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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Improve Your English Vocabulary: SHAPES

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Hey, E, I see you're measuring yourself for a new suit, and I notice you have the descriptive

words to tell you what you want.

Hi. James from engVid.

A lot of times in English we use shapes to describe things.

For most students, they have the classic shapes: Square, circle, and triangle; and I'm going

to today teach you a few other shapes that we use, which are sometimes a combination

of shapes that we can use to accurately describe real-world things.


If you don't... if you don't know what I mean, give me a second; we're going to go to the

board and you'll find out.


All right, so, E, you're going to get yourself a new suit, and it seems you have a cylindrical

body, and you're talking about your head is oval.

Well, I guess it is kind of egg-shaped, isn't it?

Okay, so let's look at the usual suspects: The square... sorry.

The circle, the square, and the triangle.

We talk about these shapes all the time.

Many students say, you know: "Teacher, it's like a square; it's like a circle", they don't

even use this one.

Sometimes we say this: "Round".

We use "round" to describe something that's circular.

Oops, I just told you one of the words you're going to learn, but you'll see what I mean.

And these are pretty good for describing the world, but the world we live in aren't nice,

complete shapes.

In fact, sometimes they're mixed, so I'm going to try to give you as much as I can.

And you see me looking around for objects I might be able to find in the real world

that you use every day that you can actually start going: "Wow, I can use my English and

it's actually... these strange words have real meaning."

So, let's look at the first one: A "cone".

Sorry, it's a circle with a triangle.

I did it again.

So, when you look here, you put these two together-okay?-and they form this weird kind

of, I don't know... you might say... sometimes you've seen in the old movies when they would

have, like, a megaphone: "Helllloo?"


That's a cone-shaped.

When I was born, I had a cone shape.

They pulled me out, and my head was kind of like that.

It's embarrassing, but true.

Anyway, so, a cone.

I don't have anything for a cone, unfortunately.

But I know something all of you enjoy in the summertime.

Just take this, make it upside down.

And when you go for ice cream, you will say: "Can I have a blueberry ice cream, please?

And I want it on a cone", and they will give you a cone.

There, ice cream cone.

Didn't think I could do it, but there you go: Ice cream cone - that's the first one.

And, really, it is a circle with a triangle mixed together.

All right?

So let's look at the next one: "Semi-circle".

Well, if I'm from Jamaica, man, you know what I mean, because it's a patty.

A "patty" is a food in Jamaica, but a "semi-circle" is half a circle.

But I have a better one for you for that.

A lot of times when you have... because I do teach kids when I'm not here, and I want

them to sit down, I ask them to sit down in a semi-circle or a semi-circle, okay?

And it means they sit in a half-a-circle formation, so I can stand here and talk and then they

sit around me.


Because I don't want them behind me in a circular formation.

Another word for saying "semi-circle" is... to describe this, you would say: "semi-circular".

Semi-circular, that means half a circle.

So, a semi-circle is what it is, but it's a semi-circular shape; half of a circle.


All right.

Want to go for the next one?

The next one I have something for you: A "cylinder".

Now, what is a "cylinder"?

Do you remember I told you?

In some cases what we have is things are mixed together in reality because you cannot get

just a square, and a triangular, or a circle shape.

A cylinder is: Take a square and pull it out, and then make it round, and you have a cylinder.

And I'm sure you're saying: "Okay, what are you talking about?

I don't understand."

This is a cylinder.

The marker is long and round.

And if that's not good enough for you, your bottles of water are cylinders.

We cut them off at the ends, but it's a cylinder.

And for those of you, like my French friends, you'll know a cylinder that makes you very





Makes me happy, too.

So, the cylinder part is here.

You might even say this is a bit of a cone here, so we've got the two shapes together;

but really we're looking at the cylinder - it's round.

And that's why I said in many real-world objects we talk about, you would say: "But I wouldn't

say it's a cylinder."

And you're right, because you're going: "James, that's not really a cylinder."

I go: "It's not, but it is... it is cylindrical, like a cylinder."

You'll notice when we have the cylindrical and you go circular, they're descriptive,

so I'm giving you what it is - the shape.

But how would I use this in real life?

I wouldn't say: "This is a cylinder."

Because if someone told me this is a cylinder, I'd say they're wrong.

