English vocabulary about the moon - Neil Armstrong | DailyStep English

English vocabulary about the moon - Neil Armstrong

This is Jane Lawson's Audio Blog #053 at DailyStep English

Hello, I’m Jane at DailyStep English and welcome to my Audio Blog.


Wow! Can you believe it is September already? Time flies, doesn’t it? I hope you have had a great summer and you are feeling ready to get back to work and to studying English!


I was sad to hear that Neil Armstrong, the first man ever to walk on the moon, died last week. So in this blog, I’ll tell you a little about him and his famous first words on the moon! Then, in the Audio Word Study, you can learn some words and idioms about the Moon, and at the bottom of the page, find out why Neil Armstrong’s famous quotation is controversial!


So, let’s move on now to the first man on the moon!

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The first man on the moon 

Easy level English
by Jane Lawson at DailyStep.com


Neil Armstrong, the famous American astronaut, was the first man to walk on the Moon in 1969. He died last week at the age of eighty-two (82). I think he was a very brave man and a hero. Imagine standing on the Moon and looking at the Earth, thinking about your family and worrying about the return journey. Very scary! I sometimes feel homesick when go to a different country so I think I would feel very homesick on the Moon. I prefer to stay down here on the Earth. Neil Armstrong was a great explorer and when I look at the moon, I will always remember him.


The first man on the moon
by Jane Lawson at DailyStep.com


Sometimes I look up to the night sky, especially when I see a full moon just above the London rooftops, and I wonder what it was like for Neil Armstrong as he looked down on the Earth from the surface of the Moon. The Earth would have appeared like a bright, beautiful, colourful ball spinning slowly in the distance but I guess he felt like he was a very, very long way from home. He must have been an extremely brave man.


The date of the first moon landing was 20th July 1969 (the twentieth of July, nineteen sixty-nine) and people all over the world watched this historic moment live on TV and heard Neil Armstrong say those famous words as he put his foot on the surface of the moon for the first time, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." You can learn more about these words in the Famous Quotation box below.


The Apollo 11 rocket travelled hundreds of thousands of kilometres to reach the moon and many people feared that the return journey would be impossible. If there had been just one tiny miscalculation, the spaceship would have missed the Earth and the astronauts would have died in space, but on July 24th 1969 (July the twenty-fourth, nineteen sixty-nine) they landed safely in the Pacific Ocean. The mission had been an amazing success and Neil Armstrong and the other two astronauts, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, became world famous. Since then there have been 5 successful manned missions to the moon, but the last one was 40 years ago. The astronaut Eugene Cernan was the last man to walk on the moon in 1972 (nineteen seventy-two), and will any human being ever stand on the moon again? Who knows?


Now everybody talks about a manned mission to Mars and people seem to have forgotten about our closest neighbour the moon but on a clear night when I look up and see the moon, I still think of Neil Armstrong taking that first step.


So, let’s move on now to our Audio Word Study, where you can learn some common words and idioms about the Moon. 

Here is Audio Word Study #053 from Jane Lawson at DailyStep.com

. . .

I hope you enjoyed the audio article above about the first man on the moon! In this DailyStep Audio Word Study, you can learn some vocabulary and idioms about the moon. Remember, always learn the whole structure of an expression, including the prepositions – those little words such as in, on and over are so important if you want to speak correct English!


1. Full moon, half moon and crescent moon (nouns)

Meaning: These expressions describe stages of the Moon in its cycle. A full moon is circular, a half moon is shaped like a semi-circle, and a crescent moon has a curved shape, pointed at both ends – in other words it is smaller than a half moon.

Example: 1. As it was a full moon and a clear night, we went for a walk in the bright moonlight.

2. A crescent moon is one of the images used on the Turkish flag.


2.  Lunar eclipse (noun)

Meaning: A lunar eclipse happens when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its shadow.

Example: We all rushed outside to watch the lunar eclipse. I had never seen an eclipse of the Moon before, and it was a spectacular sight!


3. Lunatic / Lunacy (nouns)

Meaning: A lunatic is a crazy person, and lunacy is crazy behaviour. Both of these words have their root in the Latin word ‘luna’, meaning ‘moon’. It was thought that the full moon affects the behaviour of some people – in fact it does seem to be the case that there are more accidents at the time of the full moon!

Examples: There was a lunatic on this bus this morning, shouting at everyone and waving his arms around.

2. That new government policy is lunacy! It will cause more problems that it solves.


4. To be over the moon (idiom)

Meaning: If you are over the moon about something, you are extremely happy about it.

Examples: 1. Manchester City has always been my favourite football team so when they beat Manchester United 6-1 last year,  I was over the moon.

2. When I lost my job, I was not exactly over the moon about it, but in some ways I was quite pleased. (note: this means that I was not really happy about it, but not unhappy about it either.)

. .

5. Once in a blue moon (idiom)

Meaning: almost never / extremely rarely

Example: I used to see my friends all the time but since my children were born I only ever see them once in a blue moon.. .



Now, try to write your own sentences using these expressions. Try to write examples that are true to your own life, as this will help you to remember them better. That’s all for Audio Word Study #053 on DailyStep.com.

Here is Famous Quotation #003 from Jane Lawson at DailyStep.com. .

.. .

That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. .

These were the first words spoken on the surface of the moon, by Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on it.

Meaning: Even though I am just taking a small step, from the spacecraft to the surface of the Moon, this is a big step forward for the human race, because it is the first time anyone has stood on the Moon.


Note: This is quite a controversial quote, because in fact it is grammatically incorrect. With the meaning that Neil Armstrong intended, he should have said “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.”, because a man means one man, but man without a means ‘all of mankind’, or ‘the whole human race.


For example if we say, ‘Most scientists say that global warming has been caused by man, and not by natural changes in the Earth’s climate’, this means that most scientists believe that human beings have caused global warming.



Neil Armstrong later said that he had been misquoted, and that the word ‘a’ was there but had not been said clearly – but listen again - I can’t hear it in his quotation, can you?

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Well, that is it for today! I’ll be in touch again soon. Thank you for your many requests about subjects you would like me to cover in my blogs. I will cover as many of them as I can!


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