This series of Everyday Conversations is about a family traveling to each of the 50 states in the U.S. Join the family members as they learn about local pastimes and history. These conversations are for intermediate-level English-language learners or higher.

The family eats a breakfast of pancakes with Vermont maple syrup.


Sam: These pancakes are amazing. I’m hooked on Vermont maple syrup.

Claudine: I still can’t believe what the waiter said. Vermont produces more than a million gallons of maple syrup each year.

Sam: That’s syrup for a lot of pancakes.

Gina: After our walk yesterday to see some of Vermont’s covered bridges, it’s no wonder you’re so hungry.

Paul: How far did we walk?

Gina: We took the same route as a half marathon that is held every year, so we walked over 13 miles.

Claudine: Those bridges were beautiful. I wish we could see more.

Gina: There are about 100 authentic covered bridges in this state, so we might see some more on our drive today.

Now let’s review the vocabulary.

A pancake is a thin, flat, round cake that is made of flour, milk, eggs and other ingredients. It is cooked by frying it on both sides. In the U.S., pancakes are usually eaten hot for breakfast.

To be hooked means to be very interested in something and enthusiastic about it.

Maple syrup is a sweet, thick liquid made from the sap of maple trees. In the U.S., people often put maple syrup on pancakes and waffles.

To produce means to make or create something.

Gallons are a unit of measurement (of liquids) in the U.S.

A covered bridge is a wooden bridge with a roof and sides. The purpose of the covering (roof and sides) is to protect the wooden structure from the weather.

The phrase “it’s no wonder” means “it’s not surprising.”

A half marathon is a running race of 21.1 kilometers. It is half the distance of a full marathon and is often run on roads.

Authentic means real, genuine, not a copy.

The American English website offers a variety of free resources for learners and teachers of English. The American English Facebook page posts learning materials for English-language learners daily. The American English for Educators Facebook page posts teaching materials for English-language teachers daily.

Everyday Conversations are developed by the State Department’s Heidi Howland, a senior program officer in the Office of English Language Programs, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Learn more about planning a trip to the U.S. and applying for a tourist visa.