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Final Fun

Here are some general revision questions in this final fun quiz.

In this last of our 50 Difficult EFL Quizzes, almost anything may come your way. We hope you enjoy some 'final fun' with it!

  1. Which of the following phrases would work in both the blanks below?
    'We were hoping to ... ... to the coast for a few days' break, but there was so much work coming in that we would never ... ... with leaving it.'
    We can 'get away from' things ('getting away from it all') and also 'get away with' things, in the sense of coming out of a situation without any expected disadvantage ('the thieves got away with most of her jewellery, and when they were caught, they got away with a fine instead of being sent to jail').
    'Get' is a notorious verb in English, it is widely used instead of better and more precise verbs, and as such it has a HUGE variety of prepositional and idiomatic uses, which you probably ought to spot and learn. But for expressing yourself, it might be better to try actively to use other verbs, even the simple 'go' which would fill the first blank here equally well.
  2. 'Birds of a Feather'
    Here are the names of four people; one of them stands out, rather apart from the others. Who is the 'odd one out'?
    Each of these names consists of the name of one or more birds: Answer 1 is a raptor (a bird of prey); Answer 2 offers 'Robin' (like the red-breasted garden bird) which may be either a male or female 'given name', and the Finch family are also typically garden birds. 'Mavis' (Answer 4) is a girl's name from the Latin word for a thrush (yet another garden bird), while 'lark' may well be taken to refer to the skylark which soars and sings (as in Ralph Vaughan Williams' wonderful descriptive piece of music for violin and orchestra, 'The Lark Ascending').
    So each name ~ apart from Answer 3 ~ is riddled with 'birdy' references, most of which are reasonably everyday and positive.
    Albert Ross (Answer 3), on the other hand, sounds suspiciously like 'albatross': the much bigger seabird which was a harbinger of misfortune in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner'.
  3. 'What's my line?'
    A man goes to work in his van, which contains (among much else) the following tools and materials. What is his job?
    Saws, planes, chisels, planks, dowelling, mouldings, locks and hinges, stains and varnish.
    Professionally, Answer 2 is much the most likely. You can look up the various words and find out what they are: even if you are not interested in carpentry yourself, you will probably find examples of many of these items (or the results or products of them) not far from where you are sitting.
  4. What is the missing word?
    'I was hoping to ... ... the film, but I lost track of the time, because at some point during the afternoon I must have taken off my ... ... and put it down and lost it.'
    The first blank (from the sense of it) must be a verb, and the second, a noun: so we want a word that can act as either. (Not that that narrows matters down much in English, as you'll have discovered!) Each of the potential Answers fulfils that requirement ~ you can check them in a dictionary ~ but only No.3 makes adequate sense.
  5. Choose the best, most accurate and stylish Answer.
    'You weren't by any chance thinking of going into town this afternoon, ... ... ? '
    A final example of the good old Tag Question. The main question was affirmative, so the tag must be negative.
  6. Choose the best, most accurate and stylish Answer.
    'Writing a 10-page letter of complaint about a product that only cost you a couple of pounds, is like ... ... '
    The point of this situation is that a ridiculous, disproportionate amount of effort is being used. Cracking a nut may well require some force, but the type of tool you might use for demolishing a shed is probably too much!
    Answer 1 is a (now somewhat old-fashioned) expression of futility: 'taking coals' to a place where coal was already abundant would certainly be a waste of effort. Answer 4 is more about something that has no effect (e.g. shouting insults at a deaf person ~ though we are not, for one moment, suggesting that you try this); we might say that a politician deflects awkward questions which somehow just fall away as water from a duck's back. (If the duck weren't waterproof and/or watertight, it would be in trouble!)
  7. Choose the best, most accurate and stylish Answer.
    Gina went out in the January sales and came back with ... ...
    Only Answer 2 follows the usual 'order rules' for compound descriptions in English.
  8. Which of these groups of surnames is the odd one out?
    Each of the sets apart from Answer 2 contains one each of the four classic surname sources:
    People's jobs (Cook, Knight, Leadbitter [ = someone whose ancestors worked at beating lead into shape], Miller, Thatcher [a maker of roofs out of reeds]);
    Where they lived, or near to what landmark (Bridges, Lake, Ridg[e]way ~ someone who live on a road along a hilltop):
    Who they were descended from (Donaldson, Jackson, McKillop [Scots], O'Carroll [Irish], Pritchard {Welsh: 'Ap Richard;]);
    What they were like, physically or in terms of personality (Armstrong, Proud, Short).
    On this basis, Answer 2 contains two 'patronyms' (family descent names), two jobs, and none from either of the other remaining categories.
  9. Which of these words is the odd one out?
    This looks like an extract from a Scots phone directory, but maybe 'Machinery' caught your eye ( = a collection of machines, rather than 'MacHinery'!)?
  10. Choose the best, most accurate and stylish Answer.
    Instead ... ... doing our Quizzes, you could ... ... done someone else's; but they probably wouldn't ... ... been half such fun or so interesting!
    The first blank is part of a prepositional construction; the latter two require auxiliaries.
    We hope you will never trip over either such structure again, and have really enjoyed enlarging and enriching and consolidating your knowledge of English. Every good wish for the future!

Author: Ian Miles

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