Accessibility links

Breaking News

Lesson 20: What Can You Do?

Let's Learn English Lesson 20: What Can You Do?
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:05:00 0:00

Anna meets her friend Pete in a coffee shop. Pete needs a job. Can Anna help him to find the right job for him?


Anna meets her friend Pete in a coffee shop. Pete needs a job. Can Anna help him to find the right job for him?


In this video, you can practice saying the new words and learn how to ask questions when you do not understand someone clearly.

Let's Learn English Lesson 20 Speaking Practice
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:05:31 0:00


This video teaches about the shortened form of cannot and the two ways to pronounce can.

Let's Learn English Lesson 20 Pronunciation Practice
please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:01:54 0:00


please wait

No media source currently available

0:00 0:03:39 0:00

Anna: Hi, there! Washington, D.C. is a great place to work. Many people here work in government and politics. But there are many other jobs. You can work at a hospital; a university. You can work in a coffee shop. Wait a minute, I think I see a friend of mine. Pete? Is that you?
Pete: Hi, Anna.
Anna: You look different. Your beard … is really big.
Pete: You don’t like it, do you?
Anna: No, no. You just look … different.
(To server) Thank you. So, what’s wrong? You look sad.
Pete: I don’t have a job.
Anna: Sorry, I can’t hear you.
Pete: I do not have a job!
Anna: Oh. I’m sorry to hear that, Pete.
Pete: I don’t have a skill.
Anna: Everyone has a skill. You need to find yours.
Pete: I don’t know, Anna.
Anna: Pete, I am good at asking questions. Let me ask you some.
Pete: Really, Anna? Can you help me?
Anna: Yes, I can. Let me help.
Pete: Sure, Anna. Maybe you can help.
Anna: Can you write code?
Pete: Sure, c-o-l-d. How is this going to help?
Anna: No, not “cold.” Code; you know, for making phone apps, or websites. You can make tons of money writing code.
Pete: Tons of money? But I can’t code.
Anna: Next question. Can you drive?
Pete: Do you mean drive a race car? It’s really hard to be a race car driver. First, you need a race car ...
Anna: No, I mean drive a taxi or drive a bus.
Pete: No, I always fall asleep when I drive.
Anna: Oh, that’s not good. Next question. Can you teach? You can be a teacher in a school.
Pete: No, I cannot teach.
Anna: Can you cook? You can be a chef in a restaurant.
Pete: No, I can’t code! I can’t teach! I can’t cook! Anna, I can’t do anything. This is sad. I’m gonna write about my feelings in my blog.
Anna: You write a blog?
Pete: Yeah, I write a blog.
Anna: How many followers do you have?
Pete: I don’t know … 59,538.
Anna: Pete, that's a lot of followers! You can make money writing!
Pete: Writing is easy. Everyone can write.
Anna: Not everyone can write well. You can be a writer!
Pete: I can be a writer. I can be a writer! I can be a writer! Thanks, Anna.
Marsha: Hi, Pete. Hi, Anna.
Pete: Hi, Marsha. Excuse me, I have to go.
Marsha: Where are you going?
Pete: I’m going to be a writer!
Marsha: Good luck, Pete!
(To Anna) He does know that it’s not easy to be a writer, doesn’t he?
Anna: There are many different jobs you can have in Washington, D.C. Pete wants to be a writer. I wish him luck. Lots of luck. Until next time!


In this lesson, Anna is helping her friend Pete. He needs to find a new job. How do you try to help your friends? Write to us to tell us about the ways you help your friends. Send us an email or write in the Comments section.

Use the Activity Sheet to practice talking about jobs and skills.

Activity Sheet Lesson 20
Activity Sheet Lesson 20

Learning Strategy

Learning Strategies are the thoughts and actions that help make learning easier or more effective.

The learning strategy for this lesson is identify problems​. When we are talking with someone in English it helps to identify problems in understanding and get the information we need to correct the problems.

In the video for this lesson, there are three problems. Here are two of them.

1. Anna identifies one problem. Pete is not talking loud enough. She tells Pete. "Sorry, I can’t hear you." Pete speaks more loudly so she can hear him.
2. Later, Pete does not understand Anna. He asks, "Do you mean drive a race car?" Anna explains that she means to "drive a taxi or drive a bus."

Can you find another time in the video when Anna or Pete identifies a problem? Write to us in the Comments section or send us an email. Teachers, see the Lesson Plan for more details on teaching this strategy.

Listening Quiz

​Test your understanding by taking the listening quiz. Listen to the short video, then choose the best answer.​

Lesson 20 - Quiz

Lesson 20 - Quiz

Start the Quiz to find out


New Words

app - n. a computer program that performs a particular task (such as word processing)
beard n. the hair that grows on a man's cheeks and chin
blog - n. a Web site on which someone writes about personal opinions, activities, and experiences
chef - n. a professional cook who usually is in charge of a kitchen in a restaurant
code - n. - a set of instructions for a computer
code - v. to change (information) into a set of letters, numbers, or symbols that can be read by a computer
drive - v. to direct the movement of a vehicle such as a car, truck, or bus
easy - adj. not hard to do
follower - n. a person who likes and admires (someone or something) very much
good luck - expression. used to say that you hope someone will succeed
hard - adj. physically or mentally difficult
lot(s) or a lot (informal) lots - n. a large amount
hospital - n. a place where sick or injured people are given care or treatment and where children are often born
school - n. a place where children go to learn
taxi - n. a car that carries passengers to a place for an amount of money
teacher - n. a person or thing that teaches something
university - n. a school that offers courses leading to a degree and where research is done
website - n. a place on the World Wide Web that contains information about a person, organization, etc., and that usually consists of many Web pages joined by hyperlinks
well - adv. -- in a skillful way


Free Materials

Word Book
Word Book

Download the VOA Learning English Word Book for a dictionary of the words we use on this website.

Each Let's Learn English lesson has an Activity Sheet for extra practice on your own or in the classroom. In this lesson, you can use it to write the names of jobs and talk about what people do at work.

For Teachers

Lesson Plan - Lesson 20
Lesson Plan - Lesson 20

See the Lesson Plan for this lesson for ideas and more teaching resources. Send us an email if you have comments on this course or questions.

Grammar focus: Expressing ability; Can & Can't; Contractions

Topics: Occupations and skills; Helping friends

Learning Strategy: Identify Problems​

Speaking & Pronunciation Focus: Asking clarification questions; Pronouncing can & can’t


Now it's your turn. Send us an email or write to us in the Comments section below or on our Facebook page to let us know what you think of this lesson.

See comments (156)

This forum has been closed.

Let's Learn English is a new course for English learners. Certified American English teachers designed the course for beginners. The course continues for 52 weeks.

Each week, there will be a new lesson with video showing the lives of young Americans. The lesson includes instruction in speaking, vocabulary and writing.

There are also printable worksheets, assessments and lesson plans for individual learners and English teachers. We encourage you to follow the weekly lessons and share your progress with us through comments and email.