Topics and vocabulary    



(intermediate level)


(Are the two statements true or false? Choose from the box.)


  • The majority of houses for rent in Britain are owned by housing authorities.
  • The local authority is responsible for maintaining the housing in its area.



  • A detached house is usually a house by itself and with a garden.
  • Rates on detached houses in Britain are higher than on rented flats.



  • A housing estate is an area of land on which many blocks of flats are built.
  • Houses on a housing estate can also be built by private enterprise.



  • There is no chance for contact with the neighbours in a big block of flats.
  • Large blocks of flats on modern housing estates are usually impersonal.



  • Rents and rates are higher if you live in a flat than in a detached house.
  • Lots of people feel lonely and cut off from human contact in their flats.



  • Young people who like company may prefer living in students' hostels.
  • You can have your own room in a hostel but you share the bathroom with others.



  • Terraced houses are two houses with a common wall and a common garden.
  • Semi-detached houses are built in a single row with no gaps between them.



  • You have more privacy in a bedsitter than in a hostel.
  • Living in a bedsitter you pay rent to the owner of the house.



  • People who don't mind having a landlady around may prefer taking lodgings.
  • The landlady might even cook meals for her lodger.



  • 'Living in digs' means the same as 'taking lodgings'.
  • The tenant or lodger in digs can be called 'digger'.



  • Letting a room as a bedsitter is prohibited by the government.
  • A bed & breakfast hotel is usually more expensive than renting a house.



  • Bed & breakfast hotels provide extra comfort for the well-to-do.
  • Freehold houses and flats can't be owned by the public.



  • Freehold houses and flats can also be built with government loans.
  • Council estates can sometimes be authorised by private companies.



  • When taking a bedsitter you needn't ask the owner if you can use the telephone.
  • You are not so on your own in a bedsitter as in a hostel.



  • There is nobody to look after people who live in lodgings.
  • The landlord mustn't set rules to his tenants about using facilities.



  • The expressions 'sitting room' and 'living room' mean the same.
  • The English never have tiled walls in their bathrooms.



  • You don't have a built-in wash tub in the kitchen.
  • You don't have a gas fire in the living room.



  • Heaters, fires and radiators are used for the same purpose.
  • You don't boil water in an oven.



  • You can use a broom for sweeping the floor.
  • A spin-drier uses centrifugal force to dry laundered clothes.



  • A sewing-machine is used for cutting wood.
  • You use a drill when you want to bore a hole in a plank.



  • A drill is a revolving tool used for making narrow and deep holes.
  • You drive a screw into a plank with a corkscrew.



  • A corkscrew is used for pulling a cork out of a bottle.
  • You hoe up the weeds then rake the soil smooth when making a flower-bed.



  • A lawnmower is used for planting vegetables and flowers.
  • A lathe is a machine used by turners.



  • A dish-washer is the combination of a washing-machine and a spin-drier.
  • The dry cleaner dries out clothes with the help of a vacuum-cleaner.



  • The dry cleaner uses chemicals for cleaning clothes.
  • Electric devices will not work unless you disconnect their plugs.



  • You can't insert a socket into a plug.
  • 'AC' means 'alternating current' and 'DC' means 'direct current'.



  • Plumbers repair electric devices like plugs and electric connections.
  • If your water heater has broken down you must send for a boiler-smith.



  • Mechanics don't usually repair washing-machines and spin-driers.
  • You must call a carpenter when you want to have broken floorboards replaced.



  • You plane a plank when you want to make it smooth.
  • A chisel is used for sawing timbers into pieces.



  • A saw or an axe is used for cutting wood - a chisel is used for carving.
  • You pull out a nail with pincers and you drive in a screw with a screwdriver.



  • A hosepipe is good for watering plants in the garden or washing cars.
  • You can't pull a switch - you can only turn it.



  • If there is a leak in the kitchen you should send for a glazier.
  • You dig up the ground with a spade and make it smooth with a rake.



  • It's better to store wine in the pantry than in the cellar.
  • The attic is always on the ground floor of a detached house.



  • The ceiling is the lower part of a cellar.
  • You use a carpet sweeper for dusting the furniture.



  • You must call a glazier when the windows are filthy.
  • You can cut materials with a pair of scissors.



  • These lamps are too bright because the lights have fused.
  • The fuse blows when there is a short-circuit.



  • Gas can be stored in containers or gas-holders.
  • If there's a leak in the kitchen there might be something wrong with the taps.



  • If the gas is leaking it can't be caused by the wrong fitting of the container.
  • A plunger is used for pumping gas into the container of the gas cooker.



  • When you've hammered a nail into a plank you can't pull it out with pincers.
  • If the knives are blunt you mustn't sharpen them.



  • You never cut the grass with a lawnmower because it's used for cutting wood.
  • When the lights have fused you must turn off the taps in the kitchen.



  • You mustn't have your own cooker in a bedsitter without permission.
  • Sideboards and bookcases are pieces of furniture.



  • A seesaw is usually used for cutting wood.
  • You use a plane or a rasp if you want to make a piece of wood smoother.



  • Turning things on a lathe is a special kind of housework.
  • Soap powder is used only when washing with an automatic washing machine.



  • A hosepipe never needs oiling.
  • You can't wash a car using a hosepipe.



  • You must send for a locksmith or a carpenter when the doors won't open.
  • Repairmen repair what has gone wrong - but they don't care for cars.



  • You can't go upstairs to the cellar - nor can you go downstairs to the attic.
  • Leftovers usually mean small thistles left on a carpenter's bench after work.



  • You never store spirits in bottles in the cellar.
  • Soap powder and washing powder can be stored in the bathroom.



  • You stick the wallpaper to the wall putting some paste on it.
  • When there is a short circuit in the bathroom, you need a plumber.



  • 'Do the room' means 'clean the room' when your own room is meant.
  • 'Do the room' means 'clean the room' when you do it for money.



  • A bedsitter is a person who goes to houses to look after the baby.
  • A lodger is the tenant of a bedsitter or someone who lives in digs.


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