Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 155


Минский государственный лингвистический университет

Т.В. Поплавская Т.А. Сысоева


Read and Talk 

Пособие по курсу
«Практикум по культуре речевого общения»

В двух частях

Часть вторая

Минск 2012

УДК 811.111’24(075.8)
ББК 81.432.1 – 923.1

Рекомендовано Редакционным советом Минского

государственного лингвистического университета. Протокол № 3 (31)
от 29.11.2011 г.

Рецензенты: кандидат филологических наук, доцент ​С.А. Дубинко

(БГУ); кандидат филологических наук, доцент ​
С.А. Хоменко (​БНТУ)

Поплавская, Т.В.
П57 Читай и обсуждай = Read and Talk : пособие по курсу
«Практикум по культуре речевого общения». В 2 ч. Ч. 2 /
Т.В. Поплавская, Т.А. Сысоева. – Минск : МГЛУ, 2012. – 120 с.
ISBN 978-985-460-477-0 (Ч. 2).
ISBN 978-985-460-476-3.

Вторая часть пособия «Read and Talk» предназначена для использования на

аудиторных занятиях и для самостоятельной работы в рамках дисциплины
«Практикум по культуре речевого общения» (аспект «Чтение»). Целью пособия
является развитие навыков дискуссии на основе аутентичных текстов на
завершающем этапе обучения английскому языку. Включенные в него материалы
представлены различными жанрами (отрывками из произведений малых
художественных форм, романов, публицистических текстов) и сформированы в
четыре тематических блока. Пособие также содержит задания для домашнего и
индивидуального чтения.
Адресовано студентам третьего курса факультета межкультурных
коммуникаций МГЛУ, обучающимся по специальности «Лингвистическое
обеспечение межкультурной коммуникации».

УДК 811.111’24 (075.8)

ББК 81.432.1 – 923.1

ISBN 978-985-460-477-0 (Ч. 2) © Поплавская Т.В., Сысоева Т.А., 2012

ISBN 978-985-460-476-3 © УО «Минский государственный
лингвистический университет», 2012
INTRODUCTION​……………………………………………………….. 5


English Is a Crazy Language……………………………………………...
A Confluence of Cultures…………………………………………………
How to Plan a Town………………………………………………………
Capital Cities………………………………………………………………
UNIT 2. MODERN LIFESTYLE​……………………………………….
Confessions of a Shopaholic………………………………………………
Shopaholic Abroad………………………………………………..............
Shopaholic Ties the Knot…………………………………………………
UNIT 3. THE PRESS​…………………………………………………..
Do We Have the Press We Deserve?..........................................................
UNIT 4. MEDICAL CARE​……………………………………………...
Laugh Your Stress Away………………………………………………….
Bill’s Eyes…………………………………………………………………
The Emergency Ward……………………………………………………..
HOME READING​……………………………………………………….
Simply Divine……………………………………………………………..
Can You Keep a Secret?..............................................................................
Revenge Is Sweet………………………………………………………….
The Way up to Heaven……………………………………………………

For Services Rendered…………………………………………………….
Tasks for Non-Guided Reading​……………………………………..
I Tasks for “The Undomestic Goddess” by S. Kinsella…………………...
II Tasks for “Man and Boy” by T. Parsons………………………………..
III Tasks for “Man and Wife” by T. Parsons……………………………...
IV Tasks for “How to be Good” by N. Hornby…………………………...

The book is the second part of “Read and Talk” and is designed to provide
guidance for advanced students majoring in English and Intercultural
Communication. It comprises pieces of reading in which issues worth discussing
are raised. The book contains short stories and extracts from novels by modern
authors, magazine articles, essays, jokes arranged topically in several units and is
devised to provoke argument. Each unit consists of texts (or references to the
required texts) and exercises: vocabulary drills, specific tasks and assignments
aimed at developing deliberation skills and thus assisting to reach a higher standard
of language acquisition – that of intellectual communication. The activities
suggested focus on the English language as a tool of intelligible communication
(rather than language as a structure).
It is the authors’ intention to provide motivation in debating the issues of
Modern Lifestyle, Aspects of Culture, The Press and ​
Medical Care and to equip
those who have chosen language as a career with due linguistic skills.
The book offers a selection of stories and extracts from novels for home
reading and tasks for non-guided reading. The texts assembled in the book are
either unabridged short stories and articles or extracts from novels. In both cases,
the spelling, punctuation and specific graphic elements of the original are saved.

Unit 1 
Aspects of Culture 
English Is a Crazy Language 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the words.

To be well/better/best off, indispensable, vagary, purport, marvel, rigid,

misperceive, engender, spoof, lunacy.

2. Choose a suitable word from Ex. 1 to fill in the gaps. Make sure to use it in
the appropriate form.

1. His wealth fluctuates with the … of the stock market.

2. It is a … of engineering, still functioning today.
3.​​The law is moral and … .
4. ​The main … of my writing is to tell you that we have found a house for the next
half year.
5. Our teacher is​​a … disciplinarian.
6. His idea was considered total … .
7.​​It’s not a good idea to change jobs; you’re … where you are.
8. Such policies have … controversy.
9.​​The letter … to express people’s opinion.
10. One cannot but ... at these stunning cathedrals.
11. Mike Myers’ comedy flop ​ The Love Guru has dominated the Golden
Raspberries, the … prizes awarded to the worst Hollywood movies of the year.
12. People who … social reality in this way tend to feel lonelier and less satisfied
with life.

3. In what situation would you use the following set expressions? Give your
own examples.

To be mad about smth/smb, every nook and cranny, taken aback, kit and caboodle,
spick and span, a near miss, go back and forth, innocent bystanders, a hit-and-run
play, in fine fettle, daylight savings time, annals of history, hue and cry, might and

4. Match the words and their definitions.

loopy – claiming or demanding a position of distinction or merit,

especially when unjustified
beam – marked by a lack of flexibility, rigorous and exacting
pretentious – a seemingly contradictory statement that may
nonetheless be true
insanity – extreme foolishness, folly
rigid – to emit or transmit
inescapable – ineluctable, unavoidable
paradox – offbeat, crazy

II​.​Discussing the text 

1. Read the text.

English Is a Crazy Language

By R. Lederer

English is the most widely spoken language in the history of our planet, used
in some way by at least one out of every seven human beings around the globe.
Half of the world’s books are written in English, and the majority of international
telephone calls are made in English. English is the language of over sixty percent
of the world’s radio programs, many of them beamed, ironically, by the Russians,
who know that to win friends and influence nations, they’re best off using English.
More than seventy percent of international mail is written and addressed in
English, and eighty percent of all computer text is stored in English. English has
acquired the largest vocabulary of all the world’s languages, perhaps as many as
two million words, and has generated one of the noblest bodies of literature in the
annals of the human race.
Nonetheless, it is now time to face the fact that English is a crazy language.
In the crazy English language, the blackbird hen is brown, blackboards can
be blue or green, and blackberries are green and then red before they are ripe. Even
if blackberries were really black and blueberries really blue, what are strawberries,
cranberries, elderberries, huckleberries, raspberries, boysenberries, mulberries, and
gooseberries supposed to look like?
To add to the insanity, there is no butter in buttermilk, no egg in eggplant, no
grape in grapefruit, neither worms nor wood in wormwood, neither pine nor apple
in pineapple, neither peas nor nuts in peanuts, and no ham in a hamburger. (In fact,
if somebody invented a sandwich consisting of a ham patty in a bun, we would
have a hard time finding a name for it.) To make matters worse, English muffins

weren’t invented in England, french fries in France, or danish pastries in Denmark.
And we discover even more culinary madness in the revelations that sweetmeat is
candy, while sweetbread, which isn’t sweet, is made from meat.
In this unreliable English tongue, greyhounds aren’t always grey (or gray);
panda bears and koala bears aren’t bears (they’re marsupials); a woodchuck is
a groundhog, which is not a hog; a horned toad is a lizard; glowworms are fireflies,
but fireflies are not flies (they’re beetles); ladybugs and lightning bugs are also
beetles (and to propagate, a significant proportion of ladybugs must be male);
a guinea pig is neither a pig nor from Guinea (it’s a South American rodent); and
a titmouse is neither mammal nor mammaried.
Language is like the air we breathe. It’s invisible, inescapable, indispensable,
and we take it for granted. But when we take the time, step back, and listen to the
sounds that escape from the holes in people’s faces and explore the paradoxes and
vagaries of English, we find that hot dogs can be cold, darkrooms can be lit,
homework can be done in school, nightmares can take place in broad daylight,
while morning sickness and daydreaming can take place at night, tomboys are
girls, midwives can be men, hours – especially happy hours and rush hours – can
last longer than sixty minutes, quicksand works very slowly, boxing rings are
square, silverware can be made of plastic and tablecloths of paper, most telephones
are dialed by being punched (or pushed?), and most bathrooms don’t have any
baths in them. In fact, a dog can go to the bathroom under a tree — no bath, no
room; it’s still going to the bathroom. And doesn’t it seem at least a little bizarre
that we go to the bathroom in order to go to the bathroom?
Why is it that a woman can man a station but a man can’t woman one, that
a man can father a movement but a woman can’t mother one, and that a king rules
a kingdom but a queen doesn’t rule a queendom? How did all those Renaissance
men reproduce when there don’t seem to have been any Renaissance women?
A writer is someone who writes, and a stinger is something that stings. But
fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, hammers don’t ham, and humdingers don’t
humding, if the plural of tooth is teeth, shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth? One
goose, two geese – so one moose, two meese? One index, two indices – one
Kleenex, two Kleenices? If people ring a bell today and rang a bell yesterday, why
don’t we say that they flang a ball? If they wrote a letter, perhaps they also bote
their tongue. If the teacher taught, why isn’t it also true that the preacher praught?
Why is it that the sun shone yesterday while I shined my shoes, that I treaded water
and then trod on soil, and that I flew out to see a World Series game in which my
favorite player flied out?
If we conceive a conception and receive at a reception, why don’t we grieve
a greption and believe a beleption? If a horsehair mat is made from the hair of
horses and a camel’s hair brush from the hair of camels, from what is a mohair coal
made? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If
a firefighter fights fire, what does a freedom fighter fight? If a weightlifter lifts

weights, what does a shoplifter lift? If pro and con are opposites, is congress the
opposite of progress?
Sometimes you have to believe that all English speakers should be
committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what other language do people
drive in a parkway and park in a driveway? In what other language do people recite
at a play and play at a recital? In what other language do privates eat in the general
mess and generals eat in the private mess? In what other language do men gel
hernias and women get hysterectomies? In what other language do people ship by
truck and send cargo by ship? In what other language can your nose run and your
feet smell?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, “what’s going on?”
and “what’s coming off ?” be the same, and a bad licking and a good licking be the
same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can sharp speech and
blunt speech be the same and quite a lot and quite a few the same, while overlook
and oversee are opposites? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as
hell the next?
If button and unbutton and tie and untie are opposites, why are loosen and
unloosen and ravel and unravel the same? If bad is the opposite of good, hard the
opposite of soft, and up the opposite of down, why are badly and goodly, hardly
and softly, and upright and downright not opposing pairs? If harmless actions are
the opposite of harmful actions, why are shameless and shameful behavior the
same and pricey objects less expensive than priceless ones? If appropriate and
inappropriate remarks and passable and impassable mountain trails are opposites,
why are flammable and inflammable materials, heritable and inheritable property,
and passive and impassive people the same and valuable objects less treasured than
invaluable ones? If uplift is the same as lift up, why are upset and set up opposite
in meaning? Why are pertinent and impertinent, canny and uncanny, and famous
and infamous neither opposites nor the same? How can raise and raze and reckless
and wreckless be opposites when each pair contains the same sound?
Why is it that when the sun or the moon or the stars are out, they are visible,
but when the lights are out, they are invisible, and that when I wind up my watch, I
start it, but when I wind up this essay, I shall end it?
English is a crazy language.
How can expressions like “I’m mad about my flat,” “No football coaches
allowed,” and “I’ll come by in the morning and knock you up” convey such
different messages in two countries that purport to speak English?
How can it be easier to assent than to dissent but harder to ascend than to
descend? Why is it that a man with hair on his head has more hair than a man with
hairs on his head; that if you decide to be bad forever, you choose to be bad for
good; and that if you choose to wear only your left shoe, then your left one is right
and your right one is left? Right?

Small wonder that we English users are constantly standing meaning on its
head. Let’s look at a number of familiar English words and phrases that turn out to
mean the opposite of or something very different from what we think they mean:

I could care less. ​I couldn’t care less is the clearer, more accurate version.
Why do so many people delete the negative from this statement? Because they are
afraid that the ​n’t… less combination will make for a double negative, which is a
I really miss not seeing you. Whenever people say this to me. I feel like
saying, “All right, I’ll leave!” Here speakers throw in a gratuitous negative, ​not,
even though ​I really miss seeing you​is what they want to say.
The movie kept me literally glued to my seat. The chances of our buttocks
being literally epoxied to a seat are about as small as the chances of our literally
rolling in the aisles while watching a funny movie or literally drowning in tears
while watching a sad one. We actually mean ​ The movie kept me figuratively glued
to my seat – but who needs ​figuratively​, anyway? If we must resort to a cliché, ​The
movie kept me glued to my seat is the clearest, most sensible way of expressing our
A non-slop flight​Never get on one of those. You'll never get down.
A near miss. ​A near miss is, in reality, a collision. A close call is actually ​a
near hit​.
My idea fell between the cracks. If something fell between the cracks,
didn’t it land smack on the planks or the concrete? Shouldn’t that be ​ My idea fell
into the cracks (or between the boards)?​
I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth​ . Let the word go forward to the four
corners of the earth that ever since Columbus we have known that the earth doesn’t
have any ends.
The first century b.c. These hundred years occurred much longer ago than
people imagine. What we call ​the first century b.c​. was, in fact, ​
the last century b.c​.
Daylight savings time.​Not a single second of daylight is saved by this ploy.
A hot-water heater.​ Why heat hot water?
A hot cup of coffee. Who cares if the cup is hot? Surely we mean a cup of
hot coffee.
A one-night stand.​ So who’s standing?
Doughnut holes. Aren’t these little treats really ​ doughnut balls​? The holes
are what’s left in the original doughnut. (And if a candy cane is shaped like a cane,
why isn’t a doughnut shaped like a nut?)
I want to have my cake and eat it, too​ . Shouldn’t this timeworn cliché be ​I
want to eat my cake and have it, too​? Isn’t the logical sequence that one hopes to
eat the cake and then still possess it?
The announcement was made by a nameless official​ . Just about everyone
has a name, even officials. Surely what is meant is ​ The announcement was made
by an unnamed official.
Preplan, preboard, preheat and ​ prerecord​ . Aren’t people who do such
things simply planning, boarding, heating, and recording? Who needs the
pre-tentious prefix?

Put on your shoes and socks​ . This is аn exceedingly difficult maneuver.
Most of us put on our socks first, then our shoes.
A hit-and-run play​. If you know your baseball, you know that the sequence
constitutes a run-and-hit play.
The bus goes back and forth between the terminal and the airport​.
Again we find mass confusion about the order of events. You have to go forth
before you can go back.
Underwater and underground​ . Things that we claim are underwater and
underground are obviously surrounded by, not under, the water and ground.
I got caught in one of the biggest traffic bottlenecks of the year​. The
bigger the bottleneck, the more freely the contents of the bottle flows through it.
To be true to the metaphor, we should say, I got caught in one of the smallest
bottlenecks of the year.
I lucked out​. To luck out sounds as if you’re out of luck. Don’t you mean ​I
lucked in​?
Because we speakers and writers of English seem to have our heads screwed
on backward, we constantly misperceive our bodies, often saying just the opposite
of what we mean:
Watch your head​. I keep seeing this sign on low doorways, but I haven’t
figured out how to follow the instructions. Trying to watch your head is like trying
to bite your teeth.
They’re head over heels in love​ . That’s nice, but we do almost everything
head over heels. If we are trying to create an image of people doing cartwheels and
somersaults, why don’t we say, ​They’re heels over head in love?​
Put your best foot forward​ . Now, let’s see ... We have a good foot, a better
foot, but we don’t have a third – and best – foot. It’s our better foot that we want to
put forward. “Put your best foot forward” is akin to “May the best team win.”
Usually there are only two teams in the contest.
Keep a stiff upper lip​. When we are disappointed or afraid, which lip do we
try to control? The tower lip, of course, is the one we are trying to keep from
I’m speaking tongue in cheek​ . So how can anyone understand you?
They do things behind my back​ . You want they should do things in front
of your back?
They did it ass backwards​ . What’s wrong with that? How else are they
supposed to do it?
English is weird.
In the rigid expressions that wear tonal grooves in the record of our
language, ​beck can appear only with ​ call,​ ​
cranny with ​nook,​ ​
hue w
​ ith ​cry,​ ​main
with ​might,​ ​fettle only with ​fine,​ ​
aback with ​ taken,​ ​
caboodle with ​
kit,​and ​
spic and
span only with each other. Why must all shrifts be short, all lucre filthy, all
bystanders innocent, and all bedfellows strange? I’m convinced that some shrifts

are lengthy and that some lucre is squeaky clean, and I've certainly met guilty
bystanders and perfectly normal bedfellows.
Why is it that only swoops are fell? Sure, the verbivorous William
Shakespeare invented the expression “one fell swoop”, but why can’t strokes,
swings, acts, and the like also be fell? Why are we allowed to vent our spleens but
never our kidneys or livers? Why must it be only our minds that are boggled, and
never our eyes or our hearts? Why can’t eyes and jars be ajar, as well as doors?
Why must aspersions always be cast and never hurled or lobbed?
Doesn’t it seem just a little loopy that we can make amends but never just
one amend; that no matter how carefully we comb through the annals of history,
we can never discover just one annal; that we can never pull a shenanigan, be in a
doldrum, or get a jitter, a willy, a delirium tremen, a jimjam, or a heebie-jeebie;
and that. sifting through the wreckage of a disaster, we can never find just one
smithereen? Indeed, this whole business of plurals that don’t have matching
singulars reminds me to ask this burning linguistic question, one that has puzzled
scholars for decades: If you have a bunch of odds and ends and you get rid of or
sell off all but one of them, what do you call that doohickey with which you’re
What do you make of the fact that we can talk about certain things and ideas
only when they are absent? Once they appear, our blessed English doesn’t allow us
to describe them. Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Have
you ever run into someone who was combobulated, sheveled. gruntled, chalant,
plussed, ruly, gainly, maculate, pecunious, or peccable? Have you ever met a sung
hero or experienced requited love? I know people who are no spring chickens, but
where, pray tell, are the people who ​ are spring chickens? Where are the people
who actually ​would hurt a fly? All the time I meet people who ​ are great shakes,
who ​ can cut the mustard, who ​ can fight City Hall, who ​ are m ​ y cup of tea, and
whom I ​ would touch with a ten-foot pole, but I cannot talk about them in English –
and that ​is​a laughing matter.
If the truth be told, all languages are a little crazy. As Walt Whitman might
proclaim, they contradict themselves. That’s because language is invented, not
discovered, by boys and girls and men and women, not computers. As such,
language reflects the creativity and fearful asymmetry of the human race, which, of
course, isn’t really a race at all. That’s why ​ six, seven, eight,​ and ​nine change to
sixty, seventy, eighty​, and ​ninety,​ but ​ two, three, four,​ and ​ five do not become
twoty, threety, fourty,​ and ​fivety.​ That’s why we can turn lights off and on but not
out and in. That’s why we wear a pair of pants but, except on very cold days, never
a pair of shirts. That’s why we can open up the floor, climb the walls, raise the
roof, pick up the house, and bring down the house.
In his essay “The Awful German Language”, Mark Twain spoofs the
confusion engendered by German gender by translating literally from a
conversation in a German Sunday school book: “​ Gretchen.​ Wilhelm, where is the
turnip? ​Wilhelm.​She has gone to the kitchen. ​ Gretchen.​Where is the accomplished
and beautiful English maiden? ​ Wilhelm.​ It has gone to the opera.” Twain
continues: “A tree is male, its buds are female, its leaves are neuter; horses are
sexless, dogs are male, cats are female – tomcats included.”

Still, you have to marvel at the unique lunacy of the English language, in
which your house can simultaneously burn up and burn down, in which you fill in
a form by filling out a form, in which you add up a column of figures by adding
them down, in which your alarm clock goes off by going on, in which you are
inoculated for measles by being inoculated against measles, and in which you first
chop a tree down – and then you chop it up.

2. Use the text to answer the following questions.

1. What accounts for the fact that has English become the most widely-spoken
languages in the world? In what spheres is English applicable on an international
2. What words can be “misleading” in terms of their form? Explain the essence of
this phenomenon.
3. The author gives a lot of examples of inconsistent, illogical usage of words. Can
you recall any?
4. Why does the author say that “we English users are constantly standing meaning
on its head”?
5. What plural forms do not have corresponding singular forms? What word/form
would you use if you were to express the idea of singularity?
6. Which words can be used only with a negative prefix?

3. Analyze the examples in bold type from the text. Can they be considered
incongruous? Do native speakers/foreigners perceive them as such? Give your
reasons. Translate these expressions into Russian. Do the translated variants
produce the same humorous effect? Think of similar incongruous expressions
in the Russian language and ways of translating them into English.

4. Find at least ten cases of illogical, misleading usage of words in your native
language (or any other foreign language you speak) and role-play the
following situation. You are a native speaker. A foreigner is confused by some
expressions in your native language and asks you to help them clarify the
meaning of some misleading expressions. Before you act the situation out,
discuss the most appropriate means (verbal or nonverbal) to get the message
clear to a foreigner.

III​.​Follow-up activities 
1. You are a) a student learning a foreign language; b) a professor of linguistics;
c) a journalist writing for a popular magazine. Get ready to participate in a panel

discussion and prepare a three-minute speech on the problem: All languages are a
little crazy and “contradict themselves”.
2. You are a teacher of the English language. Explain to your students that it is not
enough to know a foreign language well. In order not to be confronted with
embarrassing situations, one has to be aware of the norms of its usage.

IV.​​Additional tasks 
Task 1. Check your knowledge of English by doing the following quiz. When
you are through and get the correct answers, say which words seemed the
most confusable ones. The meaning of which unfamiliar words did you
manage to figure out correctly? What helped you guess their actual meaning?

Confusable English

Here is a small quiz that presents more words that are not what they seem.
Beware and be wary as you choose the correct definition for each entry. Avoid
taking a simplistic (there’s another one!) approach.
1. ​
a) against women; b) against war; c) after the war; d) before the war.
2. ​
a) school for mimics; b)place where apes are kept; c) place where bees are
kept; d) cupboard for peas.
3. ​
a) resembling an eagle; b) relating to water; c) relating to synchronized
swimming; d) resembling a porcupine.
4. ​
a) strong desire for wealth; b) strong desire for love; c) strong desire for
amusement parks; d) obtuseness.
5. ​
a) lacking a bank account; b) unbiased; c) bored; d) lacking rest.
6. ​
a) great wickedness; b) great size; c) normal state; d) cowardice.
7. ​
a) ancient hair style; b) female forester; c) dread anticipation; d) emphasis on
first part of word.
8. ​
a) easily crumbled; b) easily fried; c) unhealthy; d) relating to holy orders.
9. ​
the study of a) herbs; b) herpes; c) female pets; d) reptiles.
10. ​hippophobia
the fear of a) hippopotami; b) horses; c) getting fat; d) hippies.
11. ​infinitesimal
a) very small; b) very large; c) relating to intestines; d) hesitant.
12. ​inflammable
a) calm; b) incredulous; c) not easily set on fire; d) easily set on fire.
13. ​ingenuous
a) insincere; b) innocent; c) clever; d) mentally dull.
14. ​meretricious
a) falsely attractive; b) worthy; c) good tasting; d) diseased.
15. ​presently
a) generous with gifts; b) now; c) soon; d) presidentially.
16. ​prosody
the study of a) drama; b) music; c) prose; d) versification.
17. ​restive
a) serene; b) festive; c) fidgety; d) pensive.
18. ​risible
a) disposed to laugh; b) easily lifted; c) fertile; d) relating to dawn.
19. ​toothsome
a) displaying prominent teeth; b) missing teeth; c) palatable; d) serrated.
20. ​votary
a) democratic country; b) enthusiast; c) electoral college; d) revolving tool.

Task 2. Read the text and give an extended answer to the following questions.
How can it happen that a single word develops two polar meanings? Are there
any Janus-faced words in Russian? Can they become a source of confusion
and misperception or is the meaning always clear from the context?

