In time, these lessons and "stubs" will be migrated to the Buzzwords site.
Until then, consider them historical.

Mini-Lessons WITH EXERCISES from Thursday, Mar. 15, 2012

I'm trying something new! Instead of a separate lesson, today's lesson will be exercises based on the Mini-Lessons. Let me know if you like it!

These Mini-Lessons are posted on Twitter, and in China on Weibo, throughout the day. You can follow them there!

To get the most from them, you should try to use them in sentences, or discuss them with friends (see below). Writing something on Twitter or Weibo is a great way to practice!
  • Tip: Find the English around you. Look at English in signs, t-shirts, product labels, ads, and be sure you understand what they mean.
  • Proverb: Well begun is half done: If you start something properly, you will probably finish successfully. It's almost like 50% of the job!
  • Academic Vocabulary: predominant: most powerful or noticeable. "Black hair is predominant in Asian people." "The weather in Spain is predominantly sunny."
  • Literature: Quetzalcoatl: Aztec god, the "feathered serpent." In 1519 Mexicans saw Cortes the Spanish leader and thought he was Quetzalcoatl.
  • Art: quartet: a group of four musical performers. Also, music written for such a group: Beethoven's String Quartet No. 14.
  • Slang: this second: right now, or very recently. "Come here this second!" "Your timing is perfect; I just walked in this second."
  • Geography: Westminster Abbey: London church where British kings and queens are crowned; some royal weddings and some famous tombs there.


Read the Mini-Lessons above. Make cards and study them. When you think you know them, answer the questions below. You may have to look up some new words to answer the questions!


1. Today's Proverb is "Well begun is half done." You would probably say this when:
a. you are driving a car.
b. you are watching TV.
c. you are teaching a child to be careful in doing something.
d. you are drinking with friends.

2. Use the Academic Vocabulary word "predominant" in its correct form:
a. ABC Company is widely admired for its __________ in its field.
b. XYZ was __________ for many years when ABC took the Number One spot.
c. ABC's business is __________ electronics manufacturing.
d. They have __________ the field for about ten years now.
e. The company that __________ is the one that makes the most money.

3. Match the Literature, Art, and Geography terms below to these related ideas:
a. might include a violin
b. a kind of snake (maybe)
c. the Beatles: John, Paul, George, and Ringo
d. the last resting place of 18 monarchs
e. well-known in ancient Mexico
f. William and Catherine were married there in 2011.

(1) Quetzalcoatl
(2) quartet
(3) Westminster Abbey

4. What does the Slang term "this second" probably mean in this sentence?

If you don't come here this second I won't give you your birthday present.

a. something on the clock
b. a moment ago
c. after first, and before third
d. as quickly as possible


If you can, try to talk about these questions in English with a friend. If not, try writing your answers.

1. What do you know about Mexico, its people and culture? See what you can learn online, and talk about it in English.
2. Who is your favorite quartet? Why?
3. Have you ever visited a large, famous church, temple, or other "holy place"?


1. c. This would help him or her learn to do things properly.

2. a. predominance; b. predominating; c. predominantly; d. predominated; e. predominates

3. Matching:
a. (2) quartet; a string quartet might also have a viola, cello, and bass.
b. (1) Quetzalcoatl; serpent=snake
c. (2) quartet (four musicians)
d. (3) Westminster Abbey; the most recent royal burial was that of George II, who died in October 1760!
e. (1) Quetzalcoatl
f. (3) Westminster Abbey; Prince William and his wife had the most recent royal wedding

4. d. as quickly as possible

  1. Academic Vocabulary is the Academic Word List from Oxford University Press. This is "a list of words that you are likely to meet if you study at an English-speaking university."

  2. The Proverb, and the Literature, Art, and Geography words are from lists in the Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. I wrote the definitions and examples myself.

  3. The Tip and Slang words are from my own lists, and I wrote the definitions and examples myself.

This lesson is ©2012 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."

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