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English vocabulary and idioms exercises

Here are some English vocabulary and idioms exercises with answers.

Food shopping

Have a look at the page Shopping vocabulary for useful phrases to use in shops.

Food packaging exercise

Often we buy food in packaging, such as bags or packets. But there are also other types of packaging.

1. Decide which of the packaging material in the list below should be used for the food items.

List of packaging materials

bag of
bar of
bottle of
box of
can of
carton of
cone of
hamper
jar of
leg of
magnum of
packet of
tin of
tub of
wheel of

Food items

biscuits
champagne
cheese
chocolate
chocolates
cocoa powder
coke
Christmas ……
fresh orange juice
ice cream
lamb
pasta sauce
peanuts
roasted chestnuts
wine

2. Where would you find the following items of food? Match them to the sections in a supermarket.

Food items

cake
caviar
cream
ice-cream
French bread
scallops
squid
game pie
oven chips
pate

Sections in a supermarket

bakery
chilled cabinets
delicatessen / deli counter
fish
frozen

3. Labels and information

Which of the following labels on packaging mean you get a bargain? (And which mean you need to consume the food quickly?)

Reduced to clear.
Three for the price of two.
Buy one, get one free.
Best before (date)

Answers

bag of peanuts
bar of chocolate
bottle of wine
box of chocolates
can of coke
carton of fresh orange juice
cone of roasted chestnuts
Christmas hamper
jar of pasta sauce
leg of lamb
magnum of champagne
packet of biscuits
tin of cocoa powder
tub of ice cream
wheel of cheese

bakery – cake, French bread
chilled cabinets – cream, caviar
delicatessen / deli counter – game pie, pate
fish – scallops, squid
frozen – ice cream, oven chips

Bargain:
Three for the price of two.
Buy one, get one free.

Eat quickly:
Reduced to clear.
Best before (date)

Food adjectives

Take a look at our page on describing food in English, then try the quiz below.

1. Extra exercise

Can you add the missing word to make common food partnerships?

sweet and —–
salt and —–
bitter—–

2. Traditional English food combinations

Choose the right "sauce" to accompany these dishes.

Roast lamb with —– sauce
Roast pork with —– sauce
Roast beef with —– sauce
Roast turkey with —– sauce
Cheese and —– sandwiches
Chips with —–
Cauliflower —–

apple
bread
cheese
chutney
horseradish
ketchup
mint

Answers

sweet and sour
salt and vinegar
bittersweet

Roast lamb with mint sauce
Roast pork with apple sauce
Roast beef with horseradish sauce
Roast turkey with bread sauce
Cheese and chutney sandwiches
Chips with ketchup
Cauliflower cheese

Describing people

One of our most popular pages on the site is words that describe behaviour.

Of course, there are lots and lots of words and phrases to learn that describe people's character and behaviour, and no list can be 100% complete. So here are twelve more adjectives for you.

Read the definitions and decide which one to use in the gaps in the following sentences.

antsy = nervous about something / on edge
bubbly = extrovert, upbeat (like champagne!)
dutiful = doing what's expected of you
flirty / flirtatious = trying to attract other people to make them like you
gullible = believing what people tell you
helpless = unable to do anything for yourself
insensitive = not thinking about other people's feelings
lively = full of energy
mercurial = changing your mood often
narrow-minded = not accepting new or different ideas
petty = only caring about small things
rash = doing something without thinking about the consequences

1. She was being really ——– at the party. I think her boyfriend felt a bit jealous.
2. I'd describe Carla as ——–. She always seems happy and optimistic about things.
3. He's a ——– child and his mother is forever running around after him.
4. You shouldn't be so ——–. Not everything that people say is true, you know.
5. He's getting even more ——– in his old age. He refuses to even think that he could learn anything from the internet.
6. It would be a bit ——– to give up your job without having another one to go to.
7. I think she's being ——– by not allowing her children to play with Sue and Tom. Just because she doesn't like their mother that's no excuse for being unkind to her own children.
8. I feel sorry for her. She's a very ——– daughter taking care of her parents like that, but she never seems to go out with her friends or have any fun.
9. It was a bit ——– of you to talk about Peter's new girlfriend in front of her. She's still in love with him.
10. Jack's great company, but he's a bit ——– at times. Up one minute, down the next.
11. I'm feeling a bit ——– at the moment. I should get my exam results back any day.
12. Stop being so ——–! It's really easy to learn how to cook simple food you know!

