GE|Adults|Advanced|12. Talk to me London


Choose the point

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (born 19 June 1964) is a British-American politician and journalist. The ex-Mayor of London, he previously served as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Henley and as editor of The Spectator magazine. From 2016 to 2018, he served as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

In 2019, he was elected Conservative Leader and appointed Prime Minister.

Useful Language

  • He must be…
  • He might be…
  • He is definitely…
  • He must have…
  • He might have…


Look at this photo of Boris Johnson and answer the questions below. Then read the passage to find out the correct answers

1. When and where could the photo have been taken?

2. Why do you think Boris might have been on a zip wire?

3. What do you think might have just happened?

4. How do you think he must have been feeling while he was hanging there?

Boris Johnson was featuring as a special guest in Victoria Park, east London, during the 2012 Olympics, to ride the 1,050ft (320m) zip wire, wearing a hard hat and waving two Union Jack flags as he attempted to sail down. Instead, he came to a halt about 65ft (20m) before the end of the wire, and was left dangling inelegantly in front of a watching crowd. The Mayor spent around five minutes hanging comically from the line, as spectators took video footage and photographs of his misfortune. When one asked how he was feeling, he replied «Very, very well, thank you», before shouting: «Get me a rope, get me a ladder».

Read the rules


Speculation and Deduction


Do you often jump to conclusions and make deductions? This topic is right up your alley then


Kate doesn’t have a car. She must have rented it.

You couldn’t have seen a coconut tree. Coconuts don’t grow here.

Do you think he may have realised that the news was fake?

Amanda might be doing the washing. We’ve just had dinner.

Why is Tom late? They should have told him about rescheduling the appointment.


Deductions about the present Deductions about the past
must + V1

must + be + Ving

could + V1

could + be + Ving

may/might + V1

may/might + be + Ving

can’t + V1

must + have + V3

may/might + have + V3

can’t/couldn’t + have + V3


Use modal verbs to speculate and make deductions

must + V1 / must have + V3 / must be + Ving (90% — 100% certain) you are sure that something is true about the present or the past She must be working really hard these days. She looks absolutely exhausted. (a conclusion about a process)

Kate doesn’t have a car. She must have rented it. (a conclusion about a completed action)

can’t + V1 or can’t/couldn’t have + V3 you believe that something didn’t happen or when you are surprised (the opposite of must) You can’t be serious! (disbelief about the present)

Hannah couldn’t have said those words. It’s totally out of character for her. (disbelief about a past action)

may/might/could + V1 and may/might be + Ving and may/might/could have + V3 (50% certain) to talk about possibilities (may = might; could is less common) There may/might not be enough space for all the guests. (a present possibility)

He may/might be talking to Sam. He had some news for him. (a present possibility)


may not / might not in negatives, but NOT couldn’t.

should/ought to + V1; should/ought to have + V3 to talk about expected actions As I know, each box should/ought to be half full. (= It’s expected)

Where is Tom? They should have told him about the rescheduling the appointment. (= We expect him to know about the change.)

❖ Speculation can also be expressed by using the following adjectives and adverbs:

🔹to be bound/sure to

The collapse was bound to happen. = It was expected.

🔹to be likely/unlikely to

Your behaviour is likely to disappoint your parents. = It will probably happen.

🔹It’s likely/unlikely that… It is unlikely that she will have a lasting relationship with Dan. = Probably, it will not happen.


We should definitely be more concerned about the feedback. = I am sure of it.

Match the modal verbs to the point on the scale

Correct the mistakes and rewrite the sentences



Jim didn’t leave work until 6.00, so he won’t likely be here before 7.00.

Jim didn’t leave work until 6.00, so he isn’t likely to be here before 7.00.

Rewrite the sentences using the word in the input


Look at these photos taken in London and make speculations and deductions about them. Then read what’s really happened

Read the texts to find out what’s really happened

The man in the Spider-Man costume was taking part in a stunt to promote Fathers 4 Justice. This organization campaigns for fathers’ rights (for example, for access to children after a divorce), mainly using stunts and protests, which are often conducted in costume.

The blue car was a marketing stunt to launch the Chevrolet Orlando. It was made of 1.5 tonnes of Play-Doh, took eight modellers two weeks to make, and is the world’s biggest Play-Doh model.

