Learn English skills

Listening skills

Listening skills are closely related to speaking skills. Very often we listen as part of a conversation so that we can respond to what we hear and keep the conversation flowing.

There are many situations when we are listening for a specific piece of information. We could be listening for directions, dates and times, when a flight is arriving/departing or the weather for an area. The information we are listening for is the easy part, what we need to learn is how to recognise the clues we hear before the information we are listening for.

When we are listening for tomorrow’s temperature in a weather report, the words before the number are what helps us, e.g. “The temperature ...” or “... with temperatures of ...” If you are listening for flight information you are listening for a number, but the words before the number help us, e.g. “Flight number ...” or “British Airways flight ...” So, learning and understanding how to recognise the clues can make listening a lot easier.

Hints and Tips (help)

One of the best ways to improve your listening skills is to listen to people. Listen to the radio, watch TV programmes and films, audio books and around town in shops and other places.

Audio books are very useful. There are 1,000s of FREE audio books at Librivox. When you’ve listened to about five minutes of the book, stop the recording and take some time to write a summary of what you heard. Write down all the key information: names, places, dates times, transport, jobs etc, and then play the recording again to check.

If you want to listen to something more formal, try Euro News. You can listen to the news announcer and read the article. Some of the text might be different to what you hear. Write down the differences you hear.

Listening for directions Listening for public announcements Listening skills for business

Listening Skills Practice

Public announcements - at the train station

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