Answers

1. She was being really flirty / flirtatious at the party. I think her boyfriend felt a bit jealous.
2. I'd describe Carla as bubbly. She always seems happy and optimistic about things.
3. He's a lively child and his mother is forever running around after him.
4. You shouldn't be so gullible. Not everything that people say is true, you know.
5. He's getting even more narrow-minded in his old age. He refuses to even think that he could learn anything from the internet.
6. It would be a bit rash to give up your job without having another one to go to.
7. I think she's being petty by not allowing her children to play with Sue and Tom. Just because she doesn't like their mother that's no excuse for being unkind to her own children.
8. I feel sorry for her. She's a very dutiful daughter taking care of her parents like that, but she never seems to go out with her friends or have any fun.
9. It was a bit insensitive of you to talk about Peter's new girlfriend in front of her. She's still in love with him.
10. Jack's great company, but he's a bit mercurial at times. Up one minute, down the next.
11. I'm feeling a bit antsy at the moment. I should get my exam results back any day.
12. Stop being so helpless! It's really easy to learn how to cook simple food you know!

Colour expressions

Our new page on colour vocabulary has lots of words that describe colour. Here are some more expressions:

colour-blind = when you can't tell the difference between certain colours, such as green or red

in black and white = in writing

see things in black and white = only consider things to be one extreme or another

pastel colour = soft colours, rather than bright colours

splash of colour = bit of bright colour among paler colours

local colour = something particular to a town or region

a colourful character = someone who is unusual, perhaps because of an unusual life

colourful language = lots of swearing

off colour = not feeling very well

team colours = colours of a sports team

pass with flying colours = pass an exam with high marks

colour your judgement = influence your opinion or judgement

colour scheme = the colours used in a room

Exercise

Use one of the expressions above to fill the gaps.

1. You look a bit ———. Perhaps you're going down with a cold.

2. Let's add some red cushions to the room for a ———-

3. When the two brothers argued, there was a lot of —————-

4. Don't let all that negative publicity —————–. In fact, he's a very able politician.

5. The hotel has a very striking ———— with gold and green featuring throughout.

6. She tends to —————— which makes it hard for her to understand the subtleties of what anyone says.

7. As soon as I saw the contract ————- I realised I had the job

8. The fish restaurants next to the harbour add ———-

9. Their ———– are blue shorts and white shirts.

10. She tends to favour ———— such as pink and light green.

Answers

1. You look a bit off colour. Perhaps you're going down with a cold.
2. Let's add some red cushions to the room for a splash of colour.
3. When the two brothers argued, there was a lot of colourful language.
4. Don't let all that negative publicity colour your judgement. In fact, he's a very able politician.
5. The hotel has a very striking colour scheme with gold and green featuring throughout.
6. She tends to see things in black and white which makes it hard for her to understand the subtleties of what anyone says.
7. As soon as I saw the contract in black and white I realised I had the job
8. The fish restaurants next to the harbour add local colour
.
9. Their team colours are blue shorts and white shirts.
10. She tends to favour pastels such as pink and light green.

Go, play and do

Don't confuse these three English verbs when you talk about your hobbies and interests.

You can use them in these ways:

go + activity
Examples: go swimming, go fishing

play + sport / game
Examples: play football, play chess

do + hobby / activity which is not a team sport
Examples: do DIY, do gardening, do karate

Exercise 1
Fill in the blanks with the correct verb.

What do you do in your spare time?
I like ——— basketball.
I also —— running twice a week, and in summer I ——- tennis.

Have you got any other interests?
I —— some yoga, and —– cards with friends.

They're quite rich. They —— skiing every winter.

