FUNNY AND WEIRD WORDS

Click here and read the instructions to do the exercises on this blog. The instructions are in Spanish. To check your answers, click on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

In English, there are some words that may sound strange or funny to a non-native speaker. So how about doing an exercise to learn some of these weird words? 

Picture by Sandy Brown Jensen. Creative Commons License.

Exercise: Read the sentences and complete the blanks with the following words: giggle – doodles – goggles – squabble – baffling – serendipity – hullabaloo – bumfuzzled – procrastination – flabbergasted. You will find the definition of the words at the end of each sentence.

1) Yesterday, when I was walking back home from work, I found $ 100 in the street. That was a fortunate stroke of __________. (The faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident).   

2) Michael was __________ when I told him that he had won the lottery. As soon as I broke the news to him, he said that he was going to take a sabbatical year to travel around the world. (To shock or surprise someone).

3) The political debate between the two presidential candidates was very confusing and aggressive. The French people must be totally __________ at the moment. (To be confused).

4) Hey, Jimmy! Don’t forget to take your __________ if you’re going to the club to swim some lengths. (A type of thick glasses to protect your eyes from danger).

5) I can’t believe Tom and Linda are having a __________ about who is going to do the washing up after the meal. (An argument over a trivial matter)

6) The Maths class was so boring that some students started to draw funny __________ all over their textbooks while the teacher explained the exercises. (Rough drawings made absent-mindedly).

Picture by Sandy Brown Jensen. Creative Commons License.

7) Samantha is a very smart and enthusiastic employee, but her constant __________ is going to get her into big trouble. She definitely needs to work on that flaw. Otherwise, she’s going to be fired. (The act of delaying things that require immediate attention).

8) When Professor Hardcastle got into the classroom wearing a ridiculous cowboy hat, some students began to __________. He looked like an actor from a spaghetti western film. (To laugh to laugh in a nervous, excited, or silly way).   

9) Although the detectives and police officers have been looking into the robbery for almost two years, the crime is still a __________ mystery to them. (Difficult to understand).

10) There’s a huge crowd of angry workers making a real __________ outside the factory because they have been dismissed without receiving severance payment”. (A loud noise made by people who are angry or annoyed).

Remember that you can check your answers by clicking on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

“CREATIVITY IS INTELLIGENCE HAVING FUN.” Albert Einstein.

Video by John Spencer. Creative Commons License.

Related posts and exercises ➡ A burst of colour (exercise), Proverbs to remember (exercise)No way, José! (exercise), Gamifying education (post), Are you ready to go Edupunk? (post), Plucky and perky people (exercise)Way to go! (exercise).

Practical guide for blog interaction  Articles, exercises and related posts.

I LOOK UP TO YOU

Click here and read the instructions to do the exercises on this blog. The instructions are in Spanish. To check your answers, click on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

Exercise: Read the sentences and fill in the blanks with the following phrasal verbs: look through – look forward to – look into – look afterlook for – look up – look in on – look down on – look out – look up to.

1) Hey Jimmy, guess what? I’m travelling to California next month. So how about getting together for a few drinks? I’m really _________ meeting you again after such a long time.   

Picture by Gerd Leonhard. Creative Commons License.

2) Mum, I promise I will _________ grandma on my way back home to make sure she’s alright. I will call you as soon as I get there, but please bear in mind that I might arrive at her house after 7:00 pm because the rush-hour traffic has been chaotic lately.

3) To be honest, I have never heard the word “serendipity” before, so I’m afraid I will have to _____ it _____ in the dictionary. It’s a funny sounding word, isn’t it?

4) My new boss is such a snob! He _________ his colleagues and employees because he thinks he’s much more intelligent than they are. I’m really not used to working with big-headed people.

Picture by Geralt. Public Domain License. 

5) Listen, Johnny! I have just _________ your report and I have found some grammar mistakes. Please, go over the document and correct all the mistakes. I need you to have it ready by 2:00 o’clock. 

6) Michael really _________ his grandfather because he is a very hardworking man who has managed to build a real estate empire from scratch. Also, he has always got along with his partners and employees.

7) Last Monday I had a meeting with Mr. O’Farrell, the Headmaster of Saint Andrew’s School, and I told him that my son was pretty upset because he had been bullied by his classmates. He promised me that he was going to _________ the matter immediately and contact me as soon as he had any news.

