Five Questions: American Life

Flag_of_the_United_States.svgIn the late ’90s, there was a popular comedy show host who would ask his celebrity (famous) guests (people invited to appear on the show) five questions at the end of his show. The questions were usually funny or related somehow to the guests’ lives.

In that same spirit (with that similar idea), I am going to ask you five questions about American life. Of course, I’m not a comedy host and none of us are celebrities, but we can still see how we do and perhaps learn a little in the process (as we are doing it).

1. Which U.S. city has the highest (biggest) population?
A. Chicago, Illinois
B. Denver, Colorado
C. New York, New York
D. Los Angeles, California

2. What percentage of Americans engage in (participate in; do) community service (helping others in your area without being paid)?
A. 10%
B. 20%
C. 50%
D. 70%

3. What percentage of American baseball players were born in another country?
A. 5%
B. 12%
C. 28%
D. 39%

4. In what year was the first Thanksgiving?
A. 1492
B. 1621
C. 1776
D. 1865

5. At the end of the twentieth century, how old were most Americans when they married?
A. 18-23
B. 24-29
C. 30-35
D. 35-40

1. C – New York City, with more than 8 million people. Los Angeles is second with 3.8 million, followed by Chicago at 2.7 million, Houston at 2.1 million, and Philadelphia at 1.5 million. Denver, Colorado has only 619,000 people, but it is the “highest” of the choices in terms of altitude (distance above sea level), at more than 5,130 feet (1,731 m).

Some people might say that Berkeley, California, has the highest population, but that is a different definition of “high” (the result of taking drugs such as marijuana).

2. C – 50%. In some families and communities, helping others who live in the local (nearby) area is considered one of your duties (obligations; requirements) as a good citizen. Community service can include anything from teaching children how to play sports to helping feed people who are without food. There is a strong tradition of private and religious community service in the U.S., in addition to opportunities to work in government-organized groups.

3. C – 28%. Over the past 30 years, more and more professional (paid) baseball players have come to play in the United States, mostly from Latin America (especially the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Venezuela) and from Asia (Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea). In 2013, there were 241 players from 15 different countries and territories playing in Major League Baseball (the professional organization for baseball in the U.S.).

4. B – 1621. The first Thanksgiving was in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The other possible answers for this question are also years important to American history: 1492 was the year Christopher Columbus arrived in the Americas; 1776 was the beginning of the American Revolution; and 1865 was the end of the U.S. Civil War.

5. B – 24-29. Americans, like people in other countries, now get married at a later and later age. Men marry at a slightly older age (average: 28.7) than women (average: 26.5). Since I am slow in everything I do in life, I didn’t marry until I was 33.

So how did you do on today’s Five Questions?


Image Credit: Flag of the United States, Wikipedia

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18 Responses to Five Questions: American Life

  1. Willy says:

    I wasn’t able to respond any 🙂

  2. emiliano says:

    Fair to say I have made the five questions right, just incredible being a Spanish man.
    It is posible that after being for more than six or seven years listening to the English
    Cafes I know a lot about EE.UU. It is sure your are the best teacher I had.

    Thanks Jeff.

  3. sutisha says:

    Dear Jeff,

    The more I practice reading and listening all, especially the indispensable Learning Guide, in your website and others, the better I improve my English skills. These days I enjoy watching news, shows and movies less depending on subtitles. Your today’s five questions allow me to learn more in the process. For the Q1 I guessed and Bingo! Q2 I’m right. Q3 for this issue, I have no idea at all and didn’t try to guess. Q4 I chose D. Q5 B is my answer because it is somewhat the same average as those in Thailand. And it is obvious that people in my country tend to get marry at a later and later age.

    Your regards,


  4. Peter says:


    Guys ,
    On the latest episod of eslpod Lucy kills two birds with one stone 🙂
    It is very smart !!
    I like it !!
    She educates us about the know-how of making an speetch ,but ,in fact she instruct us about writing essays as well. Because , the exact same steps apply for writing an essay.
    Nice move Lucy


    Eslpod rules

  5. Peter says:

    Hi dear Eslpod’s commander in-chief,
    Que pasa?

    Thanks for showing me up (LOL) all wrong answers. I never liked multiple choice questions. They always throw me for a loop.
    I tell you , multiple choice question could be really tricky.

    The questions about are not tricky , though. They are more like ” fact-checking questions.”