The polar bear on the London Underground was a publicity stunt to promote a new TV series called Fortitude, a thriller set in a Norwegian town on the Arctic Circle. The bear took eight weeks to build, and has two people inside, who practised for five days to make their movements seem exactly like a real polar bear’s.

Answer the question. Then read to find out the correct answer


What do you think the «Talk to me London» organisation aims to achieve?

a) They want to help people to meet each other

b) They want to help people to create families

c) They want to increase the communication level in the city

Talk to me London is all about finding ways for people to talk to each other. We know that talking brings about many benefits, from a greater sense of well-being to friendlier communities, and increased opportunities. Think about it — just one conversation can inspire us, reassure us, or brighten up our day. Our vision is to build a friendlier city through encouraging small conversations between strangers.

Listen to an interview with Polly Akhurst, one of the founders of «Talk to me London» and answer the questions

Interviewer Polly

Interviewer: London has often been accused of being an unfriendly place, but is it really, and if it is, does it matter and what could or should we do about it? Today I’m talking to Polly Akhurst, one of the co-founders of «Talk to me London», an organization that aims to get Londoners chatting to each other. Hello, Polly.
Polly: Hello.
Interviewer: Could you start by telling us a bit about «Talk to me London»?
Polly: Sure. «Talk to me London» is all about finding ways for people to talk to other people they don’t know. And we do this through fun activities including a badge, which says Talk to me London on it and shows that you are open to conversation, as well as through regular events that, that get people talking, and we are also organizing a «Talk to me London» day at the end of August.
Interviewer: And how did you get the idea for it, I mean, do you personally find London unfriendly?
Polly: Well, I personally talk to a lot of people I don’t know, and I think that is where the idea came from, I found that the conversations that I have with people just kind of randomly, have been hugely, kind of, beneficial, really, so I’ve made, I might have made new friends, new business connections, sometimes they just kind of just cheer up my day. So Talk to me London comes from this idea of, you know, what happens if we do start talking to each other more and you kind of, you know, are able to see more opportunities and possibilities there.
Interviewer: Have you ever been anywhere either in the UK or abroad, a, a large city, which you thought really was a friendly place, which made you think you wish London was like that?
Polly: There are definitely places that I’ve found friendlier than London, but I think that we all kind of change a bit when we travel and we’re out of our normal circumstances, we feel like, you know, more free to, to do things and perhaps talking to people is one of them. There is a tendency for, people say that Mediterranean countries are friendlier, however, or Latino countries even, but there was a similar initiative to this which was set up in Madrid a couple of years ago which I think indicates that, that they’re facing the same problem as us, and perhaps, you know, points to the fact that this is a phenomenon in all large cities.
Interviewer: So you wouldn’t say it was a uniquely London problem?
Polly: No, I wouldn’t, no.
Interviewer: You’ve had some quite high profile support of «Talk to me London», on your website I think there is a quote from Boris Johnson saying what a wonderful idea it sounds. But on the other hand there’s, there’s been some quite negative media coverage which must have been a bit discouraging for you?
Polly: I mean, I don’t think so, I think that this idea is quite controversial in some ways because we’re trying to encourage people to think about the way that they act and to reflect on that and to possibly change that, so, it hasn’t really been surprising for us that we’ve had the negative coverage.
Interviewer: And what would you say to people, and there are plenty of them I think, people who would say, ‘I’m sitting on the bus, I’m sitting on the Tube I really don’t want to talk to anybody, I really don’t want anyone to talk to me, I just want to read my book or listen to my music, whatever it is’. What would you say to those people?
Polly: I would say that it’s not about everyone talking to everyone else, it’s about, enabling those people who want to talk to do so basically, so that’s why all the things that we do are opt in, so the badge, for example you wear it if you want to talk, if you don’t want to talk, you don’t have to wear it, so you know, this, this isn’t something for everyone, but we want to give people the choice between talking or not talking and currently there doesn’t really seem to be that choice.
Interviewer: Well, I wish you all the best with the project, I hope it’s extremely successful and thank you very much for talking to us.
Polly: Thanks a lot.