Janus-Faced English

In the year 1666 a great fire swept through London and destroyed more than
half the city, including three quarters of St Paul’s Cathedral. Sir Christopher Wren,
the original designer of the Cathedral and perhaps the finest architect of all time,
was commissioned to rebuild the great edifice. He began in 1675 and finished in
1710, a remarkably short period of time for such a task. When the magnificent
edifice was completed, Queen Anne, the reigning monarch, visited the Cathedral
and told Wren that his work was “awful, artificial, and amusing”. Sir Christopher,
so the story goes, was delighted with the royal compliment, because in those days
awful meant “full of awe, awe-inspiring”, artificial meant “artistic”, and amusing,
from the muses, meant “amazing”.
That was three hundred years ago. Today, the older, tottering meanings of
awful, artificial, and amusing have virtually disappeared from popular use. Indeed,
the general rule of language is that when a single word develops two polar
meanings, one will become obsolete. Occasionally, though, two diametrically
opposed meanings of the same English word survive, and the technical term for
these schizophrenics is ​contronym.​ More popularly, they are known as Janus-faced
words because the Greek god Janus had two faces that looked in opposite
Here’s a little finger exercise. Remember that I’m the teacher, so you must
try to do what I ask. Make a circle with the fingers on your left hand by touching
the tip of your index finger to the tip of your thumb. Now poke your head through
that circle.
If you unsuccessfully tried to fit your head through me small digital circle,
you (and almost any reader) thought that the phrase “poke your head” meant that
your head was the poker. But if you raised your left hand with the circle of fingers
up close to your forehead and poked your right index finger through that circle
until it touched your forehead, you realized that the phrase “poke your head” has a
second, and opposite, meaning: that the head is the pokee.
Here are two sentences that will solidify your understanding of how
Janus-faced words work:
“The moon is VISIBLE tonight.”
“The lights in the old house are always INVISIBLE.”
Although the two capitalized words are opposite in meaning, both can be
replaced by the same word – out. When the moon or sun or stars are out, they are
visible When the lights are out, they are invisible.
Here are some contronymic sentences that show how words wander
wondrously and testify to the fact that nothing in the English language is absolute:
with. alongside; against: a. England fought with France against Germany,
b. England fought with France;
clip. fasten; separate: a. Clip the coupon to the newspaper. b. Clip the
coupon from the newspaper;
fast. firmly in one place; rapidly from one place to another: a. The pegs held
the tent fast. b. She ran fast;
bolt. to secure in place; to dart away: a. I’ll bolt the door. Did you see the
horse bolt?;
trim. add things to; cut away: a. Let’s trim the Christmas tree. b. Let’s trim
the hedge;
dust. remove material from; spread material on: a. Three times a week they
dust the floor. b. Three times each season they dust the crops;
weather. withstand; wear away: a. Strong ships weather storms. b. Wind can
weather rocks;
handicap. advantage, disadvantage: a. What’s your handicap in golf? b. His
lack of education is a handicap;
commencement. beginning; conclusion: a. Beautiful weather marked the
commencement of spring. b. She won an award at her high school commencement;
bold up. support: hinder: a. Please hold up the sagging branch. b. Accidents
hold up the flow of traffic;
keep up. continue to fail; continue to stay up: a. The farmers hope that the
rain will keep up. b. Damocles hoped that the sword above his head would
keep up;

left. departed from; remaining: a. Ten people left the room. b. Five people
were left in the room;
dress. put items on; remove items from: a. Let’s dress for the ball. b. Let’s
dress the chicken for cooking;
temper. soften; strengthen: a. You must temper your anger with reason.
b. Factories temper steel with additives;
cleave. separate; adhere firmly, a. A strong blow will cleave a plank in two.
b. Bits of metal cleave to a magnet;
strike. secure in place; remove: a. Use a firm grip to strike the nail. b. When
the show is over, we’ll strike the set;
give out. produce; slop producing: a. A good furnace will give out enough
energy to heat the house. b. A broken furnace will often give out;
sanction. give approval of; censure: a. The plans to sanction the event.
b. Should our country impose a new sanction on Libya?;
screen. view; hide from view: a. Tonight the critics will screen the film.
b. Defensemen mustn’t screen the puck;
oversight. careful supervision; neglect; a. The foreman was responsible for
the oversight of the project. b. The foreman’s oversight ruined the success of the
qualified. competent, limited: a. The candidate for the job was fully
qualified. b. The dance was a qualified success;
moot. debatable; not worthy of debate: a. Сарital punishment is a moot
point. b. That the earth revolves around the sun is a moot point;
certain. definite; difficult to specify: a. I am certain about what I want in
life. b. I have a certain feeling about the plan;
mortal. deadly, subject to death: a. The knight delivered a mortal blow.
b. All humans are mortal;
buckle. fasten together; fall apart: a. Safe drivers buckle their seat belts.
b. Unsafe buildings buckle at the slightest tremor of the earth;
trip. to stumble; to move gracefully: a. Don’t trip on the curb. b. Let’s trip
the light fantastic;
put out. generate; extinguish: a. The candle put out enough light for us to
see. b. Before I went to bed, I put out the candle;
unbending. rigid; relaxing: a. On the job Smith is completely unbending.
b. Relaxing on the beach is a good way of unbending;
wear. endure through use; decay through use; a. This suit will wear like iron.
b. Water can cause mountains to wear;
scan. examine carefully, glance at hastily: a. I scan the poem. b. Each day, I
scan the want ads;
fix. restore; remove part of: a. It’s time to fix the fence. b. It’s time to fix the
seeded. with seeds; without seeds: a. The rain nourished the seeded field.
b. Would you like some seeded raisins?;
critical. opposed; essential to: a. Joanne is critical of our effort. b. Joanne is
critical to our effort;
better. admire more; be suspicious of: a. I think better of the first proposal
than the second. b. If I were you, I’d think better of that proposal;
take. obtain; offer a. Professional photographers take good pictures.
b. Professional models take good pictures;
impregnable. invulnerable to penetration; able to be impregnated: a. The
castle was so strongly built that it was impregnable. b. Treatments exist for making
a childless woman more impregnable;
below par. excellent; poor: a. Her below par score won the golf tournament.
b. I’m disappointed in your below par performance on the spelling test;
down hill. adverse; easy: a. When the source of capital dried up, the fortunes
of the corporation went down hill. b. After you switch to diet drinks, it will be all
down hill for your weight-loss program;
wind up. start; end: a.1 have to wind up my watch. b. Now I have to wind
up this discussion of curious and contrary contronyms.

Task 3. Read the text and spot animal idioms. In what situations would their
usage be appropriate? How many idioms could you use in e.g. a description of
a person without making it sound unnatural? Describe a person you know in
five sentences using 5 animal idioms, then choose the best description among
the students in your class.

A Visit to the Language Zoo

Many children’s magazines feature picture puzzles in which the young

readers are asked to identify a number of hidden animals. In a cloud may lurk a
cow, in the leaves of a tree may be concealed a fish, and on the side of a house may
be soaring an eagle. The English language is like those children’s pictures. Take a
gander at what follows, and you will discover almost three hundred creatures from
the animal world hidden in the sentences, a veritable menagerie of zoological
metaphors. (Did you catch one of them in the last sentence?)
Human beings, proclaims one dictionary, are distinguished from the other
animals “by a notable development of brain with a resultant capacity for speech
and abstract thinking”. Perhaps so, but how truly different is our species from our
fellow organisms with whom we share the planet?
I mean holy cow, holy cats, and holy mackerel – a little bird told me that the
human race is filled with congressional hawks and doves who fight like cats and
dogs ‘til the cows come home, Wall Street bulls and bears who make a beeline for
the goose that lays the golden egg, cold fish and hotdoggers, early birds and night

owls, lone wolves and social butterflies, young lions and old crows, and lame
ducks, sitting ducks, and dead ducks.
Some people are horny studs on the prowl for other party animals, strutting
peacocks who preen and fish for compliments, clotheshorses who put on the dog
with their turtlenecks and hush puppies, young bucks and роnytailed foxy chicks in
puppy love who want to get hitched, or cool cats and kittenish lovebirds who avoid
stag parties to bill and coo and pet and paw each other in their love nests.
Other people have a whale of an appetite that compels them to eat like pigs
(not birds), drink like fish, stuff themselves to the gills, hog the lion’s share, and
wolf their elephantine portions until they become plump as partridges. Still others
are batty, squirrelly, bug-eyed, cod-eyed cuckoos who are mad as march hares and
look like something the cat dragged in; crazy as coots, loons, a bedbugs; and who
come at us like bats out of hell with their monkeyshines and drive us buggy with
their horsing around.
As we continue to separate the sheep from the goats and to pigeonhole the
“human” race, we encounter catnapping, slothful sluggards; harebrained jackasses
who, like fish out of water, doggedly think at a snail’s pace; dumb bunnies and
dumb clucks who run around like chickens with their heads cut off; birdbrained
dodos who are easily gulled, buffaloed, and outfoxed; asinine silly gooses who lay
an egg whenever, like monkey-see-monkey-do, they parrot and ape every turkey
they see; clumsy oxen who are bulls in china shops; and top dogs on their high
horses, big fish in small ponds, and cocky bullies high up in the pecking order who
rule the roost and never work for chicken feed.
Leapin’ lizards, we can scarcely get through a day without meeting
crestfallen, pussyfooting chickens who stick their heads in the sand; henpecked
underdogs who get goose pimples and butterflies and turn tail; scared rabbits who
play possum and cry crocodile tears before they go belly up; spineless jellyfish
who clam up with a frog in the throat whenever the cat gets their tongue; mousy
worms who quail and flounder and then, quiet as mice, slink off and then return to
the fold with their tails between their legs; and shrimpy pipsqueaks who fawn like
toadies until you want to croak.
Let’s face it. It’s a dog-eat-dog world we live in. But doggone it, without
beating a dead horse, I do not wish to duck or leapfrog over this subject. It’s time
to fish or cut bait, to take the bull by the horns, kill two birds with one stone, and,
before everything goes to the dogs and we’ve got a tiger by the tail, to give you a
bird’s-eye view of the animals hiding in our language.
Dog my cats! It’s a bear of a task to avoid meeting catty, shrewish, bitchy
vixens with bees in their bonnets whose pet peeve and sacred cow is that all men
are swine and chauvinist pigs and in their doghouse. Other brutes who get your
goat and ruffle your feathers are antsy, backbiting, crabby, pigheaded old buzzards,
coots, and goats who are no spring chickens, who are stubborn as mules, and who
grouse, bug, badger, dog, and hound you like squawking, droning, waspish gadflies
that stir up a hornets’ nest and make a mountain out of a molehill.
And speaking of beastly characters that stick in your craw, watch out for the
parasites, bloodsuckers, sponges, and leeches who worm their way into your
consciousness and make you their scapegoats; the rat finks and stool pigeons who
ferret out your deepest secrets and then squeal on you, let the cat out of the bag,
and fly the coop without so much as a “Tough turkey. See you later, alligator”; the
snakes-in-the-grass who come out of the woodwork, open a can of worms, and
then, before you smell a rat, throw you a red herring; the serpentine quacks who
make you their gullible guinea pig and cat’s-paw; the lowdown curs and dirty dogs
who sling the bull, give you a bum steer, and send you on a wild goose chase
barking up the wrong tree on a wing and a prayer; the card sharks who hawk their
fishy games, monkey with your nest egg, put the sting on you, and then fleece you;
the vultures who hang like albatrosses around your neck, who live high on the hog,
who feather their own nests and then – the straw that breaks the camel’s back –
crow about it looking like the cat that swallowed the canary; the black sheep who
play cat and mouse and then cook your goose and make a monkey out of you with
their shaggy dog stories before they hightail it out of there; and the lousy varmints,
polecats, skunks, and eels who sell you a white elephant or a pig in a poke and,
when the worm turns and you discover the fly in the ointment, weasel their way
out of the deal. It’s a real jungle out there, just one unbridled rat race; in fact, it’s
for the birds.
But let’s talk turkey and horse sense. Don’t we go a tad ape and hog wild
over the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed eager beavers who always go whole hog to
hit the bull’s-eye; the eagle-eyed tigers who are always loaded for bear; and the
ducky, loosey-goosey rare birds who are wise as owls and happy as larks and
clams? Lucky dogs like these are the cat’s pajamas and the cat’s meow, worthy of
being lionized. From the time they’re knee-high to a grasshopper, they’re in the
catbird seat and the world is their oyster.
So before you buzz off, I hope you'll agree that this exhibit of animal
metaphors has been no fluke, no hogwash, no humbug. I really give a hoot about
the animals hiding in our English language, so, for my swan song. I want you to
know that, straight from the horse's mouth, this has been no dog-and-pony show
and no cock-and-bull story.
It really is a zoo out there.

Task 4. This time, spot food idioms and explain whether they are commonly
used in English or not. Make a list of English food idioms, classify them and
try to make a similar list of food idioms in Russian. Was it an easy task for
you to recall food idioms in your native language? What accounts for this

You Said a Mouthful

Now that you have uncovered the hidden herds of animals, flocks of birds,
swarms of insects, and universities of fish that metaphorically run, fly, creep, and
swim through our English language, it’s lime to nibble on another spicy, meaty,
juicy honey of a topic that I know you’ll want to savor and relish. Feast your eyes
now on the veritable potpourri of mushrooming food expressions that grace the
table of our English language and season our tongue. As we chew the fat about the
food-filled phrases that are packed like sardines and sandwiched into our everyday
conversations, I’ll sweeten the pot with some tidbits of food for thought guaranteed
to whet your appetite.
I know what’s eating you. I’ve heard through the grapevine that you don’t
give a fig because you think I’m nutty as a fruitcake; that you’re fed up with me for
biting off more than I can chew; that you want me to drop this subject like a hot
potato because I’m a spoiled rotten weenie; and that you’re giving me the
raspberry for asking you to swallow a cheesy, corny, mushy, saccharine, seedy,
soupy, sugarcoated, syrupy topic that just isn’t your cup of tea.
I understand that you’re beet red with anger that I’m feeding you a bunch of
baloney, garbage, and tripe; that I’ve rubbed salt in your wounds by making you
ruminate on a potboiler that’s no more than a tempest in a teapot; that I’ve upset
your apple cart by rehashing an old chestnut that’s just pie in the sky and won’t
amount to a hill of beans; that you want to chew me out for putting words in your
mouth; mat you’re boiling and simmering because you think I’m a candy-assed
apple polisher who’s out to egg you on.
But nuts to all that. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. Eat your heart out
and stop crying in your beer. I’m going to stop mincing words and start cooking
with gas, take my idea off the back burner and bring home the bacon without
hamming it up. No matter how you slice it, this fruitful, tasteful topic is the
greatest thing since sliced bread, the icing on the cake. Rather than crying over
spilt milk and leaping out of me frying pan and into the fire, I’m going to put all
my eggs into one basket, take potluck, and spill the beans. I’m cool as a cucumber
and confident that this crackerjack, peachy-keen, vintage feast that I’ve cooked up
will have you eating out of the palm of my hand.
I don’t wish to become embroiled in a rhubarb, but beefing and stewing
sound like sour grapes from a tough nut to crack – kind of like the pot calling the
kettle black. But if you’ve digested the spoonfed culinary metaphors up to this
point in this meal-and-potatoes chapter, the rest will be gravy, duck soup, a piece
of cake, and easy as pie – just like taking candy from a baby.
Just think of the various people we meet every day. Some have taste. Others
we take with a grain of salt. Some drive us bananas and crackers. Still others are
absolutely out to lunch:
* the young sprouts and broths of lads who feel their oats and are full of

* the sally, crusty oldsters who are wrinkled as prunes and live to a ripe old
age well beyond their salad days;
* the peppery smart cookies (no mere eggheads, they) who use their beans
and noodles to cut the mustard;
* the half-baked meat heads, the flaky couch potatoes, and the
pudding-headed vegetables who drive us nuts with their slow-as-molasses
peabrains and who gum up the works and are always in a pickle, a jam, hot water,
the soup, or a fine kettle of fish;
* the unsavory, crummy, hard-boiled, ham-fisted rotten apples with their
cauliflower ears, who can cream us, beat the stuffing out of us, make us into
mincemeat and hamburger, and knock us ass over teakettle and flatter than a
* the mealymouthed marshmallows, Milquetoasts, milksops, half-pints, and
cream puffs who walk on egg-shells and whose knees turn to jelly as they gingerly
waffle and fudge on every issue to see which side their bread is buttered on;
* the carrot-topped, pizza-faced string beans and bean poles who, with their
lumpy Adam’s apples, are long drinks of water;
* the top bananas, big cheeses, and big breadwinners who ride the gravy
train by making a lot of lettuce and dough and who never work for peanuts or
small potatoes;
* the honeys, tomatoes, dumplings, cheesecakes, and sweetie pies with their
peaches-and-cream complexions, strawberry blond hair, almond eyes, and cherry
* the saucy tarts who wiggle their melons and buns and fritter away their
time buttering up their meal tickets and milking their sugar daddies dry;
* the salt-of-the-earth good eggs who take the cake, know their onions, make
life a bowl of cherries, and become the apples of our eye and the toasts of the town.
Hot dog! I hope you’re pleased as punch that this souped-up topic is a plum,
not a lemon: the berries, not the pits. The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and
this cream of the crop of palate-pleasing food figures is bound to sell like hotcakes.
I’m no glutton for punishment for all the tea in China, but, if I’m wrong, I’ll eat
crow and humble pie. I don’t wish to take the words right out of your mouth, but,
in a nutshell, it all boils down to the fact that every day we truly eat our words.

Task 5. In the text below you will find violent idioms. What connotation do
they have? Are they appropriate in any text/speech? In what everyday
situations can you use them? Watch several TV programmes and read several
newspaper/magazine articles. Where are violent idioms used more commonly
and why?

Violent English
Everyone deplores violence these days. Many articles and books, radio and
television programs, and self-help and encounter groups are designed to help us
curb our tempers. And with the specters of international terrorism and nuclear
warfare haunting our horizon, it may be that the future of the human race depends
upon our ability to channel our violent impulses and to locate solutions based on
cooperation rather than aggression.
When we tackle, wrestle, and grapple with the problem of violence, we are
bound to be struck by a crucial idea. If our view of reality is shaped and defined by
the words and phrases we use, then violence is locked deep in our thoughts, frozen
in the clichés and expressions of everyday life. “I’ll be hanged!” we are likely to
exclaim as this insight hits us with a vengeance. “I believe that I’ve hit the nail
right on the head!”
Let’s take a ​stab at the issue of violence in our everyday parlance with a
crash course on the words we use to describe disagreements. First, we ​ rack o​ur
brains assembling an ​arsenal of arguments. Then we attempt to ​ demolish the
opposition’s points with a ​barrage ​of criticism, attack their positions by ​ nailing
them dead to rights,​​letting them have it with both barrels,​and ​ shooting down their
contentions. We ​break their concentration by puncturing their assumptions, ​cut
them down to size by ​hammering away at their weaknesses, ​ torpedo their efforts
with ​barbed criticism, and then, when ​ push ​comes to ​ shove,​ ​assault their integrity
with character ​assassination​. If all else fails, we try to ​ twist their arms and ​kill
them with kindness.
Now we can begin to understand the full ​ impact of the expression “to have a
violent disagreement​”.
The world of business is a veritable ​ jungle o​f ​cutthroat competition, a
rough-and-tumble school of ​hard knocks​, and ​ dog-eat-dog world of ​ backbiting​,
backstabbing​, and ​hatchet jobs. Some companies ​ spearhead a trend of price
gouging. Other firms ​beat the competition to the ​ punch and gain a ​ stranglehold on
the market by ​fighting tooth and nail to ​ slash prices in ​ knock-down-drag-out,​
no-holds-barred price ​wars​. Still other companies gain ​ clout by putting the ​ squeeze
on their competitors with ​shakeups​, ​ raids​, and ​ hostile takeovers​. Then the other
side gets ​up in arms​and ​screams​​ bloody murder​about such a ​ low blow​.
No wonder that business executives are often recruited by ​ headhunters.​ No
wonder that ​bleeding hearts who can’t ​ fight their own battles are likely to get ​axed,​
booted,​​canned,​​discharged,​​dumped​, ​ fired,​​
kicked out,​​sacked,​or ​terminated​.
One would hope that sporting contests would provide an escape from life’s
daily ​grind.​ But once again we find mayhem and havoc embedded in the
adversarial expressions of matters athletic. In fact, we can’t get within ​ striking
distance of a big game without ​running or ​ bumping into some ticket ​ scalper who’s
out to ​rip us off and get away with ​ murder.​ Once inside the stadium or arena, we
witness two teams trying to ​battle,​​ beat,​​clobber​, ​
crush,​​dominate,​​ maul,​​
rout, ​
slaughter,​ ​steamroll,​ ​thrash​, ​
throttle,​ ​
wallop,​ ​
whip​, ​wipe out​, ​
kick the pants
off​, ​
make mince-meat out of, ​stick it to,​ and ​
wreak havoc on each other with ​ battle
plans that include ​suicide squeezes,​ ​ grand slams​, ​ blitzes,​ ​
shotgun offenses,​ ​aerial
bombs,​ ​ punishing ground attacks,​ and ​ slam dunks​. Naturally both sides hope that
they won’t ​choke​in ​sudden death​overtime.
Fleeing the battlefields of athletics at ​
breakneck s​peed, we seek release from
our violent language by taking in some entertainment. We look to ​ kill some time at
a​dynamite show that’s supposed to be a ​ smash hit ​ blockbuster and a ​ slapstick riot
that we’ll get a ​kick and a ​bang out of. But the whole ​ shootin’ match turns out to be
a​bomb​and a ​dud​, rather than a ​blast​and a ​bash​.
The lead may be a ​knockout and ​ stunning bombshell,​ but she ​ butchers her
lines and her ​clashing outfit ​grates on our nerves. Sure as ​ shootin’​, we’re ​
up and bored to ​death with the sheer ​ torture of it all. We feel like ​tearing our hair
out, ​ eating our heart out, ​gnashing our teeth, ​ snapping at others, and ​ kicking
ourselves. So, all ​bent out of shape,​we go off ​ half-cocked and ​ beat it home feeling
like ​battered​, ​heartbroken nervous ​wrecks​. The situation is ​ explosive.​ We’ve been
through the ​meat grinder,​ and we’re ready to ​ blow our tops and stacks, ​ shoot off
our mouths, ​wring somebody’s neck, ​ knock his block and socks off, and go on the
warpath​. We’ve got a real axe to grind.
Even alcohol and drugs won’t offer any releases from the prison of violence
in which we English speakers are incarcerated. However ​ blitzed​, ​bombed,​
hammered,​ ​plowed,​ ​smashed​, ​stoned,​ or ​ wasted we become, we must eventually
crash​. It’s like using a double-edged ​sword​to ​ cut off​our nose to spite our face.
If language is truly a window to the world and if the words and expressions
we use truly affect the way we think, can we ever really stamp out violence?

Task 6. Read the text. What does Farmer Pluribus suggest in order to
improve and simplify the English language? See how many incorrect plural
forms you can identify. Explain how they are formed and give the correct
variants of the plural forms. Which of them are commonly used nowadays
and which ones have become obsolete?

Foxen in the Henhice

Recently I undertook an extensive study of American dialects, and a friend

told me about a farmer named Eben Pluribus who spoke a most unusual kind of
English. So I went to visit Farmer Pluribus, and here is a transcript of our
“Mr. Pluribus. I hear that you’ve had some trouble on the farm.”
“Well, young fella, times were hard for a spell. Almost every night them
danged foxen were raiding my henhice.”
“Excuse me, sir,” I interjected. “Don’t you mean foxes?”
“Nope, I don’t,” Pluribus replied. “I use oxen to plow my fields, so it’s foxen
that I’m trying to get rid of.”
“I see. But what are henhice?” I asked.
“Easy. One mouse, two mice; one henhouse, two henhice. You must be one
of them city slickers, but surely you know that henhice are what them birds live in
that, when they’re little critters, they utter all them peep.”
“I think I’m beginning to understand you, Mr. Pluribus. But don’t you mean
“Nope, I mean peep. More than one sheep is a flock of sheep, and more than
one peep is a bunch of peep. What do you think I am, one of them old ceet?”
“I haven’t meant to insult you, sir,” I gulped. “But I can’t quite make out
what you’re saying.”
“Then you must be a touch slow in the head,” Farmer Pluribus shot back.
“One foot, two feet; one coot, Iwo ceet. I’m just trying to easify the English
language, so I make all regular plural nouns irregular. Once they’re all irregular,
then it’s just the same like they’re all regular.” “Makes perfect sense to me,” I
mumbled. “Good boy,” said Pluribus, and a gleam came into his eyes. “Now, as I
was trying to explain, them pesky foxen made such a fuss that all the meese and
lynges have gone north.”
“Aha!” I shouted. “You’re talking about those big antlered animals, aren’t
you? One goose, two geese; one moose, a herd of meese. And lynges is truly
elegant – one sphinx, a row of sphinges: one lynx, a litter of lynges.”
“You’re a smart fella, sonny,” smiled Pluribus. “You see, I used to think that
my cose might scare away them foxen, but the cose were too danged busy chasing
“Oh, oh. You’ve lost me again,” I lamented. “What are сosе and rose?”
“Guess you ain’t so smart after all,” Pluribus sneered.
“If those is the plural of that, then cose and rose got to be the plurals of cat
and rat.”
“Sorry that I’m so thick, but I’m really not one of those people who talk
through their hose,” I apologized, picking up Pluribus’s cue. “Could you please tell
me what happened to the foxen in your henhice?”
“I’d be pleased to,” answered Pluribus. “What happened was that my brave
wife, Una, grabbed one of them frying pen and took off after them foxen.”
I wondered for a moment what frying pen were and soon realized that
because the plural of man is men, the plural of pan had to be pen.
“Well,” Pluribus went right on talking, “the missus wasn’t able to catch them
foxen so she went back to the kitchen and began throwing dish and some freshly
made pice at them critters.”
That part of the story stumped me for a time, until I reasoned that a school of
fish is made up of fish and more than one die make a roll of dice so that Una
Pluribus must have grabbed a stack of dishes and pies.

Pluribus never stopped. “Them dish and pice sure scarified them foxen, and
the pests have never come back. In fact, the rest of the village heard about what my
wife did, and they were so proud that they sent the town band out to the farm to
serenade her with tubae, harmonicae, accordia, fives, and dra.”
“Hold up!” I gasped. “Give me a minute to figure out those musical
instruments. The plural of formula is formulae, so the plurals of tuba and
harmonica must be tubae and harmanicae. And the plurals of phenomenon and
criterion are phenomena and criteria, so the plural of accordion must be accordia.”
“You must be one of them genii,” Pluribus exclaimed. “Maybe,” I blushed.
“One cactus, two cacti; one alumnus, an association of alumni. So one genius, a
seminar of genii. But let me get back to those instruments. The plurals of life and
wife are lives and wives, so the plural of fife must be fives. And the plural of
medium is media, so the plural of drum must be dra. Whew! That last one was

“Good boy, sonny. Well, my wife done such a good job of chasing away
them foxen that the town newspaper printed up a story and ran a couple of
photographim of her holding them pen, dish, and pice.”
My brain was now spinning in high gear, so it took me but an instant to
realize that Farmer Pluribus had regularized one of the most exotic plurals in the
English language – seraph, seraphim; so photograph, photographim. I could
imagine all those Pluribi bathing in their bathtubim, as in cherub, cherubim;
bathtub, bathtubim.
“Well,” crowed Pluribus. “I was mighty pleased that ererybody was so nice
to the missus, but that ain’t no surprise since folks in these here parts show a lot of
respect for their methren.”
“Brother, brethren; mother, methren.” I rejoined. “That thought makes me
want to cry. Have you any boxen of Kleenices here?”
“Sure do, young fella. And I’m tickled pink that you’ve caught on to the way
I’ve easified the English language. One index, two indices and one appendix, two
appendices. So one Kleenex, two Kleenices. Makes things simpler, don’t it?”
I was so grateful to Farmer Pluribus for having taught mе his unique dialect
that I took him out to one of them local cafeteriae. I reported my findings to the
American dialect Society by calling from one of the telephone beeth in the place.
Yep, you’ve got it. One tooth, two teeth. One telephone booth, two
telephone beeth. Makes things simpler, don’t it?

A Confluence of Cultures 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the following words.

Lane, advent, dispossess, pillage, desecration, encounter, prudence, emulate,

uproot, heinous, fоrge, fashion, ploy, influx, wantonness, witting, superabundant,
defraud, shorthanded, minuscule, requisite, inadvertently, exempt, exonerate,
contravene, incite, set foot, set sail, oblivion.

2. Make sure you pronounce these words correctly. If necessary, look up their
pronunciation in a dictionary.

Arsenal, mosaic, triracial, genocide, uniqueness, monochromatic, empathy,

geopolitical, infamous, missionary, apocalypse, bureaucracy, empire, sovereignty,
machinations, scrupulous, mercantilism, evangelical.

3. Build adjectives from the following words. Use the patterns suggested.

Columbus less
effort al
line ian
prejudice ous
continue ive
universe ial

4. Choose the appropriate prefix to build words with negative meaning (​ir-,
dis-, in-, il-, un-)​.

possess advertently location

reparable legitimate interestedness
interested witting invited

5. Match the words on the left with the words on the right to build up

far abundant
short holders
super flung
back gotten
free handed
ill room
hard booting
free nosed
fork wrights
ship tongued
assembly men

6. Match the words on the left with the words on the right to make up word
combinations. Explain their meaning in English and provide an appropriate
context for their usage.

beyond the moral pale

set sail
testify foot
stand on one’s hands
sit in sore need of
set as if from the plague
draw on one’s behalf
run a moral bead

7. The text suggests that “all language is loaded with value judgments”. For
example, the influx of white people into Indian America can be called
colonization, imperialism, settlement, emigration ​or invasion. And the
participants of this process can be referred to as ​ imperialists, conquistadors,
trespassers, killers or ​Europeans, whites, colonists, strangers, settlers. ​Which of
these words bear a negative meaning, which are neutral or positive? Does the
use of such words give us any idea of a person’s attitude to the subject matter?

