Saturday, 30 November 2013

How much sugar in a Coca-Cola?
(Level: Intermediate / B1 / **)

Before watching

You are going to watch part of a BBC programme in which Jeremy Paxman (*) is interviewing James Quincey, President of Coca-Cola Europe.

(*) Jeremy Paxman is an English journalist, broadcaster and author. He has worked for the BBC since 1977, and is known for his intimidating, forthright, incisive and aggressive interviewing style,  mainly when interrogating politicians.


The following word could be useful:

staggering: causing great astonishment, amazement or dismay; overwhelming (from: The Free Dictionary)  stupéfiant / saisissant / énorme


While watching

Answer the following questions in French:

  1. What does Mr Quincey say when BBC's Jeremy Paxman asks him what good Coca-Cola does physically?
  2. What does Mr Quincey compare a can of Coke to?
  3. What does Mr Paxman's incisive questioning force Mr Quincey into conceding? (2 things).

When you are finished, check your answers!   

Le Coca-Cola contient une certaine quantité de sucre (Coca-Cola does have some sugar in it!);  il est apprécié par des millions de consommateurs en Grande-Bretagne (et constitue une part de leur alimentation).

Une cannette de Coca-Cola avec ses 35g de sucre est comparable selon lui à un cappuccino ou un demi croissant.

a) Les consommateurs de Coca-Cola dans les cinémas par exemple ignorent probablement la quantité de sucre contenue dans les gobelets (quelle que soit la taille de ceux-ci; par exemple un gobelet ordinaire équivaut à 23 dosettes de sucre tandis que le gobelet maxi contient l'équivalent de 44 dosettes); la quantité de sucre absorbée en une séance de cinéma est donc stupéfiante!

b) Il faut que les choses changent; notamment la taille des récipients de Coca-Cola doit être réduite...

How much sugar is there in Coca-Cola, other beverages, snacks, cookies etc.?  Take a look!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Grammar (4): the present continuous tense //  + simple present versus present continuous

 1. The present continuous tense: form

= to be (in the present tense) + verb ending in -ing

I am reading / working...                   // I’m reading / working / …
You / We / They are reading...          // You / We / They’re reading ...
 He / She is reading / working / ...        // He / she’s reading / working / ...

=   Present continuous (positive)  

I am not reading / working /  …        // I’m not reading / working / …
You / We / They are not reading / ... // You / We / They’re not reading / ...
                             You / We / They aren’t reading / working
He / She is not reading / ...                 // He / she’s  not reading / ...
                             He / She isn’t reading / working

=  Present continuous (negative)

Am I reading / working…?                (Yes, I am /  No, I’m not)
Are you reading /...?                          (Yes, I am /  No, I’m not)
Are they reading /...?                          (Yes, they are / No, they aren’t)
Is he / she reading /...?                      (Yes, he / she is.  / No, he / she isn’t

= Present continuous (interrogative)

2. The present continuous tense: pronunciation of be 
I am (not)  +
I’m (not)  +
æm  (n ɔ t)
aɪm (n ɔ t )
You are (not)
You’re (not)
You aren’t
j u: ɑ:  (n ɔ t)
j ɔ: (n ɔ t) / jʊə (n ɔ t)
ju:  ɑ:nt
He is (not)  +
He’s (not)
He isn’t   +
h i:  iz (n ɔ t)
h i:z (n ɔ t)
h i:  iznt

 3. The present continuous tense: use

1 For actions happening now / at the moment / at present ( = real present)
         Where is John?              He is repairing the car in the garage.
         What are you doing (now)?        I’m writing a letter.
         Be quiet!  I’m working.
         Sh!  She’s sleeping.

2 For temporary actions happening "now" in a more general sense:
       I’m reading a very interesting novel.
       (= not at the moment of speaking but in a more general present sense) .

 3 For actions arranged for the (near) future / for planned future arrangements                             
         What are you doing this evening ?
      Jennifer’s meeting him for lunch next Tuesday.
      Her sister is leaving for Paris tomorrow.

4 For temporary actions as opposed to habits:
     I always go to work by car, but this week I’m going by bicycle.
     She normally lives in Brussels, but this month she’s living in London.

5 Some verbs are not usually used in the present continuous: they express a state, a conditon rather than an activity or action

Such verbs are used to express:

- emotions / likes and dislikes / preferences / attitude   

love, like, hate, dislike, fear, want, need, prefer, appreciate, doubt, wish, care, mind ...


