A common and very popular topic of conversation in English is the weekend. When it comes to Friday, we often ask our friends and colleagues about their weekend plans. And on Monday, we come into work and start talking about what we did over the weekend. 

This is a great topic to start ‘chatting’ with people and getting to know them. 

VIDEO AND AUDIO LESSON

In this lesson I will present some common questions you can ask someone about their weekend plans and activities and also some useful phrasal verbs and vocabulary you can use to describe your weekend and free time. 

Then you will have the chance to listen to this vocabulary in a context with my story: Tom’s Weekend.

Use this audio story to practice your listening, reading and speaking skills. 

Enjoy the lesson!

Please leave a comment below if you enjoyed it or if you have any questions. And share it with your friends!

Download the video lesson transcript here. 
*Please note: The video starts from “We’re talking about the weekend”. (The first paragraphs are not in the video)

Transcript

KEY VOCABULARY

BEFORE THE WEEKEND

  1. “What’s happening for the weekend?”
  2. “Got anything on this weekend?” (Have you got anything on this weekend?)
  3. “Any plans for the weekend?”

AFTER THE WEEKEND

  1. “How was your weekend?”
  2. “What did you get up to on the weekend?”
  3. “Did you get up to much on the weekend?”

WAYS TO RESPOND

  • “I had a quiet weekend“.
  • “It was pretty low-key.”
  • “I kept it low-key“.
  • “I had a wild weekend”. 
  • “I had a full on weekend”. 

PHRASAL VERBS

       1. to catch up on: to do something you didn’t have time to do before.

  • “What did you get up to on the weekend?”
    “I caught up on some rest.”
  • “What are you going to do this weekend?”
    “I’m going to catch up on some rest.”

       2. to catch up with someone: to meet with a friend socially

  • “What did you get up to on the weekend?”
    “I caught up with some friends”.
  • “What are you doing this weekend?”
    “I’m catching up with some friends.”

       3. to go out: to go to a bar, restaurant, club or social event, usually to drink, eat and party. 

  • “What did you get up to last weekend?”
  • “I went out for some drinks with some friends.”

        4. to wind down: to relax after hard work or stress

  • “What did you get up to on the weekend?”
    “I just wound down a bit”.
  • “I’m going to wind down this weekend and watch some movies.”

To unwind also means to relax. 

  • “I really need to unwind. I need to take a holiday.”

LISTEN TO THE MINI STORY

Now you can practice your listening with this original mini story. You can hear the vocabulary from the video lesson in a context. This is a very important step in integrating the vocabulary into your memory and comprehension. 

USING STORIES TO INCREASE YOUR FLUENCY

You can use these audio story exercises in many fun ways, to help improve your English fluency. 

Follow these key steps. 

LISTEN TO THE MINI STORY

Listen to the story audio and read the transcript at the same time. Pay attention to how the key vocabulary is used in the context. Circle any new words or phrases that you don’t know. 

  1. Listen without transcript. Simply listen and try to understand the story.
  2. Listen again and read the transcript at the same time. Note down new vocabulary. 
  3. Imitation Practice. Now you can practice your speaking with imitation. Listen to the slow version of the story. Try to repeat the sentences after me. You should try to copy my speech pattern as closely as possible. You can listen to the audio again and pause to repeat. This is called “imitation”. Improve your pronunciation by trying to ‘copy’ the speaker. 
  4. Read Aloud. Now you can simply read the story yourself, without the audio. This is a great way to improve your pronunciation and fluency. If you have followed steps 1 to 3, this should be more effective.

TOM’S LOW-KEY WEEKEND
By Nick Dale

Transcript

The weekend was approaching and Tom decided he was going to keep it really low key. The last two months had been extremely busy with work commitments and projects to complete. He had been absolutely flat out, working day and night to meet deadlines. Not only that but he had also had several wild weekends over the last few weeks. A few of his friends had celebrated their birthdays with big parties and invited him so he’d been going out almost every weekend to bars and clubs.

He was exhausted.

Some of his friends wanted to catch up with him but it was time to wind down so Tom cleared his calendar and cancelled all commitments.

He really needed to catch up on some rest, so he spent all day Saturday chilling out on the sofa watching his favourite series, House Of Cards, on Netflix. Tom loves the storylines and characters and finds the show so engrossing. It felt so good to put his feet up and unwind for a whole day without any demands or interruptions. He just lay there scoffing his face with corn chips and hummus with his eyes glued to the screen, watching episode after episode.

His chill out time soon came to an abrupt end, however, when suddenly he heard an extremely loud scream coming from the apartment next door. He jolted upright and nearly chocked on a corn chip!.

“What was that??” he thought.

