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  • Aug 30, 2014
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Haunted house mystery

PUBLISHED : Monday, 15 October, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 15 October, 2007, 12:00am

Paper 1a Understanding the tone and mood in a passage is an important skill.

Read the story about four friends who stay in a strange old house to solve a mystery.

Try to understand how they are feeling as you read. Are their attitudes positive, negative or neutral?

The carriage finally came to a stop outside a large, old house standing far back from the road. They climbed out with their bags and belongings, said goodbye to the driver and watched him drive slowly away.

They then pushed open the gate and walked towards the house. Joanne frowned as she looked around. She had not expected such a large building. She shook her head as Rick opened the door and they entered the dark hall. She walked from room to room, her mood only lightening when she saw the garden behind with vegetable plots and flower beds.

Rick's eyes had been shining from the first moment he caught sight of the house. 'It's like something from a wonderful old novel,' he said. He opened the door eagerly and went from room to room happily deciding what they should use each for. He did, however, sigh when he saw the cobwebs in the kitchen. Adventure was more his cup of tea than cleaning.

Thomas followed Rick. He looked around, but made no comments. Finally, Rick asked him how he felt. He shrugged his shoulders. 'It's okay,' he said. The important thing for him was to get down to business.

May walked quietly around on her own. She wanted to understand the house she was going to stay in. Her emotions changed from moment to moment. She was shocked by the absence of electricity, but then thrilled by the views from the top floor. She was pleasantly surprised by the condition of the garden. It could have been far wilder. But then she groaned at the state of the kitchen.

Are their attitudes negative / neutral / positive?

1 Overall, Joanne is negative/neutral/positive about the house. I think this because of the words and phrases ________________________ and ________________________ . On the other hand, she is negative/neutral/positive about the________________________ .

2 Overall, Rick is negative/neutral/positive about the house. I think this because of the words and phrases ________________________ , ________________________ , ________________________ and ________________________ . On the other hand, he is rather negative/neutral/positive about the ________________________ .

3 Overall, Thomas is negative/neutral/positive about the house.

4 May is happy about the________________________ and ________________________ , but unhappy about the________________________ and ________________________ .


Read these comments and decide whether they are negative/neutral/positive about the house.

1 I have seen better and I have seen worse ________________

2 To look on the bright side, we do not have to stay long ________________

3 I feel really optimistic now we are here and have seen it________________

4 This place has real possibilities ________________

5 It's all much as I expected ________________

6 It's perfectly horrid! ________________

7 Where's the nearest hotel? ________________

8 I guess it will do for the short timewe're in town ________________

9 I'm dying to start our life here ________________

10 What an adventure! ________________


'I think I would like this room,' said Joanne. 'It feels more friendly than some of them.'

'I think that's because it's small. But this bed is hard. Are you sure you want it?' replied Rick.

'Yes, some of the large rooms feel ghostly to me.'

'That's a stupid thing to say,' said Thomas. 'It is just a building, even if some of the furniture is a bit ugly.'

'Well, I like the room over here. It has a big stone table and a very comfortable wooden bed.'

'That picture is interesting,' pointed Thomas. 'What a lovely woman.'

'Anyway, I am hungry. Who's clever enough to cook us some dinner without any electricity? Eating only cold food will be very dull.'

'I'll try,' said May, 'but don't blame me if it is tasteless.' They all agreed later that it was delicious.

Find six pairs of adjectives in passage C that show opposite attitudes. The first has been done as an example for you.

Positive: friendly

Negative: ghostly


Exercise A

1. negative, frowned, shook her head, positive, garden

2. positive, eyes shining, wonderful old novel, eagerly, happily, negative, kitchen

3. neutral

4. view, garden, (lack of) electricity, (state of the) kitchen

Exercise B

1.neutral, 2. positive, 3. positive, 4. positive, 5. neutral, 6. negative, 7. negative, 8. negative, 9. positive, 10. positive

Exercise C

large/small, lovely/ugly, clever/stupid, delicious/tasteless, comfortable/hard


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