II​.​Discussing the text 

1. Read the text.

A Confluence of Cultures
Contemporary American society is the direct descendant of the
colonists – and slaves – who sailed in Columbus’s wake.
By James Axtell

We might well call America a Columbian mosaic because it was the Italian
admiral who effectively bound together all of the world’s continents with the
shipping lanes of one continuous ocean sea. When Columbus bumped into
America en route to Asia after a maritime apprenticeship in Europe and Africa, he
made it likely – indeed, inevitable – that the peoples of the world’s insular
continents would no longer live in splendid isolation. Although he never set foot
on the North American continent, he was personally responsible for introducing
Europeans to America and Americans – albeit in chains – to Europe. It was left to
Nicolas de Ovando, his successor as governor of the Indies, to introduce African
slaves to the western hemisphere in 1502, just as Columbus set sail on his fourth
and final voyage. The paternity of triracial America is not in doubt; the only
question is, How did the new American mosaic that had taken shape by 1790 come
One short answer is that Columbus and his European successors found a
“virgin” paradise of innocence and harmony and proceeded to rape the land, kill
the natives, and pillage Africa to replace the American victims of the “genocide”.
There is, of course, some truth to that, but not enough to be morally useful or
historically honest. If we can take our itchy fingers off the trigger of moral outrage
for a spell, we might be able to view the human phase of what is being called the
Columbian Encounter less as an excuse for passing judgment than as a vehicle for
For we stand in sore need of some critical distance from the irreparable
problems of the past. We might well cultivate a little disinterestedness toward both
the failing and successes of our predecessors in hopes of taking courage and
counsels of prudence from their struggles and solutions. Since their
circumstances – their field of experiences, opportunities, and limitations – are
never the same as ours, we cannot draw universal laws from their actions, good or
ill. We can only try to emulate their good example and to avoid their worst
mistakes by paying close attention to the historical circumstances in which they
acted, by recognizing that their time is not our time and that we must be equally
alert to the complexity and uniqueness of our own circumstances as we strive to
thread a moral path through the present. Perhaps then we can see that the American
social mosaic of the 1990s is the lineal descendant of the 1790s, and that, although
we cannot change the facts of history, we can, through a critical and disinterested
examination of their causes, suggest a few ways to improve the personal and group
relations Americans continue to fashion in their modern mosaic.
A test of moral mettle and patience arises as soon as one begins to discuss
the influx of Europeans or white people into monochromatic Indian America. On
the simplest level, what do we call the process and the participants? Since all
language is loaded with value judgments, it makes quite a difference whether we
refer to the process as colonization, imperialism, settlement, emigration, or
invasion. By the same token, were the newcomers imperialists, conquistadors,
invaders, trespassers, and killers, or were they, on balance, only Europeans, whites,
colonists, strangers, and settlers? It has been one of the cardinal rules of the
historical canon – one I see no reason to lay aside – that the parties of the past
deserve equal treatment from historians, equal respect and empathy but also equal
criticism and justice. As judge, jury, prosecutor, and counsel for the defense of
people who can no longer testify on their own behalf, the historian cannot be any
less than impartial in his or her judicial review of the past. For that reason, I
suggest, we should avoid language that is inflammatory or prejudicial to any
historical person or party.
How, then, did the face of America become so blanched when only 300
years earlier it had been uniformly brown? The short answer is that Europeans
emigrated in great numbers to the Americas and, when they got there, reproduced
themselves with unprecedented success. But a somewhat fuller explanation must
take account of regional and national variations.
The first immigrants, of course, were Spanish, not merely the infamous
conquistadors, whose bloody feats greatly belied their small numbers, but Catholic
priests and missionaries, paper-pushing clerks and officials who manned the
far-flung bureaucracy of empire, and ordinary settlers: peasants, artisans,
merchants, and not a few hidalgos, or minor noblemen. In the 16th century perhaps
240,000 Spaniards entered American ports. They were joined by 450,000 in the
next century. The great majority were young men; only in the late 16th century did
the proportion of women reach one-third. This meant that many men had to marry,
or at least cohabit with, Indian women, which in turn gave rise to a large mestizo
or mixed population.
In sharp contrast to the moderately large number of Spanish immigrants
were the French in Canada, which Voltaire dismissed as “a few acres of snow”. In
a century and a half, Mother France sent only 15,000 emigrants to the Laurentian
colony, the majority of them against their will. Only 500 paid their own way, many
of them were merchants eager to crash in on the fur and import trade. the rest were
reluctant engages (indentured servants), soldiers, convicts, and filles du roi or
“King’s girls”, sent to supply the colony’s superabundant, and lonely bachelors
with wives. Not until 1710 were the Canadian genders balanced. But even in the
17th century, Canadians married young and produced often, doubling the
population at least every 30 years. Fortunately for their Indian hosts and English
neighbors, this high rate of natural increase was wasted on a minuscule base
The biggest source of white faces in North America was Great Britain. In the
17th century she sent more than 150,000 of their sons and daughters to the
mainland colonies and at least 350,000 more in the next century. In 1690, white
people numbered around 194,000; a hundred years later they teemed at more than
three million.
Yet numbers alone do not allow us to draw a moral bead on the early
American story. We must know not only how many Europeans immigrated to – or
invaded – Indian America but why.
For many but by no means all settlers of New England, religion played a key
role in their decision to uproot their families and move to America. But religious
motives did not always guarantee the health, sovereignty, or well-being of the
American natives. New England missionaries not only reduced the native
land-base by resettling the Indians in smaller, anglicized “praying towns”, but
inadvertently increased the natives’ risk of contagious disease. In other words,
good intentions alone are not sufficient to exempt historical actors from criticism,
and history, unlike the law, has no statute of limitations.
Other motives are equally hard to exonerate or condemn wholesale. Can we
blame ordinary European farmers, craftsmen, and merchants for wanting to forge a
better life for their families, even if they wound up on land that once belonged to
America’s native inhabitants? The vast majority of immigrants hardly, if ever, saw
the original owners, much less cheated or forced them from their land. Even male
freeholders seldom knew about the back-room chicanery of their elected
representatives who speculated with ill-gotten Indian lands. Much less could the
voters control the machinations of imperial officials and army officers who
schemed for native property. If we blame ordinary colonists for wanting lower
taxes, less crowding, more land, higher wages, healthier climates, more and better
food, and family harmony, we will have to include most of the human race in the
On the other hand, immigrants were not only drawn to America but pushed
out of Europe. Many shipped out because they were trying to run away from
something. We may have little sympathy for those who chose to evade their civil
responsibilities and the law, but what about the scrupulous avoiders of sin and
immorality, who ran from drinking, gambling, and wantonness as if from plague?
If we want to take a hard-nosed stance on the spoiling, illegitimate, or
immoral character of white immigration, we would do better to focus on those who
came solely to hijack America’s wealth to Europe, often with the health, witting or
unwitting, of its native owners and trustees, or those who carried war and
destruction to Indian country, directly or indirectly in pursuit of European
geopolitical objectives. Obviously it is easier to pillory the designers, and to some
extent the agents, of military and economic imperialism than it is the immigrants
who carried no conscious intent to defraud, harm, or dispossess anyone.
Oppressive Spanish mine owners, freebooting pirates, absentee owners of West
Indian sugar plantations, and fork-tongued traders who swindled Indians of their
furs and skins with watered rum and false measures undoubtedly deserve our
censure, mostly because they contravened the moral standards of their own day.
At the same time, we should recognize that to condemn every aggressive
military, religious, or economic action in the past is to question some of the
fundaments of Western society, past and present. If everything associated with
mercantilism, capitalism, evangelical religion, and armed force is beyond the moral
pale, we may find it difficult, if not impossible, to approach America’s past – or
the histories of most of the world’s cultures – with the requisite empathy,
understanding, and disinterestedness.
Another topic that requires an abundance of all three qualities but allows
ample room for moral judgment is slavery. Nineteen percent of the population of
the newly founded United states was black, the result of a legal, culturally
sanctioned, but heinous trade in African slaves. The slave trade was already
ancient by the time America was brought into the European orbit in 1492. But the
discovery of gold, the development of sugar plantations, and the founding of cities

in Spanish and Portuguese America created a vast new market for the human
chattels brought from the African interior by rival African kings, merchants and
war chiefs.
Before independence, the Spanish alone transported 1.5 million blacks to
their colonies, perhaps 200,000 before 1650. In the Caribbean the blacks replaced
Indian laborers who had died in massive numbers from oppression, dislocation,
and imported diseases. By the 17th century, the native populations of Mexico and
coastal Peru were also seriously depleted, so black slaves were substituted as
panners of gold, cutters of sugar cane, sailors, shipwrights, and particularly
domestic servants in urban households. They did their work so well that by the
18th century the majority of these blacks were free, especially the women and
children of the cities who were often liberated when their owner died.
In Canada the French preferred Indian slaves from the eastern Plains and
Great Lakes. In 125 years they imported only 1,132 Africans (fewer than 10 a
year), mostly as household servants in Quebec and Montreal. In contrast, French
Louisiana between 1719 and 1735 imported some 7,000 Africans. Yet in 1735 only
3,400 remained to be counted. The same loss of life must have occurred during the
next 50 years: more than 20,000 slaves arrived, but the black population in 1785
was only 16,500. Even the importation of slaves could not keep pace with
Louisiana’s morbid climate and the physical demands of plantation labor.
The English demand for black labor grew much more slowly than did the
Spanish, largely because the supply of indentured servants from the British Isles
was adequate until the late 17th century. After 1720, demand for acculturated west
Indian slaves outstripped the supply, and 80 per cent of the slaves for English
plantations came directly from Africa. Although the condition of perpetual
bondage was never easy, life on English farms and plantations – for economic
more than humanitarian reasons – was tolerable enough to allow the black
population to increase naturally as well as by constant infusions of new Africans.
Despite the uninvited presence of some four million Europeans and
Africans, it could be argued – and was – that America in 1790 had plenty of elbow
room for natives and strangers. Even if the natives had been at full, pre-Columbian
strength, some said, a slight change in their economy would have freed up enough
land for all the newcomers without any noticeable pinch. By giving up the wild,
nomadic life of the hunter for the taming, sedentary life of the farmer, the Indians
(by which was meant male Indians) would require only a fraction of their former
lands. And if for some perverse reason they did not like the sound of foreign
neighbors, they could always move west, beyond the Mississippi River where the
white man would never think of moving.
But of course the natives were not at full strength in 1790, and their room for
maneuvering was greatly circumscribed by nearly 300 years of cultural crowding
and numerical decline. In the South, where they were at their strongest, they had
suffered a 72 per cent drop in population since 1685, while the white settlers had
multiplied 21 times and the blacks nearly 18.
Contemporaries who wishfully asserted that eastern America was big
enough for everyone assumed that the natives were primarily hunters who chased
wild game over the whole map. Although native men did have to range far and
wide to provide the fish and meat that made up 25 to 50 per cent of their diet, in
fact the Indians in the huge area claimed by the kings of England subsisted
primarily on vegetables – corn, beans, and squash – cultivated by women in the
most fertile soils available. Among these three-season fields they lived in
semipermanent towns and villages ranging from several hundred to a couple of
thousand inhabitants. The advent of European farmers in search of those same
fields put them on a predestined collision course with the Indians. The issue that
was to be decided over the next three centuries was whether an intrusive group of
farmers (and land speculators) would replace an ingenuous group of farmers. How
this was in fact done varied from colony to colony. But in general the English (and
their reluctant black helpers) prevailed by out-producing the natives and causing
their precipitous decline as independent people.
The Indians could not reproduce themselves because their mortality rates far
outstripped their birthrates. The single greatest cause of native deaths was
epidemic diseases imported from Europe without malice. European afflictions such
as smallpox, typhus, diphtheria, measles, mumps, and whooping cough – many of
the childhood diseases – turned into adult killers because the natives had acquired
no immunities to them.
The second major cause of the Indian apocalypse was war and the
dislocation, starvation, and exposure that accompanied it. In every so-called
“Indian” war in colonial America, the warring Indians invariably reacted to
European provocations, usurpations, or desecrations, arrogations much more
specific and serious than mere trespassing on Indian soil. Because they were
quickly outnumbered by the prolific and technologically superior newcomers,
warring tribes or confederacies had to have their backs to the wall or their stoical
patience exhausted before they would risk armed conflict.
In every English colony, native people found themselves regarded as
environmental impediments to colonial “improvement”, not unlike awkwardly
placed swamps or indiscriminating wolves. If the crowding of the English did not
kill them through war or contagion, the colonists developed an arsenal of tactics to
wrest the land from them or to dispirit them enough to move “voluntarily”. One
way was to incite “civil” war between rival tribes and to reward one side for
producing Indian slaves, who were then sold to the West Indies, often for black
slaves. Another was to play on the reasonable native regard for European trade
goods, particularly cloth, metal tools, guns and alcohol. By extending credit, the
English traders got the Indians into deep debt, which could not be settled without
selling land or hunting the local fur-bearing fauna to oblivion.
But there was an even more effortless ploy: English farmers simply released
their corn-loving cattle and swine into the natives’ unfenced fields. The Indian plea

on this score to the Maryland legislature in 1666 speaks eloquently for the plight of
most coastal Algonquians in the 17th century. “Your Hogs and Cattle injure Us,

You come too near Us to live and drive Us from place to place”, the Algonquian
chief complained matter-of-factly. “We can fly no farther; let us know where to
live and how to be secured for the future from the Hogs and Cattle”. But the
assemblymen, like their successors in the national congress of 1790, sat on their
hands as Indian America was slowly but inexorably transmuted into a lopsided
mosaic – predominantly white and significantly black, with only a fading margin
and a few shrinking islands of native brown.

2. How many parts can the text be divided into? Define the subject matter of
each part. According to what principle are these parts arranged? Pay special
attention to the introductory and concluding parts and explain whether they
are proportionally arranged and why the author has chosen this particular
way of beginning and ending his essay.

3. Make up a detailed plan of the text and ask your group-mates two questions
based on each part of the text.

4. Comment on the meaning and functions of the following emphatic

constructions. What idea is emphasized in each case?

1. We might well call America a Columbian mosaic because ​ it was the Italian
admiral ​who e​ffectively bound together all of the world’s continents with the
shipping lanes of one continuous ocean set.
2. The great majority were young men; only in the late 16th century ​ did t​he
proportion of women ​reach​one-third.

5. What is the author’s attitude to the influx of white people in America? Does
he give any value judgments or does he try to be impartial? Prove your point
by providing evidence from the text.

6. Role-play the following situation. You are a teacher of history that

participates in a panel discussion dedicated to the ethical principles of treating
historic facts. Decide what opinion you are going to fashion and express your
point, delivering a persuasive speech. You have to stick to a time limit of two
minutes, thus it is advisable to make use of various emphatic constructions
(similar to the ones given in Ex. 4) to highlight the main points of your speech.

III​.​Follow-up activities 
1. (a) You are a historian. Write an article about the history of America’s
population. Try to present the facts in an objective manner. (b) You are a

journalist. Write an article about the history of America’s population. Give your
personal view of the issue.
2. You are a teacher of history. Explain to your students why America’s population
is called a “lopsided mosaic” and how it has been formed.

IV​.​Additional task  
Task 1. Read the following jokes and retell them a) presenting the information
as historic facts; b) presenting the information as your own subjective

The Fate of Discoverers

Christopher Columbus did not know where he was sailing. When he landed
he did not know where he was. When he got back to Spain he did not know where
he had been.

Is it easy to be original?

Soon after Columbus discovered America, he was in company with

Mendoza, the Grand Cardinal of Spain; and, as he was then the hero of the day, it
was natural that the greatest honours were assigned to him.
A shallow courtier present felt indignant that a foreigner was loaded with so
many honours and abruptly asked Columbus whether he thought the Indies would
have never discovered, if he had not had the good fortune to find them.
To this Columbus made no reply, but, taking an egg, invited the company to
make it stand on one end. Everyone attempted it, but in vain.
Then he took the egg, struck it upon the table so as to break the end, and left
it standing on the broken part.
“Everyone might do that,” exclaimed the courtier. “There’s nothing in that.”
“Quite right,” replied Columbus, “but the only difference between me and
everyone is, I did what others might have done.”

How to Plan a Town 
I.​​Vocabulary work  
1. Study the words.

Dispense with, effeminate, muddle, vestige, conceit, ingenious.

2. Make sure you pronounce these words correctly. If necessary, look up their
pronunciation in a dictionary.

Decadent, yogis, conspiracy, hieroglyph, thoroughfare, camouflage, promenade,


3. Think of appropriate contexts to use the following expressions.

Weak and effeminate peoples, to keep up one’s fighting spirit, century-old

practices and tricks, an ingenious compliment, further precautions, to claim
without immodesty, to shatter smb’s morale.

II​.​Discussing the text 

1. Read the text. In the first five paragraphs several sentences contain
mistakes. Spot the mistakes and correct them.

How to Plan a Town

By G. Mikes

Britain, far from being a “decadent democracy” is Spartan country. This is

mainly due because of the British way of building towns, which dispenses with the
reasonable comfort enjoyed by all others weak and effeminate peoples of the
Medieval warriors wore steel breast-plates and leggings not only for defence
but also to keep up their fighting spirit; priests of the Medieval ages tortured their
bodies with hair-shirts; Indian yogis take their daily nap laying on a carpet of nails
to remain fit. The English plan their towns in such a way that these replace the
discomfort of steel breast-plates, hair-shirts and nail-carpets.
On the continent doctors, lawyers, bookmakers – just to mention about a few
examples – are sprinkled all over the city, so you can call on a good or at last
expansive doctor in any district. In England the idea is that it is the address that
makes the man. Doctors in London are crowded in Harley Street, solicitors in
Lincoln’s Inn Fields, second-hand-bookshops in Charing Cross Road, newspaper
offices in Fleet Street, tailors in Savile Row, car-merchants in Great Portland
Street, theatres around Piccadilly Circus, cinemas in Leicester Square, etc. If you
have a chance for replanning London you can greatly improve on this idea. All
greengrocers should be placed in Horsey Lane (№ 6), all butchers in Mile End
(E.1), and all gentlemen’s conveniences in Bloomsbury (W.C.).
Now I should like to give you a little practical advice of great help on how to
build an English town.
You must understand that an English town is a vast conspiracy to mislead
foreigners. You have to use century-old practices and tricks.
1. First of all, never build a street straight. The English love privacy and do
not want to see one end of the street from the other end. Make sudden curves in the
streets and build them S-shaped too; the letters ​ L, T, V, W and ​
O are also becoming
increasingly popular. It would be a fine tribute to the Greeks to build a few ​ Φ and
Θ​-shaped streets; it would be an ingenious compliment to the Russians to favour
the shape of ​Я​, and I am sure the Chinese would be more than flattered to see some
hieroglyph-shaped thoroughfares.
2. Never build the houses of the same street in a straight line. The British
have always been a freedom-loving race and “the freedom to build a muddle” is
one of their most ancient civic rights.
3. Now there are further camouflage possibilities in the numbering of
houses. Primitive continental races put even numbers on one side, odd numbers on
the other, and you always know that small numbers start from the north or west. In
England you have this system too; but you may start numbering your houses at one
end, go up to a certain number on the same side, then continue on the other side,
going back in the opposite direction.
You may leave out some numbers if you are superstitious; and you may
continue the numbering in a side street; you also give the same number to two or
three houses.
But this is far from the end. Many people refuse to have numbers altogether,
and they choose names. It is very pleasant, for instance, to find a street with three
hundred and fifty totally similar bungalows and look for “The Bungalow”. Or to
arrive in a street where all the houses have a charming view of a hill and try to find
“Hill View”. Or search for “Seven Oaks” and find a house with three apple trees.
4. Give a different name to the street whenever it bends; but if the curve is so
sharp that it really makes two different streets, you may keep the same name. On
the other hand, if, owing to neglect, a street has been built a straight line it must be
called by many different names (High Holborn, New Oxford Street, Oxford Street,
Bayswater Road, Notting Hill Gate, Holland Park, and so on).
5. As some cute foreigners would be able to learn their way about even
under such circumstances, some further precautions are necessary. Call streets by
various names: street, road, place, mews, crescent, avenue, rise, lane, way, grove,
park, gardens, alley, arch, path, walk, broadway, promenade, gate, terrace, vale,
view, hill, etc.

Now the further possibilities arise:

a. Gather all sorts of streets and squares of the same name in one
neighbourhood: Belsize Park, Belsize Gardens, Belsize Green, Belsize circus,
Belsize Yard, Belsize Viaduct, Belsize Arcade, Belsize Heath, etc.
b. Place a number of streets of exactly the same name in different districts. If
you have about some twenty Princes Squares and Warwick Avenues in the town,
the muddle – you may claim without immodesty – will be complete.
6. Street names should be painted clearly and distinctly on large boards.
Then hide these boards carefully. Place them too high or too low, in shadow and
darkness, upside down and inside out, or, even better, lock them up in a safe in
your bank, otherwise they may give people some indication about the names of the
7. In order to break down the foreigner’s last vestige of resistance and shatter
his morale, one further trick is advisable: introduce the system of squares – real
squares, I mean – which run into streets like this:

Princes Square Leinster Square

Pri Lei
Pri nce Lei nst
nce s nst er
s Sq er Sq
Squ uar Squ uar
are e are e
Princes Square Leinster Square

With this simple device it is possible to build a street of which the two sides
have different names.
P.S. I have been told that my above-described theory is all wrong and is only
due to my Central European conceit, because the English do not care for the
opinion of the foreigners. In every other country, it has been explained, people just
build streets and towns following their own common sense. England is the only
country of the world where there is a Ministry of Town and Country Planning. This
is the real reason for the muddle.

2. Use the text to answer the following questions.

1. Why does the author compare the British way of planning a town to steel
breast-plates, hair-shirts and nail-carpets?
2. What tips about town and city planning does the author give? Explain how it is
possible to build a street the two sides of which have different names.
3. Is the author’s advice on how to build an English town really “practical”?
4. What is the purpose of such an elaborate way of planning every British town?

3. The story is written in a serious tone. Nevertheless, it produces a humorous

effect. What elements of the story contribute to this effect? In ten sentences,
retell the story. Try to deliver your story in a humorous tone (or a
matter-of-fact way, scientific manner etc.).

4. The British people seem to be proud of the century-old practices and tricks
which they use to mislead the foreigners and are never going to give these
gimmicks up. Do you support this opinion? Give a short answer explaining
your point.

5. In groups of 3–5, role-play the following situation. One of you is the host of
a talk show. Invite your guests to discuss the Belarusian way of town and
country planning.

III. Follow-up activities 

1. You are a foreigner visiting an English town. Complain to your friend about the
British way of building towns.
2. You are a member of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. Suggest
measures to improve the British way of building towns.
3. Write an article for your local magazine entitled “It is the address that makes the

IV​.​Additional tasks 
Task 1. Sort out the two stories and retell them.

A stranger in London / The new hedge clipper

1. The stranger got out and ran up to the policeman.
2. He was about half way round his garden when his neighbour arrived.
3. Then he disappeared into Waterloo station.
4. “Thanks very much,” was the grateful reply.
5. “Would you mind paying my fare, officer?” he said. “I’ve train to catch.”
6. He called a taxi and asked the driver to take him to Waterloo, mentioning that he
had a train to catch at three o’clock.
7. “That’s all right, at least I can now go back to bed and sleep in peace,” he said,
walking back to his own house.
8. One Saturday morning a friend of mine decided to use his new hedge clipper.
9. The policeman told him and the stranger handed him the money.
10. The job was quickly finished and my friend thanked his neighbour for his help.
11. “Can I give you a hand?” the neighbour asked my friend.
12. At half past two the taxi drew up at Waterloo, the driver smiling broadly.
13. “What is the fare from Euston to Waterloo?” he asked the policeman.
14. A stranger arrived in Euston just before midday.
15. For two hours he sat back enjoying the sights of London.

Task 2. Read one sentence of the story at a time and then comment on what
you have read, paying attention to illogical usage of the language.

I have lived in the centre of London for the last ten years and will be moving
to a cottage in a small village next month. When I moved in I was only two years
old so I enjoyed the large garden and fields that surrounded our farm. When I went
to school it became more difficult, as I had to take the underground to the nearest
airport and from there went by tractor. Anyway all that is over now and I am
looking forward to the nice little penthouse flat that will soon be my home.

Task 3. Read the passage and uncover the lies. Explain why you classify these
statements as a lie.

Bungalows for sale

Do you find London too cold in winter and too hot in summer?
If you want to avoid extremes, spend your next holidays in our ideal
bungalows at Tassili, Northern Sahara. The average temperature in Tassili is a
pleasant 28 degrees centigrade.
And only four hours from hot and cold London by air.

Capital Cities 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the following words.

Awe-inspiring, haphazard, tacky, grubby, clogged, bustling, soaring, in-your-face,

to fall prey to, to work one’s magic, to get one’s bearings, exhilarating.

2. Match definitions ​a-h to the adjectives 1-8 on the right. Then decide which
of the adjectives you would use to describe the noun phrases in the box below.

a) rather dirty 1 awe-inspiring

b) full of people who are very busy or 2 haphazard
lively (especially of a place)
c) not organised, not arranged according 3 tacky
to a plan
d) very tall or high in the sky (especially 4 grubby
buildings or trees)
e) so loud, big or noticeable that you just 5 clogged
can’t ignore it
f) cheap and badly made or vulgar 6 bustling
g) giving a feeling of respect and 7 soaring
h) blocked so that nothing can pass 8 in-your-face
through (especially a place)

plastic souvenirs, tree tops, arteries, beauty, advertising campaigns,

children’s hands, approach to work, market, seaside postcards, tower
blocks, waterways, scenery, action movies, old trainers, coastal
resorts, collection of people

3. Look at the verbs below. Match each one with an appropriate phrase from
the list on the right. Use the expressions in contexts of your own.

to make a finger (on smth)

to work prey to (smth)
to get on top of one another
to fall its magic
to live your bearings
to put way for the new

II​.​Discussing the text 
1. The following extracts from guide books describe five of the world’s most
famous cities. Work in small groups. Read the descriptions and decide which
city is being described in each text.

