Saturday, 24 March 2012

Objective Proficiency p 176. Key Word Transformations. Extra Exercise

1       During the holidays she must continue to work on the project.
She has _______________________________ the project during the holidays.


1       During the holidays she must continue to work on the project.
She has _______to get on with_________ the project during the holidays.

2       The bank robbers had disappeared completely by the time the police arrived.
There _____________________________ robbers when the police arrived.


2       The bank robbers had disappeared completely by the time the police arrived.
There _____was no sign of the________ robbers when the police arrived.

3       In such poor weather conditions driving carefully was indispensable.
It ______________________________ the poor weather conditions.


3      In such poor weather conditions driving carefully was indispensable.
It __was important/indispensable/essential to drive carefully given__ the poor weather conditions.

4       Under the circumstances, he really had to stay calm and act accordingly.
He really had to ____________________________ under the circumstances.


4       Under the circumstances, he had to stay calm and act accordingly.
He had to _______keep his wits about him_________ under the circumstances.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Objective Proficiency p 170. Laughter’s the Best Medicine. Extra Reading

Having a good laugh with friends really does help us to deal with pain, suggests a new study. The international research team, led by Oxford University, found that when we laugh properly, as opposed to producing a polite titter, the physical exertion leaves us exhausted and thereby triggers the release of protective endorphins. These endorphins, one of the complex neuropeptide chemicals produced in the brain, manage pain and promote feelings of well being. According to the team’s research paper, published online in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, watching just 15 minutes of comedy with others increased the pain threshold by an average of about ten per cent.

Objective Proficiency p 170. The Bottomless Pit. Extra Joke

Objective Proficiency p 170. Intelligent Life in Washington D.C.? Extra Humour

Objective Proficiency p 170. Paraprosdokians. Extra Humour

A paraprosdokian /pærəprɒsˈdoʊkiən/ is a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected in a way that causes the reader or listener to reframe or reinterpret the first part. It is frequently used for humorous or dramatic effect, sometimes producing an anticlimax. For this reason, it is extremely popular among comedians and satirists. Some paraprosdokians not only change the meaning of an early phrase, but they also play on the double meaning of a particular word.

1. Where there's a will, I want to be in it.

2. The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on my list.

3. Since light travels faster than sound, some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

4. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

5. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

6. War does not determine who is right - only who is left.

7. Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.

8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

9. I didn't say it was your fault; I said I was blaming you.

10. In filling out an application, where it says, 'In case of emergency, Notify:' I put, 'DOCTOR'.

11. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

12. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive more than once.

13. I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure..

14. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

15. Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.

16. You're never too old to learn something stupid.

17. I'm supposed to respect my elders, but it
s getting harder and harder for me to find one now.

Objective Proficiency p 170. U.S. Shocked Andorra Not In Africa. Extra Listening

To read or watch more news visit The Onion website

Objective Proficiency p 170. If You See Someone Drowning. Extra Joke

Friday, 16 March 2012

Objective Proficiency p 168. Nathan Fielder: an Out-of-Town Wedding

Objective Proficiency p 168. Witty sentences

1. I recently got crushed by a pile of books, but I suppose I've only got my shelf to blame.

  2. A man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation for a local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

  3. I went to a really emotional wedding the other day. Even the cake was in tiers.

  4. I had to quit my job at the shoe recycling factory. It was just sole destroying.

  5. I was getting in to my car the other day when a man asked me, 'Buddy, can you give me a lift?' I said, 'Sure, you look great, chase your dreams, go for it!'

  6. I've decided to sell my vacuum. Well, it was just gathering dust.

  7. What's the best time to go to the dentist? Tooth-hurtie.

  9. Never date tennis players. Love means nothing to them.

10. My wife and I were happy for 20 years. Then we met.

11. Why didn't the lifeguard save the hippie? Because he was too far out, man.

12. I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together. Riveting!

13. I was overcharged for Velcro last week. What a rip off.

14. I think I'm emotionally constipated. I just can't seem to give a shit.

15. I've been reading a book about anti-gravity. It's impossible to put down.

16. A train stops at a train station. A bus stops at a bus station. Now why is my desk called a 'work station'?

17. How do prisoners call each other? On their cell phones.

18. The thing about dwarfs and midgets is that they have very little in common.

19. Have you heard about the magic tractor? It turned into a field.

20. To the guy who invented zero: Thanks for nothing!

21. I hate Russian Dolls. They're so full of themselves.

22. I used to be a banker, but over time I lost interest.

23. I was thinking about getting a brain transplant, but then I changed my mind.

24. I can't understand why people are so bothered about me not knowing what the word 'apocalypse' means. Sheesh, it's not like it's the end of the world or something!

25. Why can't a bike stand on its own? It's two-tired!

26. Did you hear about the man who lost his entire left side in an accident? He's all right now.

27. If I could only take one thing to a desert island, I probably wouldn't bother going.

28. I couldn't figure out how to fasten my seat belt for ages. But then one day, it just clicked.

29. My first job was at a calendar factory. I can't believe they sacked me... all I did was take a day off!

30. I was going to tell my pizza joke, but I think it's a bit too cheesy.

Objective Proficiency p 168. How Mothers Deliver a Baby. Extra Listening

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Objective Proficiency p 160. The Battle for Stonehenge: A Culture Show Special. Extra Listening

Objective Proficiency p 160. Shakespeare Speaks: a Fool’s Paradise . Extra Listening


BBC Website

A fool's paradise

These days, the phrase a fool's paradise describes any situation that somebody thinks is good, without realising that it won't last – or that it's actually bad.