If they told me it's cylindrical, I'd go: "Yeah, it's round, it's long.

It's a square that's been pulled, and it's got circles; it's cylindrical."

Same with a marker - it's cylindrical.

Cool, right?

And now you sound very intelligent.

"Can you pass me that cylindrical wine bottle, not the square one?

No, no, no.

I don't want boxed wine; I want a bottle of wine.

Thank you."



So that's "cylindrical".

Now let's look at the other one.

"Egg shape".

You've seen this in life, and I don't have one, but you know what one is.

But what do we call it?

You can't...

well, you can say everything is egg shape, but that's so unsophisticated and I know you've

been one of our viewers for a while, so you want the... the good vocabulary.

Well, we would say this: "Oval".

And I've met many people who actually have oval heads.

Remember I said I had kind of a cone head?

Well, some people have oval heads, so the base is bigger than the top.


It's actually quite a pretty shape.

There's also "heart-shaped", and I'll give you that one.

And when they say: "Heart-shaped", it's like this, like a heart.


Some people have heart-shaped heads.

They don't have two bumps, but you can say: "Heart-shaped" or "Oval-shaped", and this

can be descriptive for somebody's face.


All right, so we're there.

Let's move on to the next one: "Sphere".

Well, a "sphere" is a round... round thing, like a full circle that's three-dimensional,


And you're probably thinking: "Besides the planet Earth, where is James going to get

a sphere for me to see?"


A sphere.


There's a circle, and a circle, and a circle goes in three dimensions.

Our planet is "spherical".

Notice I stopped saying the word "sphere" and I changed that word for "sphere" or "spherical"?

Because that's what it is.

To describe something, you say: "It's spherical."


There we go.

Spherical, meaning three-dimensional, round ball.

We could also use a simple word: "Round".


It's round, which doesn't mean just circle; it means it has to have some kind of volume

around it so you can see height, length, and depth.

Not bad, see?

Helps me... reminds me of my old math days, except now it makes sense to me.


Okay, so we've got the long, round shape of the cylinder; we've got the round shape of

the sphere; we've got the egg shape or the oval; we've got the circle with the triangle

for the cone or remember my head-okay?-we've got the semi-circle and remember the kids

are sitting around it for half a circle.

So, these are all circular things.

What about the other ones?

Well, let's just step over here-right-and let's talk about things that have more of

a square shape to it.

Well: "Rectangle".

You know what a rectangle is, right?

This isn't just a rectangle; we'd say: "It's rectangular", because once again, the rectangle

is here.

But that doesn't describe this; it looks like a rectangle.

"Rectangular" we can talk about three dimensions.

It's a rectangular shape.

And we've added what we call a dimension or another side to it.

See that?

So, I put rectangle.

Let's me step over here so you can read it, and we're going to put... sorry, I'm having

a hard time writing over on that side.


So, it's an object that has two sides that are longer than the other two sides, but in

this case we're being rectangular, it also has other dimensions.


All right.

Now we're getting somewhere.

Now: "Cube".

A "cube" is a three-dimensional box, so we see a box and a cube.

I wasn't able to get anything for cube.

I'm sorry.

I have Oxo cubes at home, but that doesn't quite count and you don't know what I'm talking


But a cube is three-dimensional.

But we don't usually say: "It's a cube."

We might say: "It's"...

I know that's terribly scientific: "Something is cube-like".

Terribly, terribly scientific, but I'm sorry, that's how we say it because we're simple

and we'll go: "It's not a cube; it's cube-like" meaning it's like a square or a box that's


But sometimes when we say something is... doesn't really have a really good... oh, you

know, I could do this: This is cube-like.


But it's missing a side, but it's still cube-like.



Cube; cube-like.

But we could also say something is "boxy".


Well, if you ask... if I asked my friend, if I go: "Mr. E, can you get that thing that's...?

That boxy thing over there?" he'd give me this.

And you go: "Why?"

It's because it looks like a box, it's a box, and a box happens to be usually cube-like

or a cube.

Sometimes we talk about cars are boxy or a sweater is boxy, so it has that kind of big

volume to it that's not really defined.

There we go.

And my last one, but not least, you're going to go: "What the flipping heck is that?"