Exercise 2

Decide whether these activities should follow 'play', 'go' or 'do'. (Note: some activities can follow both 'go' and 'do'.)

clubbing
pilates
cricket
badminton
darts
rock climbing
volleyball
rollerblading
horse riding
sailing
scuba diving
martial arts
jogging
video games
hiking

Answers

Exercise 1

What do you do in your spare time?
I like playing basketball.
I also go running twice a week, and in summer I play tennis.

Have you got any other interests?
I do some yoga, and play cards with friends.

They're quite rich. They go skiing every winter.

Exercise 2

play
cricket
badminton
darts
volleyball
video games

go
clubbing
rollerblading
horse riding
sailing
jogging
hiking
rock climbing

do
pilates
martial arts

Verbs with "en"

Many English verbs start or end with the affix 'en'. They usually show some type of change:

Verbs ending with 'en'

strengthen (make stronger)
weaken (make weaker)
lengthen (make longer)
shorten (make shorter)
deepen (make deeper)
widen (make wider)
broaden (make broader)
threaten (make threats)
darken (make darker)
lighten (make lighter)
brighten (make brighter)
freshen (make fresher)
deafen (make deaf)
soften (make softer)
sweeten (make sweeter)
sharpen (make sharp)
loosen (make looser)
frighten (make someone afraid)

Exercise 1

Choose one of the verbs to fill the gaps in the sentences.

1. You can't ——– me with punishment – I'm too old for that now!

2. I'll need to ——– this skirt – it's too long.

3. ——– the butter, then add the sugar.

4. Don't ——– the children with ghost stories!

5. We'll need to ——– this wall with concrete.

6. I just want to ——– up after the long journey.

7. Can you ——– my pencil for me? It's blunt.

8. A song on the radio can really ——– up your day.

Verbs starting with 'en'

enable (make something possible)
encircle (surround someone or something)
enclose (put something inside an envelope)
encourage (give someone encouragement)
encrypt (protect information by putting it in code)
endanger (put someone in danger)
endear (make yourself dear to someone)
endure (to survive a difficult period for a long time)
enforce (make people obey a rule)
enlarge (make larger)
enlighten (make someone understand something)
enliven (make more lively)
enrage (make someone angry)
enrich (make richer)
ensure (make sure)
entrust (make someone responsible for something)

Exercise 2

Choose one of the verbs to fill the gaps in the sentences.

1. They had to ——– three days without food in the desert.

2. I'd like to ——– you with this special task.

3. These computer programs ——– your credit card details.

4. Please ——– me. What exactly happened yesterday?

5. Please ——– the lights are turned off.

6. Don't ——– the dogs to beg at the table.

7. It's sometimes difficult to ——– all the school uniform rules.

8. It's irresponsible to take a boat out in rough seas and you also ——– other people's lives.

Answers

1. You can't threaten me with punishment – I'm too old for that now!
2. I'll need to shorten this skirt – it's too long.
3. Soften the butter, then add the sugar.
4. Don't frighten the children with ghost stories!
5. We'll need to strengthen this wall with concrete.
6. I just want to freshen up after the long journey.
7. Can you sharpen my pencil for me? It's blunt.
8. A song on the radio can really brighten up your day.

Exercise 2

1. They had to endure three days without food in the desert.
2. I'd like to entrust you with this special task.
3. These computer programs encrypt your credit card details.
4. Please enlighten me. What exactly happened yesterday?
5. Please ensure the lights are turned off.
6. Don't encourage the dogs to beg at the table.
7. It's sometimes difficult to enforce all the school uniform rules.
8. It's irresponsible to take a boat out in rough seas and you also endanger other
people's lives.

Money and pay expressions

There are lots of ways of talking about personal finances in English. You can refresh your knowledge of money idioms here.

Exercise 1 – Money idioms

Find the opposites to these words and expressions.
(There are four opposite pairs in the eight expressions.)

cautious with money
generous
money burns a hole in your pocket
money is no object
spend money like water
tight-fisted
you can put money aside for a rainy day
you have a limited budget

Expressions with Pay

Here are some common expressions with "pay":

pay through the nose = pay a lot of money
pay in cash = pay in notes and coins (rather than by credit card)
pay upfront = pay some money in advance
pay off = repay in full
pay someone back = pay someone the money you borrowed from them

Exercise 2

Complete the sentences

He'll never be able to pay —– his student loans.
We'll pay you ——— for the work. We don't need an invoice.
Did he ever pay you —— for that meal? No, he still owes me!
We paid ———- for that holiday. It certainly wasn't worth it!
We'll need to pay some money ——- for the car – a sort of deposit.

