ h______ to make new friends.

2) Sally d______ w______ t______ empty the rubbish bins at the moment.

3) Arlo and his friends really e______ being in Paris.

4) Julia’s going to t______ t______ the nurse.

5) Marty would rather h______ b______ d______ have purple walls.

Show answers

1) worked hard   2) didn’t want to   3) enjoyed   4) talk to

5) his bedroom didn’t

2. You will hear a conversation about house moves. Complete each sentence with no more than three words.

1) Steve now lives in ______________ house in a village.

2) Liz’s old flat was ______________ than her new flat.

3) Steve would rather ______________ spend so much time waiting for buses.

4) Steve’s ______________ enjoying doing DIY.

5) Liz ______________ live in the countryside.

Show answers

1) an old detached   2) smaller   3) not   4) dad is   5) wants to


Liz I heard that your family moved house recently. Where are you living now?

Steve We moved to a village about five kilometres out of town. It’s an old detached house with about an acre of land.

l Wow, that sounds fantastic! Actually, we moved house last month too, but it was just to a bigger flat in the same area. It must be really peaceful where you are.

s You know, it’s true that I sleep better there. I hadn’t really realised how noisy our road in town was. But it’s so much less convenient! I have guitar lessons in the evening, and I’m in a school theatre production too, so I spend hours waiting for buses. I used to just walk everywhere.

l Hmm. I’ve never really thought about that. We’re right in the centre of town, so everything’s so close. So where did the idea of moving to the countryside come from?

s Well ___ mum had always wanted to live in the country, and she’s really enjoying having a big garden now. dad seems to like it there as well. He likes doing DIY projects, and lots of things in the house are broken, so there’s plenty for him to do. So I’m the only one who’s not exactly thrilled.

l Well, I wouldn’t mind putting up with it! I’d give anything to live in the countryside.

s I’m not so keen on it. But in a couple of years I’ll be going off to university, so I’ll just put up with it until then.

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