Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 60 – Grammar – Using Stance Markers

We’re back with some more grammar! In this one I’m going to explain stance markers, intonation to express feelings and attitudes, and changing a conversation topic and returning to it.

So, stance markers are used by speakers to express their attitude about ideas they are presenting. They help us know if an idea is an opinion or a fact. Some ways we can express stances are.

  • with a single adverb.

Frankly, that sounds like a bad idea.

Actually, being able to fly from country-to-country was a major turning point in human history.

  • with adverbial clauses and prepositional phrases. In order not to sound impolite, try to support your stance with facts and relevant information.

As a matter of fact, I didn’t do the project alone. I got help from everyone around me.

To put it bluntly, we lost pretty bad at the chess tournament.

To be honest, I really don’t understand what my boss wants from me. He hasn’t clarified my role.

  1. Listen to each conversation and choose an appropriate response.

1. Frankly, it’s too dangerous. / Actually, it’s my favorite thing.

2. Yeah, luckily it was late at night. No one was there. / Actually it’s next week.

3. To be blunt, I thought it was boring. / Frankly, I’m not interested.

4. To be honest, I can’t. My friend did it. / Actually, I can’t go. I’m busy.

Skillful 3


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 56 – Grammar – Other Conditionals

Welcome back to another special! And on today’s podcast I’m going over other conditionals that you could possibly see in academic. Here’s the rundown.

Unless = if …..not, except if.

We won’t be able to swim unless the swimming pool is open.

As long as, provided/providing (that) = if, only if

We’ll be able to swim as long as/ provided the swimming pool is open.

In case = because, maybe

We’ll take our swimsuits in case the swimming pool is open.

Supposing/suppose = imagine….

Supposing he came to eat tonight, would we have enough food?

Should/were to/happened to = when something is less probable

If it were to/should/happened to rain tomorrow, what would we do?

Second Part

I wish/if only + the past = talking about imaginary situations in the present. It expresses wishes for things to be different in the present.

I wish I was on the beach right now.

I wish/if only + past perfect = talking about past situations that we would have liked to be different. It expresses regrets.

If only I hadn’t spent all my money last weekend.

I wish/if only with would/wouldn’t + infinitive = talking about somebody’s habitual behaviour that we want to criticize and change.

My day smokes. I wish we wouldn’t do it.


Write conditional sentences for the situations below.

  1. I’m annoyed today because you didn’t help me.

If you ______________________________________.

2. We couldn’t go out last night because we have an exam today.

If we ________________________________________.

3. I’m afraid of heights so I didn’t go to the top.

If I ___________________________________________.

4. I don’t know any French so I couldn’t translate it.

If I ___________________________________________.

5. He didn’t take his medication. That’s why he’s sick.

If he _________________________________________.

6. They didn’t let us in because we aren’t old enough.

If we _________________________________________.

7. She isn’t happy now because she didn’t get the job.

If she _________________________________________.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 55 – Pronunciation – Special Focus – Emphasizing Agreement

Welcome to another ESL podcast, and today I’ll be talking about emphasizing on agreement. Why do speakers shift the focus to the auxiliary verb? It’s when someone expresses a strong agreement. So, when they do this the auxiliary verb is often the focus word.

He should open a restaurant. He’s such a good cook.

He is a good cook.

Interactive Exercise

Work with someone. Student A can read the sentence and student B can respond by shifting focus to an auxiliary verb.

  1. Paris is the most beautiful city in the world.
  2. Everyone should have three-day weekends.
  3. Writing English is easier than speaking it.
  4. The Toyota is the most practical car on the road in Thailand.
  5. Antwone Fisher is the best movie ever made.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 54 – Developing Vocabulary – Compound Nouns & Adjectives (Science)

Welcome back to compound nouns and adjectives, everyone! This is related to science, so check out these compounds, match the definitions and complete the rest of the tasks below.

