9 Week 9

AS Language Programme

Weekly exercises

Word of the week: feckless – weak or ineffective Quote of the week: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” –Thomas A. Edison
Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori: mahi– work Fact of the week:Female cicadas have been known to confuse the roar of power tools for mating calls, sometimes swarming people using lawn mowers.
Lesson Aims: to add to the ability of editing and functional skills for English mastery. Success Criteria: to recognise the expectations of the AS language paper
Keywords: Content and Context Homework: To have all work written up in notes and exercise books

1. Spelling


Write out the following paragraph (in full) highlighting the edits that you make. For example, if you have changed a lower case letter to a capital letter, highlight that capital letter.

Edit the Piece

Find three news articles that interest you — whether on today’s front page, in a favourite newspaper section of your choice, or via the Teenagers in The Times feature — and amend them to include both factual and usage errors. You might create these quizzes in small groups, then switch with another group. Try to vary the kinds of errors you insert so that you are testing both a range of both news knowledge and a variety of grammar, punctuation and spelling errors.



  1. You are to write out the spelling words below into your English Language notes in preparation for a quiz on Friday. You may wish to add them to your ongoing work so as to keep a running record of words that can be used as a vocab expansion, or in a separate file / book.
  2. You will be tested on these throughout the year at various intervals. For example week 8 test will consist of all words studied thus far.
  3. You will need to find dictionary definitions for all of the below words, and hand write them into your AS Language book. NB: Mostly the google definition (eg typing in ‘necessary definition’) can be wonderful, but not always.
  4. For each word you will also need to put it into a sentence. That sentence must be grammatically correct and contain the word, as it is written below (ie no derivations) and should demonstrate that you understand what that word means. For example ‘I told Louise it was not necessary for her to come along, I knew she had other things to do.’


juxtapose distinguishes illuminate perfunctory honour
sympathies contributing verification pre-empt condescending
proposition counsel remunerate recompense inflammatory
exclamative reconcile disconcerting developmental suave

How to remember spelling words?

  1. Have the words on one page, and your practice on a separate page. Look at the word quickly and then cover it, then try to write it out – then check.
  2. Try to remember the words in order.
  3. Think up a little rhyme or tune (if you are that way inclined) to remember spelling. One of the main ones I use is the spelling of onomatopoeia where each letter fits with the tune ‘Old Mac Donald’.
  4. Try to use the word more in your day to day.
  5. Test yourself on the Monday (when you first get it), Tuesday, and then Thursday. Science says that gap on Wednesday will provide the most help.

2. Grammar

Two group of Verbs

A. Regular verbs form their past tense and the past participle by adding ed or d to the
form of the present tense.
The word play is a regular verb since you just add ‘ed’ to have verb to form its past
tense and its past participle.

B. Irregular verbs– the verbs eat and is are irregular verbs they do not form the past tense
and past participle in the regular way.

Regular Verbs:

Verb Past Tense Past Participle
announce announced announced
barter bartered bartered
chew chewed chewed
define defined defined
estimate estimated estimated
fabricate fabricated fabricated
hear heard heard
kick kicked kicked
love loved loved

Mistakes are commonly made when using the wrong form for the past tense:

done for did;

come for came;

seen for saw;

swum for swam;

dove for dived;

run for ran;

drunk for drank

Mistake is also made when using the wrong form for the past participle:

went for gone;

did for done;

swam for swum;

tore for torn;

began for begun;

came for come.

Irregular Verbs

Simple Form Past Form Past Participle
am/be was been
begin began begun
choose chose chosen
drive drove driven
eat ate eaten
freeze froze frozen
get got gotten
hide hid hidden
swear swore sworn

Special Irregular Verbs

bet bet bet
broadcast broadcast broadcast
hit hit hit
let let let
put put put
quit quit quit

3. Speed Writing


Task: In your English book you need to write out the following sentence as quickly as you can in one minute. The aim of this exercise is to write as fast as you can, but also as legibly as you can. It doesn’t have to be your neatest writing, but it should be close.


Few black taxis drive up major roads on quiet hazy nights.

Make a note of your speed, and rate your legibility out of 5. We will continue to develop this over the term.

4. Speed Reading


Speed Reading Test

A Few Words

By John D. Whitman

There are two kinds of words that everyone can identify: old-fashioned words that can become obscure in modern times or change and modern words that mean something to everyone. We all understand, for example, what a “dollar” is, but if you talk about ‘ducats,” a type of money used several centuries ago, only historians are likely to understand.

