Learn English With Derren Brown #1

Learn English With Derren Brown #1

This is the first of a new video series that focuses on learning English with Derren Brown. Recently we’ve introduced Ted Talks and Learning English with Friends, and hope that you enjoy learning with Derren!

In the following video Derren tries to make someone feel drunk without drinking anything. To get started, I want you to answer the following questions:

Do you drink alcohol? If so, how do you feel after drinking a drink or two?
Do you drink coffee? If so, how does that make you feel?

Once you have thought about those answers, watch the video and then follow the instructions below:

The Clip

The Transpcript

Derren: So, I think I’ll do this with.. erm… with you if I may? You strike me as a cider-man more than a beer-man, yes?

Student: I, er, yeah, yeah.

Derren: Cider?

Student: Yeah (surprised that Derren knew).

Derren: Can you grab a chair for me? Bring it round here. Great, put that on the floor. Alright, so the reason also why you guys are here is you know we haven’t prepared anything with you, we haven’t set anything up here. Also, just for the record, it’s quarter past one at the moment and you haven’t been drinking today, you haven’t drunk anything I hope.

Student: Nope. I’ve come straight out of lectures.

Derren: Perfect. Alright, okay. Close your eyes for me. I want you to imagine that you are having a glass of cider now. So, you bring the pint up to your mouth, and you take a sip. Where’s the sort of first location that you really would notice the flavor?

Student: The tongue.

Derren: On the tongue. Okay, great. And the second, as you sort of swallow and it goes down your throat, where would you notice it next?

Student: Back of the throat.

Derren: As it works it way down?

Student: The sternum.

Derren: Where next?

Student: Top of the stomach.

Derren: As is that back up to your shoulders as well, or not?

Student: It’s moving there.

Derren: Okay, alright. So, shoulders and where next?

Student: I feel it down my arms. The legs get involved.

Derren: Okay, what about the head?

Student: Beginning to.

Derren: And, where’s that, is it behind the eyes, or?

Student: In the center.

Derren: In  the center of your head. Okay, now imagine that looping around like a ? electric track inside of you. So, it’s going back to your throat. How would you describe the sensation in your throat?

Student: Cool.

Derren: A cool sensation in your throat. Okay, and as it goest down to your sternum, what’s that like? Give me a description of it. What’s the..?

Student: It’s refreshing.

Derren: Okay, and as it goes down to the top of your stomach?

Student: It’s filling.

Derren: And as it moves up to your shoulders?

Student: It’s just a kind of buzz.

Derren: And then to your arms and down here, as it comes down into your finger tips again, what’s that like there?

Student: Tingling.

Derren: Alright. And then move down your legs.

Student: Slightly weaker.

Derren: Weaker in the legs. Okay, and back up to the head.

Student: Euphoric.

Derren: Euphoric feeling. Excellent! A feeling of laughter.. (the video speeds up)… Euphoria that just bursts across the front of your face. AAnd each time this happens it gets stronger. Each time it moves around, you can double it. Just keep it going, keep it going, even as you stand up it can get twice as strong. Just feel that, what’s it like? (student laughs). How does it feel?

Student: I feel drunk.

Derren: Yeah. Are you having trouble standing? You hands are sweaty.

Student: I’m really thirsty!

Derren: And your legs are?

Student: Really shaky. Like I’ve had too many.

Derren: Have a seat. Keep it going, keep it going. Every now and then I’m going to show you a word that I’ve got written here. Alright, let me do this, it’s very important that you guys don’t see the word that’s written down, alright? Close your eyes for me. Andy, look at this word, each time you look at that word it gets stronger. That word sets it off. That feeling, that euphoria just kicks in every time you see that word. And it continues to loop around.. and yet at the same time, if you want, it can just clear. Look at me now, look at me now, and you can just let that go. Alright? Now, there’s no hangover. You feel good?

Student: That was scary.

Derren: But, you feel alright? And you can stand normally, you can stand up again, so that we can see that you can stand normally. Very different, yeah? Okay, sit down again. What’s it like, what was it like?

Student: It’s like being drunk, but a funny drunk.

Derren: But, you were absolutely feeling the effects of alcohol there.

Student: Yeah.


You strike me as a beer man

This is a direct way to say, “I think that you like cider” or “I’m guessing that you like cider.”

Can you grab a chair for me

To grab something, in this case, means to get something. In other cases this verb means to take something quickly or to hold on to something. Here are some examples:

  • (A child talking to his mother) Ow! She just grabbed my hair!
  • I was walking down the street when suddenly this guy appeared and grabbed my purse!

You haven’t been drinking today, you haven’t drunk anything

This is a great example to show the difference between the present perfect continuous and the present perfect. The first one focuses on the action (drinking), while the second one focuses on the result (anything). Here is another example:

  • I’ve had a lot of coffee today (result).
  • I’ve been drinking coffee all day (action).

I’ve come straight out of lessons

This means that the student left the lessons and immediately met with Derren. Here are more examples:

  • I went straight to the gym after work yesterday.
  • (A wife talking to her husband) Come straight home after your football game.

Take a sip

This means to drink a small quantity of liquid. I often ask, “Would you like a sip?” when I order something different (like a new beer or a different type of tea).

It’s just a kind of buzz

If something gives you a buzz, it means that you feel a burst of energy and good feeling from a little alcohol or caffeine. I get a good buzz after my morning coffee or tea.


To feel euphoric means to have a great level of happiness.

That word sets it off

This means to start it. So, when he sees the word that Derren has written, this will start off the drunk feeling. Here are more examples of using this phrasal verb:

  • Don’t set him off! (This is when you might encourage someone to feel a certain feeling or talk about something.
  • We’re setting off early tomorrow, so let’s get an early night. (to leave).


The headache you get the day after drinking too much.


How many cups of coffee have you drunk today?

If you drink, do you get a hangover the next day?

What time do you set off for work each day?

Name: Email:
  • paulina

    I love Derren Brown’s shows. You can never tell what’s staged and what’s real. I’m going to start paying more attention to the way he speaks from now on, not only on the (magnificent) content.