Before you read the text, think about these questions.
Have you ever met someone in a place where you/they shouldn’t be?
Have you ever met someone who leads a double life?
Now read The Guardian article by Hannah Booth I met my burglars on my holiday and find out about her experience. You may come across some vocabulary difficulties. Just ignore them for the time being.
Answer these questions about the text.
1 Why was the house unusually cold?
2 What was Hannah’s Dad’s hobby?
3 Why was it difficult to believe that the man on the photo was a criminal?
4 What’s the relationship of the ‘nice English couple’ with Hannah’s parents’ friends?
5 At first, how confident was Hannah’s mother that George was the burglar?
6 How did Hannah and her parents feel during their ‘investigation’on the boat?
7 Why didn’t they tell their friends in the beginning?
8 Can you explain the joke about Mr W?
Now it’s time to focus on vocabulary. As you will have noticed, some of the comprehension questions above were based on correctly understanding vocabulary items in the text. Sometimes we can work out the meaning of a word or expression through the context. Some other times, however, you know or you don’t know the item, which fully affects our comprehension of the text.
- Go over the text and ‘underline’ as much car-related vocabulary as you can find.
- There are two adjectives in the text which mean ‘strange’.
- In the first two paragraphs, the verb ‘turn out’ appears with two different meanings.
- Where in a house is the ‘cellar’? (second paragraph)
- In the ‘Fast-forward 30 years’ paragraph there is an expression which means ‘instead of’.
- In the final part of the text (from ‘We didn't let on to our friends’ to the end), find a verb that means ‘look after’ and another that means ‘joke about something to show that you think it is not important or serious’.
Have you ever been the victim of or witnessed a crime?
Have you ever met a criminal?
1 The kitchen door was open
2 He liked cars ('he was into motor-racing')
3 He was genial-looking (friendly and cheerful)
4 They were the crew (the people who work on an aeroplane or boat)
5 No, she just had a hunch (a feeling based on intuition)
6 Excited, amused, but not angry (bitter)
7 The family wanted to make sure the English couple were the burglars
8 Every time they went back home they feared having been burgled again
1 tyre - make - sports car - motor racing - vehicle - bonnet [where the engine is vs 'boot' for luggage] - oil
2 odd and bizarre
3 cupboards had been turned out (=emptied) / It turned out (=resulted) they had burgled
4 a room under a house to store things
5 rather than
6 they had to care for (=look after) a sick relative / I expect they would have laughed it off (=joke about something...)