Blog February 26, 2015 by

St Giles

A Little Help From Friends

Have you ever seen the American TV series Friends? Did you know that you can find the transcript for every episode of the show online at  Each episode is about 22 minutes long, which makes it a perfect exercise for students who are intermediate or higher.  So get some snacks, your English notebook, and your computer and get ready to learn and practice your English!

1. Select an episode.  If you have Netflix, every episode is available!  That’s 84 hours of English practice! Here are some of St Giles San Francisco’s teachers favorite episodes:

The One with the Wedding Dresses

The One with the Blackout

The One Where No One is Ready

The One with All the Thanksgivings

2. Watch the episode one time without subtitles and without reading the transcript.  You want to practice your listening and not your reading!

3. After you’ve watched the episode without reading anything, write a quick summary of what happened.  Include any questions you have about the episode or parts you didn’t understand.  For example, in “The One with all the Wedding Dresses” you could write,

“Ross and Emily are going to get married!  Rachel is not happy about the wedding.  Monica helps Emily by getting her wedding dress from the store.  Monica decides to wear the wedding dress around her apartment.  She really enjoys wearing the wedding dress and she secretly wears it every time she is in her apartment. Rachel crazily asks her boyfriend Joshua to marry her.  Joshua says no!  So, Rachel gets really depressed.  Monica and Phoebe decide that they need to do something to help Rachel.  They decide that wearing wedding dresses is really fun and Rachel, Phoebe, and Monica wear wedding dresses around the apartment.  After hanging out in a wedding dress Rachel feels a little better.”

Questions I had: Why did Monica get Emily’s dress for her?

Why didn’t Joshua want to marry Rachel?”

Why did everyone laugh when Ross told Rachel to ‘hang in there’?

Alternatively, if you’re watching the episode with a friend you could discuss the plot together and finish by saying a one or two sentence summary at the end of your discussion.  It’s important to understand the main ideas of the episode but don’t worry about the details.

4. Watch the episode again but this time with the transcript.  Read along and underline any parts or details you didn’t understand the first time.

5. As you read and watch the episode again, try to answer the questions you wrote in your summary.  Write down any new vocabulary you learned from the episode in your vocabulary notebook and try to use them in conversation.

This is an activity that you can do in one hour.  It’s also a great activity to do with your friends!  So, invite someone over to watch with you.  If you’d like to make more English speaking friends, why not book a course and meet people from all over the world at St Giles?  After all, the best part about learning a new language is the people you meet while doing it!

Find out more about learning English with St Giles by studying at St Giles San Francisco.