Ac­tions and Ac­tiv­i­ties

The Borneo Post - Good English - - News -

1. Read­ing

In this sec­tion we look at a se­ries of ev­ery­day, non­tech­ni­cal ac­tions. Read the texts.

1. Dear Cin­derella,

You jobs for tonight; sweep the chim­ney, scrub the floors, beat the car­pets, hoover the stairs, dust the fur­ni­ture, pol­ish the sil­ver, make the beds, change the sheets, tidy the house, dig the gar­den, clean out the fire­place, empty the rub­bish, wash our un­der­wear, mend the socks, darn the shirts, iron the laun­dry, cook the supper, do the wash­ing-up, dry the dishes, put them away,

Don’t wait up for us. We might be late home.

The Ugly Sis­ters 2. In­te­rior dec­o­rat­ing

It was my first go at dec­o­rat­ing. Ev­ery­thing started well enough. Scrap­ing the old wall­pa­per off was great fun and didn’t take us long be­cause we were able to peel off quite big strips.

What did take a long time was rub­bing with sand­pa­per the walls to be painted and pa­pered.

Our walls were so smooth in the end that Dad went round scratch­ing them to make sure the paint would go on all right. He was a great or­gan­iser, Dad. Through­out the day he gave us use­ful tips like: ‘Just dip your brush in the paint’ and ‘Don’t squeeze out the paint from the brush be­fore you ap­ply it,’ and Just dab the pa­per with a wet sponge’. He also made us wipe each brush when we’d fin­ished with it, then soak it in white spirit, wash it in soapy wa­ter and fi­nally

rinse it un­der a tap. A real per­fec­tion­ist he was.

There was great ex­cite­ment late in the morn­ing when we started un­wrap­ping the rolls of wall­pa­per and

un­pack­ing the tins of paint. I got the job of shak­ing all the tins, lev­er­ing them open and stir­ring the paint.

Mean­while Un­cle Mac and Grandad were mix­ing the paste, un­rolling the pa­per and spread­ing the paste on the back. I watched ad­mir­ingly as they folded the pa­per, car­ried it to the wall, hung it del­i­cately (with the two ends stuck lightly to­gether) from the top, then

pressed down gen­tly and smoothed out the lumps and bumps. I was ter­ri­bly im­pressed.

It’s dif­fi­cult to say when ex­actly things started to go wrong. I think it was while I was drag­ging some of the rub­bish down­stairs that Un­cle Jack started

flick­ing his brush at Un­cle Mac be­cause he wouldn’t let him have the steplad­der. I got back in time to see Un­cle Mac drop the lad­der and fling a dirty cloth at Jack. Jack picked it up and threw it back. Then it got out of hand. Grandad grabbed a brush and tossed it straight at Un­cle Bill, who went over and tipped a bucket of paste all over Grandad’s back. Grandad then seized the empty bucket and stuck it on Bill’s head. Un­cle Mac came and poured a bucket of cold wa­ter over Dad’s head. Dad snatched a brush from my hand and scrawled some rude words on the pa­per that Mac had just put up. Not sat­is­fied, he went over and hurled a half-full tin of paint at the same wall. Still not sat­is­fied, he climbed up the lad­der, knock­ing

over the other brushed and spilling an­other pot of paint as he went, tugged at the pa­per on the only re­main­ing clean wall and tore it into shreds as it came away in his hands.

Af­ter that, things went from bad to worse.

3. A Golf Les­son

Right! Now, place the tee in the ground - that thing in your left hand - yes push it down a bit more - no, pull it out a bit - no, put it back in - now, just press it into the ground - go on, just slide it in - stop! Good. Very good. Right now, rest the ball on the tee - try again - and again. Good. Well done. Fan­tas­tic. Now, there’s your club -

take it in your left hand - no, your left hand - hold it quite firmly - no, don’t grip it like that - let go of it - just grasp it like this, not too firmly - re­lax. Won­der­ful. Right, now wrap the fin­gers of your right hand round here - can you tuck your scarf into your jacket? We don’t re­ally want that round the club, do we?good, well done. Now move your hands back­wards and for­wards a lit­tle - wig­gle your fin­gers a bit - re­lax. Right, stand here and bring the club back over your shoul­der - no, the other shoul­der - come on - swing it back, re­lax,

twirl it round a bit - now, in a mo­ment, bring it down fast and try to hit the ball right here in the mid­dle. Try and strike it just - ouch! Yes, try and wait un­til I’ve taken my hand away next time - right, bet­ter in­sert the tee again - it’s over there - good. Pop the ball on the tee.

Get hold of the club again. Good. Now, don’t lift your head - raise your right el­bow a frac­tion - keep your eye on the ball - right now, go! - O.K, well, you go and fetch the club from those bushes and Ill try and

re­place this piece of grass,’


1. You might like to add some more sim­i­lar verbs here.

2. Re­mem­ber, too, that as soon as you have the name of a tool in English, ham­mer, screw, mea­sure etc., you prob­a­bly have a per­fectly good verb as well: to ham­mer, to screw, to mea­sure.


1. Write or give oral in­struc­tions to a part­ner on how to do the fol­low­ing things.

1. put up wall­pa­per

2. put an elec­tri­cal plug on a lead

3. serve in ten­nis

4. ski

5. bowl a ball in ten-pin bowl­ing

6. shave or make up

2. Write or tell your part­ner how easy it was for you to do the fol­low­ing things yes­ter­day.

1. plant those seeds in your gar­den

2. clean out the guest room

3. get your car started

4. make a desk for your­self

5. paint the top floor win­dow

6. clear the drains

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