Answers

Exercise 1 – Money idioms

The four opposite pairs are:

cautious with money / spend money like water
"He spends money like water. No wonder he's always broke."

generous / tight-fisted
"I've never met anyone as tight-fisted as him."

you can put money aside for a rainy day / money burns a hole in your pocket
"It's a good idea to put something aside for a rainy day." (for a time that you might need it)
"Money seems to burn a hole in his pocket."

you have a limited budget / money is no object
"They're very lucky. Money is no object when it comes to holidays."

Exercise 2

He'll never be able to pay off his student loans.
We'll pay you in cash for the work. We don't need an invoice.
Did he ever pay you back for that meal? No, he still owes me!
We paid through the nose for that holiday. It certainly wasn't worth it!
We'll need to pay some money upfront for the car – a sort of deposit.

Weather vocabulary

English people talk about the weather a lot, and we have lots of different words in English to describe the heat. For example, we make a distinction between hot weather which is dry and hot weather which is humid.

Exercise 1

Look at these words and decide if they describe hot and dry weather, or hot and humid weather:

baking, boiling, clammy, muggy, scorching, sticky, sultry, sweltering

But the weather isn't any better elsewhere. Hurricane Irene stormed into the east coast of the USA earlier this week, forcing people to evacuate their homes or stay indoors. Even downgraded into a tropical storm, the size and power of it caused lots of damage.

Exercise 2 – word partnerships to describe weather

Match the words in list A with the words in list B to form word partnerships to do with weather. For example, stormy (A) and weather (B) forms "stormy weather".

List A

stormy
bright
early morning
fine
freezing
howling
low
rough
scattered
slight
sunny

List B

weather
breeze
cloud
drizzle
fog
gale
mist
seas
showers
spells
sunshine

Answers

Words to describe hot and dry weather:
baking, boiling, scorching, sweltering

Words to describe hot and humid weather:
clammy, muggy, sticky, sultry

Exercise 2 – word partnerships to describe weather

stormy weather = when there are thunderstorms, heavy rain and lightning: "There's going to be stormy weather tonight. You should stay at home."

bright sunshine = when there is a lot of sun: "The bright sunshine drew people to the beach."

early morning mist = a fine cloud coming from a river in the early morning: "The early morning mist cleared away by 10 am."

fine drizzle = a slight, soft rain: "Fine drizzle will persist for most of the morning."

freezing fog = dense, icy cloud at ground level: "Be careful on the roads – freezing fog is expected."

howling gale = a very strong wind that makes a noise: "The howling gale forced them to stay inside."

low cloud = cloud that is low in the sky: "Flying conditions were made worse by low cloud."

rough sea = high waves in the sea: "Swimmers were warned to be careful in the rough sea."

scattered showers = occasional rain showers: "There will be scattered showers throughout the day."

slight breeze = a little wind:"The slight breeze felt refreshing in the heat."

sunny spells = periods of sunshine: "There have been a few sunny spells today, but otherwise the weather has been a little dull."

Types of holiday

Do you know words for different types of holiday in English?

Read these definitions, then choose the right one to fill the blanks in the exercise. (Answers next week)

Holiday definitions

bank holiday = a type of public holiday in the UK when banks and businesses close for the day. All bank holidays in the UK are on Mondays. You might also hear the phrase "bank holiday weekend".

cruise = a journey on a luxurious ship.

city break = a short holiday where you visit a city (often in a different country) for a few days or for a weekend.

day trip = a day's holiday – often to the seaside. A person who goes on a day trip is called a "day tripper".

long weekend = a weekend plus one or two days.

outward-bound course = an activity holiday, often for children and teenagers.

package holiday = a holiday where everything has been pre-paid.

public holiday = a national holiday (on any day of the week).

sightseeing tour = a holiday where you visit places of interest.

Exercise

Fill in the blanks with a type of holiday from the list above.