I need a car to go to work.  You can't say:  I'm needing a car to go to work

She doesn't like doing the washing. You can't say: She isn't liking doing the washing.
- knowledge / belief(s) / states of mind
believe, know, think (=opinion) , feel (= opinion), hope, doubt, imagine, mean, 
understand,  realize, suppose, remember, forget, agree, disagree ...
She doesn't believe in God. You can't say: She isn't believing in God.
I think you're right. You can't say: I'm thinking you're right.
I suppose she'll be late again. You can't say: I'm supposing she'll be late again.
They don't agree with me. You can't say: They're not agreeing with me.
- descriptions / measurements / the way people look
be, appear, look, seem, look like, resemble, sound, sound like, weigh ...
She looks like her mum. You can't say: She's looking like her mum.
It sounds interesting. You can't say: It's sounding interesting.
She looks worried. You can't say: She's looking worried.
I weigh 70 kilos. You can't say: I'm weighing 70 kilos.
- senses
hear, see, smell, taste, feel
The soup smells good. You can't say: The soup is smelling good.
It tastes bad. You can't say: It's tasting bad.
I see my friends at school. You can't say: I'm seeing my friends at school (if you're talking about using your eyes so as to see them)
- possession / having at one's disposal
have, own, possess, belong (to...) ...
She has a big house. You can't say: She's having a big house;
I own an old car.  You can't say: I'm owning an old car.
This book belongs to me.  You can't say: This book is belonging to me.
- others
depend on, consist of, include, fit, cost, suit, contain
What does your task consist of? You can't say: What is your task consisting of?
These new trousers fit you. You can't say: These new trousers are fitting you.
The trip depends on the weather. You can't say: The trip is depending on the weather.
Simple present versus present continuous
Present continuous / progressive
Present simple
Use the present continuous for something that is happening at or around the time of speaking.
The water for my tea is boiling now. Can you turn the gas off, please?
Listen to her. What language is she speaking?
What are you doing? You’ve been busy for the last two hours!
I’m really tired!  I’m going to bed now.
Use the present simple for habits / truths / things in general or that happen repeatedly.
Water boils at 100°C.
She is trilingual: she speaks French, English and Dutch.
What do you do? (= What’s your job?)
 I usually go to bed very late.
Use the present continuous for a temporary action
She’s living with some friends in London until she finds her own flat.
Use the present simple for a permanent action
She lives in Portsmouth.
Look at this:
I usually live in my own flat  (= habit / permanent situation) but this week I’m staying in London with my English friends ( = temporary situation – just for this week)
I normally go to work by car  ( = habit / permanent situation) but today I’m going on foot because the roads are too dangerous ( = temporary situation – just today)
BUT  ‘always’ can also be used in the present continuous tense ( = different meaning)
She’s always forgetting her keys.  = the person who speaks thinks she forgets her keys too often, more than he thinks is normal or reasonable, and may find that irritating.
She’s always saying that I’m stupid = the speaker thinks she says that too often; he doesn’t like her saying that in actuality. It implies he’s fed up with her telling him that too often!
‘Always’ is the only frequency adverb which can be used in the present continuous tense.
Use the present simple with the frequency adverbs.
I never go abroad in winter.
She sometimes phones me in the evenings.
They occasionally go to the pictures.
I rarely write letters
She always says I’m stupid.
'always': normally used in the present simple tense.
She always forgets her keys.
Verbs which become active / transitive:
I’m thinking about buying a new car ( = mental activity)
She’s weighing the ingredients ( = action)
 The cook is tasting the soup ( = action)
She is having a lot of problems ( = She is experiencing a lot of problems
She is having a baby ( = she  is giving birth to her baby)
I see my doctor. ( = He’s there / He’s in the supermarket /He’s where I can see him, sort of use my eyes for that).
Use the present simple with state (non action / intransitive) verbs.
Such verbs express a condition (a state) and usually only occur in the present simple.  (See above – point 5)
When they are used in the present continuous, there is a difference in meaning. They become active verbs.
I think you’re wrong. ( = opinion / belief)
 She weighs 56 kilos. ( =  measurement / state)
The soup tastes good ( = state / sense)
She has a car. ( = She owns / possesses it)
She has a baby. (= She is the baby's mother / she 'owns' the baby.)
I’m seeing my doctor next week. (= I’m meeting him next week because I made an appointment or because I need a prescription e.g.)
BUT be can also express a temporary or specific behaviour just now.
She’s being stupid. (= She’s behaving in a stupid way only now).
The kids are being naughty. (= The kids are behaving very badly now).
Use the present simple with the verb ‘be’ when it is a state verb.
She’s stupid. (= That’s the way she is / it’s part of her personality).
The kids are naughty. (It’s always the case / It’s part of their personality).