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Learning English - Welcome to London Big Ben
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Unit 1: Transport
Speak  1: Comparisons and the 'schwa' sound
The schwa sound
John and Fiona have been discussing which type of transport to use. In their conversation they often use the schwa sound when making comparisons about the different types of transport.
Instructions for exercise
The schwa sound is the most common weak sound in the English language and is very important because it helps to give English its rhythm.
The sound is used frequently, including when making comparisons.
Click on a sentence below to listen to it.
Look out for the text turning red to detect when the schwa sound is used during comparisons and then try and repeat the pronunciation.

 Flash exercise not working? Try the basic version.

Language tips - grammar
When we have 2 things to compare

The tube is quicker than the Airbus - quick is a short adjective (adjective + er + than).
The Airbus is more expensive than the Tube - expensive is a long adjective (more + adjective + than).
The Tube is not as quick as the Heathrow Express (not as + adjective + as). This is the same as saying 'The Heathrow Express is quicker than the tube'.

When we have 3 things to compare

The Tube is the cheapest (the + adjective + est). Remember, cheap is a short adjective.
A Taxi is the most expensive (the + most + adjective). Remember, expensive is a long adjective.

Unit 1: Transport
Listen 1: Choosing transport from Heathrow into town
Listen 2: At the ticket office
Listen 3: In the Underground station
Read 1: Comparing travel options
Speak 1: Comparisons and the 'schwa' sound
Unit 2: Hotel
Unit 3: Cinema
Unit 4: Shopping
Unit 5: Work
Unit 6: Eating Out
  Useful links
BBC London travel news