492 Life in England

Steven talks about his hometown of Brentwood.

story image

Todd: Hello! Can you introduce yourself please.

Steven: Sure, my name is Steven Patterson and I'm from a small town called Brentwood in Essex which is in England.

Todd: OK. Essex. What part of England is that?

Steven: That's in the southeast.

Todd: Southeast.

Steven: Yeah, yeah. It's attached to London, just next to London.

Todd: Oh, OK, but you said it's a small town.

Steven: It's quite small, well, relatively small. The populations about 50,000.

Todd: OK, well what kind of place is your town where you grew up?

Steven: Um, it's actually a very nice town. People often move into Brentwood from the surrounding towns, or from the east end of London. Um, it's quite prosperous. Well, you could, in some respects, it's a dormant town. People often travel out from Brentwood into London and they work in the city, but it's a pleasant place to live. It has lots of countryside around it. There's a very large country park. Ah, it's quite a small town but it's, at the high street it's quite small but it's quite a pleasant town to shop in.

Todd: Oh, it sounds nice. Well, now if you live in a little town that's near London is it really expensive?

Steven: Well, Brentwood is particularly expensive just because it's a desirable place to live and it's proximity to London also makes it, the housing is quite expensive, even a town next to it would have much cheaper housing.

Todd: Oh, really, cause when I think of a small British village, you know, I think of really old houses, and nothing's changed, so do you have modern stuff, like do you have a health club and a movie theater and things like that?

Steven: Uh, I think the cinema in Brentwood actually closed down, with the advent of out of town shopping centers they always have their multiplex cinemas with six or eight screens and the cinema in Brentwood only had two screens and it couldn't really compete for everyone has cars these days so they can easily travel to big shopping centers, so that closed down however, yeah, it have a very nice health center and as I said lots of parks to play. There's lots of opportunity to exercise and do various forms of recreation.

Todd: Wow, sounds like a nice place to live.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson


I live in Brentwood, which is a relatively small town.

Here, 'relatively' means 'compared to other similar things.' Notice the following:

  1. Even though this jacket is still relatively expensive, this is a much more reasonable price.
  2. The store is relatively close, but it would be a long way to walk there.


People often move into Brentwood from the surrounding towns.

The 'surrounding towns' are the towns that are around a particular. Notice the following:

  1. There are many different animals that live in the surrounding forests.
  2. Our school and most of the surrounding schools are shut down because of bad weather.

in some respects or dormant

In some respects, it's a dormant town, and people often travel out from Brentwood into London.

'In some respects' is another way to say 'in some ways.' When something is 'dormant,' it means that it is not active. Notice the following:

  1. In some respects, it's better that you stayed home from work today.
  2. Some of these mountains are dormant volcanoes.


Its proximity to London makes Brentwood expensive.

'Proximity' can be replaced by 'closeness.' Notice the following:

  1. The university's proximity to the lake makes it very cold in the winter.
  2. We lived in close proximity to my grandparents when I was growing up.


The cinema actually closed down with the advent of out-of-town shopping centers.

Here, the 'advent' is the arrival of something. Notice the following:

  1. Our town has become full of advertisements with the advent of the new shopping center.
  2. With the advent of hybrid cars, many people feel guilty buying large vehicles.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

Keep Listening

Below are some more great lessons!

Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
relatively • surrounding • respects
dormant • proximity • advent
  1. In some it made childhood more fun to have brothers and sisters.
  2. Four of the cities are involved in planning this festival.
  3. With the of spring, more people are doing activities outside.
  4. This restaurant is popular mostly because of its to all these hotels.
  5. It's warm for this time of year, but you should still wear warm clothes.
  6. Many animals are during the winter.