  1. Outlook
  2. Drawback
  3. Outcome
  4. Feedback
  5. Outset
  6. Outbreak
  7. Cutback
  8. Crackdown

a. beginning, start

b. result

c. reduction in something (the amount of money spent)

d. strong action that someone in authority takes to stop a particular activity.

e. sudden start of war, disease, violence, etc

f. disadvantage

g. idea of what a situation will be like in the future/your general attitude to things

h. comments about how well or badly someone is doing something, intended to help them to do it better.

Task 2

Match 1-8 and a-h. Are the words compound nouns or compound adjectives? Are they written as one word, one word with a hyphen, or two words?

  1. Genetically
  2. set
  3. high
  4. life
  5. world
  6. break
  7. off
  8. worth

a time

b wide

c through

d while

e modified

f back

g risk

h spring

More activities on my patreon!


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 53 – Developing Writing (Writing Version)

Welcome back, people! This is a follow-up from last week’s developing speaking (although it was labeled writing). In this podcast/blog, I’m going to breakdown a film review (Gateway B2+) and ask you some questions. Moreover, it’ll be time for you to write a film review!

Ryan Coogler‘s masterful superhero drama is unlike any other, featuring outstanding acting, breathtaking art direction, fascinating royal intrigue, memorable action sequences, and surprising depth. It’s that depth — of character, of storyline, of relevancy — that makes Black Panther shine, as Boseman’s T’Challa takes the mantle of king with enormous uncertainty about whether to share Wakanda’s resources with the world. With the exception of his second-in-command W’Kabi (Kaluuya), T’Challa surrounds himself with an inner circle of influential women: Okoye, Nakia, his mother (Bassett), and his genius younger sister, scientist/tech inventor Shuri (Letitia Wright). Each of them contributes much to the story, with Gurira’s spear-wielding Okoye the movie’s clear scene-stealer, Wright the clever comic relief, and Nyong’o offering a wee bit of romance. Even the central villain, as played by frequent Coogler collaborator Jordan, is well-rounded and humanized, with the actor doing great work opposite the equally nuanced Boseman.
There’s so much to appreciate in Black Panther, from its pulsing score, which features a soundtrack overseen by award-winning rapper Kendrick Lamar, to the mesmerizing cinematography courtesy of DP Rachel Morrison, gorgeous tribal costumes, and vibrant production design. There’s not as much laugh-aloud banter as viewers may have come to expect from Marvel movies, but the beats of humor that are here, usually thanks to plucky Shuri or mountain-tribe leader M’Baku (Winston Duke), are extra funny. Ultimately the film’s success comes down to the thoughtful, compelling storytelling from director Coogler and writer Joe Robert Cole, as interpreted by a terrific cast of actors. This isn’t just another highly entertaining but formulaic superhero story; it’s also poignant and powerful and earns its place toward the top of Marvel’s films. (Be sure to watch all the way through the credits for a couple of extra tidbits!)

Sandy Angulo Chen

Would this be a movie you would like to see? Why or why not?


Write a review, have a definite idea about what you want to tell people about the thing that you are reviewing. Clarify your opinions by giving examples to justify them.

Review Format

  1. General information about the film — title, genre, director, star, date it came out
  2. The basic plot
  3. What you liked/didn’t like about the film, with examples and justifications
  4. Your recommendation.


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 52 – Grammar – Conditionals

Guys! We’re back with some conditional work and exercises! Now remember, by tuning into my Patreon, you’ll be able to see the “other” conditionals that I’ve written out, along with exercises. So be sure to check it out!

With that being said, let’s get into conditionals and refresh your memory.

Third Conditional

If + past perfect, ……would/wouldn’t have + past participle.

If I had studied, I would have passed the exam.


We use the third conditional to talk about imaginary or impossible situations in the past and their consequences. The situations are impossible because we cannot change them now that they have happened.

Mixed Conditionals

If + past simple, ……… would /wouldn’t have + past participle

If + past perfect, ………. would/ wouldn’t + infinitive


Mixed conditionals are a mixture of the second and third conditional. They can describe an imaginary present situation and its past consequence.