1. I like going on ——–, because I don't have to worry about booking hotels or flights.

2. Next weekend is a ——– bank holiday weekend. We've got three days to do something interesting.

3. When we were in Paris, we decided to pay for a ——–. It was worth it, as we got to see all the sights.

4. They've taken Friday and Monday off work, so they've got a ——–.

5. Let's get up early tomorrow and go off somewhere on a ——–.

6. In the UK, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are ——–.

7. The travel agent is advertising ——– to Barcelona.

8. For their honeymoon, they've booked themselves a caribbean ——–.

9. Her children learnt how to climb rocks on their ——–.

Answers

1. I like going on package holidays, because I don't have to worry about booking hotels or flights.

2. Next weekend is a bank holiday weekend. We've got three days to do something interesting.

3. When we were in Paris, we decided to pay for a sightseeing tour. It was worth it, as we got to see all the sights.

4. They've taken Friday and Monday off work, so they've got a long weekend.

5. Let's get up early tomorrow and go off somewhere on a day trip.

6. In the UK, Christmas Day and Boxing Day are public holidays.

7. The travel agent is advertising city breaks to Barcelona.

8. For their honeymoon, they've booked themselves a caribbean cruise.

9. Her children learnt how to climb rocks on their outward-bound course.

Holiday illnesses

If you're going away on holiday, it's a good idea to take a first-aid kit, with essentials such as plasters (or band-aid) to put on cuts, mosquito repellent (to stop mosquitoes from biting you) and a disinfectant that you can put on cuts or grazes.

We have lots of English vocabulary for medical problems on this page, but here are some more useful words to describe holiday illnesses.

sunburn (noun and verb): "She got sunburnt staying out in the sun all day without wearing any suncream."

dehydration (dehydrate is the verb): "Drink some water or you'll get dehydrated."

sting (noun and verb) = poisonous bite from an insect: "He's allergic to wasp stings."

bite (noun and verb): "I was bitten by mosquitoes last night."

upset stomach (noun): "I'm not used to the water here, and it's given me an upset stomach."

Exercise

Fill the gaps with the right word.

1. I think I ate something bad yesterday – I've got an ——–.

2. She got ——– by a bee, which is why her finger is all swollen.

3. My arm is really red and painful, but I think it's just a case of ——–.

4. There are lots of mosquitoes in the early evening – make sure you bring some ——-.

5. If you're going to spend time on the beach, make sure you use ——–.

Answers.

1. I think I ate something bad yesterday – I've got an upset stomach.

2. She got stung by a bee, which is why her finger is all swollen.

3. My arm is really red and painful, but I think it's just a case of sunburn.

4. There are lots of mosquitoes in the early evening – make sure you bring some repellent.

5. If you're going to spend time on the beach, make sure you use suncream.

Sea and seaside vocabulary

If you're planning a beach holiday this summer, here are some useful words to describe what you can see:

The coastline

cliffs = rocky hills / mountains that drop down to the beach or sea

dunes = sandy hills behind the beach. OFten a particular type of grass grows on the dunes.

beach : can be formed by sand or pebbles – small smooth stones

bay / cove / inlet = where the sea comes inland in small – often semi-circular – areas of water

Water

sea is UK English, while ocean in American English

waves / breakers (breakers are big waves)

rockpool = a small, maybe quite shallow – area of water surrounded by rocks

current / undertow = where the water's energy can pull you in one direction. This can be dangerous if you're not a strong swimmer

high tide / low tide = when the tide comes in (leaving less beach) or when the tide goes out (leaving more beach)

driftwood = the wood which is left on the beach at high tide

Sea creatures

crabs = small animals with four legs that have a shell and are edible

jellyfish = a white-coloured sac with strings coming down from it. These strings can sting you.

shoal of fish = a group of fish

Exercise

Fill in the missing words in this holiday postcard.

Hi all

Having a great time in sunny Cornwall.

The ——– is really interesting – rugged cliffs but sandy ——– in places. We've been exploring some of the smugglers' ——– famous in this part of Cornwall. The smugglers would bring the ships in from the sea, then steal all the cargo.