Well, this is when we combine kind of a circle with kind of a square, we make it rectangle,

we elongate it, then we kind of put round edges on it.

And I'm sure you guys are going to go: "Okay, what is that?"

And I'll say: "Cigar shape" or "Hotdog shape", but I've got one better for you.

90% of you guys have this... one of these in your pocket.

I'm going to say it's "oblong".

And you look, here: "oblong" as in long, and "ob", I don't know what "ob" means.

We might say optical, around; I'm making it up, so don't go: "Mr. E and James said oblong

is optical and long.

It's an eyeball."


It's a freaking cell phone.

Cell phones are long and they have rounded edges; they're oblong.

You could say rectangular, but this isn't rectangle; it's rounded.

So, a lot of you guys have cell phones and they're actually oblongs.

So, it's oblong shape.

Yes, you have square ones; and some people do have really fat, square ones; and some

people have similar ones.

I also have something else that's oblong, here.

What did I pick up that was oblong that I put down?

This is another form of oblong.


It's kind of got the rectangle, it's got the rounded edges.

This is a little funny on the end, but you get the point.

It's not just a rectangle; it has to have rounded edges.

So, these things are oblong, and these are everyday items

you use.

Okay, so these are items that you use all the time, and I've just showed you, like,

these weird words that probably people would say you don't use.

We do use them to describe things that we live with all the time, and now you will be

able to.

But, of course, learning something, and knowing something, and understanding something are

usually two different things.

So, you know what we have to do.

We're going to do our quiz, so I'm going to give you a second or two and click my magic

fingers, and you know what happens next: We take off and we go and do the other board.

Are you ready?

Let's go.


So, now we've learned a few shapes or new shapes, why don't we put them to practice?

In the first picture what I want to do is show you how we can use them to describe people

or parts of people.

So, let's talk about Anna.

This Anna is a grot.

A "grot" is an English word for unattractive individual.

Yes, you can borrow that.

Okay, so Anna has an egg-shaped head with half-circular eyes.

That does not sound very attractive or appealing at all.

But if we use our new vocabulary, and we say Anna has an oval-shaped head... right?

With, what do we say?

Semi-circular, beautiful eyes, well, that's a different thing altogether.

See how much more beautiful she is?

Those eyes look like almonds.

The hair, everything just comes together, so we go from this to: Anna's beautiful.

Now let's talk about objects.

How can we use these words for objects?

Well, clearly, we're talking about, you know, shapes and things have shapes, and I showed

you some real-world ones, but how about we talk about something you probably drive on

a regular basis?

A car.

In North America, we are known for having bigger cars, and that's where I am; as opposed

to Europe, which has smaller cars.

And some of the older cars didn't have the same shape that we have now.

You see newer cars now and they've kind of got this nice, kind of smooth shape, which

I'm going to get to in a second or two, in case you're wondering: What do I mean by "smooth"?

But in the old days they used to be kind of, like, well, a box; a box-like car, like very,

very square, but they had a lot of room.

So, Josh has a car that's box-like and has a lot of room.

But why don't we change it and say...?

It's more like a muscle car, like a Jeep, so we don't want to say it's box-like, because

that's not really attractive.

But what happens if we say he has a boxy car?

So, it's got a lot of room, but now it sounds muscular and strong, so he's got like a Jeep.

No, he doesn't have this; he's got a Jeep.

So, he's got there, it's a Jeep.

Vroom, vroom.

I'm going to do this.

Yeah, there we go.

It's a sexy Jeep.

And there's Josh, big smile; he's got a cool car now.


He's gone from this middle-age crisis to sexy Jeep, and it's boxy.

We can even say it's cube-like.



All right.

So, now we've talked about people, we've talked about something you would drive.

Let's do the last thing: Something you would find in your home.

How would you describe a new table that you have in your home?

Well, Mr. E-well, he's not here right now-just purchased a new table.

So let's go into his house and take a look at the table.


Mr. E has a new table that is a rectangle with long, circular legs.

It doesn't even sound close.

A rectangle with long, circular legs.

Not even close.

But if we go over here and we say: "Mr. E, why don't we use some of the new words that

we have?" because I bet when he bought the table, nobody said this to him; they used

better words.

They probably used words like this: "Yeah, he's got a rectangular"... sorry.

