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Time Will Tell - Turn Figures into Information

Quiz playing is a wonderful way to increase your knowledge of English as a Second Language. Remember that all of our ESL quizzes have titles that are both friendly and serious at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “Time Will Tell” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Turn Figures into Information quiz”! If you hear a specific term and you want to find a quiz about the subject then just look through the list of quiz titles until you find what you need.

All the time, it seems, we need to count and turn figures into information (telling the time for example). In English we sometimes say 'time will tell', meaning that we don't know an answer yet, but we expect to at some point in the future. How will you manage with turning figures into information, now, on this quiz?

  1. Select the best word (or words) to fit into the gap.
    In our town they collect biodegradable waste ... ... week, and other recyclable waste ... ... week.
    'Every other' is rather a neat phrase meaning 'every second / alternate' week: in this case, if they did that collection last week, they will miss it out again and come next week; or if they did it this week, they won't be coming again until the week after next.
    'Every other' ordinary number would either be all the odd numbers, or all the evens, but not the ones in between in either case.
    German has a neat word 'anderthalb' which means one-and-a-half of something, such as that one mile is about one and a half kilometres. As ever, different languages have their own ways of dealing with these ideas!
  2. Select the best word (or words) to fit into the gap.
    You are expected to work ... ... the age of about twenty ... ... you reach retirement, maybe almost 50 years later.
    Two quite simple English words will 'bracket' the start and stop times (or dates) of almost anything, whether it's a business meeting or the length of time that Queen Victoria reigned (64 years), or even some far distant period of archaeology.
  3. Select the best word (or words) to fit into the gap.
    There are ... ... reasons why I can't meet you this evening; I've got ... ... of e-mails to answer before I can leave the office.
    These are both 'figurative expressions' (they may have numbers in them, but they're not meant literally). Some of the 'distractor' answers may have tempted you if you are a native speaker of French or Hebrew. Different languages, and their speaker communities, tend to use different numbers to express these ideas!
  4. Select the best word (or words) to fit into the gap.
    She's been playing squash ... ... ten or a dozen years, ... ... she was still in primary school.
    'For how long' and 'since when' are the ways we use to explain how long something has been going on. You may well wish to tell people how long you have been learning English, or how long you have practised some other activity that is important to you.
    Note that in English, we use a Past Continuous tense in these circumstances; in your own language (certainly most European ones), the structure is much simpler because you say, in effect 'I do this since then' (or 'I am doing ...') - using your Present Tense, because it's still true. English is a little more subtle, and deep, in terms of suggesting the passage of past time. It isn't particularly difficult, but you need to remember that it works differently from what you may be used to!
  5. Select the best word (or words) to fit into the gap.
    You would be more likely to find him here if you came ... ... a Friday or ... ... the weekend.
    English always says 'on ... [a particular day]', even when there is no physical sense of being 'on' it (like 'on a boat, on the English Channel' or whatever). But we do say 'at' the weekend, or sometimes 'over' or 'during' the weekend, each of which suggest - quite rightly - that a weekend is longer than one single day.
  6. Select the best word (or words) to fit into the gap.
    When I was young I always wished the clock would stop ... ... one o'clock ... ... Christmas Day.
    'At' a time, 'on' a date ... remember! And a very Happy Christmas to you, next time it really comes round!
  7. Select the best word (or words) to fit into the gap.
    The last film will be ending ... ... about twenty minutes, so maybe we can have a coffee ... ... we go in to watch the next one.
    This is short for 'in 20 minutes' time' (or even 'within ...'); then we do one thing before another.
  8. Select the best word (or words) to fit into the gap.
    If a clock says '19:35', many English speakers will tell you the time is ...
    English usually deals with the minutes first, then the hours (not like most of the Romance languages). Answer 3 is more or less word-for-word from the Russian; Answer 1 is certainly possible, but English people (on the whole) don't seem very comfortable with the 24-hour clock. We do tend to accept it when talking about international travel ('arrive Heathrow 20:45'), but not for most everyday conversation.
  9. Select the best word (or words) to fit into the gap.
    Beyond the Arctic Circle, in summer the sky is not completely dark, even ... ... midnight.
    We say 'at' any whole hour, or indeed any time at all ('at noon'; 'at a quarter to six'; 'at three o'clock').
  10. Select the best word (or words) to fit into the gap.
    Please take three of these pills a day, and come back and see me again ... ... a fortnight.
    We set a deadline 'in [so much] ... time from now'. 'After' (Answer 3) is also possible, but less likely.

Author: Ian Miles

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