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Shaken not stirred

Written by the Bell Team

A look at the James Bond films and how they have changed.





Have a look at these men and see if you can guess what they all have in common:

Well, did you figure it out? That’s right; they’ve all played James, James Bond, also known as; 007, license to kill.

Originally a series of books written by Sir Ian Fleming, James Bond has become a big part of British Culture. Since the first film’s release in 1962, however, the concept of James Bond has been steadily changing.

When Sean Connery played James Bond he used to be smooth, suave and sophisticated and he would deliver terribly cheesy one-liners throughout the films. He would also be given cool gadgets by Q, the secret service’s own techno-wizard; anything from a wetsuit with a rubber duck attached to it to a helicopter that could be stored in a suitcase.

The Bond films used to be very tongue-in-cheek, but these days they have taken on a more serious, action theme.

Bond is now played by Daniel Craig, and doesn’t have the same style as he used to. The films are more action-packed and have fewer bad jokes than they used to, but maybe that’s what Bond needs.

Why not make up your own mind and sample a bit of British culture? Check out the James Bond films for yourself and let us know who your favourite James Bond is?

Key Grammar – Used To & Would

Both ‘used to’ and ‘would’ can be used to talk about repeated actions in the past. They have very similar uses and often both can be used without a problem.

Here are couple of quick tips for using ‘used to’ and ‘would’:

Neither ‘used to’ nor ‘would’ can be used to talk about single actions in the past.

‘Used to’ can be used to talk about states in the past, with verbs like ‘be’, ‘have’ and live’. You can’t use ‘would’ with these verbs.

‘Would’ is sometimes seen as more formal, and is often used more for written English than spoken English.

Now have a look back at the text and see how ‘used to’ and ‘would’ were used.


Key Vocabulary




To figure something out 

Discover the answer to a problem

I have figured out who shot JR!

To have something in common

To have something about you that is the same as someone else.

We both drink tea, we have that in common.


Charming, polite and good with people

That James Bond is such a smooth character!


A superlative of smooth

Wow that guy is even more suave than James Bond


Someone who is very refined, has cultured tastes and habits

The queen is very sophisticated


Someone who is very good at using technology

Kids these days are such techno-wizards compared to when we were young.


Saying something comical and often meaning the opposite of what you say.

He said I was good at football but I’m not. He must have been saying it “tongue-in-cheek”

Was this useful? Why not come and give us an example of this saying on our Facebook page or on Twitter (@bell_english)

Written by the Bell Team,
Bringing you up-to-date information and useful insights from Bell, so you know exactly how we can support you - when the time is right.