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'Waiter, waiter! This coffee tastes like earth!'
'Yes, sir, it was fresh ground only this morning.'

Give it a go

This quiz is about widening words with a variety of meanings – give it a go!

'Go' is one of many, often quite short, English words that can serve a number of different functions and purposes ~ in this case, as a noun or a verb, and each with several shades of meaning.

This Quiz will explore a range of such words.

1.
Which is the 'odd one out' here, containing an apparent confusion of two common words that sound the same?
We loved the book so much that we booked immediately to see the film, when that came out.
She doesn't mean to be mean, but she simply can't afford it.
You need to put up that notice somewhere obvious so that people will notice it.
As a vegetarian, she hoped to meat a nice young man who didn't eat meet.
'Meat' (the substance of animal flesh) sounds like 'meet' ( = to encounter ), but they need to be spelt the right way round!
2.
In this group of sentences, which is the only one WITHOUT a mis-spelling?
They need more than one man to man the barrier during the rush-hour.
The lion may have the loudest raw, but at least his stomach is also powerful enough to eat his meals raw.
The wood is a pretty place to walk, but I wood never go there after dark, nor by myself.
It holds the game up unnecessarily if someone chooses to go to the bathroom just as it's there go.
The mis-spellings and corrections were:
Answer 2 : should be 'roar', then 'raw'
Answer 3 : should be 'wood', then 'would'
Answer 4 : both uses of 'go' were acceptable (see Introduction), but 'there' should be 'their'.
3.
In which of these sentences is there NOT a successful double use of the same word?
The only thing I hate about the beautiful season of autumn, is when our neighbour's big tree leaves most of its leaves all over our garden pathway.
He's tried hard this term, but does not seem to have found his stride in our studies.
Ring the bell if you want this bus to stop at the next stop.
I'll put a small packet of paper tissues into my little case, in case my cold gets the better of me during the journey.
Despite the sound-similarity, 'he has tried' and 'found his stride' do not contain any of the same words, although they have many letters in common. The other, actual double uses are all acceptable.
4.
In only ONE of these 'punning pairs' there is a mis-spelling; which one?
Her personal coach will accompany her to all her competitions, while she is travelling on the team coach.
The only problem with him is that he tends to ball at the team if they don't get enough possession of the ball.
While she trains in London she will depend on the trains for her commuting, rather than going by car.
Meanwhile we are following her progress, and even doing a bit of spread betting: if our pattern of predicted results matches what happens in the matches, we might even make a bit of money!
The first 'ball' in Answer 2 should read 'bawl' ( = to shout in a loud, rough, arrogant manner).
5.
In only ONE of these 'punning pairs' there is a mis-spelling; which one?
'They call it a National Park, but there aren't many spots where you can park your car when you drive there.'
Once I've been into town for my haircut, I'll have to hair straight round to the club.
To apply for this post, your completed Application Form must be in the post by the end of next week.
The team coming in on the next shift tomorrow morning is going to have to shift all that machinery again.
In Answer 2, 'hair' should read 'hare' ( to hare = 'to run as fast as a hare' [the 'rabbit's cousin']).
6.
Each of these 'Answers' contains a pun, but one of them doesn't really work; which one?
Of course I can offer you a lift, but I'd rather leave you to lift that baby-seat into the back of the car.
I need to keep an eye on the traffic, but why don't the rest of you keep looking ~ and see whether you can spot a good spot for a picnic?
'Waiter, waiter! This coffee tastes like earth!'
'Yes, sir, it was fresh ground only this morning.'
(Ancient English music-hall joke)
'Where has the gardener been all day?'
'He's bean digging over the vegetable patch.'
'Lift' = 'the chance to travel as a passenger in a car'; 'lift' = 'raise' ; so Answer 1 is all right.
'Spot' = ' see / recognise / identify ' ; 'spot' = place, location; Answer 2 is good.
'Ground' = (1) soil, earth, the stuff of which the land surface of the planet is made; (2), past participle of the verb 'to grind'.
... which leaves Answer 4, where 'bean' may sound like 'been' but does not do an equivalent job in the sentence.
7.
Here again there are double uses of words, but ONE of them 'isn't quite right'.
(Some people are discussing the potential decoration of a bedroom for an elderly relative who is coming to live there.)