At ——— we often go walking along the shore to see what the tide has brought in. Haven't found anything interesting yet.

The sea is generally quite rough, with huge ——–. We've been told it's quite dangerous to swim, and we felt a strong ——– yesterday even at knee-height.

Not been stung by any ——– yet, though just a matter of time probably!

Love to all

Susie xx

Answers

Hi all

Having a great time in sunny Cornwall.

The coastline is really interesting – rugged cliffs but sandy dunes in places. We've been exploring some of the smugglers' coves famous in this part of Cornwall. The smugglers would bring the ships in from the sea, then steal all the cargo.

At low tide we often go walking along the shore to see what the tide has brought in. Haven't found anything interesting yet.

The sea is generally quite rough, with huge breakers. We've been told it's quite dangerous to swim, and we felt a strong current yesterday even at knee-height.

Not been stung by any jellyfish yet, though just a matter of time probably!

Love to all

Susie xx

Expressions with play

There are lots of expressions and phrasal verbs using "play". Here are some of the more common ones:

play up = not work or behave properly: "The children keep playing up. I wish they'd behave."

play around = experiment: "We're playing around with a couple of new ideas."

play by ear = not plan something: "What are you going to tell him? I don't know – I'll just play it by ear.

play to the gallery = say or do something to gain popularity: "Talking about giving us all a pay rise – he's just playing to the gallery."

a play on words = a pun / joke relying on words: "The book title is a play on words."

play by the rules = do something fairly / according to regulations: "That's not fair! You need to play by the rules."

a play-thing = not treat something seriously: "She's just a play-thing for him. You should warn her."

a playboy = a man who has lots of girl-friends: "He's got a reputation as a bit of a play-boy."

play to win = to do something because you want to be successful: "He's very ambitious – he plays to win."

play for time = use delaying tactics: "We're playing for time until we get a better deal."

Exercise

Choose one of the phrasals or idioms to fill in the gaps.

1. Why haven't they replied to our offer yet? I think they're just ——–

2. My knee is ——–. I need to go and see the doctor.

3. If you want to join our team, you'll have to learn to ——–. We can't just do what we please here.

4. She's not acting as if he's a serious boyfriend. He's just a ——– to her.

5. I haven't planned what I'm going to say at the meeting. I'll ——–

Answers

1. Why haven't they replied to our offer yet? I think they're just playing for time.

2. My knee is playing up. I need to go and see the doctor.

3. If you want to join our team, you'll have to learn to play by the rules. We can't just do what we please here.

4. She's not acting as if he's a serious boyfriend. He's just a plaything to her.

5. I haven't planned what I'm going to say at the meeting. I'll play it by ear.

Sports and equipment

Here's a quick vocabulary review on sports and sports equipment.

1. Types of sport

Which of the following are racket sports, and which are team sports?

badminton
relay
squash
synchronised swimming
tennis
water polo

2. Which of these sports is played with a net, and which with a bat?

baseball
cricket
hockey
tennis

3. Which of these sports is played on a court, and which in a field?

badminton
discus
football
javelin
shotput
squash
tennis

Answers

1. Types of sport

Racket sports are: badminton, squash, tennis

Team sports are: relay, synchronised swimming, water polo

2. Which of these sports is played with a net, and which with a bat?

Played with a net are: tennis

Played with a bat are: baseball, cricket

3. Which of these sports is played on a court, and which in a field?

Played on a court: badminton, squash, tennis

Played in a field: discus, football, javelin, shotput

Noun and adjective endings to do with sport

You can often tell the class of word (noun, person, adjective, verb etc) by the ending. Here are a few examples to do with sport.

Noun: athletics
Person: athlete
Adjective: athletic

Noun: sports
Person: sportsman / sportswoman
Adjective: sporty

Noun: performance
Person: performer
Verb: to perform

Noun: competition
Person: competitor
Adjective: competitive
Verb: to compete

Noun: championship
Person: champion

Noun: gymnastics
Person: gymnast
Adjective: gymnastic

Noun: ambition
Adjective: ambitious

Noun: win
Person: winner
Verb: to win

Noun: loss
Person: loser
Verb: to lose

Exercise
Use the root words given in parentheses to fill the gap.

