The magic touch

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 September, 2011, 12:00am


The Midas Touch

The gods gave the ancient Greek King Midas a wonderful gift: the power to turn everything he touched into gold.

But the king had to be very careful about what he touched.

One day he was a bit careless and hugged his daughter. She turned into a golden statue. There was nothing the poor king could do to turn her back into a human.

The Midas touch had become a curse.

What do these touch nouns mean?

1 a soft touch

a. a long, emotional kiss

b. someone who is easily persuaded to do things

2 the personal touch

a. something special added to a service to make it unique for an individual

b. a person employed to look after an elderly person

3 the magic touch

a. the ability to do something very well

b. a show that involves a lot of magicians

4 the human touch

a. a method of looking after a new-born baby

b. a way of dealing with people that makes them feel comfortable

5 the Midas touch

a. the ability to make money out of everything you do

b. deceiving people to get money from them

6 the finishing touch

a. the final details needed to complete a project

b. a farewell speech when someone leaves

Fill in the gaps

Complete these sentences using a noun from the previous exercise.

1 My brother's tiny business made thousands of dollars in profit last year. He really has the _________________.

2 I never understood maths until we got a new teacher at the start of this term. He's certainly got the _________________ when it comes to making students understand difficult equations.

3 I think the ribbon will add the _________________to Sally's cake.

4 My mother is such a _________________ when my little sister asks her for money.

5 You need the _________________ to be a good nurse.

Touch and go

What is the meaning of these 'touch' phrases?

1 to lose touch

a. to fail to keep in contact with someone

b. to lose feeling in your hand

2 to touch a raw nerve

a. to cause physical pain to someone

b. to upset someone by saying something insensitive

3 to touch base

a. to talk briefly to someone after a long time

b. to arrive at an air force or naval base

4 I wouldn't touch [something] with a barge pole!

a. I wouldn't get involved under any circumstances

b. I would never stay near you

5 Keep in touch!

a. stay where I can see you

b. Don't lose contact

6 Touch wood!

a. what you say when you need good luck

b. what you say before going into a thick jungle

7 touch-and-go

a. a move used in rugby to score points

b. describes an uncertain outcome

Finishing touches

Complete these bits of dialogue using the correct words from the previous exercise.

1 I think my interview went quite well, _________________

a. keep in touch

b. touch wood!

2 You will be risking your money if you buy those shares. I _________________.

a. wouldn't touch them with a barge pole

b. wouldn't touch base

3 I didn't mean to upset her when I asked how her ex-boyfriend was getting along. I think I _________________.

a. lost touch

b. touched a raw nerve

4 It was _________________ as to whether Amy would make the flight.

a. touching base

b. touch-and-go


Touch nouns: 1. b, 2. a, 3. a, 4. b, 5. a, 6. a

Fill in the gaps: 1. Midas touch, 2. magic touch, 3. personal touch, 4. soft touch, 5. human touch

Touch and go: 1. a, 2. b, 3. a, 4. a, 5. b, 6. a, 7. b

Finishing touches: 1. b, 2. a, 3. b, 4. b