    Well ,in all seriousness :
    if u must know :))( joking chief ) , I was off on all of them but the first question.and ,on the first question, it was not educated guess whatsoever over. I followed my guts on that, more of a gut feeling.
    I mean , I just took a shot at NewYork.

    I had no clue about any of these. I m colored up here. It is very embarrassing. I live in North America ,still don’t know the first thing about it.

    I gotta tell you Jeff , the humor u added on the bottom of the first question : clever :)))
    You know , the remark about the people of Berkeley being high. Good pun :))

    I Liked it. There is a good laugh there.


    Eslpod rules

  6. Sergio Rodrigues says:

    Houston is mentioned, in some tourist sites, as the fourth largest population after New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. By the way, what’s the beautiful cyty ranking.

  7. Dan says:

    Hi guys.

    Congratulations Emiliano, you got all five, really?

    I just guessed the first one ’cause it easy, and the n. five but that was just a stroke of luck.


  8. Cauat says:

    Dear Jeff,
    Thanks for giving the answers and detailed explanation?
    I only know the first question, but I would like to show you the situation related to these questions in China.
    ChongQing city has the highest population in Sichuan province, followed by ShangHai, then BeiJing
    And it is difficult to find out the percentage of Chinese engage in community service, maybe less than 5%, very few people would like to be a volunteer.
    Oh, the following 3 questions are hard for me to give a answer with accurate data.
    There are lots of foreign players in CBA?Chinese Basketball Association?
    And the important years in China contains:The National Day 1949 ,The end of Anti-Japanese War 1945.

    May-5th?Chinese Lunar Calendar?is Dragon Boat Festival in China, and I would happy to introduce you the Dragon Boat here. In many south chinese hometown Dragon Boat competitions were different between each other? In my hometown(LiYue), I used to wathching the competitions with my grandpa, the competition was so famous with its long long distance——almost 70KM, longer a marathon! Every village has they own boat(my village’s boat call Peach-Red), and every boat with 70 athletes then go 5KM and turn around then go back and so on. In fact, it was so hard to turn the long boat around, so the way to turn round just make all the athletes stand up and sit down on the other side.In this monment, you even can see a boat sink in the river when they tuning around the boat, because it was really a hardful thing!! In this case ,all the athletes have to dive into the river and pull up the boat and go back to the competition again..unfortunately, some athletes too tire to swim back to the boat and they die in the river. This would happen every time..
    This competition hold every 5years, ranking is not the most important thing, only you had finished the 70KM distance, and you’re the winner.
    I’m so proud to talk about this, because of this, now I‘m a marathon runner, and I take part in marathon every years.

    best regards,

  9. parviz says:

    Hi every body
    Oh NO, another test (it reminds me of the time at school and how much I hated history).
    Anyway, I have just recovered from a tricky illness that took me away from YOU for almost a week.
    It’s not fair because I was not in the mood to study for the test. Never the less I got two answers right (1 and 4. I definitely knew the answers), plus another two right answers (3 and 5, all by guessing) and one definitely wrong answer (2).
    So, what will my score and reward be?

    In this same, spirit I have to Thank Dr. Jeff to examine our readiness beside teaching us English.
    Admitted I learned a lot in the process, and will never forget that remark about Berkeley. There are a lot of people in my neighborhood who would want to travel to Berkeley if I showed them today post.
    Thanks very much,

    P.S. I want to say Hello to my dear friend Emiliano and other podcast members.

  10. Paul De Smet says:

    Hi everyone, Didn’t expect that high percentage for community service. Also because I am not engaged in any particular activity myself – I have got the experience, after a while that I am giving in too much of myself.
    It is lovely to visit a museum or simply enjoy the beauty of the country side, on a Sunday afternoon. And it gives great satisfactory doing things with one hands. Playing billiards – snooker, as to find out what the cue ball is doing.

    Making music, playing the guitar and understanding its composition. Watching television, especially when it is spoken in a standard language. And above all I like to read interesting articles.


  11. emiliano says:

    Thanks Parviz, it is good you are O.K. now from your illness.

    It was something like flu (influenza or gripe in Spanish)?