Example
He's a ——– (competition) Answer: competitor

1. The shotput is a sport of —— (strength) and ——- (agile)
2. To run a marathon you need to be ——- (fitness)
3. Successful gymnasts tend to be highly —— (muscle)
4. You'll need hours of training to be a winning ——- (athletic)
5. He gave the best ——- (perform) of his life.
6. She's always been —— (compete) – even when she was a child.
7. In the Olympics, the — (win) gets a gold medal, the runner-up gets silver, while third place gets bronze.

Answers

1. The shotput is a sport of strength and agility.
2. To run a marathon you need to be fit.
3. Successful gymnasts tend to be highly muscular.
4. You'll need hours of training to be a winning athlete.
5. He gave the best performance of his life.
6. She's always been competitive – even when she was a child.
7. In the Olympics, the winner gets a gold medal, the runner-up gets silver, while

third place gets bronze.

Olympic vocabulary

Match a word in List A with a word from List B to make an Olympic partnership. (None of the partnerships are actually about the sports or athletes.)

List A

closing
flag
national
Olympic
Olympic
opening
organising
security
ticket
torch
victory

List B

bearer
ceremony
ceremony
ceremony
checks
committee
flag
flame
holder
relay
stadium

Answers

closing ceremony
flag bearer
national flag
Olympic flame
Olympic stadium
opening ceremony
organising committee
security checks
ticket holder
torch relay
victory ceremony

Commonly confused words

Some vocabulary pairs can be confusing. Have a look at ten common English word pairs, then decide which one to use in the exercise below.

bring / take
(you bring something from another place to here; but you take something from here to another place)

lend / borrow
(you lend something to another person; but you borrow something from a person)

effect / affect
(the effect – noun – is the result of something; while something affects – verb – something)

economic / economical
(something which is economic relates to the economy; while economical means it's cheap)

watch / look at
(you watch something that is moving or is interesting; while you look at something stationary)

check / control
(you check something for mistakes, or to ensure it's working properly; you control something through having authority)

attend / assist
(you attend an event by being there; but you assist a person if you help them)

remember / remind
(you remember to do something / or having done something; but you remind someone else not to forget something)

stay / be
(you stay at a hotel for the night, but you like to be with friends)

lose / loose
(you lose something when you can no longer find it; but something which is loose is not tight)

Exercise: choose the correct word in these sentences

1. Student: "I'm coming to your lesson next week."
Teacher: "OK. Please remember to ——- your dictionary." (bring / take)

2. Can you ——- me €10 until tomorrow? (lend / borrow)

3. High petrol prices will —– the economic recovery. (effect / affect)

4. You need to study —— policy to understand their decision. (economic / economical)

5. I think we're lost. Let me ——- the map (watch / look at)

6. Can you —— these figures for me please? (check / control)

7. Is he ——- the reception tomorrow? (attend / assist)

8. Please ——- me to cancel the order. (remember / remind)

9. At the weekend I often go to my parents' house. I like —— with my family. (stay / be)

10. If you —— my phone, you'll be in trouble! (lose / loose)

Answers

1. Student: "I'm coming to your lesson next week."
Teacher: "OK. Please remember to bringyour dictionary." (bring / take)

2. Can you lend me €10 until tomorrow? (lend / borrow)

3. High petrol prices will affect the economic recovery. (effect / affect)

4. You need to study economic policy to understand their decision. (economic /

economical)

5. I think we're lost. Let me look at the map. (watch / look at)

6. Can you check these figures for me please? (check / control)

7. Is he attending the reception tomorrow? (attend / assist)

8. Please remind me to cancel the order. (remember / remind)

9. At the weekend I often go to my parents' house. I like being with my family. (stay /

be)

10. If you lose my phone, you'll be in trouble! (lose / loose)

Learning phrases

It's often easier to learn phrases in their entirety than it is to learn individual words.

In English, we often use "three-word phrases" (two words separated by "and") in conversation. Some examples of these three word phrases are on this page.