Listen to four true stories from the Talk to Me London website and tick the names according to the correct category


James’s story

Um, I was heading home at rush hour a few weeks ago. I was tired and bored, and there was this guy standing beside me reading a book. So I started reading it over his shoulder — it was all about the history of popular social movements. I couldn’t see the title, so I asked him what it was called. Surprisingly, he reacted quite positively and told me the name. He told me that he commuted for two hours each day and that he always tried to read something enlightening ’cause it made him feel a bit better about his life and being productive by the time he got home! It was such a nice unexpected conversation — and it got me thinking about my own reading habits!

Anneka’s story

I was getting the last tube back home one evening, and I had to wait for ages on the platform, so I started talking to the girl sitting next to me. She was Czech and had just come over to the UK with her boyfriend for work. She was a science graduate in the Czech Republic, but was working at a sandwich chain. I suppose in many ways it was a pretty typical story, but she was so upbeat and positive about London and living in the UK. At the end of the journey she emphasised how good it was to talk, and pulled out a sandwich from her bag and gave it to me. I was both shocked and grateful! Perhaps my stomach had been rumbling too loudly…

Philippa’s story

I was on the tube home today, and this young man asked me how my day had been. We chatted about the area and iPads and TV and that kind of thing. Then I mentioned the concept of Talk to Me London and encouraged him not to stop talking to people. An older lady in the meantime had sat down by us and thought the fact that we were chatting was lovely! And then I bumped into an old neighbour from about ten years ago, and we caught up. When he got off the tube, the guy opposite me mentioned how nice it was to see us catching up, and then we got talking, too. It was enthusing. It was quite contagious. I had a smile across my face for the rest of the day.

Alise’s story

I was standing on a bus, and I would have thought I’d looked unapproachable, but instead, a man sitting close by saw I was carrying a guitar. He gave me a big smile and asked if I’d play him a song! Before long we were chatting about travelling and living in different countries and cities around the world, and about music. He was leaving the next day for a few months’ travel around South America. Because the man was a small distance away from where I was standing, quite a few people nearby were able to hear us talk, and many of them also joined in. It felt a little surreal, stepping off the bus later, smiling and saying goodbye to a bunch of strangers as though they were long-time friends.

Now listen again and match the four people to the information about the conversations


Choose 1 question you would like to discuss

1) Do people in your town or city tend to chat to complete strangers, or would it be considered odd?

2) Which cities or regions in your country have a reputation for being friendly or unfriendly?

3) Have you ever been to a city or country that struck you as particularly friendly or unfriendly?

4) ‘You keep to your private bubble and I’ll keep to mine.’ Do you think this is a good approach to city life?

Useful language

🔹I’d say that…
🔹In my view,…
🔹If you ask me,…
🔹I feel that…
🔹Personally, I think that…
🔹My feeling is that…
🔹Personally speaking,…
🔹As far as I’m concerned,…
🔹In my opinion,…

Complete the mini-dialogues using modals and the correct form of the verbs in the inputs


Complete the second sentence using the word in the input so that it means the same as the first

Read the text and answer the two questions under the picture


Silence is golden

You hear it everywhere: in pubs, restaurants and hotels, on the plane, on the train, or on the bus. It comes at you unexpectedly down the phone, and it’s even on television ruining perfectly decent programmes. This unsolicited noise is, of course, piped music, an incessant jingle that is almost impossible to escape.

Contrary to popular belief, it appears that more people dislike this kind of music than actually appreciate it. In a poll carried out by a British newspaper, piped music came third in the list of things people most detested about modern life. (The first two most hated things were other forms of noise.) What is more, a recent survey into shopping habits shows that at least 50 per cent of customers would walk out of a store that had piped music. With figures like these, there can be no doubt about the widespread aversion to the noise.

It is people with some kind of hearing impairment who suffer most from the din. This group includes the elderly, who often develop an age-related hearing problem called presbycusis. The condition prevents them distinguishing the individual words of a conversation above the noise of any background music. As time goes by, they find it more and more difficult to interact. In fact, a 2013 survey commissioned by a British bank showed that around 61 per cent of older people consider piped music in shops and banks their biggest bugbear. The reason most of them gave was that it makes them feel alienated.

However, piped music may also be responsible for far more serious health problems. It has long been recognized that unwanted noise produces stress. The listener experiences a rise in blood pressure and a depression of the immune system.