8) Sorry, Julia! But I can’t go to your birthday party next Saturday because I have to _________ my little brother. My parents are travelling to Wales next weekend to celebrate their wedding anniversary.   

9) When I was in New York last year, I was surprised to find in some pubs posters hanging from the walls with the following message: Keep calm and _________ for your belongings!

Picture by Wesley Fryer. Creative Commons License. 

10) Tim is picking me up in ten minutes to go to the cinema and I can’t find the new earrings I bought this morning. Can you help me _________ them?

PHRASAL VERBS WITH “LOOK”.

Video by Aplicativo para profesores. Creative Commons License.

Related posts and exercises  Dating phrasal verbs (exercise), London, Baby! (exercise), Proverbs to remember (exercise)No way, José! (exercise), And the Oscar goes to… (post), Gamifying education (post). Start blogging today (post), Are you ready to go Edupunk? (post), Plucky and perky people (exercise). 

Practical guide for blog interaction  Articles, exercises and related posts.

A BURST OF COLOUR

Click here and read the instructions to do the exercises on this blog. The instructions are in Spanish. To check your answers, click on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

Exercise: Fill in the blanks with the following colours  red, blue, green, white and pink to complete the highlighted expressions. You will need to use each colour twice.

1) Last Monday Michael called me out of the _________ to ask me out. He said he wanted to go to the cinema with me to watch “La La Land”. I’m thrilled! I´ve been told that this movie is just awesome!

5110249320_d868dbcfe2_b

Picture by Arturo Espinosa. Creative Commons License.

2)  The day my brother graduated as an engineer was a _________ -letter day for the whole family. After the graduation ceremony, we organized a surprise party for him with all his friends from primary and secondary school. We had such a blast!

3) Have you heard the latest news? Marcos has been caught _________ -handed stealing money from Melisa’s handbag. Rumour has it that he´s going to be given the sack pretty soon.

4) I was tickled _________  when my mother told me that we were going to go to the UK on holidays. She said she had already booked a 10-day tour through Scotland, England and Wales.

trees-final

Picture by Mirjana Veljovic. Creative Commons License. 

5) Anthony, are you feeling alright? You’re as _________  as a sheet! What’s the matter, dude? Shall I take you to the hospital? We can get there in less than 10 minutes. I´ve got my car parked just one block from here. 

6) I´ve been married for ten years and I must say that my husband is definitely not the romantic type! He brings me flowers once in a _________ moon and we hardly ever have a romantic dinner in a restaurant. However, he’s the funniest person I’ve ever met. That’s why I’m still in love with him!

7) I have been given the _________ light by my boss to launch the advertising campaign for the new product of the company. If the campaign is successful, I might get promoted by the end of the year.

6067084504_4fca703a26_b

Picture by Arturo Espinosa. Creative Commons License. 

8)  Drusilla Rosswell is the most selfish woman I´ve ever met. When she learnt that I had been chosen as the leading actress for the next film directed by Damien Chazelle, she was _________  with envy.   

9) My grandfather has always done lots of sports. Now, he is nearly ninety and he is in the _________  of condition. I wish I were as methodical and disciplined as he is!

10) I´ve just sent a WhatsApp message to Mark telling him that I can´t go to his birthday party because I´m going to go to a rock concert with Simon. Well, between you and me, this is just a _________ lie. The truth is that Mark´s parties are kind of boring and I´m not in the mood to meet his nerdy friends.

Related posts and exercises  Head over heels (exercise)Idioms of the week (exercise), As free as a bird (exercise)No way, José! (exercise)Yayoi Kusama, princess of polka dots (post), Ciruelo, Lord of the Dragons (post)

Practical guide for blog interaction  Articles, exercises and related posts.

THE GIFT OF THE GAB

Click here and read the instructions to do the exercises on this blog. The instructions are in Spanish. To check your answers, click on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

Exercise: Read the following sentences and choose the correct word in CAPITAL LETTERS to complete the idioms. 

The gift of the gab is the ability to speak fluently and confidently.

businessman-1600975_960_720-copia

Picture by GraphicMamaTeam. Public Domain License. 

2) I think we’ve been talking at cross IDEAS – CONCEPTS – PURPOSES. My intention is to have the meeting with the new CEO next month, not this month. We definitely need more time to organize a proper presentation.

3) OK, I’ll get straight to the POINT – CORE – THOUGHT. As we all know, the company hasn’t been doing well recently so I’m afraid we’re going to have to make some budget cuts. For example, this year we’re not going to offer any training courses to our employees.