1. There is little point in portraying it as something it is not. Its beauty is not

as awe-inspiring as other cities. It is not even particularly old, and much of what
may have constituted its historical legacy has over the centuries been all too
quickly sacrificed to make way for the new. It is a largely modern city, a product
of the 19th and 20th centuries, and the expanses of its outer dormitory suburbs and
peripheral high-rise apartment jungles are an oppressive introduction for anyone
driving into the city for the first time.
It may lack the historical richness and sophistication of other European
capitals, but it oozes a life and character that, given the opportunity to work its
magic (it doesn’t take long), cannot leave you indifferent. Leaving aside the great
art museums, the splendour of the main square and the Royal Palace, and the
elegance of the city park, the essence of this city is in the life pulsing through its it
streets. In no other European capital will you find the city centre so thronged so
late into the night as here, especially if you go out at weekends. Everyone seems to
stay out late, as though some unwritten law forbade sleeping before dawn. In this
sense it is a city more to be lived than seen.
2. The city is like a history lesson come to life. As you walk among the long
stone palaces or across the Charles Bridge, with the Vltava flowing below and
pointed towers all around, you’ll feel as if history had stopped back in the 18th
century. Goethe called it the prettiest gem in the stone crown of the world. A
millenium earlier in 965 the Arab-Jewish merchant Ibrahim Ibn Jacob described it
as a town of “stone and lime”. For these reasons the city is on the UNESCO World
Heritage list.
Today it is a city of over a million inhabitants, the seat of government and
leading centre of much of the country’s intellectual and cultural life. Unlike other
capitals in this region, which were major battlefields during WW2, it escaped
almost unscathed and after the war, lack of modernisation prevented haphazard
modern development. since 1989, however, the city centre has been swamped by
capitalism as street vendors, cafes and restaurants take over pavements, streets and
parks as they did prior to 1948.
How you feel about the city’s current tourist glut may depend on where
you’re coming from. If you’re arriving from Western Europe it may all seem quite
normal, but if you’ve been elsewhere in for a bit of a shock. as you’re being jostled
by the hawkers and hordes of tourists, you may begin to feel that it has become a
tacky tourist trap, but try to overcome that feeling and enjoy this great European art
centre for all it’s worth.
3. This is a cosmopolitan mixture of the third and First worlds, of chauffeurs
and beggars, of the establishment, the avowedly working class and the avant-garde.
Unlike comparable European cities, much of it looks unplanned and grubby, but
that is part of its appeal. Visiting the city is like being let loose on a giant-sized
Monopoly board clogged with traffic. Even though you probably won’t know
where the hell you are, at least the names will look reassuringly familiar. The city
is so enormous, visitors will need to make maximum use of the underground train
system: unfortunately, this dislocates the city’s geography and makes it hard to get
your bearings.
4. The sheer level of energy is the most striking aspect of this capital city.
It’s true the larger picture can be somewhat depressing – shoebox housing estates
and office blocks traversed by overhead expressways crowded with traffic. But this
is the country’s success story in action. The average suburb hasn’t fallen prey to
supermarket culture though: streets are lined with tiny specialist shops and bustling
restaurant, most of which stay open late into the night. Close to the soaring office
blocks exist pockets of another time – an old wooden house, a kimono shop, a
small inn, an old lady in a traditional dress sweeping the pavement outside her
home with a straw broom. More than anything else, this is a place where the urgent
rhythms of consumer culture collide with the quieter moments that linger from
older traditions. It’s a living city and you’ll never run out of things to explore.
5. They don’t come any bigger than this – king of the hill, top of the heap.
No other city is arrogant enough to dub itself Capital of the World and no other
city could carry it off. It is a densely packed mass of humanity – seven million
people in 309sq miles (800sq km) – and all this living on top of one another makes
the inhabitants a special kind of person. Although it’s hard to put a finger on what
makes it buzz, it’s the city’s hyperactive rush that really draws people here.
In a city that is so much a part of the global subconscious, it’s pretty hard to
pick a few highlights – wherever you go you’ll feel like you’ve been here before.
Bookshops, food, theatre, shopping, people: it doesn’t really matter what you do or
where you go because the city itself is an in-your-face, exhilarating experience.

2. Read the extracts again and point out the facts that helped you decide
which city is being described.

3. Work with a partner and discuss these questions.

1. Which description appeals to you most? Why? Choose two or three phrases
which you find evocative.
2. Have you been to any of these cities? Do the extracts reflect your experiences?
3. Do the extracts make you want to visit any of these cities?

4. Complete these sentences using appropriate phrases from the text. Make
any changes to the phrases that are necessary.

1. No matter how stressed you feel, once you let the beauty on the beach and the
warmth of the sun … on you, you will begin to wind down and relax.
2. The old town is built on the edge of a cliff overlooking the gorge, using up every
bit of spare space. Some houses are even built into the cliff face and people … in a
warren of narrow cobbled streets.
3. The medieval clock tower offers a landmark which is visible wherever you are
in the town, making it very easy … .
4. It is difficult … exactly what makes this grey, industrial town such a popular
tourist destination.
5. It’s very easy … the charm of the market stall holders and people often end up
spending much more than they’d expected to.
6. Far too often historic town centres are carved up and charming old buildings
torn down … .

5. Look at the adverbial phrases below and decide which of them have
negative or limiting meaning.

under no circumstances, quite often, only after a long night, never,

not until he’d finished, seldom, at once, frequently, only then,
usually, only after a long wait, not a word, rarely, even in the summer,
on no account

6. Rewrite the sentences below, starting with the word or words given.

Example​: You will rarely see such a superb example of modern architecture.
Rarely will you see such a superb example of modern architecture.

1. I rarely visit a city more than once, but this place is really special.
2. I had never seen anything so breathtakingly beautiful before.
Never before…
3. You should not go out alone at night under any circumstances.
Under no circumstances…
4. You will only be able to see and feel the heart of this beautiful old town by
wandering down its narrow side streets.
5. You will only begin to understand the special charm of this place after you have
spent an evening there.
Only after you…

6. You can’t really understand exactly how beautiful the view is until you clomb to
the top.
Not until…

7. Speak about your plans for the holidays. Use at least ten expressions from
Ex. 5 and 6.

III​.​Follow-up activities 
1. Describe your home town or a place you know well.
2. You are a tour guide in one of the cities mentioned in the texts (decide which
one). Tell your tourist group about the main attractions of this city.

IV​.​Additional tasks 
Task 1. Read Juliette’s e-mail to her friends and correct her mistakes. There
are at least twenty mistakes.

From: Juliette <​juliette@kanga.com​>

Subject: Australia
Attachments: Picture of Sydney Harbour
Dear all,

As I didn’t write for so long, I thought it was time I dropped all you a line
or two from not-so-sunny Australia! The weather has got quite bad here
unfortunately in sydney over the last few days. I think summer is finally over!
Never mind it, it’ll give me the chance to do all the things I’ve been putting off
while I’ve been lying on the beach taking it easy!
Life here is great – I’ve just found a job which is working in a cafe little
and friendly near the harbour. Actually, Lena, it’s the place recommended your
friend. It only is a few hours each week, but the pay is good and there are
working there some great people. the most of them are also travelling round the
world like me. In fact, a few days ago I met someone thinking he met you all in
Vietnam. Do you remember an English guy called Kim? He says it was
somewhere in the mountains – he told me the name, but I can’t remember it.
Anyway, I’m here in Australia for almost a month now. As you know,
Marcella decided to for a while stay in Thailand with Yuichi. They seem totally
in love! He is really nice actually. I’m sure Marcella has told you all about it by
now! Anyway, I was really glad to stop moving after all the buses, trains and
planes I was taking to get here from Bangkok. Well, I say “moving”! Often the
buses would stop in some remote town or village for what was feeling like ours!
Nobody dared get off in case the bus suddenly left without them. At the time I
wished I flew here, but looking bak, it was an experience I suppose!
Consequently, I spent when I first arrived a few days relaxing and wandering
round the city and then I went on a trip along the coast for a couple of weeks
before going to the Blue Mountains for few days. The mountains, which aren’t
that far from Sydney actually, absolutely are incredible – very beautiful and
So, what about you lot? You must e-mail me back and let me know all
the gossip back home. Miguel and Virginia, how’s the new house? And how are
you two, Lena and Stefan? By the way, are you hearing the new “Superhead”
CD yet? If not, you should check out it – it’s brilliant! It was where you first
met at their concert, wasn’t it?
Well, I’ll finish now as I’ve got to go and work at the cafe. I miss you all
lots – if only you are all here with me. Now that I’ve stopped travelling around
for a while, I’ll write more often – I promise! Hope you like the picture! Write
back soon.

Lots of love
Juliette xxxxx

Unit 2 
Modern Lifestyle 
Confessions of a Shopaholic 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the following words.

Beckon, discreet, elated, supercilious, awe-stricken, high-powered, squint, weirdo,

gimmick, outperform, canny, stunned, windfall, twinge, eligible, stutter, poignant,
mesmerized, jostle, denounce, misconstrue.

2. Fill in the appropriate prepositions.

1. He fell … disfavour with his superiors.

2. The local shopkeepers were all trying to rip … the tourists.
3. The prosecuting lawyer tried to catch the witness … by clever questioning.
4. It is obvious that their eyes glaze … at long lists of technical terms.
5. The sight of her just bowled him … .
6. His anger surprised him: he was more keyed … than he had anticipated.
7. There were hundreds of boys and girls milling … on the lawn.
8. The word ‘profession’ is taking … a new meaning.

3. Make up compounds. Use them in the sentences of your own.

head powered
whiz shot
hood head
wind footed
big hunt
high wrenching
awe disposed
high stricken
well flying
air kid
heart wink
wrong fall

4. Insert the words in the sentences below.

beckon, equity, thrust, elated, itemize, supercilious, twinge,

flabbergast, ebb, muffle, curt, flippant, denounce

1. She felt a … of toothache.

2. He smiled … when I described my modest collection.
3. They shared the work of the house with reasonable … .
4. The sound of the bell was … by the curtains.
5. He gave a … answer.
6. They were all … to hear of the victory.
7. I was absolutely … when she told me the price.
8. The minister’s action was … in all the newspapers.
9. I could see her … to me from the other end of the room.
10. A hospital is scarcely the place for such … remarks about death.
11. Let’s … the bill.
12. The actress said she had been perfectly happy until fame was … upon her.
13. His courage slowly … away as he realized how hopeless the situation was.

5. Match the words to make up phrases. Explain their meaning in English.

to summon from the record

to jump at figures
to be ahead a bit of trouble
to be on the cards
to stifle smth coming
to disappear a yawn
to keep tabs into a puddle
to see of the game
to stir up in fright
to strike one’s inner resources
to be good on the dosh

II.​​Discussing the text 

1. Read the following extract from the book.

Confessions of a Shopaholic
By S. Kinsella

“This high-yield, 60-day access account offers tiered, rates of interest on

investments of over £.2,000,” I type onto the screen, copying directly from a press
release in front of me. “Long-term savers may also be interested in a new
stepped-rate bond which requires a minimum of £5,000.”
I type a full stop, take a sip of coffee, and turn to the second page of the
press release.
This is what I do, by the way. I’m a journalist on а financial magazine. I’m
paid to tell other people how to organize their money.
Of course, being a financial journalist is not the career I always wanted. No
one who writes about personal finance ever meant to do it. People tell you they
“fell into” personal finance. They’re lying. What they mean is they couldn’t get a
job writing about anything more interesting. They mean they applied for jobs at
The Times and ​The Express and ​ Marie-Claire and ​Vogue and ​ GQ and all they got
back was “Piss off.”
So they started applying to ​ Metalwork Monthly and ​ Cheesemakers Gazette
and ​ What Investment Plan​? And they were taken on as the crappiest editorial
assistant possible on no money whatsoever and were grateful. And they’ve stayed
on writing about metal, or cheese, or savings, ever since – because that’s all they
know. I myself started on the catchily titled ​ Personal Investment Periodical​, I
learned how to copy out a press release and nod at press conferences and ask
questions that sounded as though I knew what I was talking about. After a year and
a half – believe it or not – I was headhunted to ​Successful Saving.​
Of course, I still know nothing about finance. People at the bus stop know
more about finance than me. Schoolchildren know more than me. I’ve been doing
this job for three years now, and I’m still expecting someone to catch me out.
That afternoon, Philip, the editor, calls my name, and I jump in fright.
“Rebecca?” he says. “A word.” And he beckons me over to his desk. His
voice seems lower all of a sudden, almost conspiratorial, and he’s smiling at me, as
though about to give me a piece of good news. Promotion, I think. It must be. He
read the piece I wrote on international equity securities last week (in which I
likened the hunt for long-term growth to the hunt for the perfect pair of summer
mules) and was bowled over by how exciting I made it all sound. He knows it’s
unfair I earn less than Clare, so he’s going to promote me to her level. Or even
above. And he’s telling me discreetly so Clare won’t get jealous.
A wide smile plasters itself over my face and I get up and walk the three
yards or so to his desk, trying to calm but already planning what I’ll buy with my
raise. I’ll get that swirly coat in Whistles. And some black high-heeled boots from
Pied a Terre. Maybe I’ll go on holiday. And I’ll pay off that blasted VISA bill once
and for all. I feel buoyant with relief. I knew everything would be OK...
“Rebecca?” He’s thrusting a card at me. “I can’t make this press
conference,” he says. “But it could be quite interesting. Will you go? It’s at
Brandon Communications.”
I can feel the elated expression falling off my face like jelly. He’s not
promoting me. I’m not getting a raise. I feel betrayed. Why did he smile at me like
that? He must have known he was lifting my hopes.
“Something wrong?” inquires Philip.
“No,” I mutter. But I can’t bring myself to smile. In front of me, my new
swirly coat and high-heeled boots are disappearing into a puddle, like the Wicked
Witch of the West. No promotion. Just a press conference about... I turn over the
card. About a new unit trust. How could anyone possibly describe that as
There’s just one essential purchase I have to make on the way to the press
conference – and that’s the ​Financial Times.​ The FT is by far the best accessory a
girl can have. Its major advantages are:
1. It’s a nice color.
2. It only costs eighty-five pence.
3. If you walk into a room with it tucked under your arm, people take you
seriously. With an FT under your arm, you can talk about the most frivolous things
in the world, and instead of thinking you’re an airhead, people think you’re a
heavy-weight intellectual who has broader interests, too.
At my interview for ​Successful Saving​, I went in hold-copies of the
Financial Times ​and the ​Investor’s Chronicle – and I didn’t get asked about
finance once. As I remember it, we spent the whole time talking about holiday
villas and gossiping about other editors. So I stop at a newsstand and buy a copy of
the FT. There’s some huge headline about Rutland Bank on the front page, and I’m
thinking maybe I should at least skim it, when I catch my reflection in the window
of Denny and George.
I don’t look bad, I think. I’m wearing my black skirt from French
Connection, and a plain white T-shirt from Knickerbox, and a little angora
cardigan which I got from M&S but looks like it might be Agnes B. And my new
square-toed shoes from Hobbs. Even better, although no one can see them, I know
that underneath I’m wearing my gorgeous new matching knickers and bra with
embroidered yellow rosebuds. They’re the best bit of my entire outfit. In fact, I
almost wish I could be run over so that the world would see them.
It’s a habit of mine, itemizing all the clothes I’m wearing, as though for a
fashion page. I’ve been doing it for years – ever since I used to read ​Just
Seventeen.​ Every issue, they’d stop a girl on the street, take a picture other, and list
all her clothes. “T-Shirt: Chelsea Girl, Jeans: Top Shop, Shoes: borrowed from
friend.” I used to read those lists avidly, and to this day, if I buy something from a
shop that’s a bit uncool, I cut the label out. So that if I’m ever stopped in the street,
I can pretend I don’t know where it’s from.

2. Use the text to answer the following questions.

1. Becky says: “I’m paid to tell other people how to organize their money.” Do you
agree that she gets money for something she can’t do efficiently? Give your
reasons. How do people get into such professions?
2. Do you believe Becky’s professional skills have improved since her first job at
Personal Investment Periodical​? Provide arguments to prove your point.
3. What are Becky’s responsibilities at work? How is she treated by her boss and
4. Why do you think Becky doesn’t get a promotion?
5. Does Becky enjoy what she is doing? What job would suit her more?
6. What ploy does Becky resort to in order to make people take her seriously? Do
you think it works?
7. Is dressing well essential for Becky? Is there a dress code she has to follow?
Compare her dreams and reality as regards shopping at large and clothes in

3. Read the remaining parts of the book and dwell on the following issues.

1. How does Becky behave during press conferences? Can you call her behaviour
business-like? Give your reasons. What is she planning to change in the future?
2. Does Becky manage to produce a favourable impression on high-powered
people and top-notch specialists? What makes people laugh at her in some
3. Comment on the incident with the Websters. Is Becky qualified enough to give
recommendations to Martin and Janice as regards their financial matters? Is Becky
to blame? Could she have seen it coming? Think what you would have said to the
Websters if you were in Becky’s shoes.
4. Why doesn’t Eric Foreman fit Becky’s idea of a high-powered journalist? What
are Becky’s assumptions about him based upon? Who does Eric Foreman call “fat
cats” and why? Does he attend conferences just to stir up a bit of trouble?
5. What tips on writing an article did Eric Foreman give to Becky? Did Becky act
professionally when collecting information for the article? Can adding some
“human interest” to the article be called a lie? Or is it only an exaggeration?
6. How did Becky start her TV career? Was she well-prepared for her first
interview? What made people take Becky as a financial expert during the show?
Did Becky’s participating in the show boost her career? What was the aftermath of
the TV show for Brandon Communications?

4. Becky is in the habit of itemizing clothes (her own and other people’s). How
does she describe/speak about clothes? Compile “Becky’s clothes and fashion

5. Dwell on the notion of ‘dumbing-down effect’. What does it mean? What

TV programmes follow this principle and what does it depend on? Make use
of the following words and expressions: ​
attention span, frustrated, the more
dumbed down the better, tricky questions, to let the figures sink into the
audience’s mind.​

6. Compare Luke’s and Becky’s behaviour during the high-powered debate
and the arguments each of them provides. Whose persuasive strategy and
tactics are more effective and why?

7. Dwell on the role of non-verbal means of communication in the last episode

where Becky is having a business meeting with Luke Brandon. Do you believe
she “overdid” it? Give your reasons.

8. During the TV programme Becky meets several celebrities. Each of them is

peculiar in their own way. Do they behave the way celebrities normally do?
Find evidence in the text to support your point. Prove that celebrities are only
human after all.

9. Compare Becky’s manner of communicating with different people: Luke

and Alicia, Suze, the Websters, Eric Foreman, the hosts and guests of the TV
show. How can you characterize Becky as a communicant? What tips would
you give Becky in order to improve her communicative skills?

10. One of Becky’s communicative failures was that she couldn’t persuade the
Websters she did not fancy Tom. “Life would be a lot easier if conversations
were rewindable and erasable, like videos,” says Becky. How should she have
behaved in order to produce a different impression on Martin, Janice and
Tom himself if their conversations had been “rewound and erased”?

III.​​Follow-up activities
1. How do people choose a career? Make up a list of things that have to be taken
into consideration when you’re thinking over your job prospects.
2. Imagine that you had to take up a career you don’t want. How would you feel?
What would happen if you had to work in a sphere you know nothing about?
3. Work out recommendations for a journalist on writing a good article.
4. What are the ways of making your speech more persuasive? How can you
produce the desired effect on the audience?
5. Role-play a talk show, where the guests hold opposing views (e.g. a shopaholic
vs. an economical person, a financial expert vs. a person that knows nothing about
finance, a representative of a financial company and a client that has been ripped
off by the company etc.).

Shopaholic Abroad 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the following words.

Hit off, measly, lean, overdraft, tangible, haul, batter, line up, pare down, skimp,
dismay, lenient, stock up, to have/develop a good rapport with smb, to get one’s

2. Fill in the gaps with the suitable word from the box. Put the words in the
correct form.

lean, hit off, pare down, lenient, snap, dismay, haul, skimp,
tangle, overdraft, line up, measly, jolt, tangible, batter, teeter

1. That fine thread … easily.

2. My mother-in-law and Tom did not … it … .
3. We felt a series of … as the plane touched down.
4. The lid … shut.
5. He’s been … up before the court on a charge of dangerous driving.
6. She … along in her high-heeled shoes.
7. The ship was … to pieces by the storm.
8. It’s been a … year for business.
9. We must … costs to improve our profitability.
10. … the glasses and I’ll fill them.
11. When you make this dish, don’t … on the cream.
12. We are paying off a large … .
13. They were filled with … by the outcome of the trial.
14. This judge always passes … sentences.
15. He gave me a … little gift.
16. The police need … proof of his guilt before they charge him.

3. Define the following words and phrases in English. Make up sentences with
these words.

To leave smb in the lurch, to have/develop a good rapport with smb, cutting edge,
to have a quick peek, to get one’s bearings.

4. Match the words and their definitions.

stock up – to move down suddenly and swiftly

scuttle – a thick piece or lump of smth which has been
broken or cut off the whole
sidle – to move uncertainly or secretively, as if ready to
turn and go the other way
swoop – to provide oneself with a full store of goods
wodge – to rush with short quick steps

II.​​Discussing the text 

1. Read the following extract from the book.

Shopaholic Abroad
By S. Kinsella

OK, don’t panic. Don’t panic. It’s simply a question of being organized and
staying calm and deciding what exactly I need to take. And then fitting it all neatly
into my suitcase. I mean, just how hard can that be?
I step back from my cluttered bed and close my eyes, half hoping that if I
wish hard enough, my clothes might magically arrange themselves into a series of
neat folded piles. Like in those magazine articles on packing, which tell you how
to go on holiday with one cheap sarong and cleverly turn it into six different
outfits. (Which I always think is a complete con, because, OK, the sarong costs ten
quid, but then they add loads of clothes which cost hundreds, and we’re not
supposed to notice.)
But when I open my eyes again, the clutter is all still there. In fact, there
seems to be even more of it, as if while my eyes were shut, my clothes have been
secretly jumping out of the drawers and running around on my bed. Everywhere I
look, all around my room, there are huge great tangled piles of... well... stuff.
Shoes, boots, T-shirts, magazines... a Body Shop gift basket that was on sale... a
Linguaphone Italian course which I must start... a facial sauna thingy... And, sitting
proudly on my dressing table, a fencing mask and sword which I bought yesterday.
Only forty quid from a charity shop!
I pick up the sword and experimentally give a little lunge towards my
reflection in the mirror. It was a real coincidence, because I’ve been meaning to
take up fencing for ages, ever since I read this article about it in the Daily World.
Did you know that fencers have better legs than any other sports people? Plus if
you’re an expert you can become a stunt double in a film and earn loads of money!
So what I’m planning to do is find some fencing lessons nearby, and get really
good, which I should think I’ll do quite quickly.
And then – this is my secret little plan – when I’ve got my gold badge, or
whatever it is, I’ll write to Catherine Zeta Jones. Because she must need a stunt
double, mustn’t she? And why shouldn’t it be me? In fact she’d probably prefer

someone British. Maybe she’ll phone back and say she always watches my
television appearances on cable, and she’s always wanted to meet me! God, yes.
Wouldn’t that be great? We’ll probably really hit it off, and turn out to have the
same sense of humour and everything. And then I’ll fly out to her luxury home,
and get to meet Michael Douglas and play with the baby. We’ll be all relaxed
together like old friends, and some magazine will do a feature on celebrity best
friends and have us in it, and maybe they’ll even ask me to be...
“Hi Bex!” With a jolt, the happy pictures of me laughing with Michael and
Catherine vanish from my head, and my brain snaps into focus. Suze my flat-mate
is wandering into my room, wearing a pair of ancient paisley pyjamas. “What are
you doing?” she asks curiously.
“Nothing!” I say, hastily putting the fencing sword back. “Just... you know.
Keep fit.”
“Oh right,” she says vaguely. “So – how’s the packing going?” She wanders
over to my mantelpiece, picks up a lipstick and begins to apply it. Suze always
does this in my room – just wanders about picking things up and looking at them
and putting them down again. She says she loves the way you never know what
you might find, like in a junk shop. Which I’m fairly sure she means in a nice way.
“It’s going really well,” I say. “I’m just deciding which suitcase to take.”
“Ooh,” says Suze turning round, her mouth half bright pink. “What about
that little cream one? Or your red holdhall?”
“I thought maybe this one,” I say, hauling my new acid green shell case out
from under the bed. I bought it at the weekend, and it’s absolutely gorgeous.
“Wow!” says Suze, her eyes widening. “Bex! That’s fab! Where did you get
“Fenwicks,” I say, grinning broadly. “Isn’t it amazing?”
“It’s the coolest case I’ve ever seen!” says Suze, running her fingers
admiringly over it. “So... how many suitcases have you got now?” She glances up
at my wardrobe, on which are teetering a brown leather case, a lacquered trunk and
three vanity cases.
“Oh, you know,” I say, shrugging a little defensively. “The normal amount.”
I suppose I have been buying quite a bit of luggage recently. But the thing is,
for ages I didn’t have any, just one battered old canvas bag. Then, a few months
ago I had an incredible revelation in the middle of Harrods, a bit like St Paul on the
road to Mandalay. Luggage. And since then, I’ve been making up for all the lean
Besides which, everyone knows good luggage is an investment.
“I’m just making a cup of tea,” says Suze. “D’you want one?”
“Ooh, yes please!” I say. “And a KitKat?” Suze grins.
“Definitely a KitKat.”
Recently, we had this friend of Suze’s to stay on our sofa – and when he left
he gave us this huge box full of a hundred KitKats. Which is such a great
thank-you present, but it means all we eat, all day long, is KitKats. Still, as Suze
pointed out last night, the quicker we eat them, the quicker they’ll be gone – so in a
way, it’s more healthy just to stuff in as many as possible.

Suze ambles out of the room and I turn to my case. Right. Concentrate.
Packing. This really shouldn’t take long. All I need is a very basic, pared-down
capsule wardrobe for a mini-break in Somerset. I’ve even written out a list, which
should make things nice and simple.
Jeans: two pairs. Easy. Scruffy and not quite so scruffy.
Actually, make that three pairs of jeans. I’ve got to take my new Diesel ones,
they’re just so cool, even if they are a bit tight. I’ll just wear them for a few hours
in the evening or something.
Oh, and my embroidered cutoffs from Oasis, because I haven’t worn them
yet. But they don’t really count because they’re practically shorts. And anyway,
jeans hardly take up any room, do they?
OK, that’s probably enough jeans. I can always add some more if I need to.
T-shirts: selection. So let’s see. Plain white, obviously. Grey, ditto. Black
cropped, black vest (Calvin Klein), other black vest (Warehouse but actually looks
nicer), pink sleeveless, pink sparkly, pink…
I stop, halfway through transferring folded T-shirts into my case. This is
stupid. How am I supposed to predict which T-shirts I'm going to want to wear?
The whole point about T-shirts is you choose them in the morning according to
your mood, like crystals, or aromatherapy oils. Imagine if I woke up in the mood
for my ‘Elvis is Groovy’ T-shirt and I didn’t have it with me?
You know, I think I’ll just take them all. I mean, a few T-shirts aren’t going
to take up much room, are they? I’ll hardly even notice them.
I tip them all into my case and add a couple of cropped bra-tops for luck.
Excellent. This capsule approach is working really well. OK, what’s next?

2. Use the text to answer the following questions.

1. Describe Becky’s room. What can the contents of the room tell us about the
person who lives in it?
2. What are Becky’s plans for the future? What is she planning to take up? Is it
going to work? What plans will be (or will never be) carried out and why?
3. Does Becky buy only the things she needs? Did she really buy that much
luggage because she believed it was a good investment?
4. What tips was Becky following when she was packing? Where did she get them
5. What kind of list did Becky make? Did it help?
6. Is capsule approach working really well with Becky?
3. Read the remaining parts of the book and dwell on the following issues.

1. Does the principle “Buy Only What You Need” work with Becky? Do you think
Becky could do just with one pair of shoes?
2. Becky’s new job on TV pays well. Why is her overdraft higher than it used to
be? What recommendations were given to Becky by her bank manager?
3. How did Becky behave on the walking tour around New York and why? Did she
hit it off with the tour guide and the other tourists in the group?
4. Describe Becky’s visit to the sample sale and its aftermath.
5. Did Becky manage to visit the Guggenheim Museum in the end? Describe her
impressions of visiting the Guggenheim Museum Store.

4. Find evidence in the text proving that Becky is a mad collector and
sometimes behaves like a real weirdo. (a) Think of the arguments you could
use to talk Becky out of buying everything she sees. (b) Help Becky to find an
item she really needs. (c) Explain to Becky how many pairs of shoes a regular
person living in Great Britain/the USA/Belarus needs.

5. Now that you have read the second book of the Shopaholic series, expand
“Becky’s clothes and fashion vocabulary”. Categorize the items, e.g. colours,
articles of clothing and accessories, designs, etc. Working in small groups, see
who can provide a more “emotionally coloured” description of
a bag/dress/pair of shoes.

6. As Becky’s friend Suze points out, the quicker they eat a box of KitKats, the
quicker they’ll be gone – so in a way, it’s more healthy just to stuff in as many
as possible. Does this sound logical? Think of counterarguments to dissuade
Becky from carrying out her plan.

7. Is Becky good at telling lies? Comment on the episode in the gift shop, when
Becky is telling a story about her godson. How could Becky have avoided the
embarrassing situation she was confronted with in the shop?

