With the rise of binge-watching TV series on YouTube, Netflix and several streaming subscription services, chances are you have watched a series yourself. It could be Friends, Game of Thrones, House of Cards etc. This can help you improve your English skills! There are some reasons that watching Friends can make your English better. In this article, you will know how to learn English with Friends. If you watch actively, you can acquire a large number of words, grammar and structures that are applicable in real life. Yes, you can do all that without opening a book. First of all, let’s get to know about this series

What is ‘Friends’ the TV series, anyway?

Friends is an extremely popular TV series in the Western part of the world, which includes the U.S and much of Europe. It ran from September 1994 to May 2002. It tells the stories of 6 BFF (best friends forever), who were in their twenty-something at that time in New York.

They were Ross and Monica Geller, brother and sister from Long Island. Rachel Green, the daughter of a businessman and white collar, 9-to-5 guy Chandler Bing. Chandler Bing’s roommate is Joey Tribbianni, a rising star in movies. Last but not least is Phoebe  Buffay, a mystery singer. The series did not focus on any particular character. Instead, it’s about the journeys of these characters in their adulthoods, from love to work. It does so in a comedic, funny yet at the same time emotional. Anyone can relate to a character and his/her story.

Friends is set in Manhattan, New York in the 1990s. Its dialogues are really witty and easy to understand even for a new English learner. This is the main reason you should choose Friends if you want to practice English speaking through a TV series.


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What can you learn with Friends?

Grammar and Lexical resources

Friends is set in a modern New York context. Therefore, the language of the film is very useful. The lines in the film often use simple, but ‘native’ language. Thereby, you can learn and supplement yourself with grammatical structures. Vocabulary with great applications is there to grab too!

English skills (speaking and listening)

The lines in the film are usually in real life situations. It could be a simple conversation with friends or an interview with the boss. Obviously, when listening to these conversations, you can practice your ability to listen to English. Most of the time, the things you hear are very close to real life.

In addition, the characters in the movie all have their own personality traits. For example, Joey is the actor with an attractive voice. Monica, however, is a charismatic chef… Anyone can find himself/herself in them. This can also create motivation for you to practice speaking like your favourite character.

Western culture

According to its producers, Friends is a film about “sex, love, career, at a time in life when everything can happen. It also talks about friendship, because when you are single and live in the city, your friends are your family. ”

The TV series had many scenes of daily life. It could be a cafe where your group meets or your friends’ apartments. It even took you to workplaces and parties, festivals … These are great examples of American everyday life. Friends did a great job of portraying the lives, behaviours of characters. It also indirectly portrayed classes in Western society.

How to learn English with Friends?

Learning English speaking through films, obviously, is very interesting. This, however, does not mean what you are thinking. You can’t just lie down, watch from the beginning to the end and the next day your IELTS score jumps from 4.5 to 6.5. You will have to spend a lot of time and effort to achieve what you want. If you don’t know how to start, please refer to our suggestion.

  • Watch the episode once to get the main content of the movie.
  • Split an episode into different scenes. This will help you review more carefully, avoid skipping parts. Then choose a few scenes you like best to learn.
  • Learn piece by piece
    • Look up and save new and interesting words or structures.
    • Listen and mimic that word. (Structure is also applicable). You can record it to listen to your voice to fix it.
  • Review these videos several times to train reflexes. Later, it will become your natural reflex.

You can refer to the article Learn English via film – Guide A – Z on eJOY Blog to better understand the suggestions above.

How to watch Friends to learn English?

If your listening ability is not good enough, don’t hesitate to use subtitles. They will be a great help for you to understand the lines.

You can see Friends at some sites like Netflix, iFlix or Hulu. They have copyrighted movies, with subtitles in English and other languages. They can help you understand the content. At the same time, they will help you learn English easily, both grammar and vocabulary.

But when watching the movie, it is not convenient to watch, write down new words, and have to open the dictionary to look up words, right? I will share with you my secret to get over this inconvenience. This problem can be solved by installing eJOY eXtension. To check the meaning, simply click on the word to see the meaning. If you want to save a word, simply click “Save”. You can practice them daily with eJOY’s interesting games.

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Learn English with Friends
Using the eJOY eXtension to look up ‘freak out’ while watching Friends

To help you to start learning English with Friends, I have selected a number of scenes for you. That would help your learning be a little bit more convenient. Pay attention to both the phrases and their uses in contexts I show below.

Some great scenes to learn English with Friends

Monica and Chandler discussing their relationship, The One with Rachel’s Inadvertent Kiss

1. Freak out

Meaning and usage:

In this scene, Chandler and Monica discuss their relationship. He tells her “You just freaked out about our relationship.”

‘Freak (someone) out’ is a wildly irrational reaction or spell of behaviour. If you freak out, it means you’re very excited or emotional, or you cause someone to be this way.

Example:

  • My sister freaked out when she saw the mouse under the table.
  • I think our music freaks people out sometimes.
  • I wonder what will happen the first time he went onstage. To be honest, I think he will freak out completely before the guests arrive.

2. Go out

Meaning and usage:

We use this phrase to describe people having a romantic relationship, esp. one that includes going places together. If you go out with someone, the two of you spend time together socially and have a romantic or sexual relationship.

In this episode, Monica asks Chandler: “You see I’ve always found the men’s bathroom very sexual. Haven’t you?”. Chandler answers Monica: “No. And if I did, I don’t think we’d be going out”.