4) Samantha, I know you’re in a hurry, but can I have a quick CHAT – WORD – CONVERSATION with you? It’s about the report you’ve just sent to me by e-mail. I’d like you to go over it because there are a few grammar mistakes.

5) Whenever you strike up a conversation with Martina, you can’t get a word in HIGHWAYS – EDGEWAYS – RUNWAYS. She’s definitely a chatterbox.  

man-1600959_960_720-copia

Picture by GraphicMamaTeam. Public Domain License. 

7) I’ve read Linda’s essay many times but I can’t make HANDS – HEADS – EARS or tails of it. I’m afraid she’ll have to write it again from scratch.

8) I’m sure I’ll remember her name pretty soon. It’s on the END – EDGE – TIP of my tongue. Wait a minute. I got it! Her name is Johanne.

9) When the teachers told me that I hadn’t passed the exam I was at a LACK – LOSS – SHORTAGE for words. I was about to ask them to let me have a look at their corrections, but then I decided not to do so and told them that I was going to study harder for the next exam.  

woman-1601016_960_720-copia-copia

Picture by GraphicMamaTeam. Public Domain License. 

Remember that you can check your answers by clicking on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

Related posts and exercises  Idioms of the week (exercise), No way, José! (exercise), What’s all this mumbo-jumbo? (exercise), Dating phrasal verbs (exercise)Gamifying education (post), Open educational resources (post), Proverbs to remember (exercise), Way to go! (exercise), Have fun with The Beatles! (post), YouTubers rock! (post), What is the secret of Star Wars’ success? (post).

Practical guide for blog interaction Articles, exercises and related posts.

LET’S WORK!

Idioms and Phrasal Verbs: Ten uses of the word “Work”.

my-desk-1625867_960_720

Picture by Vijaysrmmca. Public Domain License. 

Click here and read the instructions to do the exercises on this blog. The instructions are in Spanish. To check your answers, click on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

Exercise: Fill in the blanks with the following words to complete the highlighted idioms and phrasal verbs  in  / on / room / out / up / wonders / off / against / dull /around.

1) “Life is very short and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend” is a famous line from one of the most popular songs by The Beatles: “We can work it _____”. The song was composed by Paul McCartney and John Lennon after an argument that Paul McCartney had had with his girlfriend Jane Asher. (To solve a problem).

2) Michael, this is the third weekend in a row that you tell me that you cannot go out because you need to catch up with your work. Come on!  All work and no play makes Jack a _____ boy! (This proverb means that without time off from work, a person becomes bland and boring).

3) I’ve been learning English for two years and I must say that my pronunciation is not that good, but I’m working _____ it. I usually watch episodes from my favourite sitcoms and I try to copy the way native speakers speak. (To spend time improving something).

4) My boss has been pretty kind and generous to me. So I can’t just walk in his office and tell him that I want to quit my job. I need a few days to work _____ the courage to let him know that I’m not quite satisfied with my job. (To evoke an emotional state).

5) Listen, Thomas. I know that the project we’re supposed to implement has many flaws, but unfortunately we cannot make any changes to improve it because it has already been approved by the marketing department. So we’ll have to work _____ it and do our best to make it work. (To find a way of overcoming a problem).

meeting-1453895_960_720

Picture by GraphicMamaTeam. Public Domain License.

6) In a recent interview, Lady Gaga has declared that her next new album “Joanne” is _____ the works and that she’s planning to release the first single of the album in a couple of weeks. (To be in the process of being produced or developed).

7) The last few days at work have been pretty hectic because we’re about to launch a new product in the market. I’m under a lot of stress and I just need to work it _____ at the gym. (To get rid of a feeling by doing physical activity).

8) Nutritionists always highlight the importance of water consumption in a diet because they say that, among other benefits, water helps energize the muscles and works _____ for the skin. (To have a beneficial effect on someone).

9) My boyfriend is friendly, extrovert and outspoken. Whenever we go to a party, he usually works the _____ and strikes up a conversation with almost all the guests. (To interact with many people at an event).

10) Susan is an excellent business woman but her personality works _____ her because she’s arrogant and short-tempered. If she wants to succeed in her job, she will have to change her attitude. (To cause problems for someone).  

Remember that you can check your answers by clicking on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

CREATIVITY IN THE WORKPLACE

Video by SimpleShow Foundation. Creative Commons Public License.

