Views #1047 | Intermediate (B1)

Scottish Cities

Rachel talks about and compares the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Matt: So, Rachel, where are you from?

Rachel: I'm from Scotland.

Matt: Okay, Okay. Scotland like, what's the biggest city in Scotland would you say?

Rachel: The capitol city is Edinburgh but the biggest city, size-wise and population-wise is Glasgow.

Matt: Okay and you lived in ...? Did you live in one of those two cities?

Rachel: My grandparents lived in Edinburgh and I lived in Glasgow for quite awhile at university.

Matt: Okay. I'm under the impression that there's a lot of rain in that area. Is that true or?

Rachel: Yeah, pretty much.

Matt: Yeah, we both come from rainy climates.

Rachel: Yeah, the West Coast of Scotland gets more rain that the east coast, so it's Glasgow that gets more rain than Edinburgh but Edinburgh has this very bitter cold wind, and it's really chilly.

Matt: All year round or just in the winter?

Rachel: No, pretty much all year round. Yeah.

Matt: Interesting. Tell me about Glasgow. What kind of city is it?

Rachel: Glasgow? When I was a kid was actually sort of very rundown, and it used to be famous for boat building and industry. But yeah, when I was a kid, I mean it was famous for being a very rough town and lots of unemployment. Lots of social problems, and then it just went through a kind of renaissance and got lots of money from the European Union and then the town just totally transformed. When I go back it's so different.

Matt: How is it different? Is it like more of a center for art than it was? Or is it ...? Like what's different?

Rachel: It did become a city of culture. And I think that reflects the sort of liveliness of the people of Glasgow. Like they're just, they have such a good sense of humor. They're very friendly. Quite different from Edinburgh where they're much more reserved I think.

Matt: People are a little uptight.

Rachel: Yes, yes, so .. not uptight but they're not so friendly as Glaswegians.

Matt: Glaswegians!

Rachel: Yes.

Learn Vocabulary from the Lesson



The biggest city size-wise and population-wise is Glasgow.

We sometimes add “-wise” to make the topic more specific. First, Rachel is saying the city is large. Then, she changes the meaning of “big” and says the city is big “population-wise.” That means many people live there. Here are two more examples:

  1. Bangkok is a terrible city traffic-wise, but the culture is amazing.
  2. Evening classes are better for me time-wise.

under the impression


I'm under the impression there's lots of rain.

Often we are “under the impression” something is true when in fact we may be wrong. Thanks to Hollywood movies for example, many people are “under the impression” that New York is a dangerous city. Actually, it’s one of the safest big cities in America. Notice the following:

  1. I’m under the impression I did well in the interview, but we’ll see.
  2. Most people are under the impression that golf is difficult to learn and they’re right!

bitter cold


Edinburgh has this bitter cold wind

In this case, “bitter” means something very negative. Some people like cold weather, but nobody likes bitter cold. It can be dangerous. Here are some samples:

  1. The 0-1 score in the championship final was a bitter loss for the home team.
  2. It was impossible to go jogging in the bitter cold weather.



The city is very rundown.

“Run down” means something or someone is in bad condition. A rundown area of a city is usually old, dirty, and sometimes dodgy. Note the examples:

  1. Before I painted the house it looked really rundown. Now it’s beautiful!
  2. He was rundown from too much studying and not enough sleep.



The city went through a renaissance.

If something experiences a renaissance, it means it was good or popular in the past, but after a time it wasn’t so good. Now it has become good or popular again. Here are two samples using “renaissance”:

  1. Ray-Ban sunglasses were popular in the 1960’s. They returned in the 1980’s and now they’re experiencing a second renaissance.
  2. China is experiencing a major renaissance of economic growth.


The people are a little uptight

Uptight is how we feel when we are uncomfortable with something or someone. We can feel uptight about school, work, social situations or just about anything. Notice the following:

  1. I haven’t studied much so I’m a little uptight about the exam tomorrow.
  2. Her parents were a little uptight that she was traveling alone.

Vocabulary Quiz

-wise • impression • bitter cold
rundown • renaissance
  1. The city is going through a with many new venues being built.
  2. He did not give me a good when I met him .
  3. Price it is a good deal.
  4. There was a wind.
  5. The city is really so crime is high .
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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