Example sentence
Jack's work is terrible. He's living in a fool's paradise if he thinks he's getting a pay rise.
The euro: Good bet or a fool's paradise? (BBC News headline, written when the value of the single European currency fell to record lows – making it cheap to buy for investors, but not particularly safe)
The phrase a fool's paradise is often used with the verb live in the appropriate form:
  • He's living in a fool's paradise
  • She lived in a fool's paradise 
  • She needs to stop living in a fool’s paradise
  • Do you have any friends who are living in a fool's paradise
We can also use the phrase a fool’s paradise with the verb be:
  • It's a fool's paradise
  • Her happiness was a fool's paradise

Romeo and Juliet, the star-cross'd lovers
William Shakespeare's tale of the star-crossed lovers continues to have a powerful effect on audiences and the main story of forbidden love is still relevant today. Young people all over the world can relate to parents becoming involved in their love lives - not normally with such dramatic results fortunately!

star-crossed lovers
very unlucky lovers

a fool
a silly person

fool someone

trick or deceive someone

have your way with someone

have sex with someone

do right by someone

treat someone well and fairly. E.g. do you think Robert will do right by Janet?

Expressions for talking about reality and fantasy. 

Useful phrases to describe people with unrealistic - and realistic - plans and ideas.
Do you know the difference between reality and fantasy?

come back to earth (with a bump)
to accept reality again after a pleasant experience or a hopeful dream. E.g. Do you think poor Janet will come back to earth with a bump?

to have your head in the clouds
to be unaware of what is happening around you in the real world

a wishful thinker

a person who has hopes and plans that are unlikely to happen in reality

living in a dream world

having ideas or hopes which are not practical and are not likely to be successful

a pipe dream

a hope which is impossible to achieve or not realistic


sensible and realistic

someone who has the ability to think clearly and realistically and makes good decisions

to have your feet on the ground

to be sensible, practical and realistic

clutch/grasp at straws
to try all possible means to find a solution or some hope in a difficult or unpleasant situation, even though this seems very unlikely. E.g. I know I’m just clutching at straws here, but is it possible that the doctors are wrong?

We'd like you to tell us about how realistic you think you are. Have you ever lived in a fool's paradise? Or have you had a pipe dream or done some wishful thinking in the past? What happened to bring you back down to earth?  

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Objective Proficiency p 158. Writing an Article

An international ecology magazine has invited readers to contribute an article to a special edition entitled Ways to save our planet. Write an article outlining the environmental measures you think should be taken by individuals and by governments and evaluating their chances of success.

To see how to write articles click here and also here. You can also get some ideas on how to write articles on pages 90, 91, 158, 159, 174 & 175. Finally, you can find useful language for writing here.   
Get some ideas on the topic here:
Objective Proficiency p 112. The Future of Wind Power. Extra Listening and Reading 
Objective Proficiency p 24. The Weather and Climate Change. Extra Speaking
Speakout Advanced p 47. The Environment. Extra Speaking
Speakout Advanced p 75. Story of Stuff. Extra Listening
Ready for CAE p 158. HOME (English with subtitles). Extra Listening

Useful vocabulary for this topic

a population in excess of 6 billion people
this can lead us to extinction
Arctic ice has thawed into the oceans 
Appearances can be deceptive
We are playing with fire
It is of the utmost importance that we stem (stop the flow) greenhouse gas emissions as they are at the root of the problem. No mean feat (not easy) by the way.
Governments should stop protecting the energy companies' vested interests (private interests), and instead, help to bring about a sustainable energy model, based on renewable resources. 
red tape: official rules that seem more complicated than necessary and prevent things from being done quickly. E.g. You have to go through endless red tape to get solar panels or to set up a solar farm (also solar park or photovoltaic power station). 
Consumers should buy products that try to minimize the carbon footprint. It only consists in buying locally produced groceries.
carpool: if a group of people carpool, they travel to work together in one car and divide the cost between them. E.g. Needless to say, carpooling and the use of public transport help to reduce pollution levels.
unbridled /ʌnˈbraɪdld/ not controlled and therefore extreme. E.g. We need to put a stop to this unbridled shopping spree that has taken hold of (control) society at large (as a whole; in general).
It is generally accepted that the situation has come to a head (if a situation comes to a head, you are forced to deal with it quickly because it suddenly becomes very bad)
Without a shadow of a doubt our survival is at stake (that can be won or lost, depending on the success of a particular action. Sp . en juego. E.g. We cannot afford to take risks when people's lives are at stake. The prize at stake is a place in the final).

Another idea for an article:
An English-language newspaper is inviting readers to contribute to a series of articles about clothing. You decide to write an article about wearing the right clothes for the right occasion. You can find useful vocabulary to talk about clothing here.