But there’s a third type of word: old fashioned words whose original meanings have been replaced by more modern definitions. For example, imagine driving to your local gym to work out so you’ll develop washboard abs. On the way you hit a pothole in the road. You can probably define the words “gym,” “washboard,” and “pothole.” But your definitions are likely to be very different from the original definitions of these words — all of which are as outdated as the manual typewriter.

You might be surprised, for instance, to know that the original tradition of working out at a gym meant you’d have to do it in the nude, because a gymnast literally means a “naked person.” The ancient Greeks preferred it that way. Very few of us can really get washboard abs and even fewer have used an actual washboard — the ribbed board used to scrub clothes in the days before washing machines.

Potholes originally referred to holes in the tops of old-fashioned stoves. When you wanted to cook something, you moved the lid and placed a pot over the pothole so that the fire could reach it directly.

Here are a few more words that may seem current to you, but have actually evolved from years ago. Try dialing a phone. In this digital age, most phones are push-button, but we still use the word “dial,” which refers to the round disk with finger holes on the front of old-fashioned telephones. Even the experts call most Internet-access points “dial-up servers,” even though no one’s dialing anything anymore.

How about storage for computers. If you hide your computer in that popular piece of home furniture called the office armoire, you’re storing your laptop where your ancestors stored the sword. “Armoire” is the French word for armory.

We’re bound to hold on to outdated words because their meanings are familiar and comfortable. We simply apply them in a new context. So, as you hurtle down the computer superhighway, just remember to still watch for potholes.

Mark your time in your English Book with Today’s Date: _____ minutes _____ seconds.

Respond to Statements: Immediately answer the following statements to the best of your ability WITHOUT looking back at the reading. That’s cheating!

Complete the task in your English book.

Estimate the number of answers you believe are correct and put the number in the blank provided.

Without looking back at the reading passage, respond to the following statements by indicating whether the statement is True (T), False (F), or Not Discussed (N).

  1. ______ There are two types of words everyone can identify: old fashioned words and words that mean something to everyone.
  2. ______ The word “ducat” is a new term.
  3. ______ In ancient Greece, it was forbidden to work out in a gym in the nude.
  4. ______ There are potholes on most major roadways.
  5. ______ Washboards are used in gyms to clean soiled towels.
  6. ______ Placing a pot over a hole in an old-fashioned stove would put the fire out.
  7. ______ We keep the term “dial” in our vocabulary because some people still use telephones with the round dials on the front.
  8. ______ The term “armoire” is derived from the French word for armory.
  9. ______ It is likely that we will continue to develop new meanings for old terms.
  10. ______ We hold on to outdated words because we don’t want to go to the effort of creating new terms.

Now, estimate how many of these answers you believe you have correct out of ten _____

5. Summary


This text is an extract from the diary of a British Officer in Burma. He has been ordered to shoot an elephant who is acting in a concerning manner around a vastly populated area.

But I did not want to shoot the elephant. I watched him beating his bunch of grass against his knees, with that preoccupied grandmotherly air that elephants have. It seemed to me that it would be murder to shoot him. At that age I was not squeamish about killing animals, but I had never shot an elephant and never wanted to. (Somehow it always seems worse to kill a large animal.) Besides, there was the beast’s owner to be considered. Alive, the elephant was worth at least a hundred pounds; dead, he would only be worth the value of his tusks, five pounds, possibly. But I had got to act quickly. I turned to some experienced-looking Burmans who had been there when we arrived, and asked them how the elephant had been behaving. They all said the same thing: he took no notice of you if you left him alone, but he might charge if you went too close to him.

It was perfectly clear to me what I ought to do. I ought to walk up to within, say, twenty-five yards of the elephant and test his behavior. If he charged, I could shoot; if he took no notice of me, it would be safe to leave him until the mahout came back. But also I knew that I was going to do no such thing. I was a poor shot with a rifle and the ground was soft mud into which one would sink at every step. If the elephant charged and I missed him, I should have about as much chance as a toad under a steam-roller. But even then I was not thinking particularly of my own skin, only of the watchful yellow faces behind. For at that moment, with the crowd watching me, I was not afraid in the ordinary sense, as I would have been if I had been alone. A white man mustn’t be frightened in front of “natives”; and so, in general, he isn’t frightened. The sole thought in my mind was that if anything went wrong those two thousand Burmans would see me pursued, caught, trampled on and reduced to a grinning corpse like that Indian up the hill. And if that happened it was quite probable that some of them would laugh. That would never do.