For example:
Black and white
Dos and don'ts
Kiss and tell
Odds and ends
P's and Q's
Pros and cons

Here are some more common three-word phrases. Combine the beginning of the phrases in List A with the ends in List B.

List A

back and
be-all and
come and
dead and
duck and
give and
live and
on and
round and
spick and
spit and
this and
to and
toss and
ups and

List B

about
buried
dive
downs
end-all
forth
fro
go
let live
on
sawdust
span
take
that
turn

Answers

back and forth
be-all and end-all
come and go
dead and buried
duck and dive
give and take
live and let live
on and on
round and about
spick and span
spit and sawdust
this and that
to and fro
toss and turn
ups and doens

Phrasal verbs and idioms

Get tips on how to learn and use phrasal verbs. One of the best ways to learn them is to use them in context.

In this exercise, put the phrasal verbs and idioms into the gaps in the conversation. (Don't forget to change tense where necessary.)

Conversation 1

Phrasal verb and idiom list
close down
get your foot in the door
laid off
put in a good word
take on

– I hear the packing factory are going to ——– ten new people. That would be great for a summer job. What do you think?
– I'm not sure. I don't think it would be a very interesting job.
– Well, the experience might be good. It would help you ——– There aren't many other companies offering work around here. All the factories ———- and they've already ———- more than a hundred people. Anyway, I know someone who works in the accounts department. Maybe I could ——– for you?

Conversation 2

Phrasal verb and idiom list
heat of the moment
make up
put the record straight
see eye to eye

– What's up Anna?
– I've just had a huge argument with Antony.
– Really? You two usually ——– on most things.
– Well this time it was different. We were arguing about his ex-girlfriend. I said some terrible things and I don't think we'll ever ——– now.
– You need to go and talk to him calmly, and ——–. Say you didn't mean what you said – it just came out in the ——–

Answers

Conversation 1

– I hear the packing factory are going to take on ten new people. That would be great for a summer job. What do you think?
– I'm not sure. I don't think it would be a very interesting job.
– Well, the experience might be good. It would help you get your foot in the door. There aren't many other companies offering work around here. All the factories are closing down and they've already laid off more than a hundred people. Anyway, I know someone who works in the accounts department. Maybe I could put in a good word for you?

Conversation 2

– What's up Anna?
– I've just had a huge argument with Antony.
– Really? You two usually see eye to eye on most things.
– Well this time it was different. We were arguing about his ex-girlfriend. I said some terrible things and I don't think we'll ever make up now.
– You need to go and talk to him calmly, and put the record straight. Say you didn't mean what you said – it just came out in the heat of the moment.

Idioms of winning and losing

There are many idioms to describe winning and losing. Here are five common ones – can you put in the right missing word from the list below?

Missing words

all
floor
lose
streak
top

Idioms

You win some, you ——– some
To wipe the ——– with someone
To come out on ——–
Be on a winning ——–
The winner takes it ——–

Answers

You win some, you lose some
To wipe the floor with someone
To come out on top
Be on a winning streak
The winner takes it all

Christmas idioms

Some of the following English idioms are more closely related to Christmas than the others. However, for each of the three idioms in every group, the same word is missing.

After all your preparations

You want to put your ——– up
You want to take the weight off your ——–
You feel rushed off your ——–

Related to food

It's like a ——– voting for an early Christmas.
He went cold ——–
Let's talk ——–

The proof of the ——– is in the eating.
You don't need to over-egg the ——–. I'm already convinced of your argument.
He has a rather unfortunate ——– bowl haircut.

What are you talking about? Have you been at the ——– nog already?
You shouldn't ——– him on so much. One of these days he's going to get into serious trouble.
Don't ask her out – you'll just end up with ——– on your face.

Related to the day

Don is so arrogant. He thinks he's God's ——– to women.
He could sell you anything at all. He's got the ——– of the gab.
Don't look a ——– horse in the mouth. It's a great opportunity for you!

Answers

1. feet
2. turkey
3. pudding
4. egg
5. gift




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3 comments

GEORGIA
VERY NICE AND COMPREHENSIVE WORK- WELL DONE- I AM SPEECHLESS- THANK YOU
JOAN
Great stuff!
Jean R. Thibaud
very useful !

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