1. Match the proverbs and meanings
- A leopard can’t change its spots.
- Kill two birds with one stone
- Too many cooks spoil the broth.
- Out of sight, out of mind.
- A double-edged sword.
- A person is known by the company he keeps.
- Hobson’s choice.*
- A wolf in sheep’s clothing.
- Birds of a feather flock together.
- Two’s company, three’s a crowd.
- If you can’t see someone or something, you soon forget about them.
- Achieve two goals with one action.
- If you want to know about someone look at his friends.
- Some people never change.
- No choice at all.
- Sometimes it is better for one person to do something, rather than lots of people.
- Something that can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.
- Something dangerous, but looks innocent.
- Two people can get on better when there’s no one else.
- People tend to join people with similar interests /outlooks.
*A man named Hobson, who hired out his horse in strict rotation, (i.e. offering no choice) is the origin of this phrase.
2. The following structure/language points can cause problems for learners. Why are they difficult? Use the prompts to help you
- I don’t want no milk. *
- Turning the corner, he saw a packet in the road. (=As he turned)
- ‘I must go’ he said.= He said he had to go.
- I saw a man standing next to me. ( = a man who was standing)
- I had my car cleaned/stolen.
- If I’d known, I’d have come.
- Would you mind waiting a minute?
- I hardly worked this afternoon. (compare: I worked hard this afternoon.)
- He worked as a cricket umpire and a football referee.
- She is more slower than her sister. *
*grammatically incorrect form
- What is the meaning of the double negative sentence?
- Why do we use a participle? What is omitted?
- Why do we use had to in the reported version?
- What is missing?
- What is the difference in meaning between the two examples?
- What is the difference in meaning between the first and second ‘I’d’. How do you know?
- What answer is expected? 8. What is the difference between hard and hardly? Why is this confusing?
- Why do we use different words to describe the same job in different sports?
- What is wrong with this sentence? What is the rule?
3. Match each proverb with a grammar point
- A leopard can’t change its spots: ‘I must go’, he said/He said he had to go. Some people never change, and some words never change. Must does not have past tense, so we prefer had to in reported speech.
- A person is known by the company he keeps: If I’d known, I’d have come. We know what people are like by the people around them. We can tell the meaning of I’d (I would or I had) by the words around it.
- Hobson’s choice: Would you mind waiting a minute? This polite request form is often used as an order, and a yes/no answer is often not required, as with Hobson, there may well be no choice.
- A wolf in sheeps clothing: I hardly worked this afternoon. Hardly looks like something positive in the context of work, yet I hardly worked actually it is a negative statement. It is not what it seems.
- Birds of a feather flock together: He worked as a cricket umpire and a football referee. People have their own groups, so do words. Umpire collocates with cricket, referee with football.
- Two’s company, three’s a crowd:*She is more slower than her sister. Two syllables are enough for short comparative adjectives eg cold+er, slow+er. If you try to add more to slower, it becomes three syllables, which is too crowded in this case.
- Kill two birds with one stone: Turning the corner, he saw a packet in the road. In this construction we only need one pronoun for two clauses.
- Too many cooks spoil the broth:*I don’t want no milk. Double negatives are not used in English. Too many negatives spoil the sentence!
- Out of sight, out of mind: I saw a man standing next to me. The relative clause is reduced; a man standing next to me means a man who was standing next to me. Students may not realize this is a type of relative clause, because the pronoun and auxiliary are invisible, i.e. out of sight.
- A double-edged sword: I had my car cleaned/stolen. This structure is used to ask someone to perform a service for you: I had my car cleaned, or it is something you did not expect to happen to you (usually bad): I had my car stolen. A double-edged sword can cut two ways, it can be both an advantage and a disadvantage.