Related posts  Idioms of the week (exercise), No way, José! (exercise), What’s all this mumbo-jumbo? (exercise), Dating phrasal verbs (exercise), London, Baby! (exercise), Gamifying education (post), Open educational resources (post), Proverbs to remember (exercise), Way to go! (exercise)

Practical guide for blog interaction  Articles, exercises and related posts.

HARRY POTTER: A MAGICAL JOURNEY

harry_potter_quad_by_makingpicsslowly-d50zpmsIn the first book of the Harry Potter Saga, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J. K. Rowling wrote the following famous line to refer to the boy-wizard hero she was introducing to the whole world: “One day, every child in the world will know his name”. It had never occurred to her that by including that sentence in the story she was making a kind of unconscious prediction about what was going to happen in real life. It was as if deep inside the authoress knew that she was meant to share the same magical destiny as the beloved character she herself had created.

Picture by Making Pics Slowly. Creative Commons License. 

“IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER THAT WE ALL HAVE MAGIC INSIDE US”.
J.K. Rowling.

7306701036_09b67a2015_z

Picture by Dave Catchpole. Creative Commons Public License. 

AN EPIPHANIC MOMENT

Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born on July 31st, 1966 near Bristol in England. (Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling share the same birthday!). She was the first child of Peter Rowling, a manager of an aircraft factory, and Ann Volant, a lab technician. Joanne’s parents were both avid readers and their house was full of books. Hoping to awaken in their daughter their love for literature, they began reading to Joanne at an early age. At that moment, Peter and Ann didn’t know that the exposure to this wide range of stories and fairy tales was going to have a deep and profound impact on their daughter’s life. Since she was a little child, Joanne knew that she was going to become a writer. “Writing for me has always been a kind of wonderful compulsion”, she once declared in an interview. “It’s weird, but writing is all I ever wanted to do”. 

Before finding an inspiring story to tell, J. K. Rowling had been writing compulsively for years. However, there were times in which she felt as if she was stuck in a dead-end alley because she couldn’t come up with an interesting and original plot. One day, while she was travelling on a train from Manchester to London, a wondrous idea suddenly crossed her mind: A boy who doesn’t know he is a wizard goes to a school of witchcraft and wizardry. This thought was like an epiphany for her because immediately afterwards, her mind became filled with lots of vivid images and ideas that helped her develop the plot of the most important story of her life. That very special moment was, in Rowling’s own words, a stroke of magic.

8347326208_ca902f8d74_z

Picture by Jochen Spalding. Public Domain License.

IT’S A KIND OF MAGIC

When Joanne was nine years old, her family moved to a small village outside Chester because her parents loved living in the countryside. In this village, close to the border with Wales, there was a forest and Joanne and her younger sister Diana would go into it and spend long hours playing outdoor games or just strolling aroundI’m very drawn to forests. […] The advantage of a forest is it can be so many things. It can be a place of enchantment. You never imagine a crowd in a forest. It’s a solitary place. […] It used to be a place of shelter and safety to us, I suppose. […] Even though they can be spooky”, J.K. Rowling once said in a documentary about her life. This forest was particularly important in Joanne’s childhood because, among other reasons, it nurtured her imagination. This unique place offered her the opportunity to explore in her curious mind a wide variety of creative possibilities ranging from magical creatures to mysterious powers, to mention but a few.

The overall theme of magic in the Harry Potter Saga has been widely and deeply discussed by scholars, critics and Potterites all over the world because it is by far one of the most appealing aspects of the story. The authoress is said to have put a lot of thought into creating a fantastic and amazing universe ruled by magic. In fact, the theme of magic provides the narrative thread that runs through the seven books of the series. Rowling believes that the extraordinary power that magic has conferred on her characters is the most attractive and fascinating element readers (children and adults alike) have found in the story. “There’s a quotation that I almost used in the Harry Potter book […] “In magic man has to rely on himself”. I’m not saying I believe magic is real. I don’t. But that’s the perennial appeal of magic – that we ourselves have power and we can shape our world” – J. K. Rowling.

Click here and read the instructions to do the exercises on this blog. The instructions are in Spanish. To check your answers, click on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

Exercise: Read the text and answer the following questions.

1) Why was J. K. Rowling making a kind of unconscious prediction by including the following line in the first book of the Harry Potter Saga: “One day, every child in the world will know his name”?

