Banner image
Content / EFL / advanced / stiff-upper-lip .. concise-view << previous next >>

The British Stiff Upper Lip.

Read the text through quickly to see what it is about. Then read again and choose the word that collocates best with the rest of the sentence.
Listen to check your answers

When in Britain, you must never complain. Complaining is very un-British. If you are (1) ____________ [ made kept stayed held ] waiting half an hour in a shop, if a bus (2) ____________ [ conductor attendant assistant steward ] is rude to you, if a waiter brings your food ice-cold - you keep your mouth shut. The (3) ____________ [ hard inflexible firm stiff ] upper lip is the British way. Other nationalities might make a (4) ____________ [ discussion argument quarrel fuss ] , protest loudly or call for the manager, but not the British.

Remember also that British ears are (5) ____________ [ simply easily utterly modestly ] not tuned to hear complaints. A friend of mine was a regular (6) ____________ [ supporter purchaser customer guest ] at a famous and expensive London restaurant. Every day at 2:00pm and 9pm the (7) ____________ [ mature elderly outdated vintage ] manager would come out (as he had been doing for the last 37 years), go from table to table and (8) ____________ [ inquire query request probe ] "Did you enjoy your meal?" For 37 years, hundreds of thousands of properly (9) ____________ [ raised grown educated brought ] up English people had replied to him. "Very much indeed." The man would smile, say "Thank you very much'. and (10) ____________ [ motion progress stride shift ] to the next table.

One day however, the lunch was so (11) ____________ [ offensive painful abominable harrowing ] that my friend (Dutch mother , Albanian father) decided to tell him the naked truth. So, when the antiquated manager (12) ____________ [ appeared surfaced descended joined ] at his table as usual and asked, 'Did you enjoy your meal, sir?' my friend replied: ' (13) ____________ [ Sincerely largely bluntly frankly ] , not at all. It was appalling.' To which the manager gave his (14) ____________ [ customary average commonplace daily ] , obsequious smile, said: "Thank you very much , sir', and moved on , quite (15) ____________ [ convinced fulfilled satisfied complete ]

Complete each of these sentences with one of the words in the box below.

drastically sincerely abominably intimately patiently neatly intuitively helplessly

  1. He listened ____________ as she told her long and rather boring story.
  2. He ____________ regretted all the unpleasant things he had said to her.
  3. She knew ____________ that there was something wrong.
  4. She's changed ____________ since she's left home. She's a new person.
  5. He always dresses very ____________ but without much style.
  6. He behaved ____________ at the party.
  7. He was rude to several of my friends. He's terribly funny. We were all laughing ____________ for ages.
  8. I wouldn't say I know him ____________ We're just work colleagues.

What do you think?

Members Only

Log in to make comments
Website by Ibiscuits