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Lots of Luck! - Quantitative Expressions

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 technical at the same time… In the case of this quiz you might like to tell your friends about “Lots of Luck!” but no doubt your teachers will talk about the “Quantitative Expressions quiz”! If you hear a technical 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.

Like many languages, English has an interesting variety of expressions for groups and quantities ‘lots of luck’ is an example of one of these expressions.

We wish you 'lots of luck' as you tackle this quiz!

  1. Choose the answer to complete it in the best and most accurate English.
    Butter is usually sold in Britain in packs that weigh ... ... .
    'Half a pound' = 8 oz. = 227g (about 10% less than 1/4 kg). A pack that weighed twice this much would be a bit too bulky for practical use in a private household.
    'Inches' (Answer 4) are a measure of length, not of mass / weight.
  2. Choose the answer to complete it in the best and most accurate English.
    Some people like to serve a gammon steak topped with a ... ... of pineapple.
    One circular slice (as, otherwise, in Answer 1) with its core removed is a 'ring'. It makes a pretty visual effect, and the flavour of the fruit with the meat goes very well together (like mint sauce or redcurrant jelly with lamb).
    Apologies to any readers who are vegetarian, and/or who do not eat pork for other reasons ... ! (There are plenty others of us out here, who do ... )
  3. Choose the answer to complete it in the best and most accurate English.
    A small quantity of milk added to a hot drink (such as tea or coffee) is commonly referred to as 'a ... ... '.
    In fact, Answers 3 and 4 are sometimes heard as alternatives; for some reason we ask for 'a drop' rather than 'a drip', though. (You will also hear 'drop' in negative contexts such as 'It hasn't rained a drop since last week' or 'If he's driving, he won't touch a drop of alcohol'.)
  4. Choose the answer to complete it in the best and most accurate English.
    This may be a non-smoking nightclub ~ but they still use ... ... of matches as a publicity gimmick, and they still have ... ... of sand outside for people to stub out their cigarettes.
    Answer 1 contains misspellings for the two words in Answer 2, which are each possible (and would be understood), but these are not what we usually have or say.
    Answer 4 has unnecessary apostrophes.
    We speak (even now!) of a (small) 'book' of matches, and a 'bucket of sand' (sometimes also referred to as a 'fire bucket').
  5. Choose the answer to complete it in the best and most accurate English.
    A workman's ... ... of tools will probably contain a ... ... of spanners.
    We do also speak of a 'tool-kit', but that is more likely to be bought as a complete unit, like a set of drill bits. A workman who picks his own equipment will probably carry the tools loose inside a bag.
    We talk about a set of spanners in different gauges (pronounced 'gayjiz') ~ i.e. different sizes, lengths, and versions of the 'business end'. French calls this 'un jeu', which suggests some kind of a game; we do not have this connotation in English!
  6. Choose the answer to complete it in the best and most accurate English.
    You never know when you may need to write down a message, so it's worth keeping a ... ... of paper by the phone in your house.
    Blank paper does not usually come in 'books' (Answer 1); a 'block' suggests either a very thick block (several hundred small thin sheets) or perhaps a typical student's block of about 100 sheets of A4. A 'pad' is usually smaller and thinner (e.g. up to 100 sheets of A5 or smaller size), and is bound so that the pieces can easily be torn off to take away ~ either from a spiral-bound back, or just one side of the pad being lightly glued.
    A single 'piece' of paper (Answer 4) is a lot better than nothing, but it offers you less space than a whole pad!
    This Question harks back to the days of fixed landlines; nowadays many people have a single mobile phone or other gadget which can also be used for typing and sending notes. But it can be remarkably awkward to use such a machine as a diary at the same time as speaking through it. A handy piece of paper can still be very convenient!
  7. Choose the answer to complete it in the best and most accurate English.
    'PowerPoint is all very well, but it can never quite compete with the evocative experience of leafing through an old ... ... of photographs.'
    An 'album' (Answer 2) is an originally-blank book, into which people will stick their personal photographs ~ of holidays, of growing families or special occasions (such as a wedding).
    A 'book' (Answer 1) suggests that the images are already printed-in: i.e., that this is a more permanent and mass-produced collection of pictures, like a souvenir publication from a tourist landmark such as a National Trust country house.
    A 'file' (Answer 3), in the old-fashioned sense, suggests that the sheets that have the photos on them may be loose-leaf, so they can be taken out, looked at, passed around one-by-one and maybe put back in a different order. A file of photos such as this may be more appropriate to a police investigation ...
    A 'collection' (Answer 4) may not be in any single order, nor bound together at all, but perhaps just a lot of loose prints kept in a box.
  8. Choose the answer to complete it in the best and most accurate English.
    Tidy people arrange their books upright along a ... ... , but messier people leave them piled flat in ... ... .
    These are the two most usual ways of keeping a quantity of books.
    The various wrong Answers consist mostly of ungrammatical (and/or ill-formed) versions of the singular and plural of the two key words.
  9. Choose the answer to complete it in the best and most accurate English.
    The Channel Islands are a ... ... of islands nearer to the coast of France than Britain.
    'Group' is the usual collective here; we would only speak of a 'chain' (Answer 4) if they were all in a clear row when viewed from above, or on the map (such as the Florida Keys). If they appear more randomly scattered than in a line, 'chain' doesn't make much sense!
  10. Choose the answer to complete it in the best and most accurate English.
    That rowdy party last weekend created a ... ... of noise, and caused an ... ... of trouble in the village.
    These are all good phrases, but look carefully at the cues: they needed to start with a consonant in the front case (' a ... ' ) and a vowel in the second case (' an ... ' ) ~ so only Answer 3 fits really well.

Author: Ian Miles

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