Photograph of a man walking by a London bus

"A language tells you where its people come from, and where they are going." - Rita Mae Brown (writer)

At a glance

  • Evening Class
  • Thursdays 18:00 - 20:00
  • 20 weeks: October to March
  • 2 hours taught time per week
  • Tutor: Su Peneycad
  • Price: from £210 to £395
  • Location: Imperial College, South Kensington Campus

English Conversation course description


Have you ever wondered why English people think it rains cats and dogs? Or do the numerous accents found in the British isles sometimes make it difficult to understanding spoken English? Or do you find native English speakers speak very fast? If so, then this course could be for you.

On the course we are going to improve our skills in speaking, listening to and understanding English. The course is aimed at non-native speakers of English and will give you the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics in English, including items in the news and subjects of personal interest, to improve your listening and speaking skills in English.

At the start of the course you will be given a list of subjects for discussion, as well as newspaper articles, information from the internet, pictures, video clips, and other items designed to stimulate discussion. You will also have the opportunity to suggest your own topics for conversation.

The language structures used in a variety of situations will be discussed, such as giving an opinion, agreeing and disagreeing, and understanding common phrases in English. Pronunciation is also a key part of all classes and problems will be addressed as they arise.

This intermediate course is suitable for anyone who has passed the Cambridge First Certificate in English or equivalent. However, if you are unsure whether this course is suitable for you please do contact the teacher prior to registration for advice to avoid disappointment.

Course Information

Course Programme

Indicative programme (may be subject to change)

Autumn Term

Week 1. Topic: Communicating with other people

  • Basic grammar check: modals; some and any; prepositions
  • Levels of language, formal and informal
  • First introductions
  • Nationalities, languages etc. in the class
  • Pronunciation: silent letters
  • Pronunciation of place names on the tube map
  • Starting a conversation
  • Discussion: what is useful or of interest in the area where you live?

Week 2. Topic: Life in London and living in London

  • Social situations vocabulary: in a bank
  • Introductions; establishing level of relationship
  • Use of pronouns
  • Pronunciation: vowel sounds
  • Countries, nationalities and languages: the use of 'the'
  • The weather: vocabulary
  • Discussion suggestion: What you expected, and what surprised you, about life in the UK

Week 3. Topic: Life in the UK and cultural differences

  • Introductions and social occasions
  • Relationships: liking and disliking
  • The prefix ‘ex-‘; the suffix ‘-mate’
  • Family and relations: your family tree
  • Personal information, comparison of adjectives
  • Say or tell?
  • Stress check
  • Discussion suggestion: What you expected, and what surprised you, about life in the UK

Week 4. Topic: Better communication

  • Asking for help in different situations
  • Comparative of adjectives: giving personal information
  • Ear training: odd one out
  • Invitations
  • Refusing / accepting
  • Text: A Greek wedding
  • Discussion suggestion: national customs or wedding ceremony

Week 5. Topic: What do we mean?

  • Approval / disapproval, use of absolutely
  • Words concerned with feeling and opinions, word building
  • Using vocabulary in situations concerned with feeling
  • Pictures indicating feelings: identifying feelings
  • Using feelings vocabulary in given situations
  • Discuss your feelings at certain happenings
  • Ear training: odd one out
  • Discussion suggestion: bring in and describe something from your country, explain the significance, meaning. Differences and similarities of cultures

Week 6. Topic: Making conversation

  • Agreeing: levels of agreement
  • Disagreeing: use of 'but'
  • Using modals
  • Giving an opinion
  • Ear training: odd one out
  • Telling the truth?
  • Discussion suggestion: Speak about an interesting place you have visited in London

Week 7. Topic: Making conversation 2

  • Polite exchanges between strangers
  • Problems: what do you say/answer?
  • Everyday expressions/organising a conversation
  • Using everyday expressions
  • Levels of agreement
  • Discussion suggestion: Speak about an interesting place you have visited in London

Week 8. Topic: Jobs, skills and characteristics

  • A job interview
  • Qualities and skills
  • Comparison of features of jobs
  • Comparison of adverbs
  • Skills, qualifications and characteristics: using modals
  • Jobs vocabulary word building
  • Discussion suggestion: advertise your chosen job to the class. Who is interested in applying? Would you employ them?

Week 9. Topic: Jobs and being out of work

  • Advantages and disadvantages: the milkman
  • Used to / didn't use to
  • Out of a job vocabulary
  • Some meanings of 'get'
  • Qualities, skills and characteristics: guessing the job
  • Jobs vocabulary: word building
  • Your Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • Your opinion of various jobs
  • Discussion suggestion: Making a CV and finding a job

Week 10. Topic: Holidays and celebrations

  • Invitations in different situations
  • Offers and promises
  • Adjectives and collocation
  • Christmas in London
  • A Christmas pudding recipe
  • Discussion suggestion: Christmas or celebrations in your country

Spring Term

Topics for the second term will be suggested after Christmas. Please listen to announcements in class.