8. Comment on the episode where Becky is having a conversation with her

bank manager Derek Smeath. Can you call this communication successful on
Becky’s part? Give your reasons.

9. Describe a typical “culture-conscious” tourist. Is Becky a person of the

kind? What is her ridiculous idea of acclimatizing to a new city and customs
and traditions of a foreign country? Explain to Becky how “normal” people
acclimatize themselves in similar cases.

10. Do you agree with Becky that shopping abroad has its advantages? How
many advantages does Becky mention and does she manage to convince you?
Can you think of more items to add to this list?

11. Shop-assistants often use canny gimmicks to make their customers stock
up on things they don’t really need. Are these ploys effective? Recall Becky’s
visit to an avant-guard fashion shop as an example.

III.​​Follow-up activities 
1. You are Becky’s friend. Work out some useful tips for Becky on how to be
2. You are a bank manager. Explain to your client what the key to controlled
shopping is.
3. You are a tour guide. Work out some useful tips for a person who is going to
take part in a walking tour in a foreign town or city.
4. Itemize advantages and disadvantages of shopping at home vs. shopping abroad.
Role-play an argument between a) a British shopaholic and an American
shopaholic; b) a British shopaholic and a Belarusian shopaholic as regards the best
shopping opportunities.
5. Agree or disagree: “You don’t actually need to see a piece of art in flesh to
appreciate it.” Support your point of view.
6. Role-play an argument between a culture conscious person and a shopaholic as
regards the best places to visit in a foreign country.
7. In pairs, role-play the following situation. A shopaholic has made an
appointment with their psychologist. (a) The shopaholic suffers from their
addiction greatly and would like to break themselves of this bad habit. They ask
the psychologist for assistance. (b) The shopaholic will not acknowledge the fact
that something is wrong with them and it takes the psychologist a lot of effort to
persuade the client to discard their bad habit.

Shopaholic Ties the Knot 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the following words.

Fizz, surge, flair, abashed, plaintive, swarm, ingrained, wistful, whip, dote,
squashy, mollified, dither, fluster, surreptitious, hitch, loophole, eventuality,
savour, relish, salvage, sham, envisage, marshal.

2. Match the words and their definitions.

dither – to arrange in good or effective order

ingrained – thoughtful and rather sad
plaintive – to move quickly or suddenly
marshal – to see in the mind as a future possibility
abashed – a sudden powerful forward movement
wistful – soft and easy to press and crush
relish – uncomfortable and ashamed in the presence of others
whip – fixed firmly and deeply
surge – expressing suffering or sorrow
squashy – to behave nervously and uncertainly because one cannot decide
envisage – to be pleased and satisfied with

3. Fill in the words from the active vocabulary list.

1. She has a true … for the theatre.

2. You didn’t put the top back on the soda and now the … has gone out.
3. He bought his angry wife some flowers, but she refused to be … .
4. A technical … prevented the book from coming out on time.
5. She drank the wine slowly, … every drop.
6. There is a … in the tax laws.
7. He … on his youngest son.
8. The agreement was a …; neither side intended to keep to it.
9. The photographers … round her.
10. The shouts of the crowd … the speaker and he forgot what he was going to say.
11. After it was revealed that he’d also stolen from his employers, there was little
he could do to … his battered reputation.
12. We must be prepared for all … .
13. When no one was looking he took a … puff on his cigarette.

4. In what situations would you say the following? Provide your own context
for these utterances. Then find them in the text and check their actual usage.

1. I’ve run a tad over schedule.

2. I can’t be a bridesmaid without a dress, can I?
3. Couldn’t they find anyone else to marry except from their own family?
4. Who’s the bride? You or me?
5. That’s not very weddingy.
6. People call my methods unorthodox.
7. You don’t choose your dress, you meet your dress.
8. Your mother-in-law is in her element.
9. Hats off to you.
II.​​Discussing the text
1. Read the following extract from the book.

Shopaholic Ties the Knot

By S. Kinsella

As I reach the second floor, there’s music coming from the door of our
apartment, and I feel a little fizz of anticipation inside. That’ll be Danny, working
away. He’ll probably have finished by now! My dress will be ready!
Danny Kovitz lives upstairs from us, in his brother’s apartment, and he’s
become one of my best friends since I’ve been living in New York. He’s a
fabulous designer, really talented – but he’s not all that successful yet.
Well, to be honest, he’s not successful at all. Five years after leaving fashion
school, he’s still waiting for his big break to come along. But, like he always says,
making it as a designer is even harder than making it as an actor. If you don’t know
the right people or have an ex-Beatle as a father, you might as well forget it. I feel
so sorry for him, because he really does deserve to succeed. So as soon as Suze
asked me to be her bridesmaid, I asked him to make my dress. The great thing is,
Suze’s wedding is going to be stuffed full of rich, important guests. So hopefully
loads of people will ask me who my dress is by, and then a whole word-of-mouth
buzz will start, and Danny will be made!
I just can’t wait to see what he’s done. All the sketches he’s shown me have
been amazing – and of course, a hand-made dress will have far more workmanship
and detail than you’d get off the peg. Like, the bodice is going to be a boned,
hand-embroidered corset – and Danny suggested putting in a tiny beaded love-knot
using the birthstones of all the bridal party, which is just so original.
My only slight worry – tiny niggle – is the wedding’s in two days’ time, and
I haven’t actually tried it on yet. Or even seen it. This morning I rang his doorbell

to remind him I was leaving for England today, and after he’d eventually staggered
to the door, he promised me he’d have it finished by lunchtime. He told me he
always lets his ideas ferment until the very last minute – then he gets a surge of
adrenalin and inspiration, and works incredibly quickly. It’s just the way he works,
he assured me, and he’s never missed a deadline yet.
I open the door, and call “Hello!” cheerfully. There’s no response, so I push
open the door to our all-purpose living room. The radio is blaring Madonna, the
television is playing MTV, and Danny’s novelty robot dog is trying to walk up the
side of the sofa.
And Danny is slumped over his sewing machine in a cloud of gold silk, fast
“Danny?” I say in dismay. “Hey, wake up!”
With a start, Danny sits up and rubs his thin face. His curly hair is rumpled,
and his pale blue eyes are even more bloodshot than they were when he answered
the door this morning. His skinny frame is clad in an old grey T-shirt and a bony
knee is poking out of his ripped jeans, complete with a scab which he got
rollerblading at the weekend. He looks like a ten-year-old with stubble.
“Becky!” he says blearily. “Hi! What are you doing here?”
“This is my apartment. Remember? You were working down here because
your electricity fused.”
“Oh. Yeah.” He looks around dazedly. “Right.”
“Are you OK?” I peer at him anxiously. “I got some coffee.”
I hand him a cup and he takes a couple of deep gulps. Then his eyes land on
the pile of post in my hand and for the first time, he seems to wake up.
“Hey, is that British Vogue?”
“Er... yes,” I say, putting it down where he can’t reach it. “So – how’s the
dress doing?”
“It’s going great! Totally under control.”
“Can I try it on yet?”
There’s a pause. Danny looks at the mound of gold silk in front of him as
though he’s never seen it before in his life.
“Not yet, no,” he says at last.
“But it will be ready in time?”
“Of course! Absolutely.” He puts his foot down and the sewing machine
starts whirring busily. “You know what?” he says over the noise. “I could really do
with a glass of water.”
“Coming up!”
I hurry into the kitchen, turn on the tap, and wait for the cold to come
through. The plumbing in this building is a little bit eccentric, and we’re always on
at Mrs Watts, the owner, to fix it. But she lives miles away in Florida, and doesn’t
really seem interested. And other than that, the place is completely wonderful. Our
apartment is huge by New York standards, with wooden floors and a fireplace, and
enormous floor-to-ceiling windows.
(Of course, Mum and Dad weren’t at all impressed when they came over.
First they couldn’t understand why we didn’t live in a house. Then they couldn’t
understand why the kitchen was so small. Then they started saying wasn’t it a
shame we didn’t have a garden, and did I know that Tom next door had moved into
a house with a quarter of an acre? Honestly. If you had a quarter of an acre in New
York, someone would just put up ten office blocks on it.)
“OK! So how’s it…” I walk back into the living room and break off. The
sewing machine has stopped, and Danny’s reading my copy of Vogue.
“Danny!” I wail. “What about my dress?”
“Did you see this?” says Danny, jabbing at the page. “Hamish Fargle’s
collection demonstrated his customary flair and wit,” he reads aloud. “Give me a
break! He has zero talent. Zero. You know, he was at school with me. Totally
ripped off one of my ideas.” He looks up at me, eyes narrowed. “Is he stocked at
“Erm... I don’t know,” I lie.
Danny is completely obsessed with being stocked at Barneys. It’s the only
thing he wants in the world. And just because I work there as a personal shopper,
he seems to think I should be able to arrange meetings with the head buyer for him.
In fact, I have arranged meetings with the head buyer for him. The first time,
he arrived a week late for the appointment and she’d gone to Milan. The second
time, he was showing her a jacket and as she tried it on, all the buttons fell off.
Oh God. What was I thinking of, asking him to make my dress?
“Danny, just tell me. Is my dress going to be ready?”
There’s a long pause.
“Does it actually have to be ready for today?” says Danny at last. “Like
literally today?”
“I’m catching a plane in six hours!” My voice rises to a squeak. “I’ve got to
walk down the aisle in less than...” I break off and shake my head. “Look, don’t
worry. I’ll wear something else.”
“Something else?” Danny puts down ​ Vogue and stares at me blankly. “What
do you mean, something else?”
“Are you firing me?” He looks as though I’ve told him our ten-year marriage
is over. “Just because I’ve run a tad over schedule?”
“I’m not firing you! But I mean, I can’t be a bridesmaid without a dress, can
“But what else would you wear?”
“Well...” I twist my fingers awkwardly. “I do have this one little reserve
dress in my wardrobe...”
I can’t tell him I’ve actually got three. And two on hold at Barneys.
“By whom?”
“Er... Donna Karan,” I say guiltily.
“Donna Karan?” His voice cracks with betrayal. “You prefer Donna Karan
to me?”

“Of course not! But I mean, at least it’s there, the seams are actually sewn...”
“Wear my dress.”
“Wear my dress! Please!” He throws himself down on the floor and walks
towards me on his knees. “It’ll be ready. I’ll work all day and all night.”
“We haven’t got all day and all night! We’ve got about... three hours.”
“Then I’ll work all three hours. I’ll do it!”
“You can really make a boned embroidered corset from scratch in three
hours?” I say incredulously.
Danny looks abashed.
“So... um... we may have to rethink the design very slightly.”
“In what way?”
He drums his fingers for a few moments, then looks up. “Do you have a
plain white T-shirt?”
“A T-shirt?” I can’t hide my dismay.
“It’ll be great. I promise.” There’s the sound of a van pulling up outside and
he glances out of the window. “Hey, did you buy another antique?”
An hour later I stare at myself in the mirror. I’m wearing a full sweeping
skirt made of gold silk – topped by my white T-shirt, which is now completely
unrecognizable. Danny’s ripped off the sleeves, sewn on sequins, gathered hems,
created lines where there were none – and basically turned it into the most fantastic
top I’ve ever seen.
“I love it.” I beam at Danny. “I love it! I’ll be the coolest bridesmaid in the
“It’s pretty good, isn’t it?” Danny gives a casual shrug, but I can see he’s
pleased with himself.
I take another gulp of my cocktail, draining the glass. “Delicious. Shall we
have another one?”
“What was in that?”
“Erm...” I squint vaguely at the bottles lined up on the cocktail cabinet. “I’m
not sure.”
It took a while to get the cocktail cabinet up the stairs and into our
apartment. To be honest, it’s a bit bigger than I remembered, and I’m not sure it’ll
fit into that little alcove behind the sofa, where I’d planned to put it. But still, it
looks fantastic! It’s standing proudly in the middle of the room, and we’ve already
put it to good use. As soon as it arrived, Danny went upstairs and raided his brother
Randall’s drinks cupboard, and I got all the booze I could find in the kitchen.
We’ve had a Margarita each and a Gimlet, and my invention called the
Bloomwood, which consists of vodka, orange and M&Ms, which you scoop out
with a spoon.
“Give me the top again. I want to pull in that shoulder tighter.”
I peel off the top, hand it to him, and reach for my jumper, not bothering
about trying to be modest. I mean, this is Danny. He threads a needle and starts
expertly gathering along the hem of the T-shirt. “So, these weird cousin-marrying
friends of yours,” he says. “What’s that about?”

“They’re not weird!” I hesitate for a moment. “Well, OK, Tarquin is a tiny
bit weird. But Suze isn’t at all weird. She’s my best friend!” Danny raises an
“So – couldn’t they find anyone else to marry except from their own family?
Was it like, “OK, Mom’s taken... my sister, too fat... the dog... mm, don’t like the
“Stop it!” I can’t help giggling. “They just suddenly realized they were
meant for each other.”
“Like ​When Harry Met Sally​.” He puts on a film-trailer voice. “They were
friends. They came from the same gene pool.”
“OK.” He relents, and snips off the thread. “So, what about you and Luke?”
“What about us?”
“D’you think you’ll get married?”
“I... I have no idea!” I say, feeling a slight colour coming to my cheeks. “I
can’t say it’s ever crossed my mind.”
Which is completely true.

2. Use the text to answer the following questions.

1. Is Danny Kovitz a successful designer? How can one be “a fabulous designer,

really talented” and “not all that successful” at the same time? Give your reasons.
2. Describe Becky’s flat. Does it come up to British standards?
3. Where does Becky work? Is she satisfied with her present position? Compare it
with the job she used to have.
4. Why isn’t Danny stocked at Barneys? What prevents him from reaching this
5. What dress was Danny planning to make for Becky? What did he make in the
end? Compare the plan and the result, mentioning as many differences as possible.
On what occasion was Becky going to wear the dress?

3. Read the remaining parts of the book and dwell on the following issues.

1. Describe Suze and Tarquin’s wedding ceremony. How did Becky feel during the
ceremony? Why was Suze “doing it all wrong” with the bouquet?
2. Did Becky expect that Luke would propose to her? How did she envisage her
engagement and married life?
3. Compare Becky’s, her parents’ and Elinor’s plans for the wedding and their
ideas about the process of wedding preparations.
4. Why was Becky in two minds about the wedding? Why can’t she tell her parents
that she doesn’t fancy a wedding in Oxshott? On the other hand, why didn’t Becky
tell Elinor and Robyn she was planning to cancel her New York wedding? Imagine
you were in Becky’s shoes. Help her sort out the arguments for and against either
variant of her wedding ceremony.
5. Why does Becky feel like a guest at her New York wedding? Was she elated by
her “second wedding” and everything her parents had prepared for it? Which
wedding did Becky enjoy more? Give your reasons.

4. Consider the issue of choosing a wedding dress. One option for Becky was
to wear her mother’s wedding dress. Another option was to buy a posh outfit
from Dream Dress. Yet one more option was to rely on Danny and his flair for
fashion. Dwell on these three alternatives. Which variant did Becky eventually
choose for her wedding and why?

5. Split in two teams and conduct a mini-debate on the topic “A hand-made

dress vs. an off the peg dress – which is better?”

6. Dwell on Robyn’s approach to her job. Prove that having a high-powered

wedding planner is (is not) worth it.

7. Compare the British and American traditions associated with wedding

cakes. Which option would Becky rather go for?

8. Danny claims to be an adherent of “a deconstructive approach to design”.

What does it mean? Is Danny being serious when he speaks about fashion and
design in this way?

9. Comment on the issue of wedding contracts. Why can’t Becky call her
wedding off? What were the terms of her wedding contract? Is there a
loophole in her case? Were the recommendations given to Becky by the
top-notch lawyer Garson Low worth the money he usually charged?

10. What does Suze mean by saying “It’s a bit late for normality”? Can it
really be applied to Becky’s case?

11. Summing up the facts from all the three books of the Shopaholic series,
make a list of useless things Becky has bought (such as the cocktail cabinet, a
fencing mask, a Linguaphone Italian course etc.). Imagine that you work as a
guide in the Museum of Useless Things of the 21st Century, where most of
Becky’s pointless purchases are exhibited. Take a group of tourists around the

III.​​Follow-up activities 
1. Agree or disagree: “You cannot succeed if you don’t know the right people”.
You can refer to Danny’s case or you can speak about Becky, Robyn, Elinor or
2. Work in pairs. Persuade your interlocutor that things shouldn’t be done “by
half-measures”. Choose your part: a. Becky is speaking to Danny about his future
career; b. Robyn is speaking to Becky about her New York wedding ceremony;
c. Elinor is speaking to Becky about her wish to have a wedding ceremony in
3. (a) You are a student taking a cross-cultural studies course. You assignment is to
compare British and American wedding ceremonies and preparations for them in
terms of cultural peculiarities. Deliver the results of your findings to your class in
the form of a report. (b) You are a friend of Becky’s and have attended both of her
wedding ceremonies. Share your impressions of them explaining which variant you
would rather choose if you were in Becky’s shoes.

Unit 3 
The Press 
Do We Have the Press We Deserve? 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the following words.

Salacious, voracious, sibling, delve, ogle, harrowing, hapless, flawed, crass,

besmirch, jeopardize, hallmark, gloat, liaison, freelance, muckraking, discreet,
harass, fraud, lowbrow, prurient.

2. Insert the following words in the sentences below.

hallmark muckraking
gloat discreet
liaison harass
freelance fraud

1. … is a working association or connection.

2. Those gossip columnists really enjoy … .
3. She got a two-year sentence for … .
4. The thief … over the stolen jewels.
5. I feel rather … by all the pressures at the office.
6. She does … translation work for several agencies.
7. It wasn’t very … of you to ring me up at the office.
8. Clear expression is a … of good writing.

3. Match the words and their definitions.

flagging – characterized by excessive self-esteem or exaggerated dignity,

raunchy – exaggeratedly proper
pompous – to top or outmaneuver (a competitor)
catch-all – obscene, lewd, vulgar
recount – to narrate the facts or particulars of
priggish – an impulse
scoop – declining, weakening

impetus – something designed to cover a variety of situations or possibilities

4. Match the adjectives with suitable nouns.

front page
hapless interest
ambitious reporting
voracious readers
indelible dailies
posh press
freelance victim
salacious press
prurient interest
catch-all neighbours
muckraking reporters
gloating photographers
salacious stain
lowbrow law

5. Fill in the blanks with appropriate prepositions.

1. We … readers are partly to blame … the low standards … which we complain.

2. We are spoiled … choice, though … practice people choose the paper that best
reflects personal views.
3. If you can’t affect decisions made … you … high, why worry … them?
4. The question that arises … this theatre … cruelty is why a government that
guards its own privacy so jealously … the Official Secrets Act gives its citizenry
no legal right … privacy.
5. The editor protested that it would prevent him even … publishing that
Mr Browne was … home … bed … a cold.

II.​​Discussing the​​text
1. Look through the title, the subtitle and the introductory paragraph. What
means are used by the author to attract the reader’s attention? Who do you
think will be interested in reading this article up to the end?

2. Read the whole text.

Do we have the press we deserve?

What makes millions of people buy a peepshow masquerading
as a newspaper? Isn’t it time that the reading public took a stand?

By D. Rudnick

The Press Council received a complaint against the ​ News of the World for
running a front page story about ​ Eastenders actor David Scarboro. Although he
had a history of mental illness and was particularly vulnerable, the ​ News of the
World reported that Scarboro had tried to kill himself over a “flagging TV career
and turbulent sex life”. A few months later, he killed himself. David’s father
believed that the lies told by the newspaper were a major contributing factor in his
son’s death.
While we cluck our tongues in disapproval at the way some papers behave,
as a nation we also lake a prurient interest in salacious reporting, whether it is true
or not. Perhaps we as readers are partly to blame for the low standards of which we
complain. The British are voracious readers of newspapers. At the top end of the
market. There are our “quality” newspapers which stand comparison with any in
the world. We are spoiled for choice, though in practice people choose the paper
that best reflects their personal views and tells them what they want to hear.
A wit once remarked that the ​ Times is read by those who govern the country,
The Daily Telegraph by those who used to govern the country, ​ The Guardian by
those who think they should be governing the country, the ​ Financial Times by
those who own the country, the ​ Daily Mail by the wives of those who own and
govern the country, and ​The Sun by those who don’t care who governs the country
as long as she’s got big boobs.
The gulf between the “posh” dailies and their raunchy, down-market siblings
is wide and getting wider, reflecting Britain’s continuing class divisions. The
“quality” papers such as The Independent and the ​ Financial Times delve behind
the headlines, while the tabloids such as ​ The Sun and ​ Daily Mirror​, seem more
determined to provide their readers with entertainment.
What makes millions of people buy a newspaper in which news play such a
minor role? The circulation figures of ​ The Sun and the ​ News of the World tell their
own tale: boobs are big business, and naughtiness – especially in high places
–commands a high sales premium, while life and death issues like nuclear
disarmament are treated cursorily, if they are treated at all.
If the standards of our press are deteriorating, it is because the press barons –
the Murdochs, Maxwells and so on – are in it to make money, and they do so by
giving the punters what they obviously want. So the market rules, OK?
Maybe it was always so: the press barons of yesteryear – the Northcliffes

and Beaverbrooks – were also market oriented, but at least they had some sense of
social responsibility. Perhaps today’s ogling tabloids merely reflect our more avid
lust for the instant fix and looser social mores leading the press downhill rather
than up.
Other countries have their low-brow press, but the British variety is
peculiarly British in its puritan-fed taste for voyeurism, hypocritically peering at
the neighbours from behind the lace curtains. Many women are known to buy ​The
Sun,​ which (for those of you who don’t know) now carries male as well as female
Sex apart, what is news? To millions of people the comings and goings of
Bush and Thatcher and the problems of Gorbachev are boring – and utterly remote
from their immediate preoccupations. If you can’t affect decisions made for you on
high, why worry about them? Why not sit back and enjoy the passing show?
Everyone loves a laugh, and what better than to laugh at the pompous
representatives of authority when they are caught with their dignity around their
ankles? The great British public – just like its counterparts abroad – feels
reassured, even morally vindicated, when its governors are seen to be only human
after all, no better than the rest of us at fighting the temptations of sex, drink or
whatever. But at the bottom of this fairground populism lies a nasty snake. If the
wages of sin are increased circulation, the penalty of exposure can be harrowing,
even tragic, for a hapless victim. The editors of ​ The Observer and ​ The Sunday
Times (Donald Trelford and Andrew Neil) were both recently lampooned because
of their association with Pamella Bordes, a former House of Commons research
assistant. Worse, the brilliant captain of England’s cricket team, Mike Gatting, was
sacked after a barmaid recounted her association with him to ​ The Sun and ​Daily
Mirror.​ Much worse, an obscure but worthy MP, John Golding, was forced out of
office after the News of the World had run lengthy interviews with a prostitute
with whom he had allegedly shared “£100 nights of kinky sex”.
How can it be in the public interest to expose the flawed private lives of
public figures like these, whose ability to do their job was in no way impaired or
reduced by their peccadillos? What a sneer waste of talent!
When a government minister with a sensitive security job (John Profumo in
the early “Sixties”) had a liaison with a call girl who also entertained a Soviet
diplomat, the muckraking press was concerned less with national security than
with the battle to boost circulation and scoop their rivals. The distinction has long
been blurred between stories of salacious interest that titillate the public, and
stories which it is genuinely in the public interest to expose, e.g. fraud and
corruption in high places.
News has always had some of the qualities of soap opera – witness the Ted
and Maggie saga. But it is frequently in local papers that one finds the worst
examples of juicy parish pump scandal. How many terrified, apparently
respectable burghers have seen their lives crash around them, as gloating
neighbours tuck into their tabloids to see the vicar exposed as a transvestite and his
wife as a nymphomaniac?
The question that arises from this theatre of cruelty is why a government that
guards its own privacy so jealously through the Official Secrets Act gives its
citizenry no legal right to privacy. Why should we have to read horror stories of
news hounds harassing accident victims or their nearest and dearest, as it is alleged
happened after Lockerbie? Can people in such circumstances not be protected from
the crass insensitivity of some pressmen and their accompanying photographers?
Film stars, TV stars and pop stars, politicians and the royal family – all have
at one time or another suffered the intrusions of ambitious reporters and freelance
photographers peering over the wall in the hope of catching them off-guard
“relaxing”. The rumour of scandal, even when it’s proved to be groundless, leaves
an indelible stain. Mud sticks and reputations can be irretrievably besmirched.
Surely everyone should have the right to reply when they have been wronged by
the press.
A bill to give us this right was recently introduced by the Labour MP Tony
Worthington, but it was then talked out by a Conservative backbench filibuster.
In a bitter debate Mr Worthington said he was aware of the risks of
interfering with press freedom, but the lying of some newspapers was undermining
the freedom of individuals. The Conservative co-sponsor of the bill, Jonathan
Aitken (himself a former journalist), said some tabloids had abandoned journalism
for voyeurism. “The reporter’s profession,” he declared angrily, “has been
infiltrated by rent boys, pimps, bimbos, spurned lovers, prostitutes and perjurers.”
Another Conservative MP, John Browne, tabled a bill to curb press intrusion
into privacy, but he withdrew it after it got a rough ride not so much from
Parliament as from the media. The News of the World’s managing editor, Stuart
Kuttner, protested that it would prevent him even from publishing that Mr Browne
was at home in bed with a cold. He also pointed out that many stories of public
concern had to start in some cases with inquiries into people’s personal lives.
There is some truth in all of this; a badly drafted, catch-all law designed to protect
privacy could indeed throw out the baby with the bath water, if it muzzled the
press by frightening journalists off all forms of investigation. If journalists went in
daily fear of fines or prosecution they would shy away not only from salacious
matter but also from serious issues of definite public concern.
Cynics argue that in reality the government and most Conservative MPs are
reluctant to curb press freedom for fear of offending the newspaper magnates who
tend to support them politically, notably Rupert Murdoch with his ​ Sun,​​
News of the
World,​​ Times​and ​Sunday Times.​
But times are nevertheless changing; the Government is slowly responding
to the demand for curbs on the more outrageous abuses of press freedom. Freedom
is not the same as license, and abuses of press freedom are increasingly seen by
some as jeopardizing freedom itself.
Timothy Renton, Minister of State at the Home Office, has served notice on
newspaper bosses that they have a “year or two in which to clean up their acts” –
though he has not specified what he will do if they fail to comply. Still, the press
has been put on probation. Mr Renton has set up a committee to look into
invasions of privacy, so we await further developments.

Meanwhile there are straws in this wind of change; the ​ Star has broken its
connection with an even more earthy tabloid, the ​ Sunday Sport,​after protests from
its advertisers, and the ​Sun​has appointed an ombudsman.
Last but not least, that venerable institution, the Press Council, has acquired
a discreet but tough new chairman, Louis Blom-Cooper, who means business in his
sanitising of the press. The Council’s function is to hear and adjudicate on
complaints brought by the public against newspapers. Up to now it has been rather
a toothless watchdog but Mr Bloom-Cooper, a legal eagle of destruction, has
instilled a new method of urgency. He has moved quickly to propose the creation
of a new offence under civil law which would protect both an individual’s
reputation and privacy. He wants this offence to include defamation and the
unauthorized disclosure of personal information that would cause annoyance or
embarrassment, unless justified by a genuine public interest. Cheque-book
journalism id not exactly the hallmark of a decent, “caring” society. It is about time
that personal privacy and civilized journalism values were given the force of law.
Most of our press say they would welcome it; only papers whose profits were built
on others’ pain would have anything to fear.
But let’s not be priggish about it: we get the press we deserve just as we get
the government we deserve. For press standards to improve, the impetus must
come from us, to show the press moguls we prefer news to boobs. At present,
though, most of us are giving them the opposite message.

