Session 4

Meet a Roman centurion who's travelled to modern-day London and needs some help with his phrasal verbs. Can you help him find the right words to say to make his spoken English sound more natural?

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Marcus the centurion goes on holiday

Use phrasal verbs to sound natural

Meet Marcus the time-travelling Roman centurion. He's arrived in London - or Londinium as he calls it in Latin - for a short holiday and he wants to tell you all about it. His spoken English is pretty good but is a bit too formal and old fashioned.


Listen to Marcus and try to answer these questions:

1. What was he expecting to see in London?

2. What is he wearing at the moment?

3. What idiom does he use to mean 'don't expect to achieve everything in a short period of time'?

Listen to the audio and complete the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Salutem! That's Latin for 'greetings'. That's what I said when I had to register at my place of rest – but the man on reception gave me a very strange look.

How did my journey terminate in this magnificent city I hear you ask? Well Emperor Caesar said I should escape to take my rest as I had been working so hard. So I chose to come here – Londinium – one of the northern outposts of the Roman Empire.

But it isn't what I had expected – no chariots – instead I have to explore the city on these strange red double-decker buses. And for entertainment, people go to a theatre to see something called a 'musical' not slaves being eaten by lions, unfortunately.

I shall go to observe one of these 'musicals' but not before I have absorbed the atmosphere of the city from a strange contraption called The London Eye. But how do I get there? The nice man at the hotel gave me a 'Tube map' but I can't seem to decipher it.

I shall use my feet to walk there – actually not walk but march – and I will enquire for directions. Maybe these people will be able to suggest which musical I go to see tonight – I do hope there's one that involves slaves being cut to pieces.

But please detain yourself. If I am to go to the theatre tonight I need to attire myself smartly - not wear this scruffy old toga. I only have a few pieces of gold and Londinium isn't cheap so I will need to compare prices at a number of shops – and if I have a few nuggets left I might buy Caesar an 'I 'heart' Londinium' T-shirt. He'll love that!

Oh but how am I going to do all of this today? I suppose I've always got tomorrow – after all Rome – I mean Londinium wasn't built in a day!


1. Marcus was expecting to see chariots and slaves being eaten by lions!

2. He is wearing a scruffy old toga.

3. The idiom he used was 'Rome wasn't built in a day'.

To do

Now listen to Marcus again. There are 11 places where his English would sound more natural if he used a sentence with a phrasal verb.

Which sentences containing phrasal verbs would make Marcus the Roman's English more natural. If you want to see a list of phrasal verbs, have a look at the vocabulary reference page.

Help Marcus use phrasal verbs

11 Questions

Choose the sentence with the correct phrasal verb to make Marcus's spoken English sound more natural

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End of Session 4

We hope you found this session useful and that you might drop in a few phrasal verbs into your next English conversation. In the next session try to listen out for some more of them as you enjoy our new drama - Gulliver's Travels.