Additional Reading

There is no compulsory reading required for this course, and there is no set course text.

Your Tutor

Your tutor is Su Peneycad. Su has many years experience teaching English to non-native speakers and will be able to offer not only excellent advice on improving your English languages skills, but insight into English attitudes, culture and society.

Course Fees and Rate Categories

HoursWeeksStandard RateInternal RateAssociate Rate
 40  20  £395    (Early Bird Rate: £360*) £230    (Early Bird Rate: £210*)
£305    (Early Bird Rate: £280*) 
* The Early Bird rate is available for enrolments made before the end of 30 September for courses starting in October   |   All fee rates quoted are for the whole course.
Term dates 1

Rate Categories and Discounts

Standard Rate

  • Applicable to all except those who fall under the Internal Rate or Associate Rate category, respectively.

Internal Rate

  • Applies to current Imperial College students and staff (incl. Imperial NHS Trust, Imperial Innovations, ancillary & service staff employed on long-term contracts at Imperial College by third-party contractors).
  • Current Centre for Languages, Culture and Communication (CLCC) staff, current CLCC PhD students, Science Communication (Sci Comm) postgraduate students, and students enrolled on an Imperial College 'Language for Science' degree programme should email evening before completing the online enrolment form.

Associate Rate

  • Students (non-Imperial College)
  • Alumni of Imperial College and predecessor colleges and institutes
  • City & Guilds College Association members
  • Members of the Friends of Imperial College
  • Francis Crick Institute staff, researchers and students
  • Friends of the South London Botanical Institute
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Council staff
  • Harrods staff
  • Historic Royal Palaces staff
  • Natural History Museum staff
  • Science Museum staff
  • Victoria and Albert Museum staff
  • Royal Geographical Society staff
  • Royal College of Art and Royal College of Music tutors and other staff
  • Santander Bank staff (Imperial College Walkway branch only)
  • Austrian Cultural Forum staff
  • Staff of Exhibition Road Cultural Group (Discover South Kensington) organisations
  • Lycee Charles de Gaulle staff
  • Tutors and other staff of other universities and higher education institutions
  • Tutors and other staff of institution members of the Association of Colleges
  • Residents of postcodes SW3, SW5, SW7, SW10 and W8
  • Members of the UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP)
  • Members of the South London Botanical Institute (SLBI)

Late enrolment

It is possible to enrol on many CLCC Evening Class and Lunchtime Learning programmes after the course has started, subject entirely to agreement by the tutor delivering the course. If you want to join a course late do bear in mind there might be work you will need to catch up on, particularly in language courses.

Applicable terms & conditions

Please read the  before enrolling on any course.

Term Dates

HoursWeeksAutumn termSpring termSummer term
 40  20 14 Oct - 12 Dec 2019 (9 weeks)* 6 Jan - 19 Mar 2020 (11 weeks) n/a
* Followed by the Christmas break

Enrolment Process

Web enrolment starts 1 August

Enrolment & payment are through the Imperial College eStore. Please use above booking link noting below instructions:

  • Our rate categories are explained on this page and your applicable category must be selected on the eStore
  • First-time eStore users please create an account by entering an email address and password. These credentials should also be used for future bookings. Imperial College users please note the eStore is not a single-signon College system
  • The booking process involves entering payment details before your course choice and applicant details are queried on an in-built questionnnaire which completes the process
  • The following email notifications will be sent
What is sentWhen is it sentWhat does it contain
1. Payment confirmation Instantaneously following submission of your online application
  • Confirms your payment, date of payment and order number
  • Should not be treated as a course-enrolment receipt and therefore does not show your course however these details are sent to us via the system
2. Enrolment confirmation Sent in due course but likely not before the end of September. Please treat your payment confirmation as confirmation that your applicant details and payment have been received
  • Confirms your course choice
  • Shows the programme your course is part of as well as the term dates
  • Confirms your course' day of the week & time
3. Programme information Usually sent Friday late afternoon the week before term starts
  • Contains further course details incl. classroom location and teacher contact information
  • Provides further general programme details
If you need further help with the above information please ring 020 7594 8756

Certificate of Attendance

Our adult education evening and daytime classes do not offer academic credits, but we do offer an attendance certificate to those learners who attend at least 80% (16) of the taught classroom sessions. Eligible learners receive their certificate by email after the end of the course.

Any Questions?

Questions regarding the content and teaching of the above course should be addressed to the course tutor, Su Peneycad, at