Only a madam would choose to live in a large modern city

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Only a madam would choose to live in a large modern city


“Avoid the rush-hour” must be the slogan of large cities the world over. If it is, it’s a slogan no one takes the least notice of. Twice a day, with predictable regularity, the pot boils over. Wherever you look it’s people, people, people. The trains which leave or arrive every few minutes are packed: an endless procession of human sardine tins. The streets are so crowded, there is hardly room to move on the pavements. The queues for buses reach huge proportions. It takes ages for a bus to get to you because the traffic on the roads has virtually come to a standstill. Even when a bus does at last arrive, it’s so full, it can’t take any more passengers. This whole crazy system of commuting stretches man’s resources to the utmost. The smallest unforeseen event can bring about conditions of utter chaos. A power-cut, for instance, an exceptionally heavy snowfall or a minor derailment must always make city-dwellers realize how precarious the balance is. The extraordinary thing is not that people put up with these conditions, but that they actually choose them in preference to anything else.

Large modern cities are too big to control. They impose their own living conditions on the people who inhabit them. City-dwellers are obliged by their environment to adopt a wholly unnatural way of life. They lose touch with the land and rhythm of nature. It is possible to live such an air-conditioned existence in a large city that you are barely conscious of the seasons. A few flowers in a public park (if you have the time to visit it) may remind you that it is spring or summer. A few leaves clinging to the pavement may remind you that it is autumn. Beyond that, what is going on in nature seems totally irrelevant. All the simple, good things of life like sunshine and fresh air are at a premium. Tall buildings blot out the sun. Traffic fumes pollute the atmosphere. Even the distinction between day and night is lost. The flow of traffic goes on unceasingly and the noise never stops.

The funny thing about it all is that you pay dearly for the “privilege” of living in a city. The demand for accommodation is so great that it is often impossible for ordinary people to buy a house of their own. Exorbitant rents must be paid for tiny flats which even country hens would disdain to live in. Accommodation apart, the cost of living is very high. Just about everything you buy is likely to be more expensive than it would be in the country.

In addition to all this, city-dwellers live under constant threat. The crime rate in most cities is very high. Houses are burgled with alarming frequency. Cities breed crime and violence and are full of places you would be afraid to visit at night. If you think about it, they’re not really fit to live in at all. Can anyone really doubt that the country is what man was born for and where he truly belongs?


The arguments: key words

1 “Avoid rush-hour”: slogan of every large city; no one does.

2 Happens twice a day.

3 Trains packed; streets crowded; bus queues; traffic jams; buses full.

4 Commuting stretches man’s resources.

5 Unforeseen events (e.g. power-cut, heavy snowfall): chaos.

6 People actually choose such conditions.

7 Large modern cities are too big to control.

8 Impose their own living conditions on people.

9 City-dwellers: unnatural way of life.

10 Lose touch with land, rhythms of nature.

11 Air-conditioned existence: barely conscious of seasons: flowers: spring: leaves: autumn; nature irrelevant.

12 Simple good things (e.g. sunlight, fresh air) at a premium.

13 Distinction day, night is lost; always noise, traffic.

14 Expensive “privilege”.

15 Accommodation: house of your own impossible; rents high.

16 Cost of living in general high.

17 Lack of security: cities breed crime and violence; houses often burgled.

18 Cities not fit to live in; man born for country.


The counter-argument: key words

1 If proposition is true, then there are millions of madmen.

2 Most people love cities: proof: man is fleeing from countryside.

3 Modern man too sophisticated for simple country pleasures.

4 It’s enough to visit countryside at week-ends.

5 Objections to city living are unconvincing:

6 Commuting does not really affect those who live in cities; a small inconvenience only.

7 Noise, traffic, etc., hardly noticeable; people easily adapt.

8 Very small minority of city-dwellers ever involved in crime, violence.

9 Many reasons why city life is preferable:

10 Good to be near one’s friends; never cut off by weather conditions.

11 Life is never dull; always something to do.

12 Cities offer high concentration of good things in life: big stores, restaurants, theatres, cinemas, galleries, etc.

13 Services are always better: better schools, more amenities (e.g. swimming-pools, etc.).

14 More chances of employment; greater range of jobs; more opportunity to succeed in life.

15 Good entertainment facilities in a nearby town (cinemas, clubs, etc.).


3. It is better to live in the city or in the country?

Some people like to live in the city because there are lots of things to do. There are lots of different jobs and lots of people to meet. Other people like to live in the country. It is quiet and the air is clean. It is nice to see plants and animals.


Write three good things and three bad things about cities. Then write three good things and three bad things about the country. These words can help.


adjectives nouns verbs
Interesting boring Pollution cinemas Enjoy dislike
Crowded cheap Museums parks Travel see
Expensive noisy quiet Restaurants shops Visit work
Dangerous safe dirty Traffic noise jobs Eat sleep
Clean busy peaceful Trees flowers birds Hear walk
Beautiful ugly Farms animals Buy ride


City Country



Work in pairs and compare your ideas.

What is your opinion? Talk about it with the rest of the class.

Now what do you think?


