Words, words, words

PUBLISHED : Monday, 10 September, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 10 September, 2007, 12:00am


Paper 1a ;

Choose the right definition

One way of showing you know a word, or can work out its meaning from its context, is to choose the correct definition from a number of possible alternatives.

'Fly' can be a noun meaning an insect, or a verb meaning to move in the air. In a sentence like, 'Don't eat that piece of cake, I saw a fly on it,' we are using the first meaning. The article 'a' means it is a noun, and the meaning fits, as we do not like eating food that dirty insects have been on.

Read the short passages below and try to choose the right definitions.

1) Rock

I had only been in Tokyo a few hours and was sitting in a small coffee shop enjoying an iced tea when suddenly the whole building started to rock. 'What's happening?' I called out.

'You must be new to Japan,' a long-haired young man sitting nearby said. 'You have just experienced your first earthquake.'

Choose the right definition for 'rock':

a) a large piece of stone [noun]

b) a type of popular music [noun]

c) to dance to the above type of music [verb]

d) to shake violently [verb]

e) to hold in the arms and move side to side gently [verb]

2) Square

My Dad is a bit of a square. He hasn't heard of any pop stars, and things like dyed hair, rap music and violent computer games really shock him. But you could not find a kinder man. He has a heart of gold and really tries to understand me. I would not want to change him for any other dad!

Choose the right definition for 'square':

a) a shape with four sides of equal length [ noun]

b) with the shape of the above [adjective]

c) an open area of land with buildings around its four sides [noun]

d. [slang] an unfashionable person [noun]

e) to multiply a number by itself [verb]

3) Chip

My first attempts to be independent were very unsuccessful. I lost my first job as a cinema usher because I kept on falling asleep during the films. I was not much better as a waiter as I got all the orders wrong and dropped food on the customers. The restaurant manager must have been a very patient man as he gave me a second chance in the kitchen washing the dishes, but he soon realised that there was a chip on every cup or plate I washed and fired me. My worst disaster came next as a car park attendant.

Choose the right definition for 'chip':

a) [British] a piece of potato fried in hot oil [noun]

b) a piece of silicon with electrical circuits used in computers [noun]

c) a place on something where a small piece has been broken off [noun]

d. a piece of plastic used as money when gambling [noun]

e. to hit a ball so that it goes high for a short distance [verb]

4) Drag

Grandpa was learning fast. He had control of his mouse now and understood when he needed to double-click, how to drag things around and what 'scrolling' meant. I decided it was time to tell him about right-clicking. I was not really enjoying teaching. I had better, more interesting things to do, but I had to admit I was in Grandpa's debt. He was always willing to come up with a few dollars when my pocket was empty. I had to do my duty as a grandson.

Choose the right definition for 'drag'

a) to pull along a heavy object [verb]

b) to move across a computer screen [verb]

c) for time to move slowly [verb]

d) to pull a net through water to search for something [verb]

e) something dull and annoying [noun, slang]

5) Flush

We were not impressed by the quality of work done on the flat. The paintwork was poor. You could see the brush marks and the colour seemed to change at times. The taps were dripping and could not be stopped. The doors on the bathroom cupboards were not flush, and the main mirror was cracked. Someone had done a quick, cheap job and the result was not satisfactory. 'We are not paying for this,' my mother announced in a determined voice.

Choose the right definition for 'flush':

a) to go red in the face [verb]

b) to make water pass through a toilet [verb]

c) to have plenty of money [adjective, slang]

d) playing cards all of the same suit (e.g. hearts) [noun]

e) exactly level [adjective]

6) Pitch

The class now discussed my presentation. I had hoped for a lot of praise, but I was not going to get it. Everything seemed to have been wrong: my voice had been too low, my graphics confusing, my message unclear, and my pronunciation poor. I didn't pitch my talk to the right level for the audience. I felt very discouraged and disappointed. 'May I have another chance?' I asked Mr Tang. 'Yes, of course. That's what learning is all about. Trying and trying again until we get it right. For a first effort it was quite promising. Now improve it and show us how fast you can respond to criticism.'

Choose the right definition for 'pitch':

a) to choose words suitable for an occasion [verb]

b) to move up and down suddenly [verb]

c) to throw, especially in baseball [verb]

d) a sports ground [noun]

e) highness or lowness of a sound [noun]


1. d

rock = verb; context = earthquake; do not be distracted by long hair

2. d

a square = noun; context = old-fashioned father; style = casual/informal

3. c

a chip = noun; context = washing dishes badly (do not be distracted by restaurant food

4. b

to drag = verb; context = computers (do not be distracted by the grandson's feelings of dullness and time passing slowly)

5. e

were not flush = adjective; context = cupboard doors (don't be distracted by bathroom)

6. a

did not pitch = verb; context = audience level; do not be distracted by volume