3. Use the text to answer the following questions.

1. Are readers to blame for the low standards of the press?

2. How do the papers people choose reflect their personal views? Give examples
from the text.
3. To what extent can reporters interfere into public figures’ private lives?
4. Is it in the public interest to expose the private lives of public figures?
5. Who is interested in reading about scandalous lives of celebrities in the first
6. Has the government tried to curb press freedom?
7. What is the Press Council and what are its functions?

4. The text is replete with emotionally charged words and phrases. In what
contexts would you use the following words and expressions – ​ voracious
readers, a peepshow masquerading as a newspaper, flagging TV career, prurient
interest in salacious reporting, raunchy, down-market siblings, to scoop the
rivals​? Which of them could sound offensive?

5. Explain how you understand the following idiomatic expressions: ​ to throw
out the baby with the bath water, a toothless watchdog, to get a rough ride.​ In
what contexts can you use them?
6. Read the following opinions, which are taken from different Internet
resources, about the freedom of the press and say whether you personally
support the idea of curbing press intrusion into privacy or not. Give your
reasons. Who (what organization, committee, ministry, newspaper editors
themselves etc.) should be responsible for it?

In the United States, the government may not prevent the publication of a
newspaper, even when there is reason to believe that it is about to reveal
information that will endanger our national security. By the same token, the
government cannot:

● Pass a law that requires newspapers to publish information against their will.
● Impose criminal penalties, or civil damages, on the publication of truthful
information about a matter of public concern or even on the dissemination of
false and damaging information about a public person except in rare
● Impose taxes on the press that it does not levy on other businesses.
● Compel journalists to reveal, in most circumstances, the identities of their
● Prohibit the press from attending judicial proceedings and thereafter
informing the public about them.


Freedom of Expression has always been the basic requirement for the media.
But sometimes the media transgresses its limitations, social ethics, code of conduct
etc. in the name of freedom of expression. That’s why some experts have been
emphasizing on code of conduct for media. Journalists have been opposing the idea
and have suggested “self-regulations”. Self-regulation is an ideal situation, but the
fact is that it may not be effective to regulate the media, particularly in the scenario
of growing competition among the channels for supremacy in the business of


The issue of the freedom of the press is a very controversial one, especially
in the current context. Some aggressive caricatures or publications about people’s
private life have recently created a polemic about the freedom of the press and
many people tend to think that this freedom should be restricted to respect morals
and everyone’s private life.

Few newspaper stories linger in the mind days, weeks, or even years after
being printed. But of the ones that do, most originate in international conflict,
political races, or scandal.
Scandal journalism is big business unto itself. It is profitable titillation
focusing on greed, lust, and all evils that men do, guaranteeing a large and
voracious audience. But this muckraking is not limited to the publications that
loom over grocery-store checkout counters. Yellow journalism and
rumormongering are becoming a part of the mainstream media.
There are at least two major scandal categories: one involving famous
people and one in which the people involved become famous because of the
Any story involving celebrity public figures immediately acquires the stamp
of newsworthiness. People, including journalists, generally assume (perhaps
erroneously) that because famous people are important, the story itself is
important. This effectively hands major media outlets a ready-made reason for
providing the public with every minute detail of the lives of the parties involved.
Of course, what is relevant to one journalist (or reader) can be considered
offensive by another. Are there any guidelines in the newsroom? Not according to
Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post, who wrote in his book ​ Media Circus that
“the plain truth is that there are no rules anymore, no corner of human behavior
into which prying reporters won’t poke.” Salacious tidbits aren’t solely in the
domain of the National Enquirer, he continues. “All of the media, from the prestige
press to the sensationalist rags, have been infected by a tabloid culture that
celebrates sleaze.”


More and more, legal considerations are influencing, if not determining,

day-to-day decisions in the media. Each of the following could represent a major
legal problem:
● a TV news report quoting a police officer about a drunk driver who caused a
fatal accident;
● a mistake that associated the wrong name or home address with criminal
● a record bought at a local store that’s used as background music for a
● a TV drama based on the life of a well-known person publishing
controversial excerpts on a web site from a new novel;
● a TV cameraman who accompanies the police into a home during a drug
● a photo from a web page used in a student newspaper announcing that a
local businessman has contracted AIDS.
Any one of these could launch a costly lawsuit. How costly? Well, the
average cost of just defending yourself from a libel suit (which could result from
the last statement) is about $550,000. If you happen to lose the suit, the settlement
could amount to millions of dollars on top of that.
Although most legal restraints, such as shield laws, laws against defamation,
libel, invasion of privacy, etc., are in the public’s best interest, others are not, such
as when a large corporation threatens a costly lawsuit if a true story about their
wrongdoing is printed or broadcast.


III.​​Follow-up activities 
1. You are participants of a panel discussion on the subject “Do we have the press
we deserve?”. Choose your own part, e.g. chairman of the Press Council, an editor,
a journalist working for a quality paper/tabloid, a famous
politician/actor/sportsman harassed by reporters, a reader etc.
2. Conduct a mini-survey. You are to interview 10 people (chosen according to a
certain principle) to find out about their reading habits. Present the results of your
survey in class.

IV.​​Additional tasks 
Task 1. Match the headings with the articles.

1. Whales have brains more complex than any species, including man
2. Jury disqualify Bay Bea: Britain go into lead
3. Pack up and go!
4. New bid to end hunger strikes
5. Missing links?
6. “What’s this, overtime?”
7. Now U.S. doctors slam civil defense
8. Small talk
9. The slim blue line
10. France rushes industry takeover

a. If half as much energy and enthusiasm were channelled into planning a
holiday wardrobe as in planning the holiday itself much confusion would be
happily avoided.
Packing puts even the most orderly of organisers into a panic. Each summer
our fashion department is flooded with pleas for what to pack for readers who are
accompanying their husbands on business trips to Europe, taking coach journeys

through the Alps or sabbatical to the Far East, and for the lucky few, planning far
away cruises to the tropics.
b. Britain, who finished joint second behind the United States in yesterday’s
third inshore race of the international series, took the team lead in the Admiral’s
cup last night after the International Jury disqualified the American yacht Bay Bea.
c. The French government has overruled its own doubters and decided to act
swiftly to nationalise industries as planned in President Mitterrand’s election
programme – amounting to one fifth of French industry.
A three-stage programme to be unveiled in the national Assembly today by
the Prime minister, Mr Mauroy, is expected to announce the takeover of banks
(including extensive industrial holdings held by banks), armaments and steel in the
d. The government decided last night to send in a representative to the Maze
prison in an attempt to end the IRA hunger strike.
An official from the Northern Ireland office is expected to read out to the
prisoners a statement outlining terms for a solution.
e. They used to be the essential small accessory for the big businessman. But
in the past few years, the price of pocket tape recorders has come down – and
you’re now as likely to find one in a handbag or a trouser pocket as in the hand of a
captain of industry. They are emerging from the business machine world to be used
for shopping lists, interviews, telephone conversations – and even for listening to
f. More young policewomen are joining the fight against crime as growing
numbers of men quit the force.
And if present recruitment trends continue eventually there could be more
women officers than men, police chiefs were told yesterday.
g. They have been hunted to the brink of extinction to make mink food,
margarine, cosmetics, fertilizer, whale steaks and lubricating oil.
There are cheap, plentiful substitutes for all whale products. But the
massacre of the whales continues, led by Norway, Iceland, Spain and Japan. This
year, more than 15,000 of these highly-intelligent marine mammals will suffer
agonizing deaths as they are chased down at sea and blasted with massive
h. Meet people in London with whom you have something in common.
LINKUP offers a fresh approach to making friends in London by linking you with
on going groups of members who share your interests.
LINKUP groups go out together in town and locally for
meals/drinks/films/theatre/music/walks/swimming/Sunday brunches/parties etc.,
escape to the country or just meet at someone’s place for a coffee. Each group is
different, of course, but the atmosphere is always informal and friendly.
i. “If the civil defense budget were in my hands, I would spend all $120
million on morphine,” says one American scientist who has studied the effects of

nuclear war. “Civil defense money is worse than wasted now. It misleads. It may
let people believe they can get away in a nuclear war. They can’t.”

Task 2. Act out the story.

Publican Jailed for Assault

Brian S, aged 38, a publican at M was found guilty at Bristol crown Court
yesterday of assaulting a “gentle tax man” who was removing bar furniture as
payment of an outstanding tax debt.
Mr S was sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for an assault on
Mr David T, aged 42, a tax collector. Mr and Mrs S had both denied causing bodily
harm to Mr T at their public house on June 15.

Unit 4 
Medical Care 
Laugh Your Stress Away 
I.​​Vocabulary work  
1. Study the words.

Recoil, trigger, play up, defuse, foible, maneuver, disinterested, inanimate, the butt
of a joke, stress buster, belly laugh, temporary stress release.

2. Use the following word combinations in contexts of your own.

Temporary stress release, an immediate recoil, inanimate sources of frustration,

disinterested observation, to be caught in a situation, to step back from a situation,
to come as a refreshing shock, to take the edge off the situation.

3. Choose the right definition of the words in bold type.

1. The ​ physiological effects of a good laugh work against stress. Exercise has
psychological benefits as well as ​ physiological​ones.
a) pertaining to emotions c) pertaining to nutrition
b) pertaining to bodily processes d) pertaining to the lifespan of an organism
2. After a slight rise in heart rate and blood pressure during the laugh itself, there’s
an immediate ​recoil​. After he fired the powerful shotgun, the ​ recoil knocked him
a) clicking sound c) increase
b) winding something in loops d) drop or movement backwards
3. Muscles relax and blood pressure sinks below prelaugh levels, and the brain may
release ​endorphins​, the same stress reducers that are triggered by exercise.
Exercising, eating chocolate, and being in love release ​ endorphins​in the body.
a) hormones in the brain that cause c) hormones in the body that causes
hunger feelings of sadness and depression
b) chemicals in the brain that cause d) chemicals in the brain that reduce
drowsiness and confusion pain and produce a sense of well-being
4. Muscles relax and blood pressure sinks below prelaugh levels, and the brain
may release endorphins, the same stress reducers that are ​ triggered by exercise.
The rioting in the city was ​triggered​by the judge’s unfair ruling.
a) activated c) prevented
b) pulled a trigger d) increased or grew larger
5. While our cave-dwelling ancestors were stressed by actual life-threatening
situations like bumping into a woolly ​ mammoth​ , times have changed. Scientists
do not know for sure why the ​mammoth​disappeared.
a) a type of large moth c) extinct type of elephant once
b) animal that looks similar to a human found throughout the northern
being hemisphere
d) rare bird
6. The same kind of ​disinterested observation makes the tale of your disastrous
vacation seem funny – after you get safely home. Referees and umpires must be
disinterested​in who wins the games they officiate at.
a) deeply interested c) knowledgeable
b) uninterested d) impartial or free from bias
7. The ​ continental drift moves faster. During World War II, ​ continental warfare
enveloped nearly all of Europe.
a) of or like a continent, a principal land c) related to travel
mass of the earth d) pertaining to the nations of the
b) pertaining to water or the ocean world
8. This ​ maneuver helps take the edge off the situation, redirects your tension, and
helps you see things as not so impossible after all. I tried to talk the police officer
out of giving me a speeding ticket by being friendly and polite, but the ​ maneuver
a) joke c) excuse
b) strategy d) mistaken idea
9. Making fun of your own ​foibles can save face in an embarrassing situation –
you’ll have people laughing with you, rather than at you. He was a practical joker
and a nonstop talker, but he was so talented that we overlooked these ​ foibles​
a) fatal flaws in one’s character c) minor weaknesses of character
b) careless mistakes d) humiliating experiences
10. ​Inanimate sources of frustration, like computers and copying machines, are
also safe objects of humor. The actor’s performance was so stiff that he seemed
almost ​ inanimate​.
a) unfamiliar c) like a cartoon character
b) lively or spirited d) lacking lifelike qualities

II.​​ Discussing the text 
1. Read the text. What is the topic and the implied main idea of paragraphs 6,
7 and 9?

Laugh Your Stress Away

If fast relief is what you’re after, then laughter really is the best medicine.

By S. Lally

1. Humor is one of the best on-the-spot stress busters around. It’s virtually
impossible to belly laugh and feel bad at the same time. If you’re caught in a
situation you can’t escape or change (a traffic jam, for example), then humor may
be the healthiest form of temporary stress release possible.
2. Even when you can change the situation, humor helps. Research by Alice
M. Isen, Ph.D., a psychologist at Cornell University, in Ithaca, New York, shows
that people who had just watched a short comedy film were better able to find
creative solutions to puzzling problems than people who had either just watched a
film about math or had just exercised. In other studies, Dr. Isen found that shortly
after watching or experiencing comedy, people were able to think more clearly and
were better able to “see” the consequences of a given decision.
3. The physiological effects of a good laugh work against stress. After a
slight rise in heart rate and blood pressure during the laugh itself, there’s an
immediate recoil: Muscles relax and blood pressure sinks below prelaugh levels,
and the brain may release endorphins, the same stress reducers that are triggered by
exercise. A hearty ha-ha-ha also provides a muscle massage for facial muscles, the
diaphragm and the abdomen. Studies show it even temporarily boosts levels of
immunoglobulin A, a virus-fighter found in saliva.
4. While our cave-dwelling ancestors were stressed by actual life-threatening
situations like bumping into a wooly mammoth, times have changed. “Nowadays,
stress is usually not caused by the situation itself, but by how we perceive that
situation,” says Allen Elkin, Ph.D., program director of Manhattan’s Stress
Management and Counseling Centers. Getting a new perspective is what comedy is
all about. Several philosophers and writers have pointed out that comedy and
tragedy are different ways of looking at the same stressful event.
5. Comedy works by stepping back from a situation and playing up its
absurdities. The same kind of disinterested observation makes the tale of your
disastrous vacation seem funny – after you get safely home. For stress busting, the
trick is to find ways to laugh at the situation while it’s happening. Even if you
don’t consider yourself much of a comedian, here are a few simple techniques you
can use:

The Bart Simpson maneuver
6. How would your favourite cartoon character or comedian react to the
situation? “Imagining what would happen can give you a chuckle, making the
situation less annoying. You can even pretend you’re the star of a TV comedy, and
this frustrating episode is tonight’s plot,” says Steve Allen Jr., M.D., an assistant
professor of a family medicine at SUNY Health Science Center, Syracuse (yes,
he’s the son of well-known comedian Steve Allen).
7. In your mind, consciously exaggerate the situation: Blow it completely
out of proportion and into absurdity – into a comedy routine. In that long, long
checkout line, don’t say “This waiting is killing me; I hate this.” Say: “I’ll never
get to the front of this [line]. The woman ahead of me is covered in cobwebs. The
guy in front of her grew a beard standing in line. The cashier must be part snail.
The continental drift moves faster.” This maneuver helps take the edge off the
situation, redirects your tension, and helps you see things as not so impossible after
all. Your running commentary, however, is probably best kept to yourself. If
people stare at you because you seem to be laughing for no reason, pretend you’re
reading the scandal sheets. You don’t have to be a master of one-liners to be funny.
There are gentle forms of humor that can defuse anxiety in a group without making
anyone feel like the butt of a joke.
Pick a safe subject
8. Making fun of your own foibles can save face in an embarrassing situation
– you’ll have people laughing with you, rather than at you. Inanimate sources of
frustration, like computers and copying machines, are also safe objects of humor.
Lay it on the line
9. Sometimes just telling the truth or pointing out the obviuos can get a
laugh. People are accustomed to exaggeration and truth bending (too many TV
commercials, perhaps), so plain speaking can come as a refreshing shock. For
example, after delivering a series of lengthy explanations during a
question-and-answer period, some people have been known to put everyone in
stitches by simply replying to the next question with “Gee, I don’t know.” This
kind of humour is a way of fighting stress by accepting our short-comings, says
Joel Goodman, Ed.D., director of the HUMOR Project in Saratoga Springs, New
Clip a cartoon
10. Keep a file of jokes and cartoons that make you laugh. Paste a few up
where you’re likely to need them – at work, on the refrigerator, wherever.

2. True or false.

1. The author believes that humor may be the healthiest way to relieve stress.
2. During a good laugh, there is a slight rise in heart rate and blood pressure.
3. After a good laugh, blood pressure returns to its prelaugh level.
4. Our cave-dwelling ancestors were stressed by life-threatening situations.

5. The trick to stress busting is find ways to laugh at the situation after it has
6. Getting a new perspective is what comedy is all about.

3. Select the best answer.

1. Alice Isen, Ph.D., concluded that after watching or experiencing comedy,

a) felt better temporarily but then became depressed again; b) were able to think
more clearly and see the consequences of a given decision; c) reported no
difference; d) gradually became more relaxed and cheerful.
2. The physiological effects of a good laugh include
a) relaxation of the muscles; b) lowering of blood pressure; c) release of
endorphins; d) all of the above.
3. The Bart Simpson maneuver for reducing stress is to imagine
a) yourself removed from the stressful situation; b) yourself as Bart Simpson;
c) how your favourite cartoon character or comedian would react; d) none of the
4. Ballooning, a technique to reduce stress, consists of
a) seeing yourself attached to a balloon which is floating away from the stressful
situation; b) consciously exaggerating the situation by blowing it out of proportion
into absurdity; c) releasing your tension by inhaling and exhaling deeply;
d) visualizing your stress as a balloon that explodes and disappears.

4. Discuss the following issue: What is the most important overall message the
writer wants the reader to understand about stress?

5. In pairs, role-play the following situation. A patient complains to his

psychologist about being under constant pressure and feeling depressed. The
psychologist advises the patient on the possible ways of fighting stress.

III.​​Follow-up activities  
1. The author of the text says, “Stress is not usually caused by the situation itself,
but by how we perceive the situation.” Suppose that you are to give a presentation
in one of your classes. A few minutes before class, someone spills coffee on you in
the cafeteria. You have a large coffee stain on your shirt, but there is no time to
change before class… Explain at least two ways you could perceive the situation
and how you could apply one or more of the five stress-busting techniques to help
you deal with the situation. Develop one more original technique for stress-busting.
(It must be safe and legal!)

2. You are a psychologist. Deliver a speech at a conference on methods of fighting
with stress.

Bill’s Eyes 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the following words.

Smudge, wet blanket, to put one’s mind to smth, limp, suspense, verify.

2. Choose one of the active words to fill in each gap.

1. The children waited in … to hear the end of the story.

2. Can’t we stay a bit longer? Don’t be such a …!
3. I like these … shoes.
4. The prisoner’s statement … by several witnesses.
5. He seems to be developing a … .
6. I like lettuce to be crisp, not … and soggy.
7. The incident is a … on his character.
8. I’m sure you’ll be able to do it if you … it.

3. Study the expressions and use them in contexts of your own.

to be short-sighted/long-sighted to go deaf
to go blind to wear a hearing aid
to wear glasses/contact lenses to be as deaf as a post
to be as blind as a bat to lip-read
to read Braille to use sign language
to be colour blind to be tone deaf (of music)
to visit an oculist to go to an ear specialist
to be hard of hearing

4. Look at the list of words formed from the word sense. Complete the
sentences with an appropriate word from the list or the word ​
sense​, which you
will use three times.

sensible sensitive sensation sensational sensual sensuous senseless

1. What should you say? You’ll just have to use your common … .
2. The news of the scandal caused a … .
3. I’ve always found the buzzing of bees has a very … attraction.
4. I think the … thing to do would be to stop now and get a good night’s sleep.
5. In one … I think you’re right, but not completely.
6. Kleidorf’s defeat of Real Madrid in the European Cup was … .
7. It’s … trying to argue with him; he never listens to a word anybody says.
8. She’s very … on the subject of divorce, so be careful what you say.
9. I felt a … of ‘deja vu’ when I was turned down for the job the second time.
10. The cashier at the bank has incredibly … hands.

5. Complete each sentence with the appropriate phrase.

a sense of homour a sense of duty a sense of power

a sense of fairness a sense of adventure a sense of timing
a sense of discipline a sense of fun a sense of balance

1. Having a little red button not far from his desk must give a President an
enormous … .
2. Without a … you’ll never be able to hit the ball correctly.
3. Some people say that a … is the only thing that makes difficult situations
4. He went ahead and arrested his uncle through a … .
5. One of the major tasks of parents should be to give their children a … .
6. His inborn … led him to the slopes of the Himalayas.
7. At high altitudes one is apt to lose one’s … .
8. His … is so strong, he protests to umpires on behalf of his opponent.
9. Personally, I don’t call putting dead fish in friends’ beds a sign of a healthy … .

II.​​Discussing the text 

1. Read the text. In one part of the text all punctuation has been removed. Can
you put it back? Start a new paragraph when you think it is necessary and
don’t forget part of the text may be a dialogue and will have to be punctuated
as such.

Bill’s Eyes
By W. March

The nurse came into the room where Bill sat and glanced around to assure
herself that everything was in readiness for the doctor. They weren’t used to such
famous men in hospitals of this sort, and she was afraid each time he came to see
Bill that he would ask some question which she could not answer, some technical
thing which she had learned in her probationary days and had promptly forgotten,
such as, “Define lymph, Miss Connors, and state briefly the purpose it serves in the
economy of the body.”
She dragged her forefinger over the table, examined it critically for smudges,
and looked briskly about her for a dustcloth. Since there was none, she lifted her
uniform above her knees and held it away from her body while she wiped the table
clean with her underskirt. She was conscious of the exposure of her thighs, and she
turned her head slowly and looked at Bill. He was a strong, thickset man with a
muscular neck and a chest so solid that it seemed molded from the metals with
which he had once worked. He was, she judged, about twenty-five. The fact that
such a young, full-blooded man could neither see the charms that she exhibited,
nor react to them, because of his blindness, as a man should, excited her, and she
began to talk nervously:
“Well, I guess you’ll be glad to get this over with. I guess you’ll be glad to
know for certain, one way or the other.”
“I know now,” said Bill. “I’m not worrying. There’s no doubt in my mind
now, and there never was.”
“I must say you’ve been a good patient. You haven’t been upset like most of
them are.”
“Why should I worry?” asked Bill. “I got the breaks this time, if ever a man
did. If there ever was a lucky man it’s me, if you know what I mean. I was lucky to
have that big-time doctor operate on me for nothing just because my wife wrote
and asked him to.” He laughed contentedly. “Christ! Christ, but I got the breaks!...
From the way he’s treated me, you’d think I was a millionaire or the President of
the United States or something.”

[That’s a fact said Miss Connors thoughtfully He’s a fine man She noticed
that she still held her uniform above her knees and she dropped it suddenly
smoothing her skirt with her palms What’s he like asked Bill Wait she said You’ve
waited a long time now and if you wait a little longer maybe you’ll be able to see
what he looks like for yourself I’ll be able to see all right when he takes these
bandages off said Bill There’s no question of maybe I’ll be able to see all right
You’re optimistic said the nurse. You’re not downhearted I’ll say that for you Bill
said What have I got to worry about This sort of operation made him famous didn’t
it If he can’t make me see again who can That’s right said the nurse What you say
is true Bill laughed tolerantly at her doubts They bring people to him from all over
the world don’t they You told me that yourself Sister Well what do you think they
do it for For the sea voyage That’s right said the nurse You got me there I don’t
want to be a wet blanket I just said maybe You didn’t have to tell me what a fine
man he is said Bill after a long silence He chuckled reached out and tried to catch
hold of Miss Connors’ hand but she laughed and stepped aside Don’t you think I
knew that myself he continued I knew he was a fine man the minute he came into
the hospital and spoke to me I knew Then he stopped leaned back in his chair and
rubbed the back of one hand with the fingers of the other He had stopped speaking
he felt just in time to prevent his sounding ridiculous There was no point in
explaining to Miss Connors or anybody else just how he felt in his heart about the
doctor or of his gratitude to him There was no sense in talking about those things
Miss Connors went to the table and rearranged the bouquet of asters which Bill’s
wife had brought for him the day before narrowing her eyes and holding her face
away from the flowers critically She stopped all at once and straightened up Listen
she said That’s him now Yes said Bill Miss Connors went to the door and opened
it Well Doctor your patient is all ready and waiting for you She backed away
thinking of the questions that a man of such eminence could ask if he really put his
mind to it I’ll be outside in the corridor she went on If you want me I’ll be waiting]

The doctor came to where Bill sat and looked at him professionally, but he
did not speak at once. He went to the window and drew the dark, heavy curtains.
He was a small, plump man, with a high, domed forehead, whose hands were so
limp, so undecided in their movements that it seemed impossible for them to
perform the delicate operations that they did. His eyes were mild, dark blue and
deeply com-passionate.
“We were just talking about you before you came in,” said Bill. “The nurse
and me, I mean. I was trying to get her to tell me what you look like.”
The doctor pulled up a chair and sat facing his patient “I hope she gave a
good report I hope she wasn’t too hard on me.”
“She didn’t say,” said Bill. “It wasn’t necessary. I know what you look like
without being told.”
“Tell me your idea and I'll tell you how right you are.” He moved to the
table, switched on a light, and twisted the bulb until it was shaded to his
“That’s easy,” said Bill. “You’re a dignified man with snow-white hair, and
I see you about a head taller than any man I ever met. Then you’ve got deep brown
eyes that are kind most of the time but can blaze up and look all the way through a
man if you think he’s got any meanness in him, because meanness is the one thing
you can’t stand, not having any of it in you.”
The doctor touched his mild, compassionate eyes with the tips of his finger.
“You’re a long way off,” he said laughingly. “You’re miles off this time, Bill.” He
switched off the shaded light on the table, adjusted a reflector about his neck, and
turned back to his patient, entirely professional again.
“The room is in complete darkness now,” he said. “Later on, I’ll let the light
in gradually until your eyes get used to it. I generally explain that to my patients so
they won’t be afraid at first.”
“Christ!” said Bill scornfully. “Did you think I didn’t trust you?... Christ I’ve
got too much faith in you to be afraid.” “I’ll take off the bandages now, if you’re
“Okay” said Bill. “I’m not worrying anymore.”
“Suppose you tell me about your accident while I work,” said the doctor
after a pause. “It’ll keep your mind occupied and besides I never did understand
the straight of it.”
“There’s not much to tell,” said Bill. “I’m married and I’ve got three kids,
like my wife told you in her letter, so I knew I had to work hard to keep my job.
They were laying off men at the plant every day, but I said it mustn’t happen to
me. I kept saying to myself that I had to work hard and take chances, being a man
with responsibilities. I kept saying that I mustn’t get laid off, no matter what
“Keep your hands down, Bill,” said the doctor mildly. “Talk as much as you
want to, but keep your hands in your lap.”
“I guess I overdone it,” continued Bill. “I guess I took too many chances
after all... Then that drill broke into about a dozen pieces and blinded me, but I
didn’t know what had happened to me at first. Well, you know the rest, Doc.”
“That was tough,” said the doctor. He sighed soundlessly and shook his
head. “That was tough luck.”
“What I am going to say may sound silly,” said Bill, “but I want to say it
once and get it off my chest, because there’s nothing I’m not willing to do for a
man like you, and I’ve thought about it a lot... Now here’s what I want to say just
one time: If you ever want me for anything, all you got to do is to say the word and
I’ll drop everything and come running, no matter where I am. And when I say
anything, I mean anything, including my life… I just wanted to say it one time.”
“I appreciate that,” said the doctor, “and I know you really mean it.”
“I just wanted to say it,” said Bill.
There was a moment’s silence, and then the doctor spoke cautiously:
“Everything that could be done for a man was done for you, Bill, and there’s no
reason to think the operation was unsuccessful. But sometimes it doesn’t work, no
matter how hard we try.”
“I’m not worrying about that,” said Bill quietly, “because I’ve got faith. I
know, just as sure as I know I’m sitting here, that when you take off the bandages
I’ll be looking into your face.”
“You might be disappointed,” said the doctor slowly. “You’d better take that
possibility into consideration. Don’t get your hopes too high.”
“I was only kidding,” said Bill. “It don’t make any real difference to me
what you look like. I was kidding about what I said.” He laughed again. ”Forget
it,” he said. “Forget it.”
The doctor’s small, delicate hands rested against his knees. He leaned
forward a little and peered into his patient’s face. His eyes had become accustomed
to the darkness, and he could distinguish Bill’s individual features plainly. He
turned on the small, shaded light, shielding it with his palm. He sighed, shook his
head, and rubbed his hands against his forehead with a thoughtful movement.
“Have you got some kids at home, too?” asked Bill. The doctor went to the
window. He pulled gently on the cord, and the thick curtains parted and slid back
soundlessly. “I have three little girls,” he said.
The autumn sunlight came strongly into the room and lay in a bright wedge
across the floor, touching Bill’s hands, his rough, uplifted face, and the wall
“Well, now that’s funny. I’ve got three little boys... Can you beat that?”
“It’s what they call a coincidence,” said the doctor.
He came back to the chair and stood between Bill and the sunlight. “You can
raise your hands now, if you want to,” he said wearily.