Example:

  • Speaking about this, do you want to go out for a drink after work?
  • With regards to this, how long have you been going out with him?
  • I mean, what time do you want to go out?

3. To tell you the truth

Meaning and usage:

You say ‘to tell you the truth’ or ‘truth to tell’ in order to indicate that you are telling someone something in an open and honest way. Moreover, you do that without trying to hide anything.

In this particular scene, Chandler admits to Monica. In brief, he says “That was really great! But to tell you the truth, I’m more excited about where we are right now.”

Example:

  • To tell you the truth, even though I majored in English literature, I’ve never read anything by Hemingway!
  • I know I said I wanted to go out to the bars tonight. To tell the truth, I’d rather just stay home and watch a movie.

4. All the time

Meaning and usage:

In this scene, Monica asks Chandler: “Wasn’t it a lot more exciting when we were y’know all over each other all the time?

Hence, ‘all the time’ means continuously. To put it briefly, if something happens all the time, it happens continually.

Example:

  • First, she just kept on talking and all the time I was thinking I wanted to leave.
  • On the whole, I get the two of them mixed up all the time. All in all, they’re so similar.

Chandler’s work party, The One with Chandler’s Work Laugh 

1. By the way

Meaning and usage:

Monica tells Chandler in this segment: “Look at us all dressed up for the big office party! By the way, what are we celebrating?”.

In English, we use ‘by the way’ to introduce a statement or subject that may not be directly related to the subject being discussed.

Example:

  • For a start, by the way, my name’s Julie.
  • To change the topic, I think we’ve discussed everything we need to. By the way, what time is it?
  • By the way, I heard that Phyllis may be moving to Dallas.

2. Nice to meet you

Meaning and usage:

Monica greets Chandler’s boss by saying “Hi, nice to meet you!”

People use ‘nice to meet you’ for greeting someone when you meet them for the first time, especially in formal situations. (A work party, for instance.)

Learn English with Friends
(eJOY eXtension allows you to look up the meaning of the phrase ‘nice to meet you’ while watching the episode.)

Example:

  • Tom: Sue, this is my sister, Mary.
    Sue: It’s nice to meet you, Mary.
    Mary: How are you, Sue?
  • Bob: I’m Bob. Nice to see you here.
    Jane: Nice to meet you, Bob.

3. Have you heard about?/Did you hear about?

Meaning and usage:

We use the phrase ‘Have you heard about?/Did you hear about?’ to begin telling something. More often than not, the speakers use this in telling jokes.

Chandler’s boss, Doug, tells a joke: “Say uh, Bing, did you hear about the new law firm we got working for us?”.

Example:

  • Sally: Hi, Mary.
    Mary: Hi. Have you heard about Tom and Sue?
    Sally: No, what happened?
    Mary: Thus, I’ll let one of them tell you.
  • Bob: Hi, Tom. First, what’s new?
    Tom: Did you hear that they’re raising taxes again?
    Bob: In short, that’s not new.

4. Come up with

Meaning and usage:

When being asked about his ‘work laugh’, Chandler advises Monica: “Oh, believe me, to survive this party, you’re gonna have to come up with one too.”

‘Come up with’ is a phrasal verb. We use it to suggest or think of an idea or plan.

Example:

  • Hence, we’re in big trouble if we don’t come up with the money by 6 o’clock.
  • For that reason, she’s come up with some amazing scheme to double her income.

The One where Ross and Rachel Take A Break, phân cảnh Chandler và Joey ở Xerox 

1. Come on

Meaning and usage:

In this episode, Chandler bursts out “Come on Chloe! Finish up with your customer first.”

In brief, ‘Come on’ is a phrasal verb. It has many meanings and usages. However, in this particular context, ‘come on’ means telling someone to move or act quickly or more quickly.

Example:

  • First of all, come on! In any case, we’re going to be late if you don’t hurry!
  • Come on, Helen, you can tell me. Whatever happens, I won’t tell anyone.

2. Can I help you?/Could I help you?

Meaning and usage:

We use this phrase when we want to offer for assistance. This often comes from a salesperson.

Example:

  • A: “Can I help you?”
    B: “Yes, I’m looking for a dress.”

3. Have second thoughts

Meaning and usage:

Joey tells the staff of Xerox “Uh, y’know what, we’re having second thoughts about our copying needs.”.

‘Have second thoughts’ means a change in a decision or opinion. Thus, in daily lives, we use ‘have second thoughts’ to change your opinion about something or start to doubt it. Moreover, there is also the phrase ‘without a second thought’. Hence, if you do something without a second thought, you do it acting immediately, without stopping to think:

Example:

  • A: “First of all, where’s the bride?”
    B: “As a matter of fact, I don’t know. In any case, maybe she had second thoughts about the wedding.”
  • I was sure I had seen the rare bird. However, now I’m having second thoughts.

4. Crush on

Meaning and usage:

Issac, Xerox’s staff, says: “Chloe, switch with me, there are some guys here that got a crush on you.”

In short, ‘crush on’ indicates a feeling of love and admiration for someone.

Example:

  • However, it wasn’t really love. In brief, it was just a schoolgirl crush.
  • To summarise, he’s a guy in my class that I’m crushing on.

Conclusion

As I have said, just through a few short videos, you already gain a lot of good grammar and vocabulary, right?

Hence, let’s learn English with Friends with eJOY. You can learn much more interesting and useful phrases as well as practice English skills on Netlifx, Hulu or iFlix with the eJOY eXtension. Please share with us what you love about and learn from the movie in the comment below!

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