2) What influence did J. K. Rowling’s parents have in her decision to become a writer?

3) Why did J. K. Rowling sometimes feel as if she was stuck in a dead-end alley?

4) What happened one day while J. K. Rowling was travelling on a train from Manchester to London?

5) Why is the word “epiphany” associated with J. K. Rowling’s main idea for the plot of the Harry Potter Saga?

6) How did J. K. Rowling and her younger sister use to spend their free time in the forest near their house in Bristol?

7) What influence did the experiences in the forest have in J. K. Rowling’s own writing?

8) Which is one of the most interesting themes in the story of the boy-wizard hero?

9) What does the term “Potterite” refer to? Do you consider yourself a “Potterite”?

10) According to J. K. Rowling, which is the most appealing aspect of magic?

Remember that you can check your answers by clicking on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

Related posts: The Hobbit: The legend lives on (post), One ring to rule them all (post), One ring to rule them all (exercise), Alice in Wonderland: An inspiring journey (post), The Little Prince (post), London, Baby! (exercise), Movie time! (exercise)

Practical guide for blog interaction: Articles, exercises and related posts.

ARE YOU INTO SPORTS?

Click here and read the instructions to do the exercises on this blog. The instructions are in Spanish. To check your answers, click on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

Exercise: Fill in the blanks with the following words related to sports: draw – beat – awarded – courses – medleys – offside – puck – courts – tries – umpire. (You may use some of the words more than once).

games-70833_960_720

Picture by Geralt. Public Domain License. 

1) According to the Olympic tradition, winners are _________ gold, silver and bronze medals but they do not receive any prize money from the Olympics committee. However, victorious athletes do get some cash prizes from the national sports federations of their countries.   

2) In the basketball tournament, the American Dream Team _________ Serbia 96-66 to win the final gold medal of the 2016 Olympic Games. And Spain, which had previously lost to the USA, won the bronze medal after defeating Australia 89-88 in a thrilling clash.

3) The Grand Slam consists of the four major tennis tournaments on the international circuit. The _________ at Wimbledon in London have a grass surface, whereas the _________ of the French Open (Roland Garros) are covered with clay. The US Open and the Australian Open are played on hard _________.  

4) The modern game of golf originated in Scotland in the early 15th century and this country is well-known for having the most spectacular golf _________ in the world. The first written record of this sport dates back to 1457, when James II issued an edict banning golf because he thought that it represented a distraction from learning archery.

cycling-905963_960_720

Picture by AlexasFotos. Public Domain License. 

5) During the men’s tennis final in the 2016 Olympics, Juan Martín Del Potro had a couple of discussions with the _________. Even though it was not clear what was going on, at the end of the match they were both on good terms and the _________ congratulated Del Potro on winning the silver medal.

6) Felipe Contepomi is my favourite Argentinian rugby player of all time. While he played in the national team, he scored some of the most amazing _________ I have ever seen in rugby matches. At the time of his retirement, Contepomi achieved the most points scored (651) in international games.

7) The swimming competitions in the Olympics include four different swimming styles: freestyle, breaststroke, butterfly and backstroke. Most of the races are held for one swimming style, except for _________. Also, swimmers can participate in relays or compete in open-water events. Michael Phelps holds the most world records in men’s swimming competitions and he is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time, having won a total of 28 medals.

sport-1580667_960_720

Picture by Pixaline. Public Domain License.

8) During the football final match between Brazil and Germany in the 2016 Olympics, the assistant referees raised their flags many times to indicate to the referee that some players were in an  _________ position. After a thrilling and exciting match, Brazil _________ Germany on penalties and won their first Olympic football gold medal.

9) Apart from the surfaces on which the sports are played, one of the main differences between ice-hockey and field-hockey is the type of ball hockey players have to strike with their curved sticks. Ice-hockey is played with a black disc-shaped _________ made of rubber, while field-hockey is played with a small white ball made of plastic.

10) The basketball match between Argentina and Brazil in the 2016 Olympics was a thriller. Argentina was losing 82-85 in regular time and with only ten seconds left, Andrés Nocioni tied the game on a shot, ending the game in a _________. In the end, Argentina won the classic 111-107 in the second overtime period.

Remember that you can check your answers by clicking on the “Comments” section at the bottom of the post.

Related posts The history and tradition of the Olympic Games (post)The World Cup, a historical review (post).

Practical guide for blog interaction Articles, exercises and related posts.