Bill lifted his hairy, oil-stained hands and rested them against his temples.
He spoke with surprise. “The bandages are off now, ain’t they, Doc?”
The doctor shook his head and moved to one side, and again the strong
sunlight fell on Bill’s broad, good-natured Slavic face.
“I don’t mind telling you, now that 1 got my eyesight back,” said Bill, “that
I’ve been kidding about not being afraid. I’ve been scared to death most of the
time, Doc, but I guess you knew that too. That’s why I’ve been acting like a kid
today, I guess. It’s the relief of having it over and knowing that I can see again...
You can turn the light on any time you want to. I’m ready.”
The doctor did not answer.
“My old lady was in to see me yesterday,” continued Bill. “She said they’re
holding my job for me at the plant. I said to tell ‘em I’d be there to claim it on
Monday morning. I’ll be glad to get back to work again.”
The doctor was still silent, and Bill, fearing that he had sounded ungrateful,
added quickly: “I’ve had a fine rest these last weeks, and everybody has been
pretty damned good to me, but I want to get back to work now, Doc. I’m a family
man and I’ve got responsibilities. My wife and kids would starve to death without
me there to take care of them, and I can’t afford to waste too much time. You know
how it is with your own work, I guess.”
The doctor went to the door, and spoke gently. “Nurse!.. Nurse you’d better
come in now.”
She entered at once, went to the table, and stood beside the vase of asters.
She looked up after a moment and examined Bill’s face. He seemed entirely
different with the bandages removed, and younger, even, than she had thought. His
eyes were round, incorruptibly innocent, and of an odd shade of clear, child-like
hazel. They softened, somehow, his blunt hands, his massive chin, and his thick,
upstanding hair. They changed his entire face, she thought, and she realized that if
she had not seen them she would never have really understood his character, nor
would she have had the least idea of how he appeared to the people who knew him
before his accident. As she watched him, thinking these things, he smiled again,
pursed his lips, and turned his head in the doctor’s direction.
“What’s the matter with you?” he asked jokingly. “What are you waiting
for?.. You’re not looking for a tin cup and a bundle of pencils to hand me, are
you?” He laughed again. “Come on, Doc,” he said. “Don’t keep me in suspense
this way. You can’t expect me to know what you look like until you turn on the
lights, now can you?”
The doctor did not answer.
Bill threw out his arms and yawned contentedly, moved in his chair, and
almost succeeded in faring the nurse who still stood beside the table. He smiled
and winked humorously at the vacant wall, a yard to the left of where Miss
Connors waited.
The doctor spoke. “I’m about five feet, eight inches tall,” he began in his
hesitant, compassionate voice. “I weigh around a hundred and seventy-five pounds,

so you can imagine how paunchy I’m getting to be. I’ll be fifty-two years old next
spring, and I’m getting bald. I’ve got on a gray suit and tan shoes.” He paused a
moment, as if to verify his next statement. “I’m wearing a blue necktie today,” he
continued, “a dark blue necktie with white dots in it.”

Use the text to answer the following questions.

1. What kind of hospital was it?

2. What was Miss Connors thinking of before the doctor’s visit?
3. What happened to Bill? How did he manage to get such a famous doctor to
operate on him?
4. While waiting for the doctor, Bill and Miss Connors have a conversation. Bill
seems to be sure that he will see again, but Miss Connors has doubts, and at the
same time she admires Bill’s optimism. Find evidence in the text to prove it.
5. Is Bill really that optimistic?
6. Why was it so important for Bill to know what the doctor looked like?
7. Prove that the doctor was a real professional. Describe his actions.
8. Was Bill calm while the doctor was removing the bandages?
9. Did the doctor like Bill’s feeling so optimistic?

3. Bill’s description of the doctor’s appearance does not correspond to the

actual state of things. Give the two portraits of the doctor (the actual one and
as seen by Bill) and compare them. Why are they so different?

4. Explain the final scene of the story. Were you shocked by it or was it quite
predictable? Give your reasons.

III.​​Follow-up activities
1. What ten things would you miss most if you were blind or deaf? In other words,
what are your favourite sights and sounds?
2. What evidence have you heard of people who are deprived of one sense having
unusually developed other senses?
3. Do you believe in a sixth sense? Have you heard of any cases of ESP
(extra-sensory perception)?

IV​.​Additional tasks  
Task 1. Read the text.

Private Medicine is Concerned about the National Health

Private medicine is a part of the national health. A vital part, it contributes a

good deal to the National Health Service. For example, pay beds in NHS hospitals
will give 240 million annually to the financially-stretched National Health Service.
But it’s not just a matter of money. Private medicine preserves everyone’s
right to freedom of choice. Some million people choose to go privately when they
need treatment. The vast majority are ordinary men and women and their families.
They budget for health protection from their earnings through organizations such
as ours. What’s more, over eight people out of every ten (82%) believe in the right
to pay for private medicine.
What’s the Government up to? If it doesn’t make financial sense and the
vast majority don’t want it, why are the Government proposing legislation to phase
out pay beds and control private medicine? And why do they want to introduce it
in advance of the findings of the Royal Commission on Health?
Patients before Politics. A doctor’s loyalty is to his patients. That’s why the
Medical Profession has always shown itself to be completely opposed to any
political suggestion that the patient’s freedom of choice should be tampered with.
Such suggestions are rife today. The issue at stake is not just one of professional
freedom but also of patient freedom.

Task 2. Express your opinion about the following issues.

1. Most people cannot afford to pay for private medicine.

2. If you are a NHS patient, you may have to wait months for a bed in hospital. If
you are a private patient, you get a bed very quickly.
3. Many people complain that doctors give too much time to private patients and
not enough to NHS patients.
4. Doctors are paid by the National Health Service. They earn extra money from
private patients. Look at the advertisement again. Pick out the statements that are
not exactly true and explain why. Is this lying? If so, why? If not, what is it?

The Emergency Ward 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the following words.

Reminiscent, infirmity, ​wheedle, sage, penitent, convivial, vexatious, antidote,

disheveled, aggravate, duped, relentlessly, supplicating, misconstrue.

2. Choose the best definition of the italicized word.

1) ​
reminiscent​of a market place:
a) tending to belong to, b) tending to recall, c) being exactly alike, d) in
contrast to;
2) as if they were ​hawking ​wares:
a) peddling, b) manufacturing, c) comparing, d) arguing over;
3) In the sea of ​mendicants:​Those who
a) have imaginary symptoms of illness, b) need medical attention, c) need
emergency medical attention, d) beg for favours of treatment;
4) every imaginable ​infirmity:​
a) disability, frailty, b) moral weakness, c) personality trait, d) social class;
5) try to ​
a) ask for special favours for, b) persuade by using flattery, c) believe, accept
as true, d) steal, take without permission;
6) The innocent lies next to the ​sage​: A person who is
a) wealthy, b) successful, c) wise, d) evil;
7) the ​
penitent p​atient rubs shoulders with the outraged:
a) lacking in confidence, b) talkative, c) skeptical, doubting, d) feeling
remorse for one’s misdeeds;
8) not always so ​convivial ​a place:
a) sociable, jovial, b) gloomy, grim, c) surprising, astonishing, d) interesting,
9) ​
a) constant, b) dizzying, c) annoying, d) fatiguing;
10) to improve with our ​ministrations​: Acts of
a) serving, b) praying, c) kindness, d) faith;
11) this ​hermetic​world:
a) completely sealed against escape or entry of air, b) insulated, impervious
to outside influence, c) having to do with the occult, magical, d) resembling
a place where one can hide from the world;
12) the ​antidote​to my experiences: Anything that
a) is used contrary to popular opinion, b) answers, responds, c) relieves or
remedies, d) serves as a complement;
13) ​
Disheveled ​and bundled in several layers:
a) shabby, dirty, b) disarranged, untidy, c) disorganized, messy,
d) poverty-stricken;
14) by threatening to ​aggravate​her asthma:
a) irritate, annoy, b) use, exploit, c) make worse, d) arouse interest in;
15) feeling empty and ​duped:​
a) worthless, b) foolish, c) resentful, d) deceived;
16) ​
a) steadily, persistently, b) remarkably, astonishingly, c) rapidly, swiftly,
d) smoothly, fluently;
17) an almost ​supplicating​look:
a) earnest, b) beseeching, c) penetrating, d) provocative;
18) whose face is tan but ​wizened:​
a) wise, b) deeply lined, c) shriveled, d) unblemished;
19) he asks me ​nonchalantly​:
a) skeptically, b) quizzically, c) affectionately, d) casually;
20) to ​
misconstrue​the evidence:
a) misinterpret, b) disregard, c) misplace, d) mismanage.

3. Match the words to make up word combinations from the text.

medieval for an audience

embark on evidence
walk off wares
take fair
clamour in a huff
enduring mark
hawk to the streets
misconstrue one’s new career

II.​​Discussing the text 

1. Read the text.

The Emergency Ward

By S. A. Hoffman

Stephan A. Hoffman attended Harvard Medical School and worked as an

intern in the emergency ward at Massachusetts General Hospital, at large hospital
in Boston. His book, Under the Ether Dome, describes his experiences working
there. In this abstract from his book, Hoffman discusses what it is like to be a
novice intern working in the Emergency Ward.
1. The Emergency Ward of a city hospital often resembles a medieval fair.
The scene is full of pageantry, a state of commotion prevails, and the atmosphere is
reminiscent of a marketplace: people throng in with complaints as if they were
hawking wares. Exposing painful chests or stomachs, or waving injured parts in
the air, they clamour for an audience. Hoping to attract notice, they will bargain
spiritedly, each one entering into an explanation of why his illness, like a piece of
merchandise, is more deserving of attention than the next.
2. In the sea of mendicants and merchants, every imaginable infirmity is
represented. Like items brought in for sale, none is too plain or pitiful, too colorful,
comic, or exotic to encounter. I remember treating an elderly man who developed
chest pain after having been beaten by his children, a young physician with a
cough who turned out to have lung cancer, a woman who complained of a buzzing
sensation in her abdomen and who was thought to be a “crock” until an X ray
revealed that she had a vibrator lodged in her intestine, an attractive young woman
with chest pain dead only minutes after her arrival of a massive myocardial
infarction, and a gentleman who walked in with an urn inverted on his head, telling
us in a reverberating voice that it was the work of a jealous wife.
3. Not only is every imaginable kind of problem on display in an Emergency
ward, but every variety of personality is exhibited. There are evangelists and
troubadours, the self-styled clowns and princes, tragedians and trouble-makers,
even matchmakers. Some people are openly out to profit or to close a deal and will
try to wheedle anything from narcotics to immediate attention to a room with a TV.
One comes to recognize both the practiced historian, who arrives with a prepared
announcement, and the shy one, who fidgets simply in anticipation of having to
speak. The innocent lies next to the sage, and the penitent patient rubs shoulders
with the outraged. There are both the famous and the unrenowned. I can recall
taking care of senators and television personalities as well as of a street nomad
who proudly taught me the distinction between a vagrant and a bum.
4. Unfortunately, an Emergency ward is not always so convivial a place.
When the pulse of action quickens, and survival becomes the sole priority, the
Emergency ward is transformed from a fair to a theater of war. At such times, an
intern’s job is to battle with diseases, and the people who bear them are almost
incidental. Rather than being able to appreciate the human comedy around him, an
intern is bent on minimizing losses, and he is apt to emerge from a day’s work
shell’shocked. If there are calm moments in an Emergency Ward, there are also
hectic ones, which tend to leave a more enduring mark. This is why it is so rare for
any intern to escape his one-month tour of duty without coming down with a case
of combat fatigue. An Emergency Ward is not one but two worlds, which can
switch back and forth with vexatious rapidity like images on a Gestalt screen.
5. Even though I was not assigned to do my first of several rotations in the
Emergency Ward until the fourth month of internship, I had already had some
experience of it. Almost every patient I had admitted to the hospital during my
days on call for the wards, the private service, and the intensive-care unit had made
his or her first stop in “The Pit”, as the Emergency Ward is affectionately known,
and clipboard and black bag in hand, I would descend there to do my workup. I
had also become acquainted with the Emergency Ward in a purely social capacity.
The EW is a way station, a place where house officers stop frequently to trade
stories, ventilate, and unwind. Just as it is the medical hub of the hospital for
patients, the EW is the social center of the hospital for interns and residents, and
like my colleagues I had spent my share of time there.
6. If the thought of managing emergencies intimidated me at the beginning
of the year, I welcomed the chance to experience the world of acute care by the
time my EW rotation drew near. Much as I hated to admit it, I was already weary
of working on the wards. I had spent the first three months of internship on one or
another hospital floor, where in spite of daily discharges and admissions, a sizable
core of patients would remain. Day after day, my colleagues and I looked after
these unfortunate people. When we made our morning rounds, the same faces –
angry, discouraged, pained – turned toward us, serving notice of how little we
could do. It was true: few seemed to improve with our ministrations. Many
suffered from diseases whose courses were affected minimally or not at all by what
we did, and both for them and for us our supposed interventions seemed more like
busywork designed to preserve the illusion that we were doing something than like
truly curative care.
7. Despite my determination to remain optimistic, I found myself growing
discouraged on the wards, and I looked increasingly to the EW for relief from this
hermetic world. Not only would I see a different group of people every day, but
also I would be more likely to bring about major improvements in their lives, even
cures, and I craved this opportunity as if it were the antidote to my experiences so
8. On my first day in the EW, I arrived a little early in order to outfit myself
appropriately. Having studied the attire of a junior resident who had been on duty
there the day before, I copied his example, tying a rubber tourniquet around one
belt loop and fixing a pair of EKG calipers to another. A reflex hammer, I had
learned from watching a neurologist, could be kept conveniently in a buttonhole of
my white coat, and a safety pin, which I would use to test sensation, fit nearly
through one of the coat’s lapels. I studded my pockets with scissors and tape and
tucked in several intravenous catheters where I could still find room. Preparing for
each rotation of the year, as every intern knows, is very much a matter of looking
and becoming one with the part.
9. When 8:00 a.m. arrived and my shift began, I asked the senior resident to
sign me up for the first case of the day. To be free of the constraints of ward care
was a thrill, and I was eager to embark on my new career. Had I been able to, I
would have signed up for every case, and there were times during the month when
I nearly succeeded in doing so. Poised in readiness for any and every emergency
from asthma to heart attack to overdose, I felt like a privileged member of a
repertory company, prepared to perform any of a hundred roles at a moment’s
notice. To do so I needed to command a knowledge not only of how to apply
medications, medical props, and emergency techniques, but also of how to use
words and gestures to their full effect. In any medical arena, but in the Emergency
Ward especially, a doctor is always part actor. Whenever a patient presents to him
for help, he must stage an individualized performance, choosing his words and
timing his expressions with care in the hope of moving his audience toward the
desired dramatic resolution.
10. It is over four years since my debut in the Emergency Ward, but I still
recall exactly how I felt while waiting for my first patient to arrive. As I relive this
sense of anticipation, I imagine myself beginning in the EW all over again.
Standing at the front desk, where interns and residents congregate, I keep a
watchful eye on the door.
11. The first patient to arrive is a middle-aged street dweller. Disheveled,
carrying a Lord & Taylor bag, and bundled in several layers of tattered rags, she
comes in coughing. Looking on while the nurse obtains her temperature and other
vital signs, I entertain a quick differential diagnosis: pneumonia, lung abscess, or
12. When I ask the woman more about her cough, however, she divulges
only that she once lived in France. Meandering over the terrain of her life, she goes
on to tell me about her house (did she say on the Rue de Rivoli?), about a string of
lovers, and about syphilis, which she claimed to have contracted during a balmy
night on a beach in Normandy. Eventually she married, but her husband left her.
She returned to the United States and took to the streets.
13. Casting a quick glance at the vital signs on the nurse’s sheet, I notice that
it is only a cold that has brought her in. Indeed, her throat appears benign and her
lungs are clear. After undoing the cloths that are swathed about her, I find that
there are scars across her belly, and a wave of pity hits me. Following my gaze, she
too glances down and gives me a rueful smile. “C’est la vie, helas, c’est la vie,”
she says, without providing further explanation.
14. Although her chest X ray is clear (it shows no evidence of pneumonia), I
decide to admit her, fully aware that it is strictly a “social admission” designed to
provide her with food, lodging, and a good night’s rest. As expected, the junior
resident whose turn it is to take the case balks at the admission. “You’re weak,
Hoffmann,” he tells me. “She needs to be admitted about as much as I do.”
Prepared for his attack, I counter, “It’s an easy case, Jim. There’s hardly anything
for you to do.” He knows it. She fills one of his beds and couldn’t possibly entail
less work. That’s why, despite complaining, he agrees to admit the woman.
15. When I am through, the senior gives me a quick lesson on how to
evaluate the patient who arrives with shortness of breath, and as we stand together
in the front of the EW reviewing the workgroup, in comes a middle-aged woman
who is wheezing. “It’s Clara again,” the senior says knowingly as the woman is
wheeled to one of the rooms in the rear. “She has asthma and is a regular around
here. You might as well get to know her.”
16. “You’re an intern, aren’t you?” Clara asks as I stride into the room.
“Yes, I am,” I answer, “I’m Dr Hoffmann.” “Well, I don’t want any intern taking
care of me; get me a resident,” she responds curtly. Not wishing to provoke an
argument, I seek out the senior, who patiently but firmly lays down the law. “You
know how the Emergency Ward works, Clara,” he admonishes her. “You’ve been
around long enough to know. You’re assigned to Dr Hoffmann, and if that isn’t
agreeable to you, you may leave.” As he prepares to return to his work, he turns
around and reminds her, “Besides, your new clinic doctor is an intern, so your
argument doesn’t hold steam!”
17. Clara agrees to stay. As I take a brief history, (“Can you tell me when
your breathing became labored? Did anything seem to set it off? Have you been
able to take all your medicines?”) Clara appears impatient and eventually cuts me
off. “Look,” she says irritably, “I just want a shot of epinephrine, an aminophylline
drip – run it in at forty – some Bronkosol to breathe, and my lungs will clear. I
always clear with that.” A little taken aback, I decide not to argue, since her plan of
treatment seems reasonable. “Fair enough,” I say.
18. But then she tells me that she wants a blood gas test, a test that requires
puncturing an artery to measure the oxygen level in the blood. Since there is no
reason for her to undergo the procedure, I am caught entirely off guard. It has
always been the patient who has refused to undergo this sometimes painful and
hazardous but often important test, and I who have had to lobby for it. Now I am
compelled to argue the opposite side, and despite my most persuasive case against
her undergoing the test, she gives me only a begrudging ear. “I want it anyway,”
she says the instant I finish. “I always get a blood gas drawn.”
19. When I make a renewed appeal, however, she grows excited and
increasingly short of breath. This, I realize, is nothing short of blackmail: by
threatening to aggravate her asthma she has literally forced my hand. Reluctantly I
draw the specimen from her radial artery, while she looks on with a triumphant
smile. Having sent off the test, I begin her on medications, and eventually (how
much from medication and how much from my having capitulated to her is
unclear) Clara improves. On her way out she is all smiles, and she informs me that
I am a good physician. The senior resident also tells me that I did well, giving me a
pat on the back. The whole thing leaves me feeling empty and duped.
20. The next patient comes in with jaundice. She is frail and has clearly lost
a good deal of weight. The obvious possibility is a malignancy, and as the thought
goes through my mind, she actually puts the question to me: “Is it cancer?” My
heart sinks. Put on the spot, I try to find an honest but humane reply.
21. In the middle of examining her, I am called away to assist in a code, the
resuscitation of a patient suffering cardiac arrest. The emergency Medical
technicians have just wheeled in an elderly man, age and identity unknown, who
dropped at a nearby Massachusetts Transit Authority station. The senior asks me to
pump on his chest, that is, to continue CPR, and as I do so, one junior resident slips
an endotracheal tube down the man’s throat so that he can be ventilated and
another hurriedly inserts a central line beneath his collarbone so that he can receive
intravenous drugs. The senior asks someone to relieve me, then asks me to draw a
blood gas specimen from an artery in the man’s groin. I have trouble, grow
embarrassed, and begin to sweat, but finally obtain it. I relax, thinking my trials to
be over.
22. Then the senior asks me if I have inserted the pacemaker; the patient’s
heart has failed to generate a beat. “Uh, no, I haven’t,” I reply nervously, unsure of
just what awaits me. I am handed a huge needle and syringe and told to attach the
syringe to the needle. I do this obediently but reluctantly, thinking that I really
shouldn’t be doing this without having had an opportunity to practice first. But I do
not argue. I know that it is part of internship to learn by doing and I know that
some of that learning must be done under duress.
23. Pointing out the anatomic landmarks on the patient’s chest, the resident
instructs me just where to insert the needle. I do as he tells me, advancing the
apparatus through the skin and drawing back on the syringe, so that I will know
when I have entered the heart. I am nervous – my heart is pounding and my hands
are shaking – but the senior talks me calmly through the procedure as if he were a
pilot on the ground coaching an inexperienced passenger on an airplane through an
emergency landing. As I continue to advance the needle slowly, it suddenly fills
with blood, signifying that I have reached the man’s left ventricle. Under the
senior’s guidance, I thread a wire (which connects to a pacemaker) through the
center of the needle, and after experimenting with its placement in the way that the
senior suggests, I hear the junior resident manning the EKG machine shout, “It’s
capturing, you’ve got a complex.” When he asks if anyone can feel a pulse,
someone blurts out, “Yes!” and when he then asks that the blood pressure be taken,
it turns out to be not only obtainable, but high. Everyone smiles and pats each other
on the back, and the mood relaxes.
24. Trembling but exhilarated, I leave the scene, wondering what my next
visitation from a patient will bring, what unexpected twist of plot lies in store for
me with the beginning of a new act. As my first shift in the EW plays itself out, I
begin to appreciate not only how relentlessly forward-moving is the action, but
also how many dramatic turns a day may take, and it strikes me that in the
Emergency Ward an intern has as little control over his reactions to a day’s drama
as over the course of action itself.
25. I return to see the woman with suspended cancer, but just as I am about
to enter her room, the senior asks me if I can evaluate another patient first. Not
only has the code set us back, but the pace has picked up. The senior resident in the
Emergency Ward is like an air-traffic controller who polices the flow of patients in
and out, and who is always juggling many flights simultaneously.
26. The patient I am asked to evaluate his chest pain. When I walked into the
room to shake his hand, he begins to cry. It is three months since he had a heart
attack, he tells me, and he is terrified of a recurrence. His pain today lasted only
moments and was preceded by a heavy lunch, but he is worried nonetheless. “Is
this another heart attack?” he asks me almost in a whisper. Looking at his
electrocardiogram, I tell him that it is too soon to say, but that on the face of things
the strip looks reassuring. The patient tells me that he is so incapacitated by fear
that he has been unable to return to work. “He is a partner in a large firm,” his wife
informs me, with an almost supplicating look.

