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Lingvistov Reading Club: English Anecdotes

Read the anecdotes. Before reading study the vocabulary for each of the stories.



A magician was working on a cruise ship in the Caribbean. The audience would be different each week, so the magician allowed himself to do the same tricks over and over again. There was only one problem: The captain's parrot saw the shows each week and began to understand how the magician did every trick. Once he understood he started shouting in the middle of the show:
"Look, it's not the same hat."
"Look, he is hiding the flowers under the table."
"Hey, why are all the cards the Ace of Spades?"
The magician was furious but couldn't do anything; it was, after all, the captain's parrot.
One day the ship had an accident and sank. The magician found himself floating on a piece of wood in the middle of the ocean with the parrot, of course.
They stared at each other with hate, but did not utter a word. This went on for a day and another and another. After a week the parrot said: "OK, I give up. Where's the boat?"

parrot - попугай
to do the trick - выполнять трюк
Ace of Spades - туз пики
furious = very angry
to sink (sank, sunk) - тонуть
not to utter a word - не произнести и слова
give up - сдаваться

Sherlock Holmes and Watson

Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson went on a camping trip. After a good meal they lay down for the night, and went to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes awoke and nudged his faithful friend awake. "Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see." Watson replied, "I see millions and millions of stars."
"What does that tell you?" Holmes questioned.
Watson pondered for a minute. "Astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. What does it tell you?"
Holmes was silent for a minute, then spoke. "Watson, you idiot. It tells me that some bastard has stolen our tent!"
camping tour - поход с палатками
to nudge - слегка подталкивать локтем
faithful friend - верный друг
to ponder - размышлять
to deduce - выводить (заключение), делать вывод
approximately - примерно
to suspect - подозревать

Animal Crackers

“Mom, can I have an animal cracker?” asked 3-year-old Bob.
“Sure Bob,” said his mom. “Open up the box, and take a few.”
Forty-five minutes later Bob’s mother walked into the kitchen.
“Bob, why’d you spill out all of the animal crackers, and what are you looking for?”
“It said on the box not to eat it if the seal is broken.” Bob replied. “I spilled out the whole box, I looked through all of the animals but I can’t find any seals!”

to spill out
- пролить, рассыпать
seal - тюлень; печать, пломба (на товаре, как гарантия качества)

Vocabulary Exercises
ex. 1 Find the English equivalents in the text:
подозревать, пристально смотреть на что-то, разъяренный, сдаваться, все-таки, такой же, верный друг, размышлять, отвечать, сделать вывод, рассыпать, примерно
ex. 2 Study the rules and do the exercises:
  • to look + adjective (beautiful, old, etc.)
  • to look like + noun, pronoun (aunt Jane, Meryl Strip, etc.)
  • to look alike = to look identical
  • to be similar to something / somebody
  • to be the same as something / somebody
Complete the sentences:
  1. Don't approach him. He ____ furious!
  2. People say I ____ my mother. We have ____ eyes and hair.
  3. I have ____ personality ____ my father. We are both open and extrovert.
  4. My cousins are twins. They ____. It's hard to tell one from the other.
  5. This book is very ____ to the book I read a week ago. They must be from ____ author.
  6. Don't I ____ Angelina Jolie? I think we are completely ____.
ex. 3 Complete the sentences with the words
the same
after all
to stare at something
to give up
faithful friend
to ponder
to deduce
to suspect
to spill out
to reply
  1. I called you but you didn't ______.
  2. The boys broke the vase. Their mother was ______.
  3. Why are you ______ at me? Is there anything wrong with my clothes?
  4. His car is ______ as mine. He is going to sell it soon.
  5. I shouldn't stop studying English. I have spent four years learning it ______.
  6. I ______ the milk all over the table! My mother will be very angry!
  7. When Sherlock Holmes solved the crimes, he looked at the evidence and facts and then ______ who the killer was.
  8. When he asked me what my dream was, I ______ for a while and then said that it was to see the world.
  9. I don't have any more ideas. I ______.
  10. My dog is my ______, he is always there for me.
  11. It takes ______ ten minutes to get from home to the metro station.
ex. 4 Explain these words or give synonyms
to deduce
to give up
faithful friend
to spill out
ex. 5 Finish the sentences
  1. I get furious when...
  2. My hair color is the same as...
  3. It's hard to give up...
  4. When somebody stares at me...
  5. A faithful friend is...
  6. If I spill out water in the kitchen...
  7. It takes approximately...
Grammar Exercises
ex.1 Put the verbs into the correct form (past simple)
  1. Last year I (spend) ______ my holiday in Ireland.
  2. It (be) ______ great.
  3. I (travel) ______ around by car with two friends and we (visit) ______ lots of interesting places.
  4. In the evenings we usually (go) ______ to a pub.
  5. One night we even (learn) ______ some Irish dances.
  6. We (be) ______ very lucky with the weather.
  7. It (not / rain) ______ a lot.
  8. But we (see) ______ some beautiful rainbows.
  9. Where (spend / you) ______ your last holiday?
ex.2 Ask for the bold part of the sentence
Example: She pushed her bike. ? Whose bike did she push?
  1. She carried a bag. ?
  2. We waited in the park. ?
  3. The policeman arrested the thief. ?
  4. We ate fish. ?
  5. She watched the match last night. ?
  6. She asked her friend because she did not know what to do. ?
  7. I opened the door. ?
  8. The teacher checked our homework. ?
  9. Cindy had a dog. ?
ex.3 Fill in all the gaps, with the right form of the verb in brackets
William Shakespeare (be) ______ born in Stratford-on-Avon on April 23, 1564. He (go) ______ to the local Stratford Grammar School, where he (be) (teach) ______ by Master Walter Roche. Lessons began at six o'clock in the morning in the summer in order to make the most of daylight.
His father (be) (call) ______ John Shakespeare a Stratford upon Avon glove-maker. He (send) William to the local grammar school in 1571, but when William (be) ______ only 14 years old his fortunes fell so low that William (have) ______ to leave school. Some historians say he (work) ______ in his father's shop.
At the age of 19 William (to marry) ______ Anne Hathaway the daughter of a rich farmer near Stratford. Three years later Shakespeare (go) ______ to London. How he (live) ______ there we do not know.
In about 1587 he (become) ______ a member of one of the few theatrical companies which (exist) ______ in those days. Around 1590 he (begin) ______ to try his hand at writing plays. There (be) ______ no female actors in those days, all the female parts (be) (play) ______ by boys. It is thought that he (write) ______ his first major play, Henry VI, Part One, in 1592.
His most famous play, Hamlet, (be) ______ probably first seen in 1601 at the Globe Theatre. Shakespeare (continue) ______ to write about 2 plays a year.
He (return) ______ to Stratford in 1612, where he (live) ______ the life of a country gentleman. He (die) ______ of a fever on his birthday in 1616.