A survey of 215 blood donors at Nottingham University Medical School found that playing piped music made donors more nervous before giving blood. They also felt more depressed afterwards. These results suggest that a hospital might not be the right place to play this kind of sound.

Yet a care institution in London has recently announced that it is going to do just that. The hospital plans to introduce piped music into its Accident and Emergency Department to ‘calm distressed patients’. The music will be provided by legendary musician Brian Eno, who has been supplying ‘ambient music’ to airports for nearly four decades. The hospital’s objective is to make A & E more patient-friendly, but it is likely to have quite the opposite effect.

Fortunately, help is at hand in the form of Pipedown, a campaign for freedom from piped music. The movement is pushing for legislation to ban its use in public places, especially in hospitals and doctors’ surgeries where patients are in no position to argue or go somewhere else. If the campaign is successful, the London hospital will have to drop its plans. But for many, this will not be a bad thing.

Read the article again and mark the sentences True or False

Read the instructions


А famous magazine has announced a contest on the best story about an interesting conversation. You are to write a story of about 100 words describing an interesting conversation you have had. Use the questions below as a plan of your story and the words and phrases from the wordlist.

  1. Who did you talk to?
  2. Where did it happen?
  3. What was unusual/interesting about this meeting?
  4. What was an outcome of the conversation?

Write a short story answering the questions. Follow the instructions above and use words from the list

Tell us your story!

Had a good conversation lately? Write a story describing it


  1. Read the topic carefully.
  2. Plan what you are going to write about.
  3. Write the text according to your plan.
  4. Check your writing before sending it for evaluation.
  5. Learn the rules and see the sample 🔗here.
  6. Please use 🔗Grammarly to avoid spelling and some grammar mistakes.

Useful language

  • I’d say that…
  • In my view,…
  • If you ask me,…
  • I feel that…
  • Personally, I think that…
  • My feeling is that…
  • Personally speaking,…
  • As far as I’m concerned,…
  • In my opinion,…

«An interesting conversation»

  • Warm-up
  • Deducing
  • Speculation and deduction
  • Practise grammar 1
  • Practise grammar 2
  • Describe the photos
  • Talk to me!
  • Talk to me, stranger!
  • Discuss the question
  • Complete the mini-dialogues
  • Complete the second sentence
  • Silence is gold
  • A good conversation
  1. 1. GE|Adults|Advanced|1. Developing language
  2. 2. GE|Adults|Advanced|2. Changing language
  3. 3. GE|Adults|Advanced|3. Language learning
  4. 4. GE|Adults|Advanced|4. Do you remember?
  5. 5. GE|Adults|Advanced|5. Lasting memories
  6. 6. GE|Adults|Advanced|Revise and check 1
  7. 7. GE|Adults|Advanced|6. Breaking up
  8. 8. GE|Adults|Advanced|7. Dating
  9. 9. GE|Adults|Advanced|8. History through Film
  10. 10. GE|Adults|Advanced|9. Inaccuracies in movies
  11. 11. GE|Adults|Advanced|10. Talking about history
  12. 12. GE|Adults|Advanced|Revise and check 2
  13. 13. GE|Adults|Advanced|11. Sound phobia
  14. 14. GE|Adults|Advanced|12. Talk to me London
  15. 15. GE|Adults|Advanced|13. To say the same thing
  16. 16. GE|Adults|Advanced|14. Reading habits
  17. 17. GE|Adults|Advanced|Revise and Check 3
  18. 18. GE|Adults|Advanced|15. Multitasking and mindfulness
  19. 19. GE|Adults|Advanced|16. Time and you
  20. 20. GE|Adults|Advanced|17. “Love or money?”
  21. 21. GE|Adults|Advanced|18. "Money talks"
  22. 22. GE|Adults|Advanced|19. It’s all about the money
  23. 23. GE|Adults|Advanced|Revise and Check 4
  24. 24. GE|Adults|Advanced|20. Trying new things
  25. 25. GE|Adults|Advanced|21. Life-changing challenges
  26. 26. GE|Adults|Advanced|22. Obsessions and addictions
  27. 27. GE|Adults|Advanced|23. A blessing in disguise
  28. 28. GE|Adults|Advanced|Revise and Check 5