Big Ben must be repaired – level 3

22-10-2015 07:00

London’s Big Ben has been bonging for 156 years, but it could all stop with a bang if urgent repairs aren’t carried out. The Great Clock, one of London’s most famous tourist attractions, needs drastic work to stop it falling silent. Politicians say the repairs could cost taxpayers up to 40 million pounds and would shut Big Ben down for up to 4 months. But many say it’ll all be worth it.

“Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower, which it’s on top of, is an iconic image of the UK. It’s arguably the most famous iconic image of the UK, one of the most famous images anywhere in the world. It’s part of the image of the country. I don’t think I know many developing-world countries that would allow an iconic status symbol on that scale to fall into disrepair.”

The cross-party Commons Finance Committee’s report says Big Ben has “chronic problems” with the bearings behind the hands and pendulum. There is also severe metal erosion, cracks in the roof and other structural defects.

Upgrades were also needed to bring the building in line with health and safety regulations.

The costs include plans to build a visitor centre at the bottom of the tower, and a lift to take observers to the top. It’s been 31 years since its last overhaul. In 1976, repairs saw the clock stopped for 26 days over nine months.

Difficult words: bong (to make a deep sound), with a bang (loud; also means quickly), urgent (needing to be done immediately), arguably (there are good reasons why), disrepair (in bad condition), bearing (a part of a machine which rotates), hand (a long thin piece which points at the numbers on a clock), pendulum (a stick which moves from side to side to control the working of a clock), observer (somebody who observes – watches something), overhaul (repairs).



If you read and listen to two articles every day, your reading and listening skills can improve fast. You can learn quickly and after some time you will not have to translate into your own language. You will simply understand. Why should you do this?

When you listen to people in your native language, you do not translate. You simply understand. The same has to be in English. When you learn English, you have to learn the whole sentences in context.

Students, who translate English texts, do exercises and do tests are very good at translating, doing exercises and doing tests, but they have problems with understanding English in real life. In real life, nobody waits for your translation. People usually use simple English when they speak but they use it fast. You have to understand with no translation to your native language. If you translate, you cannot be part of communication because you are thinking about the language too much. These words are maybe hard to read but they are true.

You also have to hear every new word 5 to 10 times if you want to remember it. That’s why we use the same words in one level. If you read and hear the same words again and again, you will understand them and remember them. If you know words from one level, you can go to a higher level and learn new words. It is important to go step by step, and read and listen to words which are used in English often. This is what we do with our news. In our short news, we use words which are used in English often. Level 1 has the 1000 most important words. Level 2 has the 2000 most important words, Level 3 has the 3000 most important words.

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