Jul 13 2018


Hoot, hoot! You might have heard this sound from an owl at midnight while camping. They are nocturnal animals, which is just one of many interesting facts about them. The tiniest owl is the Elf Owl, which is five inches tall. The largest is the Great Gray Owl, which can be as tall as three feet!

They are both majestic and creepy, cute and vicious, odd and inviting. Their huge eyes are adorable, but they are big so they can hunt their prey. Their feathers are beautiful, but they hide their sharp talons. Some people love them, others hate them. But unless you’re nocturnal, the owl will have the last hoot!

Nestor saw an owl while he was camping. Listen as he and Marni discuss in today’s English lesson.


Nestor: Marni, oh, my gosh. Remember how I went camping last week?
Marni: Yes.
Nestor: I saw a giant owl in the middle of the night.
Marni: Oh, the owls are not as they seem.
Nestor: It was amazing.
Marni: Yeah?
Nestor: Everything was really, really quiet, and then out of nowhere, just… this big owl just whooosh came out and was like, hoot. Or something like that… you know.
Marni: Right.
Nestor: You know how they do.
Marni: Yes. So, I’ve always found owls to be very majestic and creepy at the same time.
Nestor: Yes, it’s because they can turn their head all the way around.
Marni: Right.
Nestor: Like, the Exorcist.
Marni: Yes, and they’re nocturnal, something about, you know, birds at night.
Nestor: Yeah, but you know, like, I’m pretty nocturnal. That’s why I saw the owl because everybody was asleep. I was awake.
Marni: Yes, and you were awake. I just recently read about burrowing owls, owls that…
Nestor: That’s not real.
Marni: It is! They live underground in the desert.
Nestor: Mmmm. Uh-uh.
Marni: You don’t believe it?
Nestor: Owls live in the sky.
Marni: Right, you would think so, but apparently. there’s a certain type of owl that… they burrow underground.
Nestor: OK well, I don’t believe that. But I suppose that it’s possible. If you can turn your head all the way around…
Marni: Right. Anything’s possible.
Nestor: You can probably… yeah, you can dig.
Marni: Mm-hmm. What do you think about talons? Any thoughts?
Nestor: Like, like the claws and stuff like that?
Marni: Right, their talons.
Nestor: I think it’s pretty cool. I mean, like, the way they come down like, aaaarrr, and grab on the rats or whatever they eat. I would hate to be a little rat at night.
Marni: Right, well, owls.
Nestor: Amazing creatures.
Marni: There you go.


Nestor was camping when he saw a huge owl in the middle of the night. He thought it was amazing. Nestor said it was very quiet when the owl came out of nowhere and made a hoot sound. Marni thinks owls are majestic and creepy at the same time. Nestor agrees that owls can be creepy, especially when they turn their head all the way around.

They are also nocturnal, and there’s something scary about nocturnal animals. Marni read about burrowing owls recently. Burrowing owls live in the desert and live in tiny holes. Nestor doesn’t believe it. Don’t owls only live in the sky? But if an owl can turn its head all the way around its neck, it can probably dig a hole. Owls can truly do anything!

Do you think owls are cute or creepy? What animals have you seen while camping?

Grammar Point

Articles, Quantifiers, and Determiners

Marni is talking about owls with Nestor. She says, “Oh, the owls are not as they seem.” She uses an article.

Articles, quantifiers, and determiners are words we use before nouns. When you see the words a, an, and the, you know that a noun will follow them. These words are articles. For instance, Marni uses an article, the, and we know a noun will follow. She says, “Oh, the owls are not as they seem.”

Quantifiers come before nouns or noun phrases and tell us how many or how much of something. These words include many, a few, much, a little, plenty, a lot, some, and enough.

The words some and any are determiners. They always come before nouns or noun phrases. We use any in negative sentences, for example, “We are not allowed to have any pets in our apartment.” And we use some in affirmative statements, such as, “It is OK to use reference books for some exams.”

Which of the following is correct, “An owl I saw yesterday was pretty,” or “The owl I saw yesterday was pretty?”


  1. What did Nestor see while he was camping?

  2. Marni thinks owls are both _ and _ at the same time.

  3. When an animal is very active at night, it is probably __.

  4. Which of the following is a quantifier?

See the full English lesson at English, baby!