Show 152 Monday 2 October

Watch today’s show at YouTube or grouper.


Hi, I’m Sarah. Welcome to The Daily English Show. I read a story on CNN today about this famous quote:”That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”

This is what Neil Armstrong said when he landed on the moon. But … a or no a, that is the question. Did he say: “one small step for man” or “one small step for a man?”

If there’s no a in that sentence, it doesn’t make sense. Because there’s a difference between “man” and “a man”.

One difficult thing about English is when to use “a”, when to use “the” and when to use nothing. This is a question I get asked a lot by students: “What’s the difference between “a” and “the”?” Or “Can you please explain how to use “a” and “the?”

Well, this is a big question… check it out: in this grammar book there are like 10 pages of a and the practice.
By the way a and the are articles. A and an are indefinite articles and the is the definite article. It might not be essential that you know that, but it does help if you’re reading a grammar book.

So, when to use “a”, “an” or “the”… Well, in many cases you just have to memorize it. But there are some rules. So I thought I’d give you a rule today using the word television or TV.

So, if you’re talking about things in general – no the. For example: TV rots your brain. Not that I think it does, but a lot of people say that.

If you’re talking about one thing – a. I want to buy a TV.

And if you’re talking about one specific thing – then the: I can’t find my watch, have you seen it? Yeah, it’s on top of the TV.

So, back to the quote with man – a man means one man and man means humans in general. Although using “man” or “mankind” to mean “men and women in general” is kind of old fashioned and not really acceptable these days.

So if you ever go to the moon you could say: “That’s one small step for a person, one giant leap for the human race.”


Kia Ora. In Stick News today, the missing a in Neil Armstrong’s moon quote has been found.

On the 20th of July, 1969, the first human walked on the moon. His name was Neil Armstrong. He flew to the moon with two friends in a rocket called Apollo 11.
When they arrived, Armstrong called Earth and said: “Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed.”
He then went for a walk. He put his left foot on the moon first and said: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”
These words became famous but there was one small problem with the “a”. It sounded like he didn’t say it.
Most people assumed he left it out by accident. Armstrong himself said: “… it was certainly intended, even if it wasn’t said — although it might actually have been”.
Now, thanks to computer software, and Australian computer programmer says he found the missing “a”.

There’s now hope this technology can be used to locate the millions of letters that go missing daily around the world.
And that was Stick News for Monday the 2nd of October.
Kia Ora.

conversations with sarah
# 100 That’s an expensive shop isn’t it?

Mari and Sarah talk about the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Step 1: Repeat Mari’s lines.
Step 2: Read Mari’s lines on the screen and talk to Sarah.

Mari Did you go out last night?

Sarah No, I stayed home and watched a movie.

Mari What did you watch?

Sarah Breakfast at Tiffany’s – have you seen it?

Mari No, I’ve heard of it though. Is it about that jewelry store?

Sarah Not really. At the start she’s eating something and looking through the window of the jewelry store.

Mari Oh, so that’s what “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” means.

Sarah Yeah. And later on they buy something at Tiffany’s.

Mari That’s an expensive shop isn’t it?

Sarah Yeah, it is. And they don’t have much money, so they try and buy something for 10 dollars or under.


Music on the show used with permission from

Today’s questionanswer music:
Artist: NeXuS
Album: Trance Planet
Track: Night flyer
music at jamendo

Today’s news.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s