Practical English: learn useful vocabulary in Brendan's blog about chopping wood | DailyStep English

Practical English: learn useful vocabulary in Brendan's blog about chopping wood

Brendan chops wood for the fire
This is Jane Lawson's Audio Blog #062 at DailyStep English

Hello, I’m Jane at DailyStep English and welcome to our Audio Blog!


Well, it’s a beautiful spring day in London at the moment but as you can see from the video below, Bren made his latest practical English blog a few weeks ago in the snow. He’s going to explain how to chop wood in English – some very useful vocabulary.


OK, let’s move on now and take a look at Bren chopping some wood!

Bren’s Blog #003 -Chopping wood for the fire!
(by Brendan O’Connell





(The door opens to the sound of scary music then Bren walks through the door carrying a large axe. He puts up his hood and walks away. Then we see him walking across the snow-covered landscape as an icy howling wind blows.)


Bren: Now don't worry! I’ve not turned into an axe maniac. But as you can see it is very cold, the ground is covered with a thick layer of snow and the wind is whistling.

So, I’m going to chop some wood for the fire.


(Camera shot of footprints in the snow, then we see Bren with axe in his hand ready to chop the logs.)


Bren: Now, with this axe, I’m going to chop this log in half. I raise the axe above my head and bring it down on the piece of wood. I missed that time. Try again!

I’m going to aim for the centre of the wood. Raise the axe above my head. Bring itdown.Yep. Almost. One more time. Raise the axe. Bring it down. Ok, so I have chopped that piece of wood in half. Now, that’s nice dry wood so it should burn for about half an hour. So, I just need to chop a few more pieces of wood and the house will be warm all night. Lovely!

So now you know how to chop wood in English! Did you notice that Brendan’s accent is different from mine? He comes from Congleton, a town near Manchester in Northern England, and I come from Hampshire, in Southern England. So his vowel sounds are quite different. For example, he says ‘Don’t worry’ /dʊnt ˈwʊɹɪ/ and I say ‘Don’t worry’ /dəʊnt ˈwʌɹi/. Could you hear the difference? In the Audio Word Study below, there is an audio recording of my voice, so you can compare our pronunciation.

* The PDF file is free to download. To hear and download the audio, please subscribe here for  Audio Lessons per week, plus full access to hear and download my full archive of blogs. 

Here is 
Audio Word Study #063 on


Here are all the useful expressions from Bren’s Blog #003, explaining how to chop wood. Notice the difference between my accent and Brendan’s voice in the video, as he is from near Manchester in Northern England, and I am from Hampshire in Southern England. To help you remember the phrases in this Word Study, try to speak along with my audio recording.


1. scary = frightening

2. an axe = a tool for chopping or cutting (note: an axe normally has a wooden handle and a metal axe head with a sharp blade)

3. He puts up (phrasal verb) = He raises

4. hood = part of a coat or garment that covers the head

5. walks away = walks to another place

6. walking across = crossing on foot

7. the snow-covered landscape = the countryside which is covered with snow

8. an icy, howling wind blows = a very cold, noisy wind blows

9. howling = mournful crying noise that a wolf or dog sometimes makes

10. Don’t worry = Don’t be concerned / Don’t be anxious (note: we say ‘don’t worry’ when we are trying to comfort someone and tell them that a situation is not as bad as it seems)

11. I’ve not turned into (phrasal verb) = I have not become (more formal)

12. maniac = crazy violent person

13. layer of = covering of

14. the wind is whistling = the wind is making a noise (similar to the musical note a person can make by blowing air through the lips)

15. I’m going to chop = I’m going to cut into pieces, using a knife or an axe

16. for the fire = to burn in the fire in order to keep the house warm

17. Camera shot of = photograph of / video of

18. footprints in the snow = evidence of somebody’s feet in the snow (the boots or shoes leave an impression or footprint)

19. the logs = the pieces of wood (note: logs are rough pieces of wood that have been cut in diagonal sections from a tree)

20. raise = I lift

21. bring it down on the piece of wood = lower it so as to hit the piece of wood

22. I missed = I didn’t hit my target

23. to aim for = to try to hit

24. I have chopped that piece of wood in half = I have cut that piece of wood into two equal pieces

25. it should burn for about half an hour (expressing expectation)= I expect that it will burn for about half an hour


Now, how many of these can you remember? Watch the video again and read the script and try to find all these words and phrases. That’s all for Audio Word Study#063 on

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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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