If I liked that group, I would have gone to see them in person.

Or they can describe an imaginary past situation and its present consequence.

If I had had breakfast, I wouldn’t be hungry now.


  1. If the press hadn’t found out about this story, it ____________ (not appear) in the newspapers.
  2. If research ______________(be) useful, people want to know about it.
  3. If they _____________(not be) scientists, they wouldn’t know how to carry out these experiments.
  4. If they repeat the experiment, they ______________(get) the same results next time.

Rewrite these sentences using conditionals

  1. My brother must get good marks because he wants to study medicine next year.

If my brother gets good marks, he………

2. I didn’t know you were at home last night. I wanted to call you for help with my homework.

3. You must water plants as without water, they die.

4. It’s a pity scientists don’t have more funding. They need it to do more research.

Here’s my PATREON link if you want the additional numbers 5-8. If you want the “other conditional structures,” you can subscribe to my Patreon!


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 51 – TOEFL IBT Speaking Practice

One of the independent speaking tasks on TOEFL IBT might involve expressing a preference. To do well on this task, you will need to highlight contrasts.

Read the question down below. Take a moment to prepare a response. Outline your ideas if necessary.

Question: Some students prefer a formal classroom where the teacher lectures and students take notes. Other students prefer a more casual classroom where students participate and work in groups. Which type of classroom do you prefer and why?

Your choice or opinion:

One advantage of the other choice:

Two or three reasons for your choice:

Some students think it’s better to learn from a professor / than from other students / …. that it’s more efficient. / Well, that might be true for them, / but it is not true for me. / Most of the time, / I prefer a casual classroom / to a formal classroom.

45 Seconds to Record!


Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 50 – Pronunciation – Contrast Words in Thought Groups

Welcome back, everyone! This is a quick, interactive exercise for you guys. What I want you to do is underline the words that contrast in each thought group.

  1. I’m looking for a used car, / not a new one.
  2. This isn’t the twenty-fifth floor; / it’s the twenty-sixth floor.
  3. He found his debit card / but not his credit card.
  4. I made the check out to Sarah Fiddenberg, / not Sara Fiddenberg.
  5. I thought our anniversary was on the tenth, / but it’s on the eleventh.
  6. Sue used to like electronic books, / but now she prefers print books.
  7. That’s my home number. / Let me give you my cell number.
  8. If the clothes aren’t on the dryer, / look in the dryer.


Here is one way to add movement to practice your focus words: Stand up and “walk the thought groups.” take one step forward as you say each focus word or the stressed syllable of each focus word.


Arsenio’s TOEIC Live Coaching: Episode 016 – Questions for YouTube/Podcast

Hello, all! Here are the questions that I promised you. Make sure you answer them at a chance to win a free teaching hour with me on a topic of your choice!

4) What is the purpose of the talk?
A) To address customers’ problems
B) To introduce a training session
C) To explain the company benefits
D) To describe a new product

5) Who is the speaker most likely addressing?
A) Job seekers
B) Company customers
C) New employees
D) Department heads

6) In which department does George Stevens work?
A) Human resources
B) Sales
C) Customer service
D) Marketing

Arsenio’s ESL Podcast: Season 4 – Episode 49 – Developing Writing – A Film Review

Work with a friend, partner, sibling or anyone and rank these, from 1-10 (1 = not important, 10 = very important) when deciding to watch a film.

In the podcast down below…..

  • the star and supporting actors
  • the genre (comedy, science fiction, etc)
  • the plot
  • the length
  • the special effects and visuals
  • the soundtrack
  • the setting and location
  • reviews and recommendations


  1. inter
  2. dis/un/im/ir/in/il
  3. re
  4. ex
  5. under
  6. mis
  7. over
  8. co
  9. post
  10. pre
  11. sub
  12. super
  13. anti

a. wrong, incorrect

b before

c more, bigger, better

e too much

f between

g the opposite, not

h again

i with, together

j a position or situation that existed before, but not now

k below

l after

m against