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Saturday, November 26, 2011

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Friday, November 25, 2011

The Seven Dwarves


Have you seen the Disney movie called Snow White and the Seven Dwarves? In it, a beautiful young girl runs away from her wicked step-mother and lives with seven little men in the woods. Little people like these men are called dwarves (single dwarf). In this movie, each dwarf has a name that shows his personality. They are: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey. Can you guess what each dwarf's personality is like?


Doc is the leader of the Seven Dwarves, and seems to be the oldest and wisest. "Doc" is short for "doctor," and he behaves a little like an old doctor. He mixes up words but is still smarter than the others.

"Grumpy" means grouchy, irritable, or bad-tempered. (My wife often calls me a "grumpy old man." She's kidding, of course--I think.) And Grumpy the dwarf is always complaining about something. He often gives angry answers to questions. For example, when they first meet, Snow White says, "How do you do?" and Grumpy snaps back, "How do you do WHAT?!"

Happy is the fattest of the Seven Dwarves, and always laughing, like Santa Claus.

Sleepy is always tired. It seems he can barely keep his eyes open. Even when there's trouble he can barely stay awake. His beard is extremely long, like the beard of Rip Van Winkle, a character in a story who slept for twenty years and woke with his beard one foot (30 centimeters) long.

"Bashful" means shy, and this dwarf truly is. He blushes quite easily. When people are trying to name the dwarves, this is the one they often forget. Can you see why? Bashful has the only "adjective" name that doesn't end in "-y."

Sneezy has terrible allergies. He sneezes so hard sometimes that he blows things--and even the other dwarves--across a room!

Dopey is the youngest; he doesn't even have a beard. He the most foolish and never speaks in the film. "Dope" is a slang word describing a stupid person, so he is called "Dopey." (The word "dope" may come from another slang word referring to drugs. Using drugs might cause a person to act in a stupid way.)


Most of the dwarves (except for Doc) have names that are adjectives. ("Sneezy" is not a word in the dictionary, but it's easy to imagine the meaning.) An adjective is a word that is used to describe a noun (person, place, thing, idea) or pronoun (me, you, him, her, etc.)


Here are five famous people, and five "adjective nicknames" to describe them. Match the person to the nickname. (Look up the words or the people if you don't know them.)

1. Napoleon
2. Bill Gates
3. Einstein
4. Madonna
5. Oprah Winfrey

a. Sexy
b. Sassy
c. Shorty
d. Richy
e. Smarty


1. Do you know anyone like the dwarves? Is there a smart friend you could call "Doc," or a friend with allergies you could call "Sneezy"?
2. Who's your best friend? Could you make a nickname for him or her that's based on an adjective?
3. Think of some other famous people and make "adjective nicknames" for them.


1c 2d 3e 4a 5b

This lesson is ©2011 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Bon Appetit!


Try to match these words to their meanings:

1. à la carte
2. bon appetit
3. du jour
4. hors d'oeuvre
5. prix fixe

a. "Enjoy your meal!"
b. a set meal
c. starter or appetizer
d. a daily special
e. from the menu


1. à la carte: Literally, "on the card." It refers to items on a menu aside from any set meals. "Would you like a set meal, or would you like to order a few items a la carte?" [accent on the last word: a la CART]

2. bon appetit: (also spelled [or misspelled] bon appetite, bon appettite, etc.) Literally "good appetite," it means, "Enjoy your meal." "Here is your entrée, sir; bon appetit!" [accent on the last syllable: bone a-pe-TEE or a-pe-TEET]

3. du jour: Literally "of the day"; used to describe changing menu items ("soup du jour"), and also changeable items or practices. "Ron brought his girlfriend du jour to the party." [accent on the last syllable: doo ZHUR]

4. hors d'oeuvre: A starter or appetizer served before a meal. It literally means "outside of the work," meaning not part of the main meal. Be careful in pronunciation: in English the v and the r change places! [accent on the last syllable: or DURVE]

5. prix fixe: A set meal, opposite of a la carte. Literally "fixed price," it may include choices within the set. [equally accented: pree feeks]


Many English words come from French. That is because a French king named William became king of England in the year 1066, and many French-speaking people settled in England.

So we borrowed many French words, and now think of them as English.

Also, however, we have taken some words from French and kept the French pronunciation and spelling, like the words above.

As you probably noticed, those words are often used in restaurants. Many of our English words about dining out (restaurant, café, chef, cuisine) were originally French words, too.


Which of the words above would you use in the following sentences?

1. I only enjoy ____________ meals if I can make some changes.
2. Can you tell me if there's a vegetable ____________?
3. My friend always says "____________" before we eat.
4. I often eat too many ____________ and spoil my appetite.
5. I don't like any of the sets; I'll just order ____________.


1. Do you know any other "pure French" words (with French pronunciation and spelling)? Do you know any other English words that came from French regarding restaurants, etc? Write some sentences using those words.
2. Find the meanings of these words and use them in sentences: café, chef, cuisine, entree, maitre d', sommelier.


1. e; 2. a; 3. d; 4. c; 5. b

This lesson is ©2011 by James Baquet. You may share this work freely. Teachers may use it in the classroom, as long as students are told the source (URL). You may not publish this material or sell it. Please write to me if you have any questions about "fair use."

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

About these lessons

Study English Every Day--for FREE!

Starting soon, you can study a FREE English lesson every day!

These are high-quality lessons, written by James Baquet, an experienced English teacher from America. (See below for more about James.)

You can find these lessons by sending an email to this address.

More about the lessons

I want to teach you how to speak real, natural English. In these FREE lessons, you will learn
  • Current slang
  • Essential vocabulary
  • The meaning and use of idioms and proverbs
  • Standard American pronunciation
  • American culture, manners, and business practices
  • Global culture: literature, science, mathematics, history, and more
Each lesson usually has six parts:
  • GET READY: Something to think about before you begin
  • READ THIS: A story, a conversation, some words and definitions, or other reading
  • PRACTICE: Some exercises to do
  • NOTES: More information about the lesson
  • QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION OR WRITING: Something to talk about with your friends, or to write about
  • ANSWERS: Usually, answers to the practice are given in the next day's lesson
See a Sample Lesson above or on James's Weebly page.

About the teacher, James Baquet

James Baquet has been writing and teaching lessons for over thirty years.

He has a degree in English, and a Master of Education degree.

He has taught students in elementary school, middle school, high school, and university. He has also trained working adults. He has been an administrator of many educational programs.

He has taught in three countries. Since 1997, he has spent most of his time living and teaching in East Asia.

You may reach James by using the contact form here.