There was only one alternative. I shoved the cartridges into the magazine and lay down on the road to get a better aim. The crowd grew very still, and a deep, low, happy sigh, as of people who see the theatre curtain go up at last, breathed from innumerable throats. They were going to have their bit of fun after all. The rifle was a beautiful German thing with cross-hair sights. I did not then know that in shooting an elephant one would shoot to cut an imaginary bar running from ear-hole to ear-hole. I ought, therefore, as the elephant was sideways on, to have aimed straight at his ear-hole, actually I aimed several inches in front of this, thinking the brain would be further forward.

When I pulled the trigger I did not hear the bang or feel the kick – one never does when a shot goes home – but I heard the devilish roar of glee that went up from the crowd. In that instant, in too short a time, one would have thought, even for the bullet to get there, a mysterious, terrible change had come over the elephant. He neither stirred nor fell, but every line of his body had altered. He looked suddenly stricken, shrunken, immensely old, as though the frightful impact of the bullet had paralysed him without knocking him down. At last, after what seemed a long time – it might have been five seconds, I dare say – he sagged flabbily to his knees. His mouth slobbered. An enormous senility seemed to have settled upon him. One could have imagined him thousands of years old. I fired again into the same spot. At the second shot he did not collapse but climbed with desperate slowness to his feet and stood weakly upright, with legs sagging and head drooping. I fired a third time. That was the shot that did for him. You could see the agony of it jolt his whole body and knock the last remnant of strength from his legs. But in falling he seemed for a moment to rise, for as his hind legs collapsed beneath him he seemed to tower upward like a huge rock toppling, his trunk reaching skyward like a tree. He trumpeted, for the first and only time. And then down he came, his belly towards me, with a crash that seemed to shake the ground even where I lay.

I got up. The Burmans were already racing past me across the mud. It was obvious that the elephant would never rise again, but he was not dead. He was breathing very rhythmically with long rattling gasps, his great mound of a side painfully rising and falling. His mouth was wide open – I could see far down into caverns of pale pink throat. I waited a long time for him to die, but his breathing did not weaken. Finally I fired my two remaining shots into the spot where I thought his heart must be. The thick blood welled out of him like red velvet, but still he did not die. His body did not even jerk when the shots hit him, the tortured breathing continued without a pause. He was dying, very slowly and in great agony, but in some world remote from me where not even a bullet could damage him further. I felt that I had got to put an end to that dreadful noise. It seemed dreadful to see the great beast Lying there, powerless to move and yet powerless to die, and not even to be able to finish him. I sent back for my small rifle and poured shot after shot into his heart and down his throat. They seemed to make no impression. The tortured gasps continued as steadily as the ticking of a clock.

In the end I could not stand it any longer and went away.

Summary Writing

  1. Firstly, summary writing is based on material that has already been written. The summary writer must decide what to include, what to eliminate, how to reword or reorganise information, and how to ensure that the summary is true to the original meaning.
  2. Two types of thinking are crucial to summarising. The first is a selection process: judgments made about what text information should be included or rejected. The second is a reduction process: ideas must be condensed by substituting general ideas for lower level and more detailed ones.
  3. Summary writing is about finding what is important in a text. The aim firstly is to work out to whom is the information important? The key is to acknowledge what is important to the author. This means that you need to look for the things that the author seems to be emphasising. Clues on this is to look at the following: introductory sentences, topic sentences, summary statements, underlinings, italics, pointer phrases, repetitions etc. See if you can spot these, and jot them down underneath your writing.
  4. Sometimes two summaries are better than one. It can be easier to get things clear in your mind first, before trying to write a summary for someone else. The skill of summary writing is key to a number of industries, particularly law, commerce, health and media. You should make sure you understand the text before trying to summarise it for others. The best idea is to make your own notes and then write the summary.


Ko te reo te tuakiri | Language is my identity.  
Ko te reo tōku ahurei | Language is my uniqueness.
Ko te reo te ora. | Language is life.            


AS English Language Copyright © 2020 by christopherreed. All Rights Reserved.

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