The piercing scream came again, this time much louder and urgent. It sounded like a woman in serious distress.

Tom waited for a while, hoping his neighbour would settle down. But she continued to scream and shout. It sounded like someone was hurting her and no one was coming to the rescue.

Tom groaned, having been pulled out of his trance-like relaxation. But at the same time he was concerned for the woman next door.

He went into the kitchen and grabbed a large, heavy frying pan from the cupboard, arming himself with a weapon.

Creeping across the hallway to the neighbours door, he stood outside and listened closely.

Nothing.

“AHHHHH!..Noooo! Please!! I told you to get out!! Why are you doing this to me??”, the woman screeched.

That was it. Tom had no choice but to push open the door and barge in with his frying pan raised in the air.

In the living room was an attractive young woman standing on the dining table, also with a big frying pan in her hand, pointing up at the wall.

“Get him out!! Please!!” she screamed at Tom.

Tom looked up at the wall. There, sitting in the top corner, was a rather large, black spider with big furry legs, innocently resting.

Tom started laughing.

“I thought you were being attacked” he said.

“Well I might be if we don’t get that thing out!” she yelped.

“It’s fine. Calm down. I’ll look after him” Tom bravely assured her.

Grabbing a big glass from the woman’s kitchen, he went over to the wall, stood on the table and gently placed the glass over the spider. He then slipped a piece o f paper under the glass and retrieved the ugly looking insect, taking it carefully outside and letting it go into the bushes.

The distressed neighbour was incredibly grateful. She invited him in for a drink.

“Well, I’m actually in the middle of a really good series. I’m kinda hooked!”

“Oh please. You have no idea how grateful I am that you could do that. Spiders are just my worst nightmare!”

She smiled at him. She was sweet, with beautiful warm blue eyes. He was surprised he hadn’t seen her around before.

“Ok, why not?” replied Tom.

They sat on the Sofa, watching more of Netflix.

“Not going out this weekend?” the woman asked.

“Nah” said Tom. “Quiet one for me. I’m staying in all weekend for a change”.

“Me too” she said.

(C) 2017
For Real English Speaker
All Rights Reserved

IMITATION EXERCISE

Use the slower version of the story below to practice ‘imitating’ me, copy my sentences.

KEY VOCABULARY

“He had been absolutely flat out”

to be flat out means to be very busy or to do something as fast as possible with a lot of energy.

  • “He was running flat out to catch the train”
  • “The team are working flat out to meet the deadline”

“He spent all day chilling out on the sofa”

to chill out means to relax after a period of hard work or intense physical activity

  • “The workers went out for a drink after work to chill out”
  • “I’m exhausted. Let’s chill out tonight and watch TV”

“It felt so good to put his feet up and unwind”

to put your feet up means to literally lay down and relax.

  • “After work I like to put my feet up and have a glass of wine”
  • “You’ve been working so hard. Why don’t you put your feet up and I’ll make dinner?”

“He just lay there scoffing his face with corn chips”

to scoff your face means to eat a lot of food, usually in big handfuls.

  • “I was so hungry so I bought a pizza and scoffed my face”

“….with his eyes glued to the screen….”

This expression means to be completely focused on the TV screen, watching a show or movie that you really like.

  • “That movie was so gripping! My eyes were glued to the screen the whole way through”

“Chill out time”

This simply means a period of time for relaxation.

“Tom waited for a while, hoping his neighbour would settle down”

to settle down, in this case, means to be calm or quiet after stress, excitement or anxiety.

  • “I couldn’t settle down before the wedding. I was so nervous and excited!”
  • “Can you tell the kids to settle down?! They are making so much noise!”

“Tom had no choice but to push open the door and barge in”

to barge in means to go or come rudely into someone’s place (without invitation).

  • “He just barged into the party without being invited”
  • “You can’t barge in like that! It’s not your house!”

“Calm down”

This is a phrasal verb that is similar to “settle down’. We say this to someone who is anxious, stressed, angry or noisy.

  • “Calm down! There’s no need to get so upset!”
  • “Ok everyone, please calm down. The speeches will start in a moment”

“I’m kinda hooked!”

To be hooked (on) something means to be addicted. This is often used in a less serious, more positive way (so we don’t often use it to talk about drug addiction)

  • “I’m hooked on that new TV show! It’s so good!”
  • “From the moment I first tried water skiing I was hooked!”

*kinda is short for ‘kind of’. This is commonly used in everyday conversation to express our opinions, thoughts, ideas about something.

It is used before an adjective.

  • Kind of (kinda) interesting
  • Kind of worried
  • Kind of sad
  • Kind of hungry

NOTE – ‘kinda’ is not used in writing. Only speaking.