English Listening Exercises for B2 – Urban legends

Listening Strategy

Speakers often use intonation to express their opinion or attitude about the statements they make. Pay attention to the speaker’s tone of voice and the intonation they use to find out how they feel about their subject.

1. Read the Listening Strategy. Then listen to the sentences and choose the tone of voice (a or b) each speaker uses.

1) Is that letter for me?


a nervous

b surprised

2) No, that’s not right. Let me show you.


a angry

b patient

3) This is seat.


a certain

b uncertain

4) That makes me feel much better.


a sarcastic

b enthusiastic

5) That didn’t hurt at all.


a surprised

b sarcastic

6) The film’s quite good.


a unsure

b enthusiastic

7) He’s never on time.


a angry

b patient

8) This party’s brilliant.


a sarcastic

b enthusiastic

Show answers

1) a   2) b   3) b   4) a   5) a   6) a   7) a   8) b

Transcript

1) Is that letter for me?

2) No, that’s not right. Let me show you.

3) This is seat.

4) That makes me feel much better.

5) That didn’t hurt at all.

6) The film’s quite good.

7) He’s never on time.

8) This party’s brilliant.

2. Listen again and repeat the sentences, copying the tone of voice.

3. Now try saying the sentences in exercise 1 in the other tone of voice.

4. Listen and repeat the different intonation patterns for statements.

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5. Listen to these statements being said in two different ways. Number them 1 and 2 in the order you hear them. Practise saying them.

1) You like this kind of story.


a certain

b uncertain

2) This is just what I wanted.


a certain

b sarcastic

3) This isn’t quite what I was expecting.


a qualifying

b certain

4) He thinks it’s a reasonable price.


a qualifying

b uncertain

5) This steak is the best I’ve ever eaten.


a sarcastic

b certain

6) That’s really nice of him.


a uncertain

b sarcastic

Show answers

1) a, b   2) b, a   3) a, b   4) b, a   5) b, a   6) a, b

6. Listen to the conversation. Choose the correct answers (a-d).

1) How does Max feel when he starts telling his story?


a Reluctant to tell it.

b Impatient with interruptions.

c Unsure how the story goes.

d Worried that it is too scary.

2) What is the story about?


a A ghost

b A student who is lost.

c What to do in bad weather.

d The inhabitants of a village in Ireland.

3) What do the people listening think of the story?


a It’s gripping.

b It’s hilarious throughout.

c It’s annoying.

d It’s too similar to the first one.

4) What does Caro think of Max’s comment about her?


a She’s really annoyed.

b She admits that Max’s comment could be right.

c She criticises Max in self-defence.

d She does not trust his opinion of her.

5) What does Max agree with Jill about?


a That Caro is easily fooled.

b That Caro is more good-natured than he is.

c That Ian’s story is better than his.

d That Ian should buy the coffees.

Show answers

1) b   2) d   3) a   4) b   5) b

Transcript

Max Right, you lot. I have a horror story of own for you. It won’t be as good as Ian’s, of course.

Ian Of course it won’t, Max! But anyway, let’s hear it.

Jill Fantastic! Is it as scary as the first one?

Caro Hope not ___

Ian   Don’t worry, Caro.

Max Are you going to listen or what?

Ian   We’re all ears ___

Caro I hope it isn’t true ___

Max Shhh, Caro. Well, this story takes place on a cold, stor night deep in the Irish countryside. John, a student, was by the side of the road, hitch-hiking. The storm was so strong that he could hardly see anything at all. He was desperate. Suddenly, he saw a car coming towards him very slowly ___

Ian Oh, it’s a bit like story ___

Caro Oh, dear. I don’t like this story, either.

Max Shh, Caro! It’s nothing like your story, Ian! Can I continue?

Jill   Please do. I’m listening, at least ___

Max Anyway, John was desperate for shelter so, without thinking about it, he jumped into the car ___ only to realise that there was nobody behind the wheel ___ ! Then the car started moving slowly off! The rain was lashing down and the storm was howling. John tried the door handle, but it wouldn’t open! He began to panic ___

Jill Good grief ___

Max The car started to pick up a little speed. Frightened, John peered out of the window and could just make out a bend in the road. He was terrified and thought he was going to die.

Caro Oh no!

Max Shh ___ Then, just before the car hit the trees on the curve, a ghostly hand appeared through the window and turned the wheel. John was frozen with fear.

Ian Is it a ghost story ___ ?

Max The car was gathering speed now down the hill through the furious storm. John clung on in terror ___ Finally, he could make out a light in the distance. People! Gathering all his strength he pushed the car door open, fell out into the night, and ran for his life towards the lights of the pub on the roadside.

Caro Phew ___ Thank goodness for that ___

Max Shhh ___ Soaking wet and exhausted, John staggered into the pub, dazed and shaking, and started telling the few people there about the terrible experience he’d just had.

Jill   I bet.

Max Suddenly, the pub doors burst open again ___

Caro Oh no ___

Max Two men came into the room ___ like John, they were wet to the skin and out of breath ___ They looked around the room, and spotted John crying in the corner. One man said to the other ___ All What?

Max He said, ‘Look, there’s that idiot that got into the car while we were pushing it!’

Ian Brilliant, Max! That’s hilarious. You had us on the edge of our seats, thinking something horrible was going to happen.

Jill Yes, very clever!

Caro Now, I do like that story! What a relief!

Max Always happy to entertain ___ Well, there are plenty of funny urban legends as well as the horror ones.

Ian True. And it was better than story!

Max Nah, mate. Anyway, Caro, you make a good listener. You believe anything anybody tells you!

Caro That’s not fair! Well, actually, you may have a point there, Max. I can’t help it if I’m naturally trusting, can I?

Jill It just means you’re a very nice person, Caro. Much nicer than Max.

Max Hey! But Jill’s right. You are nicer than me, Caro. Come on, you lot. I’ll buy you all a coffee.

Ian Well, that’s unexpectedly nice of you, Max! Let’s go, guys, before he changes his mind!

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