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

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder


1. Can you guess the meaning of this saying?
2. Why will the woman in the picture "miss" the man?


James sees his student, a girl named Rita, in the school cafeteria.

James: Hi, Rita. You look a little down today. What's up?
Rita: Well, you know, Robbie is studying in Canada.
James: Robbie...oh yeah, your boyfriend, right?
Rita: Yeah. I miss him so much! What if he meets another girl over there?
James: Ah, don't worry. You know what they say: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."
Rita: What does that mean?
James: Well, while two people are apart, and missing each other, it makes them love each other more.
Rita: Oh, I get it.
James: It works for things and places, too.
Rita: You mean, like some people miss their cars? Or get homesick?
James: Exactly.


"The heart" here means "one's love." Love gets stronger (the heart grows fonder) when lovers are separated. (Of course, we have another proverb: "Out of sight, out of mind," meaning when lovers are apart they forget each other. But don't tell Rita!)

Some more notes:
  • cafeteria: a kind of restaurant in a school or hospital. It's not very fancy, and you have to serve yourself.
  • You look a little down: James thinks Rita looks a little blue, or sad. She doesn't look cheerful.
  • What's up?: What's happening? Tell me about it.
  • ...your boyfriend, right?: James is guessing, so he says his guess and adds "right?" to check.
  • Oh, I get it: I understand.
  • You mean, like...: Rita gives an example to check her understanding, and introduces it with this expression.


Use each of the above terms in one of the following sentences. Be sure to use the correct form.

1. Are you OK? __________.
2. You're Susan, __________?
3. Hi, Mike. __________?
4. Meet me in the __________ for lunch.
5. What's a cafeteria? __________ a place to eat?


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

1. Have you ever missed someone? Or something? Talk about it.
2. Have you eaten in a cafeteria? How's the food?
3. Which one do you think is true more often: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" or "Out of sight, out of mind"? Why do you think so?


1. You look a little down; 2. right; 3. What's up; 4. cafeteria; 5. You mean, like,

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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