If you decorate the room in light colours, she may not need to spend so long (or so much money) having the light on.
Or else you could pick a darker shade, but that won't work so well when the trees outside are in leaf during the summer, and the garden will already be in the shade.
Another option would be to install a blind; but if she is nearly blind anyway, it won't make much difference to what she can see.
You will probably want curtains to keep the warmth in, but are you certain about the colour scheme?
Answer 1 : 'light' (adj.) = 'pale' ; 'light' (noun) = 'lamp'
Answer 2 : 'shade' = (1) 'version of a colour (darker or lighter)' ; (2) 'protected from strong light by a solid obstacle'.
Answer 3 : 'blind' = (1; noun) 'a shading layer (e.g. of fabric) that can be used to mask strong light' ; (2; adj.) 'unable to see'.
Answer 4 : 'curtain' begins with a 'hard' C while 'certain' begins with a 'soft' C (sounding like an S); you can hear these words correctly pronounced in the classic song 'My Way'!
8.
In this passage about a lion ~ him, again! ~ there are no fewer than five words containing virtually identical sounds; ONE of them may have been placed, or spelt, wrongly. Pick the Answer which offers the correct correction!
'By the time the poor lion takes a pause from its hunting, the sweat probably comes pouring from the pores in its paws.'
No correction is needed.
'Paw' should read 'pore'
'Pause' should read 'paws'
'Pouring' should read 'poring'
No changes are needed!
There is one further potential confusion: we have a verb 'to pore' (= to study something long, hard and closely, e.g. 'poring over someone's study books'), which many well-meaning but ignorant English writers sometimes mis-spell as 'pouring'. 'Pouring over ...' is what cooks typically do with custard or other sauces onto a plate of solid food; however similar the sound, they are NOT the same action!
9.
In which of these sentences is the (attempted) use of a noun as a verb, or vice-versa, NOT normal or understandable English?
If that machine really isn't ever going to work properly again, surely it's time we ditched it?
Let me have another think over the weekend, would you?
I'll suitcase the samples, ready for display at the conference.
Jason is hoping to branch out into new areas of the business over the coming few months.
'To ditch' ( = to dump, these days more likely for recycling) in Answer 1; in Answer 2, 'think' can be used (somewhat informally and idiomatically) as a noun, as in 'If he thinks that, he's got another think coming'. 'Branching out' (Answer 4) is a well-established metaphor.
This brings us to Answer 3, where we can't (normally, at least) 'suitcase' anything, though the meaning seems reasonably clearly to be equivalent for 'to pack'. One can, however, 'showcase' things (e.g. samples; but more usually, 'talent', as in 'This performance will showcase our new cohort of singers and dancers').
10.
A 'final round' of puns (or attempted puns), one of which is decidedly weaker than the rest; which one?
If your pet chews the wooden furniture, why not choose stylish metal chairs and tables next time?
'Uncle Brad asked for a particular song to be played at his cremation, called 'Smoke gets in your eyes'; but when we got there the priest refused to allow it, telling us all that it was 'holy inappropriate'.'
If your feet are suffering after too much walking and shopping, and you have cracked or blistered heels, try our miracle cream: rub it on night and morning, and damaged skin heals within three days ~ else we promise you your money back!
'They talk about State Education and other institutions like the National Health; but what with the government interfering the whole time, while never yet putting decent money into them, the only state our schools and hospitals are in these days is a disgrace to any civilised country.'
'Chews'/'choose' (Answer 1) is a technically acceptable pun, albeit 'corny' (as we would say); likewise 'heels'/'heals' in Answer 3.
Meanwhile in Answer 2, the apparent writer probably misunderstood the phrase 'wholly inappropriate' ( = 100% unsuitable) as meaning 'not suitable in a 'holy' (i.e., solemnly 'churchy') context'.
The twin uses of 'state' in Answer 4 are probably fair (leaving the person's apparent politics entirely to one side, for now); though if this is an attempt at political rhetoric, the 'pun' ~ such as it is ~ is both weak and worn. 'State' can mean 'organised by the national government', or it can mean 'the condition of something, e.g. whether it is presentable and/or in adequate repair'. (Meanwhile, of course, 'state' can also be a verb, as in 'please state the purpose of your visit to our country'.)
Author:  Ian Miles

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