Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 6 April 2014





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

Question words

I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew):
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
- Rudyard Kipling

The question words are ‘how, when, where, which, why? and ‘whose’ .They are used in writing and speech.

How are you?
How is your father?
How is life?
How did he get a job so soon?
How do you operate this machine?

When did you come?
When are you free?
When did they pass the examination?
When do you watch television?
When will they release the results?

Where are you going?
Where are you from?
Where is Madrid?
Where do you live?
Where will they stay?

Which is your camera?
Which one do you like?
Which is bigger?
Which ones are ripe?
Which bus are you taking?

Why are you late?
Why is he lying?
Why are they coming here?
Why is the post office closed today?
Why is she crying?

Whose umbrella is this?
Whose child is this?
Whose books are these?
Whose car is that?
Whose bicycle is this?

We often ask questions with ‘how’ + adjective or adverb.
How old are you?
How old is your brother?
How tall is he?
How fast can he run?
How big is the building?
How far is the police station from here?
How do you brush your teeth?
How long did you stay in India?
How well can you speak English?

Some questions begin with ‘what? + noun.

What time is it?
What time is the show?
What time does the train leave?
What colour are her eyes?
What colour is your shirt?
What size are you?
What size would you like?
What sort of people do you keep company with?
What sort of books do you read?

We use ‘what’ to ask for descriptions.

What is the weather like?
What’s your new friend like?
What are they like?
What’s your new English teacher like?
What is your house like?
What’s your car like?
What’s your job like?
What’s your school like?
What are your neighbours like?

Some more useful questions
Where is she from?
Where does he come from?
How long have you been here?
How long does it take to get to Colombo?
How long does it take to learn English?
How do you spell this word?
How do you pronounce this word?

Match words and meanings

Here’s a novel way to enrich your vocabulary. Match the words in Column ?A? with the meanings in Column ?B? and check your answers with the key. The first has been done for you.

[Column A]

R.. 1. catchy
.... 2. categorical
.... 3. cater
.... 4. caterwaul
.... 5. cathedral
.... 6. catnap
.... 7. cause
.... 8. causeway
.... 9. cautionary
.... 10. caveman
.... 11. cavern

.... 12. cavil
.... 13. caw
.... 14. cease
.... 15. ceasefire
.... 16. ceaseless
.... 17. celebrated
.... 18. celebrity
.... 19. celestial
.... 20. cellphone
.... 21. censure
.... 22. centenarian
.... 23. centenary
.... 24. centre
.... 25.century

[Column B]

A. somebody who is famous
B. famous for some special quality
C. continuous
D. an agreement to stop fighting
E. to stop something
F. cry of a crow
G. to make unreasonable complaints
H. a large cave
I. somebody who lived in a cave
J. giving a warning
K. a raised path usually across a wet area
L. the reason why something happens
M. a short sleep
N. large building for Christian worship
O. to make an unpleasant noise like a cat
P. to provide or serve food
Q. certain
R. pleasing and easy to remember
S. a period of 100 years
T. the middle point
U. the 100th anniversary
V. somebody who is 100 years old
W. strong criticism
X. a mobile phone
Y.outside this world



2. Q 3. P 4. O 5. N 6. M 7. L 8. K 9. J 10. I 11. H 12. G 13. F 14. E 15. D 16. C 17. B 18. A 19. Y 20. X 21. W 22. V 23. U 24. T 25. S



’Mustn’t’,Needn’t’, ‘Don't have to’

We use ‘must’ to say that something is necessary.
You must come to office at 8.30 a.m.
She must get up early to catch the 6.10 train.
They must respect the dead.
You must take the principal's permission to go abroad.
Children must do their homework.

We use ‘must not’ (‘mustn't’) to say that something is a bad idea.
You mustn't waste time doing nothing.
I mustn't forget to take my passport.
She mustn't wear her sister's clothes.
We mustn't associate with dishonest people.
People mustn't elect criminals to local councils.

We use ‘need not? (‘needn't’) when something is not necessary.
You needn't wash your plates after having meals in a hotel.
There is a hotel close to our school. We needn't make sandwiches.
You needn't wear your Sunday best. It's an informal meeting.
I needn't worry over small problems.
She needn't wear shoes for dancing practices.

We use ‘don't have to’ or ‘don't need to’ when something is not necessary. The meaning is similar to ‘needn't'.

You don't have to wash the plates. They are clean.
You don't need to go to office today. It's a holiday.
James doesn't have to participate in the competition. He is ill.
Amanda doesn't have to wait till her mother comes.
Children don't have to attend school on Poya days.

We use ‘didn't need to’ when something was not necessary.
He didn't need to hurry because he could travel by the express train.
I didn't need to do marketing because I had plenty of food at home.


Fill in the blanks with ‘must, mustn't’ or ‘needn't’ and check your answers with the key.

1. You .............. take an umbrella. It's not going to rain.
2. You ............. leave your purse on the bus.
3. We ............... hurry. We ............ be late today.
4. We ............... hurry. There is time for the express train.
5. You ................ travel alone in a foreign country. It is not safe.
6. All ................ keep together in a group.
7. You ................. park your car here.
8. You ................ drive the car. The driver has come.
9. You .............. forget to bring your camera.
10.She .............. type all these reports today.



1.needn't 2. mustn't 3. must / mustn't 4. needn't 5. mustn't 6. must 7. mustn't 8. needn't 9. mustn't 10. must


Quiz on idioms

An idiom is a special kind of phrase. It is a group of words which have a different meaning when used together from the one it would have if the meaning of each word were taken individually. Tick the meaning you think is correct for the idioms appearing in bold type. Check your answers with the key.

1. He is a one-man band. He doesn't have even a secretary.

(a) he does everything without the help from any one
(b) he plays only one instrument
(c) he won't allow anyone to work with him

2. If you're laughing all the way to the bank ...

(a) you're not making any profit
(b) you're making a lot of money with great difficulty
(c) you're making a lot of money very easily

3. His bark is worse than his bite ...

(a) he seems to be more friendly than he really is
(b) he seems to be more severe than he really is
(c) he seems to be unfriendly all the time

4. If you describe a country as a basket case ...

(a) its economy is in a bad state
(b) its economy is in a good state
(c) its economy is improving

5. If you go somewhere like a bat out of hell ...

(a) you go there by plane
(b) you go there slowly
(c) you go there very quickly

6. If you play a straight bat ...

(a) you use your own bat to play cricket
(b) you try to avoid answering difficult questions
(c) you try to answer all the questions

7. If something happens right off the bat ...

(a) it happens slowly
(b) it happens immediately
(c) it never happens

8. If a company takes a bath ...

(a) they postpone making important decisions
(b) they make a large profit
(c) they lose a lot of money on an investment

9. If you pick up the baton ...

(a) you take over responsibility for doing something
(b) you take the baton from another runner
(c) you avoid taking responsibility for doing something

10. If you recharge your batteries ...

(a) you put an electrical charge back into the batteries
(b) you take a long break from a stressful activity
(c) you continue to do stressful work



1. (a) 2. (c) 3. (b) 4. (a) 5. (c) 6. (b) 7. (b) 8. (c) 9. (a) 10. (b)



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