Or a rectangular table, right?

Remember we talked about a rectangle?


It's going to have some dimensions to it.

And what kind of legs would it have?

My French students were taking a drink, going: "Oh, oui, oui, it would have cylindrical legs."


I go: "Yes, Mr. French, it would have cylindrical legs."

And you can see this because the legs are round, even though the table is a rectangle;

it gives it more dimension or shape.


So, cool.

So now we've kind of talked about something you would find in your house.


Cylindrical legs or a table, we've described a kind of car you might drive, we've even

described how somebody might look.

So, when you put all of this together, we've taken some words that seem different, and

I've shown you how they've taken the three basic shapes, we've put them together to change

those basic shapes to become cones or cylindrical-like, or cubed or rectangular... or, sorry, oblong.

And I've shown you how you can apply these words in the real world.

So, here's what...

Oh, before I give you homework, which is always fun, I want to give you four other words or

four other adjectives we use to describe things that you may not be aware of, but we use quite


Now, "curved".

If you take a surface, like my hand, for instance, and you kind of bend it a bit, we say that's


Many of you drive down streets or roads that are curved; they're not exactly straight.


People talk about that: There's a curve.

Or, you know, women have curves - ooh-la-la.

Or a Coke bottle has curves; it goes in and out.

Not straight lines, okay?

So we're saying it's not straight... it has not a bend like a triangle, but a soft, kind

of it goes in like a circle and out like a circle: Curve.

Every circle has a curve.


Well, this board is flat.

Some people like to refer to it as a "chalk-and-talk board".

You know who you are.

And yes, that's what it is: It's flat.


It's not curved, so it's straight in that way.

And "rough".

Rough like my face in the morning.

When I don't shave, I get hair.

And if you go like this, you might hear... can you hear that?

That's rough.

You don't want that; that's rough.

It means not... the opposite of actually smooth, it means it's not... how do I say it?

It's hard, but you hear this and you go: "It's not..." and the word you want to say is "smooth".

"Smooth" is like a baby's bum.

"Smooth" is like...

"Smooth" is like a perfect circle, a peach, if you will.

The opposite of "smooth" is "rough", and you know that sandpaper thing I was saying.

Carpets are rough, right?


All right, so those are your four extra words for bonus.

So, you can talk about, you know, if something is semi-circular and a little rough, then

the person would get the idea that it's half of a circle and the edge is not, you know...

yeah, that's a good sound.

Sounds like this; not smooth.

I want to give you homework because I think when you study, it's good to take the video.

The video is a good method.

But what really makes it yours is when you take the time to play with it.

Do you know what I mean?

You play with something, you get to understand how it really works and then it's yours; and

from that, you can create and do more.

So, from these five words I've given you, you can make a whole world out of them; and

that's what Lego is for, ladies and gentlemen.

One of my favourite toys.

Okay, anyway... sorry, I got to Lego.

So, I want you to use...

create five sentences using the shapes that you've learned to describe something...

Here's... here's the homework because you're going: "You always say: 'Do five'."

Here, in this video, I am wearing things, like for instance, even my watch, my pocket



I've got things on me.

I have brought things out.

Try and use a sentence, like: "He took out the oblong book from his pocket", or: "The

cylindrical...", "The water bottle was"...

I'm not going to help you anymore; I already gave you one.

But make a sentence about something you saw in the video or something I was doing to describe


You know: "He wrote on the flat surface; the smooth, flat surface of the board."

Or look around your home.

Go to your house, pick something up, and then try to describe it.

Talk about your cup.


Talk about your cell phone.

Talk about something.


And then come back to the website.

Or I should say: Go to engVid; there's a test that I want you to do.

And many students make contributions, and what I mean by that is they talk to each other

and help each other improve their sentences.

Or in the bottom of the YouTube video, you can always make a comment, saying: "I made

this sentence."

I've seen time and time again other students jump in and say: "Hey, that's a great one.

What about mine?"

It's a great community to join.

Anyway, on that note, I got to let you go, but go to

Or before you go, make sure you subscribe.

Ding that bell and you'll get the latest video that I have done, like this one.

Anyway, it's always a pleasure and I look forward to seeing you in the next round.


I used one of the words: "Round".


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