27. Just as I begin to examine him, the alarm on the heart monitor at the
adjacent stretcher sounds. The patient who occupies the stretcher had also arrived
with chest pain and has now arrested. A code ensues, and the man, who is only
fifty-four years old, dies. Although the curtains were drawn around him throughout
the code, this did not prevent my patient from overhearing all the goings-on. I
return to find him silent but shaking uncontrollably.
28. Next in line is a nearly toothless old Hispanic man who playfully
withholds his reason for coming. The man, whose face is tan but wizened, gives
me a big smile and nods his head up and down. He holds up his medicines and in
broken English explains their each and every wonderful effect. It’s as if he were an
advertisement. I smile, shake my head in disbelief, and ask him what’s bothering
him, but he only grins. My amusement fades as the game continues, and I can’t
discover why the devil he’s here. There are many other patients to see, and the time
pressure has begun to weigh on me. Eventually I seek out the senior. “Remember,
it’s Friday afternoon,” he tells me. “His family has probably dumped him for the
weekend.” I protest, telling him I find it hard to believe. “Do you see any family
members around?” he asks me nonchalantly. Regretfully, I enter the patient’s name
in the admission book, knowing that I will get flak for this one. It makes me mad
that the man’s family would do such a thing.
29. At six o’clock I sit down just long enough to swallow a pack of M&M’s
and make a tally of how many patients I have seen (seven). Although the rest of the
night awaits me, I realize that in spite of being keyed up, I am already beginning to
slow down. “See this guy quickly, would you, Steve?” the senior asks as I am just
about to return to my last patient. “I don’t think there’s anything medical going
on,” he explains, “but look him over briefly just to make sure. Then rocket him out
of here!”
30. The man complains of dizziness and chest pains. As I take a history, he
confides that he is hooked on heroin. He hasn’t been able to get the drug for a day
and begs me for a substitute that he can take. “You’ve gotta understand, Doc, for
the wife and kids…” He breaks down, and I feel sorry for him, but when I explain
that all I can offer is hospitalization at a detox center, he grows angry and abusive.
Before I realize what is happening, he has smashed several IV bottles and
overturned a medical cart. Thanks to a nurse who phoned the security guards,
however, less than a minute later he winds up immobilized in four-point restraints.
The psychiatrists see him and arrange for him to be admitted to a detox center in
the morning. He gets his first dose of methadone.
31. Next, I see an old man with fever and cough who turns out to have
pneumonia. I send off all the routine blood work, draw two blood cultures, obtain a
chest X ray, put in an IV, and do special stains of his sputum and urine, which I
examine under the microscope. Since the man will need an intravenous antibiotic, I
arrange for his admission. The intern who comes down to do the honors listens to
the patient’s chest, thinks he hears a new heart murmur, and complains that I
haven’t drawn six blood cultures to exclude the diagnosis of endocarditis, an
infection of the heart. Although I disagree with his finding and therefore don’t
believe the extra blood cultures are indicated, I go ahead and draw them anyway so
as to avoid argument. When the senior resident finds out what the intern has done,
however, he is infuriated: “What the hell you think you’re doing, tying up my
intern with stupid things like that?” he yells. The intern grows equally enraged, and
the two of them get into a shouting match at the patient’s side. Throughout the
argument the old man looks straight ahead of him, smiling vaguely, trying to
pretend he doesn’t notice.
32. A nurse interrupts the argument to tell me that a young man who is
vomiting blood and has a blood pressure of only 60 has just arrived. I run off to see
him, and although I would have appreciated his help, my senior stays behind, still
absorbed in argument. With the aid of another resident, I place several large
intravenous lines and give the man first a saline infusion, then transfusions of
blood. Using a fiberoptic instrument, we establish that a large duodenal ulcer is the
source of bleeding.
33. Although it takes only an hour and a half from the time of his arrival to
stabilize the patient, it takes us over two additional hours to get him a hospital bed:
my senior resident had tried to “turf ” him to the surgical service in order to spare
the medical house officers another admission, but the surgeons want to see what’s
in it for them. When the senior finally offers to do a consult on one of their patients
(a woman with an acute gall-bladder attack who suffers from other medical
problems that they are having trouble managing), they agree to admit our patient. It
is all a matter of politics.
34. My next patient is a wealthy woman from Florida who flew up
unannounced today. She has had diarrhea off and on for three years and insists on
being admitted. She knows the assistant director of the hospital, she says. As I
begin to explain that she will have to board on the ward service since there are no
more private beds available, her husband’s face grows purple. “The hell she will,”
he shouts. “Wait until I tell my lawyer!” Seeing that I am unmoved (he credits me
with far more control over the admitting office than I have), he adds, “And why the
hell did she have to wait fifteen minutes to be seen?” I explain that much as I
regretted the wait (though I am beginning to wish that they had waited for four or
five hours), such a delay was unfortunately neither avoidable nor unusual. A lady
passed out in the X-ray suite, I tell him, and a woman with airway obstruction had
also occupied our time. “Well, what the hell is that supposed to mean?” the
husband demands. “Don’t you think my wife is important enough?”
35. Angry, but outwardly unruffled, I do a physical exam and draw some
blood tests, determined not to allow my personal feelings to interfere with this
patient’s care. Once again I explain that if the woman wants a private bed she will
have to wait until the following morning, and I encourage her to establish a
relationship with one of the private doctors. After the husband takes down my
name, the two of them walk off in a huff, and when I walk into the lobby several
minutes later to meet the family of another patient, I overhear the husband talking
on a phone: “Can you believe it? It meant nothing to the son of a bitch that we
know the assistant director!” How much does the momentary madness of illness

excuse? I wonder. Although I know them to have been unreasonable, it nonetheless
disturbs me that these people have seen fit to grow angry at me. I take pride in
doing a good job and in making patients happy, and it bothers me that in the eyes
of this couple I succeeded on neither count. What upsets me almost as much is
what they have succeeded in doing: making me angry at them.
36. Still smoldering over this encounter, I learn from the senior that another
patient is waiting to be seen. On my way in the door, I am met by his nurse, who
gives me a wink. Wondering what she means by this, I begin to take a history and
discover that the patient suffers from unremitting eructation, that is, he cannot keep
from burping! The man tells me how it has affected his business, his sleep, and his
sex life. He laughs (nervously), I laugh, but he confides that his marriage is on the
rocks. I try to give him as much of an opportunity to talk as time permits, since a
lady with abdominal pain and a man who passed out in the subway are still waiting
to be seen. I schedule an upper GI series – maybe he has a large hiatus hernia – and
write him a prescription for antacids. He pumps my hand gratefully, and tears
appear in his eyes.
37. And on through the night it continues. I see a young woman who has
overdosed on drugs, several elderly women with heart failure, two men with heart
attacks, a man with decompensated diabetes who comes in in shock, a woman from
a nursing home with a stroke, and a young man with cancer and bone pain so
severe that he couldn’t take it at home any longer. I never do get back to the
woman I suspect has cancer. By the time 9 a.m., the end of my shift, arrives, I feel
as though I have seen a large slice of illness and of life.
38. In the ensuing days and nights on call, I learned far more than the
technical aspects of emergency medicine. I learned a whole approach to the
making of diagnoses, and I acquired an appreciation for how much artistry is
involved. Having been at first unsure of my skills as a diagnostician, I grew to be
overly confident of them midway through the month, only to become humbled
toward the close of my rotation by how easy it was to misconstrue the evidence
before me and wind up wide of the mark. Making diagnoses is fraught with
hazards for the unwary, and I came to think it a wonder that it could be done at all.

2. Choose the best answer. Explain your choice by providing evidence from
the text.

1. Hoffmann describes the Emergency Ward of a city hospital as if it were

a) a circus sideshow; b) a college campus; c) a medieval fair; d) a movie set.
2. According to the author, the Emergency Ward patients
a) are embarrassed about their afflictions and are reticent to discuss them;
b) clamor for an audience and represent their afflictions as if they were
wares for sale; c) are complaining and difficult for physicians to deal with;
d) reflect the violence of urban ghettos.
3. Hoffman admits that the atmosphere of the Emergency Ward is not always
convivial, so that when the action picks up, the physician’s sole priority is
a) to save time, b) to get to the end of the shift, c) to minimize losses and
survive, d) to ask for a transfer to another hospital unit.
4. The Emergency Ward is affectionately known as
a) “The Dump”, b) “The War Zone”, c) “The Hellhole”, d) “The Pit”.
5. Hoffman states that he became discouraged working on the wards for the acutely
ill because he came to realize that
a) despite their efforts, physicians seldom had much effect on their patients’
diseases, b) physicians were not the dedicated professionals he assumed
them to be, c) modern medical science has not advanced as much as the
public thinks, d) the quality of medical care had deteriorated because of
extensive budget cuts.
6. According to Hoffman, on the first day working in the Emergency Ward, he felt
a) despair, b) a sense of anticipation, c) cautious and wary, d) incompetent.
7. One woman, a street dweller, is admitted as a “social admission”, meaning that
a) she has no money to pay, b) she is desperately ill, c) she will be provided
with food and a good night’s rest, d) she will be sent to a detoxification unit.
8. By the time his shift ended at 9:00 a.m., Hoffman states that he had
a) seen a large slice of illness and of life, b) heard every imaginable
complaint and demand, c) misinterpreted medical evidence and wrongly
diagnosed several patients, d) been through a combat zone.

3. On the basis of the evidence from the text, mark these statements as
accurate inferences, inaccurate inferences or insufficient evidence.

1. The Emergency Ward where Hoffman worked catered primarily to poor people
receiving public funds for their medical needs.
2. Despite technological advances, medical science often cannot do much for
people suffering from disease.
3. The hospital discourages “social admissions” because such patients prevent
those who really need medical care from getting a hospital bed.
4. Although Hoffman had never inserted a pacemaker, he had studied the
procedure in medical school.
5. Hoffman occasionally finds it difficult not to allow his personal feelings about a
patient interfere with his professional duties.

4. The author of the text compares the Emergency Ward to a theatre of war, a
medieval fair etc., whereas doctors working in the EW are compared to pilots,
air-traffic controllers etc. Scan the text once again and see how many other
comparisons you can add to this list. Which of them do you think provides the
most accurate description of the EW and its employees?

III.​​Follow-up activities  
1. Agree or disagree: Working on the Emergency Ward of a city hospital is an
exhausting, often frustrating experience.
2. Describe the work of the Emergency Ward from the point of view of
a) a patient, b) a visitor, c) an intern, d) a senior.

IV​.​Additional tasks 
Task 1. Below are the first lines of three jokes. Match them with the other
lines which have been jumbled up.

a. A man goes to see his doctor and says, “Doctor! Doctor! I can’t stop shaking.”
b. A man says to his doctor, “Doctor! Doctor! Will I be able to play the violin after
the operation?”
c. A man speaks frantically into the phone, “Doctor! Doctor! My wife is pregnant
and her contractions are only two minutes apart!”
1. “No, you idiot!” the man shouts. “This is her husband.”
2. And the man replies, “Not really, I spill most of it!”
3. “Great!” the man says. “I never could before!”
4. “Is this her first child?” the doctor asks.
5. The doctor asks him, “Do you drink a lot?”
6. “Yes, of course,” replies the doctor.

Simply Divine 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the following words and use them in contexts of your own.

Pin down, rebuff, apprehensive, petulant, fat chance, pouting, bow to the
inevitable, poke about, lurk, scrape through, plausible.

2. Use the following expressions in contexts of your own.

To rebuff smb’s conviction, to pin down the exact moment, juggling of priorities,
to take zero notice, to feel faintly apprehensive, to feel racked with embarrassment,
to scrape through a test.

3. Match the words to make up word combinations.

doleful editor
stately distinction
social restaurants
minuscule eyes
trendy home
fashion area

4. Think of situations in which it would be appropriate to say the following.

1. What’s bitten you?

2. Our circulation is on the up.
3. I’m just not an outdoor type of girl.
4. So I take it you’re interested.
5. If there’s no beginning to her talents, there’s certainly no end to her demands.
6. You can’t let go of it now.
7. Only if you insist on perceiving it that way.
8. You’re so pretty, and funny, and clever. I just don’t understand why you’re
throwing yourself away on him.


II.​​Discussing the text 
1. Read the required extracts from “Simply Divine” by W. Holden and
consider the questions.

1. What do we learn about Jane, her personality, occupation, relations with Nick?
2. What are Jane’s responsibilities at work? Describe the people she has to work
3. What are editors of glossy magazines like?
4. Did Jane come up to the ​Fabulous​editor’s expectations?
5. What does Jane do to cheer herself up when she’s depressed? Does the gimmick
6. Can we call Champagne D’Vyne a typical celebrity?
7. What attracts the public about Champagne?
8. Do you believe what is printed about Champagne in magazines is actually what
she says to the journalists?
9. Will Champagne get married to one of her celebrity friends?
10. Describe Jane’s friend Tally? Would you expect Jane to have a friend like this?
11. What solutions to Tally’s problem are there?

2. Can we call Champagne and Jane opposites? Prove it. Do you believe such
opposites could “attract”?

3. Comment on the “supermarket flirting code”. What is it? Do you believe

such a code exists?

4. Make a list of words that Champagne confuses and recall the episodes in
which she uses them. Did it lead to embarrassing consequences?

III.​​Follow-up activities 
1. You are a) a celebrity; b) a journalist; c) a biography writer. Give a portrait of a
typical “party girl”.
2. Agree or disagree: Having to deal with celebrities can turn your life into a
3. You are a journalist. Prove that you have to be ahead of the game if you want to
work for a glossy magazine.

Can You Keep a Secret? 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the following words and use them in contexts of your own.

Swoop, fib, scoff, plummet, flicker, spool, deluded, nip out, pang, tizz, deadpan,

2. Match the words to make up word combinations.

a jolt out of sight

to regain the situation
a flicker of alarm
riveted in apprehension
to duck back expression
linchpin one’s composure
to stiffen of the organization
to recap of annoyance

3. Insert the words from Ex. 1. Choose their appropriate form.

1. She … at my poem.
2. A smile … across her face.
3. He … about his age.
4.​​She used three … of thread in one week.
5.​​Fraudulent ads … consumers into sending in money.
6. ​It is important to recognize jealousy and to … it in the bud before it gets out of
7. I felt a … in my heart as I greeted him.
8.​​The children … down on the pile of presents.
9.​​Reduced spending is the … of their economic programme.
10.​​The rock … to the bottom of the cliff.
11.​​She told the joke … .
12.​​I got myself in a … this morning because the car wouldn’t start and I was late.

II.​​Discussing the text 
1. Read the required extracts from the book “Can You Keep a Secret?” by
S. Kinsella and consider the following questions.

1. What secrets did Emma have? How did she feel when her secrets became known
to people?
2. Why did Jack Harper’s arrival cause so much confusion in the office? Did the
staff behave “normally”?
3. What can you say about Emma’s responsibilities at work? How does it
characterize her? What is Emma’s “behaving normally” in the office like?
4. Comment on Emma’s relations with her family. Do you think that Kerry tried to
embarrass Emma out of spite?
5. Is organizing a Corporate Family Day a good idea? What accounts for the weird
behavior of Emma’s family members on the Corporate Family Day? What
consequence did it have for Emma?
6. Can Emma be called a daydreamer? Can we call her a liar? Find evidence in the
text to support your point of view.
7. What makes Jack feel confident that the company will win the women’s market?

2. Agree or disagree: Being stressed out is an excuse for blabbering all your
secrets to a complete stranger.

3. Lissy, Emmas friend, says that it’s a basic human right that flatmates
should be able to borrow each others’ clothes. Work out rules of flatmates’
peaceful coexistence.

4. Agree or disagree: Kerry impersonates an ideal business lady.

5. What tips would you give to Emma concerning her behavior in the episode
when all her secrets have been revealed on TV? Do you believe it is possible to
find a solution to such a problem at all?

III.​​Follow-up activities 
1. You are a psychologist. Prove that despite a bad start, one can always change the
situation for the better.
2. Do you agree that respecting a person’s privacy is indispensable for any
3. You write articles for a glossy magazine. Draw a portrait of a typical “girl on the

Revenge Is Sweet 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the words and use them in contexts of your own.

Scrawls, foreboding, contrive, brusque, crude, relish.

2. Use the following phrasal verbs and verbal expressions to fill in the blank

get (a) round to smth, go along with, bring someone/oneself to smth, conjure up

1. I’ll … you as far as the post-office.

2. He … facts.
3. I never … see her.
4. I cannot … myself to believe.
5. You can buy the house if the bank is willing to … .
6. When will you … my question.
7. She … vision of the past.
8. We’ll … your suggestion.
9. I wish I could … you to see the wisdom of my plan.

3. Fill in the blank spaces with the appropriate form of the word in brackets.

1. He has been able to clear himself of the … of dishonesty (accuse).

2. He may have made an … but it is far from being a sincere one (apologize).
3. He has eight children, each of whom, he claims, is more … than the other seven
4. A lot of money is not always a … to the person who has it (bless).
5. Anyone working abroad has to pay a lot for the … of his goods to and from
home (carry).
6. He blamed his … to pass the test on his nervousness (fail).
7. The three-week strike of the workmen has been a … to the completion of the
bridge (hinder).
8. The … of the word ‘a’ changes the meaning completely (omit).
9. She takes a certain … in never asking her neighbours for help (proud).
10. He had no … of ideas but he could not express them clearly (scare).
11. The plan to build a new bridge has not yet been given the Government’s …
12. The violent storm caused the … of several houses (destroy).
13. That rule is not … in this case (apply).
14. The teacher punished the child for … (obey).
15. That’s a … statement, you can’t prove it (contest).
16. There is a slight … in his words (ambiguous).
17. George is in prison for tax … (evade).

4. Look at the expressions in bold in these sentences. Is ​

mind a verb or a noun
in each one?

1. Have a good trip. ​Mind how you go on the roads, they’re terrible at this time of
2. They pay really well. ​Mind you​ , they can afford it.
3. Don’t worry, we’ll sort it out somehow. ​ Something will come to mind​ .
4. What annoys me about him is the fact that he keeps ​ changing his mind all the
5. Stop wasting time, ​make up your mind​ !
6. ​
Never mind​! I’m sure you’ll do much better next time.
7. ​
Do you mind​if I open the window?
8. Don’t worry about what other people think, just ​ speak your mind​!
9. ​
Bear in mind​that you’re not as young as you used to be!

5. Match each expression in Ex. 4 with one of these meanings.

1. Say what you honestly think

2. On the other hand
3. You’ll think of an idea
4. Don’t worry
5. Would it bother you
6. Don’t forget
7. Be careful
8. Altering his opinion
9. Make a decision

6. Here are more expressions with ​

mind​. Use them in your own sentences.

Cross one’s mind, pass through one’s mind, give a piece of one’s mind, half a
mind, in mind, in one’s mind’s eye, on one’s mind, out of one’s mind, put in mind
of, read one’s mind, mind like a steel trap, mind one’s own business, mind one’s
p’s and q’s.


II.​​Discussing the text 
1. Read the story “Revenge is Sweet” by C. Fremlin and consider the tasks

2. Which of the characters do these words refer to – Felicity, Gerald or

Tricia? Describe these three characters adding more words from the text to
your vocabulary list.

a generous nature, wretched, the eye of hatred, deep-seated need for personal
freedom, snub-nosed, perceptive, discarded mistress, a less chiseled cast of
feature, sensitive

3. Felicity had several scenarios of revenge. How many, to be exact? Comment

on all of them. Which scenario did she choose in the end and why?

4. Agree or disagree: Felicity did not want Gerald back. She only wanted to
spite Tricia.

5. Dwell on the moral aspect of revenge. Did Felicity have a right to take her
revenge on Gerald and Tricia?

III.​​Follow-up activities  
1. When were you last in two minds about something?
2. When was the last time you spoke your mind? Did you offend anyone?
3. Write a letter, in which you confess having done something wrong. Think of the
means you will use to make the addressee as little upset as possible.

The Way up to Heaven 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the words and use them in contexts of your own.

Twitch, apprehension, flutter, fidget, irrepressible, foible, gloomy, diminutive,


2. Match the words and their definitions.

pathological – strong desire

twitch – feeling of uneasiness or anxiety
apprehension – unhappy, disappointed
flutter and fidget – busy moving
bland – neat in appearance
irrepressible foible – move about in a nervous, irregular way
gloomy – smooth
bustling – dark and cheerless
yearning – have a sudden, uncontrollable muscle movement
dapper – accept without complaining
resign yourself to – personal peculiarity which she couldn’t control
disconsolate – like a disease
hazy – loose and fleshy
flabby – unclear

II.​​Discussing the text 

1. Read the short story “The Way up to Heaven” by R. Dahl and consider the
tasks below.

2. Use the text to answer the following questions.

1. Are Mr Foster and Mrs Foster a match?

2. Is the Fosters’ marriage happy and trouble-free?
3. What evidence is there of Mr Foster’s attitude to his wife?
4. How does Mrs Foster’s behavior change throughout the story? What accounts
for these changes?

3. Discussion: Can Mrs Foster be accused of killing her husband? Was it
homicide, manslaughter or just an accident?

4. Think what will happen next, when someone arrives to fix the elevator. Will
Mrs Foster get away with the crime?

5. Discussion: Does Mrs Foster deserve to live happily with her grandchildren
in France?

6. Agree or disagree: Mrs Foster does not feel guilty about her actions. Prove
your point.

III.​​Follow-up activities 
1. Mr Foster brought it on himself, didn’t he?
2. One can understand and sympathize with the decision Mrs Foster takes before
leaving to France. Do you agree with it?

For Services Rendered 
I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the words and use them in contexts of your own.

Sanity, impeccable, delve, disheveled, timid, delusional.

2. Fill in the blank spaces with the appropriate form of the word from Ex. 1.

1. Frank … into his pocket and brought out a few coins.

2. I was beginning to doubt my own … .
3.​​She gave me a … smile.
4.​​His wrinkled suit gave him a … appearance.
5.​​The standards of service are … .
6. ​Being organized will help you maintain … with a busy schedule and alleviate
stress with a more fulfilling agenda that honors work and play allowing you to
balance as much as you possibly can.
7.​​He is living under the … that he is incapable of making mistakes.
8.​​The book … into the latest research
9.​​She’s very … and shy when meeting strangers.
10.​​She has … taste in music.

II.​​Discussing the text 

1. Read the short story “For Services Rendered” by J. Deaver and consider
the tasks below.

2. Use the text to answer the following questions.

1. Was Harry a good psychiatrist?

2. What was Harry’s attitude to his work?
3. Describe Patsy’s case.
4. Did Peter have any motifs to get rid of his wife?
5. What helped Harry realize that Patsy was pulling his leg? When did you realize
Patsy was telling lies?

3. Make a list of things that helped Harry find out the truth about Patsy.
Which of these signs were the most significant ones?

4. Discussion: Patsy got what she deserved. Can we say the same about

III.​​Follow-up activities 

1. Does Harry’s noble aim make up for what he did to get the money? Explain your
2. Agree or disagree: Despite the fact that Harry’s rich patients were quitting, his
career will be a successful one.
3. You are a psychiatrist and deliver a speech a conference. Share your recent
experience with your colleagues.

I.​​Vocabulary work 
1. Study the words and use them in contexts of your own.

Subsequent, frumpy, malign, exertion, snarl, pouty, demolish.

2. Fill in the gaps with the appropriate words from Ex. 1.

1. This job calls for physical and mental … .

2.​​The gloomy house had a … influence upon her usually good mood.
3. ​His misbehaviour and … dismissal from the firm were reported in the
4.​​I looked so … next to those women.
5.​​The town hopes to restore the old theater rather than have it … .
6. He … a threat.
7.​​We could tell from the way she turned … that she’d lost the tennis match.

3. Match the words to make up word combinations.

subsequent amends
unbroken marital bond
numerical stories
to confess toxicity
to accomplish anniversary
far-fetched the feat
to make one’s transgression

II.​​Discussing the text 

1. Read the short story “Makeover” by B. Callahan and consider the tasks

2. Use the text to answer the following questions.

1. How and why did the conflict between Emily and her husband start?
2. What radio programme was Emily listening on her way to the restaurant?
3. When did you guess that Stephanie was talking about Emily?
4. How did Stephanie describe Emily?
5. Why was Emily shocked when she saw Stephanie’s photo?
6. What did Emily decide to change about her life? How did Todd react to these
7. Recall the episode with Emily’s throwing the cake away and a strange dream she
had afterwards. Comment on Todd’s and Emily’s behaviour.
8. What changed about Todd?
9. How did Emily find out about Stephanie and Todd’s plan? Did this plan work?
Did Emily’s plan work?

3. Comment on the “look-alike” pattern theory. Does it work in real life?

4. Agree or disagree: A person has to adapt to a new lifestyle as they get older.

III.​​Follow-up activities 
1. Imagine that you are a stylist and Emily is your client. Work out a makeover
plan for her.
2. Did Emily feel happy about the changes she had introduced into her life?

Tasks for Non-Guided Reading 

I.​​Tasks for “The Undomestic Goddess” by S. Kinsella 

Choose two topics from the list below to prepare two five-minute
presentations making use of the book you have read.

1. Give a description of a typical “woman with a career”. What is her

working day like? Does being busy necessarily mean being stressed out?
2. How is the work at Carter Spink organized? What makes the company
3. How can one mistake ruin a successful career?
4. Being a full-time housekeeper is not so boring as it may sound.
5. You don’t have to be a real expert to produce a favorable impression? Is it
6. Cleaning, washing and cooking are an art, aren’t they?
7. No matter how busy, one should always find time to relax.
8. Compare Samantha’s life “before” and “after”.

II.​​Tasks for “Man and Boy” by T. Parsons

Choose two topics from the list below to prepare two five-minute
presentations making use of the book you have read.

1. When a marriage gets wrong, both the spouses are to blame. Is it true with
Harry and Gina?
2. Becoming a parent changes you perception of the world completely,
doesn’t it? What changed about Harry and Gina, when Pat was born?
3. Is it true that parents always love their children, however naughty they

4. When turning thirty a person should become more responsible. Is it the
same with men and women?
5. It is believed that people dote on their grandchildren more that on their
children. Is it true?
6. Working on television cannot but affect your character. Prove it.
7. Cyd can never replace Gina. Does Harry think so?
8. Cyd’s and Harry’s lives are similar in some way, aren’t they?

III.​​Tasks for “Man and Wife” by T. Parsons

Choose two topics from the list below to prepare two five-minute
presentations making use of the book you have read.

1. Are those who consider that the first time is more special than the last
time really wrong? Do people deserve a second chance, no matter what grave
mistakes they have committed? What do you think?
2. Harry used to be a “full-time dad”, now he is a “one-day dad”. What has
3. Why doesn’t Harry like the idea of calling Cyd his second wife, or his
new wife?
4. Did Harry really get on well with Peggy? What complicated their
5. Was Harry really good at what he was doing at his work on TV?
6. Marriage can go wrong if both the spouses have a high-flying career. Is it
so with Harry and Cyd?
7. Why did Harry say his mother was made of steel, just like many women
of her generation? Does her example inspire you?
8. Is revenge really what Gina needs?
9. Do you believe it was Harry who nearly ruined his second marriage?
10. Comment on Harry’s words: “You promise to love each other forever…
And in the end your feelings – her feelings – are not what they were once upon a

IV​.​Tasks for “How to be Good” by N. Hornby 
Choose two topics from the list below to prepare two five-minute
presentations making use of the book you have read.

1. Do you agree that the main character of the book (Katie) is a “good
2. Can you call David and Katie’s marriage an ordinary one?
3. Relationships where you end up hating your partner are not uncommon,
are they?
4. What can you say about David’s and Katie’s parenting skills? Which one
turns out to be a better parent?
5. David and Katie’s children have taken after their parents, haven’t they?
6. Why was David’s column called “the angriest man in Holloway”? Do you
approve of his methods of work?
7. Do you think Davis was really healed by DJ Goodnews? Was it a change
for the better?
8. Does David’s plan to change the world work out?
9. Who is “the good one” – Katie or David?

Беляев, Г.М.​ Юмористические рассказы английских и американских
писателей / Г.М. Беляев, Р.И. Сорокина. – М. : Просвещение, 1978. – 167 c.
Сборник рассказов американских писателей / сост. С.В. Шевцова. – М. :
Междунар. отношения, 1978. – 192 c.
The Columbus Quincentenary. – United States Inform. Agency, 1992. – 26 p.
Duffy, G.​ Improving classroom reading instruction: A decision making
approach / G. Duffy, L.K. Roehler. – 3 ed. – Boston : McGraw-Hill, 1993. –
512 p.
Holden, W​. Simply Divine / W. Holden. – London : Headline Book Publ.,
1999. – 377 p.
Hornby, N​. How to be good / N. Hornby. – London : Penguin Books, 2001. –
297 p.
Jones, C.​ Inside Out. Student’s Book Advanced / C. Jones, T. Bastow. –
Oxford, 2001. – 159 p.
Kinsella, S.​ Can you keep a secret? / S. Kinsella. – London : Black Swan,
2004. – 364 p.
Kinsella, S.​ Confessions of a shopaholic / S. Kinsella. – N.Y. : A Dell Book,
2003. – 350 p.
Kinsella, S.​ Shopaholic abroad / S. Kinsella. – London : Black Swan, 2004. –
351 p.
Kinsella, S.​ Shopaholic ties the knot / S. Kinsella. – London : Black Swan,
2004. – 394 p.
Kinsella, S.​ The Undomestic Goddess / S. Kinsella. – London : Black Swan,
2006. – 413 p.
Lederer, R​. Crazy English / R. Lederer. – N.Y. : Pocket Books, 1990. – 195 p.
Milan, D​. Developing reading skills / D. Milan. – N.Y. : McGraw-Hill,
1991. – 576 p.
Parsons, T​. Man and boy / T. Parsons. – London : Harper Collins Publ.,
1999. – 344 p.
Parsons, T​. Man and wife / T. Parsons. – London : Harper Collins Publ.,
2002. – 200 p.

Учебное издание

Поплавская​Татьяна Викторовна
Сысоева​Татьяна Александровна


Пособие по курсу
«Практикум по культуре речевого общения»

В двух частях
Часть вторая

Ответственный за выпуск ​
Т.В. Поплавская

Редактор ​
А.И. Гуторова

Компьютерный набор ​
Т.А. Сысоевой

Подписано в печать . Формат 60х84 1/16. Бумага офсетная. Гарнитура Таймс.

Ризография. Усл. печ. л. 6,98. Уч.-изд. л. 6,41. Тираж экз. Заказ

Издатель и полиграфическое исполнение: учреждение образования «Минский

государственный лингвистический университет». ЛИ №02330/0548503 от 16.06.2009 г.
Адрес: ул. Захарова, 21, 220034, г. Минск.