4. Is it better to spend a holiday at the seaside or in a big city?

Many people spend their holidays at the seaside because they like the sunshine and the fresh air. They can relax on the beach and enjoy water sports. Other people like to take holidays in big cities. They enjoy visiting museums and art galleries: they go to cinemas, theatres and restaurants. They don’t mind the noise and the dirty air.


Write three good things and three bad things about spending a holiday at the seaside. Then do the same about spending a holiday in big city. These words can help.


adjectives nouns Verbs
Quiet noisy clean Beach sand sun Rest relax swim
Dirty peaceful busy Picnic suntan sea Play waterski
Relaxing tiring crowded Air traffic cinemas Windsurf enjoy eat
Interesting boring Museums restaurants Visit spend see
Healthy unhealthy Theatres parks shopping Walk hear watch
Fresh beautiful ugly Monuments weather Like dislike enjoy


Seaside City



Work in pairs and compare your ideas.

What is your opinion? Talk about it with the rest of the class.

Now what do you think?


5.A Read the task and underline the key words, then answer the


You recently moved to a big city and have decided to write to a friend from your old neighbourhood. Write an email describing life in your new city and your feelings about the change.

  1. Who is going to read your email?
  2. Where is this person now?
  3. Where are you now?
  4. Why are you writing the email?
  5. What topics should your email include?
  6. How will you begin and end the email?
  7. Which of the following are positive aspects of life in a big city? Which are negative?

· Lots of cafes, cinemas, etc (positive)

· Heavy traffic (negative)

· Constant noise from cars

· Ugly grey buildings

· Plenty of sports facilities

· Wide choice of things to do

· Huge crowds

· Good public transport system

· Large modern shops


5.B Read the email and underline the correct tenses in bold. Then, label

the paragraphs with the headings below.

· Opening remarks/reason(s) for writing

· Life in the new city

· Writer’s feelings about the change

· Closing remarks

  Dear Sharon,   How are you? Sorry 1) I’m taking/I’ve taken so long to write, but I’ve been busy settling in. Anyway, I thought 2) I’d drop/I’ve dropped you a line to let you know how I’m getting on here. Para 1 Opening remarks/reason(s) for writing
  Birmingham is a really exciting city with millions of things to do. There’s so much to choose from, I sometimes find it hard to make up my mind where to go! Although I still 3) didn’t get/haven’t got used to the traffic, the noise and the huge crowds, I think it’s a great city. Para 2 ---------------------------------------------------------------
I like living here now, but I sometimes feel homesick as I miss lots of things about Gowrie. 4) I’ll never/I don’t forget the beautiful countryside and the old stone cottages. Living in the city means I can’t go for long walks by the sea, either. Most of all, I miss my friends – especially you, of course! We always 5) had/were having such a great time together, 6) haven’t/didn’twe? Para 3 ---------------------------------------------------------------
  Well, that’s all my news for now. Please write back and let me know what 7) you were/you’ve been up to since I 8) heard/have heard from you last. Say “hi” to Tom and Joanna, too. I promise I’ll come back and visit all of you as soon as I can.   Lots of love,   Angela Para 4 ---------------------------------------------------------------


6. Make sentences using the prompts above and the phrases below, as in

the example.



I like living here because …

What I like most is that there is/are …

The best thing is that there is/are …



I hate/can’t stand …

I can’t get used to …

Unfortunately, there is/are …


e.g. What I like most is that there are lots of cafes and cinemas.

I can’t stand the constant noise from the cars.


7. What can you do in a big city? What can’t you do? Use the prompts to

make sentences, as in the examples. You can use your own ideas.

- go for a walk in the fields

- go shopping in huge shopping centers

- get around easily

- make lots of new friends

- do lots of different things

- walk home safely at night

e.g. You can’t go for a walk in the fields.

You can go shopping in huge shopping centres.


8. Match the feelings to the reasons, then make sentences, as in the



Feeling   because as Reason
Homesick A the city never sleeps
Pleased B there’s more crime in the city
Unsafe C there are always new things to do
Disgusted D I miss my friends and my old neighbourhood
excited E there’s rubbish everywhere


e.g. 1 d I feel homesick because I miss my friends and my old neighbourhood.


9. Use the prompts to make sentences, as in the example.


- Streets are crowded – I soon got used to it (even though)

- Lots of things to do – heavy traffic makes it difficult to get around (however)

- Plenty of sports centres – expensive to join (although)


e.g. Even though the streets are crowded, I soon got used to it.


- Not many shops – you can find almost everything you need (but)

- Few buses and trains – always arrive on time (nevertheless)

- No restaurants – a few inns that serve delicious homemade food (although)

e.g. There aren’t many shops, butyou can find almost

everything you need.

10. Learn the useful phrases.


Happy Birthday! Happy/Merry Christmas! Happy New Year!

Congratulations! Happy Thanksgiving!


Accommodation жилье, квартира, удобства

Advantage преимущество

Although хотя, если бы даже

Derailment крушение

Disgust отвращение

Drawback недостаток

Facility легкость, благоприятные условия

Irrelevant неуместный, не относящийся к делу

Neighbourhood соседство, местный

Nevertheless несмотря на, однако

Nightmare ночной кошмар

Opinion мнение

Outline очертание, обрисовать

Pollution загрязнение

Precarious случайный, рискованный, необоснованный

Rubbish мусор

Tiring утомительный

Violence насилие


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