    Here in Madrid there is a lot of people with “gripe” or flue.
    Take care my friend. emiliano

  12. tracy_lee says:

    Hi everybody,

    So sorry to tell you that I’m just sure about the first question.The rest I sincerely could not respond.The main reason for this situation,I guess,is that I’m listening to ESL not for a long time and I’m not American.Well,that’s a perfect excuse now.But just as the artical saying,it will be a process.I will make good use of this blog to improve my language.Hopefully I will make a large progress soon.
    Meanwhile when I’m reading this artical,I’m also thinking about the answer to all of these question in my country.Do I konw them? Well,not really.It means that I’m not familar with my country as well…..

  13. Lassana says:

    Hi Everybody,

    Thanks to all ESL team for this original topic about U.S.

    I had answered to all issues. I was right to only the first question. I am currently bad to U.S. culture.

    It has been only four months I am an ESL Podcast member and I do not know very well the U.S. culture, but I think in a few months I could be better than now.

    I could know several things about U.S. and I could answer properly to the same questions.

    English café is the best way for me to know many things about different area in U.S. such as Policy, celebrities, geography and others things.

    See you soon ! 

  14. Betty says:

    Hello Everyone!

    Dear Jeff

    Thanks for another quiz time.

    That’s interesting, I only got the last one correct. All guess work.

    Nowadays people must do voluntary work to make the society a better living place.

    All my children’s secondary schools required them to commit a certain number of hours of community service.

    It is very good for the society as a whole.

    So, my family has achieved 100% engage in community service.

    I like to help people as and when I see appropriate. It is unfortunate in Hong Kong or Mainland China some people trick some kind-hearted people into paying for their kind act.

    Some stories in the news revealed how some people got themselves into big trouble by helping other people.

    Lessons learned and people pretend they don’t see/hear even if some people crying for help.

    The scenario is heart-breaking, but who’s fault is it?

    Many thanks again Jeff and everyone who write here. I love reading all the articles and everyone’s comments.

    Best Regards

    Betty 🙂

  15. parviz says:

    Hi every body,
    I think it doesn’t matter how well you do in the test, but the dare to take the test matters a lot.
    When the teacher came a long to test us at the end of the school term, I sat on the test looking down on my paper and barking my brain the answer for questions I didn’t like.
    You know, I remember that most of my scores at school I got by chance. When you choose between multiple choices there is always a possibility to strike the right answer with chance. That is what I have done since I remember.
    Dear emiliano
    It’s great you got five correct answers for the test.
    How is your Gattufo?
    Did he (she) help you choose?


  16. emiliano says:

    Dear friends of ESL blog, good morning to all of you.

    Looking to my mail records, I have seen that the first message I have sent to ESL was on january of 2007, and when I sent the message it is sure
    I was listening to ESL podcast from some months already.
    So, yes It is possible I am going to be the older member who is listening the lessons, near eight years, so it has been easy to reply all the questions.
    Some of the English Cafes have been listened by me more the four or five time by Emiliano, as he repeats once and again the majority of them along years.

    Yes, I was never tired of listened to Jeff and afterward to Lucy too. Good friends that were with me along hours and hours of good listening.

    The result has been clear, now I could write my other blog “desembuches gatufo” in English without any problem,. of course not as an English person
    thta´s impossible, but enough clear to be read every where.

    So THANKS ESL TEAM, thanks Jeff dear friend, Lucy and Warren. Your teaching has been successful with emiliano and even Gatufo could now thinks in
    English after lissening to Jeff´s voice along years.

    Evidently, Gatufo helps me to choose some of the replies, he is a very “Smart Cat” who is now on my lap as always at this hour of the morning.

    See you soon.


  17. Hassan says:

    Hi Everybody and a special Hi to my dear friend Jeff.
    Jeff. thanks for collect and design that interesting quiz, to be honest I have answered to four blank correctly and I’ve made mistake about the second. anyway I have recently found out this share page which I like it so much, thanks everybody who are a permanent listener of Jeff’s beautiful voice. I’m listening to his relax voice more than three years (since Dec 2009) and I am enthusiastic to hear it more than past.
    Best Wishes
    Hassan, Tehran, Iran

  18. emiliano says:

    Hi Hassan, so many friends from your country.
    Just a pleasure to say you some words.
    I agree about Jeff´s voice, it is so relaxing friendly voice that
    even Gatufo is learning English.
    Parviz, I have read your other comment about Fiction and Reality.
    Well done my friend, it is a pleasure to read your work.

    A pleasant week end dear. emilian

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