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What word is missing

Quiz: What Word Is Missing From These Common Phrases?: HowStuffWorks

By: Allison Lips

About This Quiz

While a penny saved is a penny earned, you won’t get a penny for your thoughts. Fortunately, this quiz isn’t like the SATs, so it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. However, you won’t want to give up your day job.

Can you finish these common phrases? Will you be on the ball or finish by the skin of your teeth? Will time fly because you’re having fun? You won’t know until you take this quiz. Just don’t get bent out of shape if you don’t do well.

If you’re saving money for an unexpected event, you are saving for a ____________ day.

This phrase originated in a 1580’s work titled, «The Bugbears.» There the phrase appeared as “Wold he haue me kepe nothing against a raynye day?»

What fruit would you eat in the phrase, «An __________ a day keeps the doctor away»?

«An apple a day keeps the doctor away» was first recorded in the 1860s as ‘‘Eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread.” The current version was first recorded in 1922.

What did curiosity do to the cat?

«Curiosity killed the cat» was originally a different phrase. It started as «care killed the cat.» At the time, «care,» in this sense, meant worry.

Two people who are very close are like two _________ in a pod.

This phrase dates back to the 16th century. One early use appeared in John Lyly’s «Euphues and his England.»

If you took on a project you cannot finish, you may have ___________ off more than you can chew?

The phrase «biting off more than you can chew» may date back to 1800s America. At the time, people often chewed tobacco and sometimes put too much in their mouths. Hence, literally biting off more than they could chew.

It take two to _______________. Name the dance.

In the 1920s, the tango became a popular dance. The phrase «takes two to tango» entered common usage as the name of a 1952 Pearl Bailey song.

If you live in a _________ house, you shouldn’t throw stones.

The concept of «those who live in glass houses should not throw stones» dates back to Geoffrey Chaucer’s «Troilus and Criseyde,» circa 1385. In 1651, Welsh poet George Herbert used the phrase as «Whose house is of glass, must not throw stones at another.»

If you are attempting to compare unrelated things, you are comparing apples to __________?

The phrase «apples to oranges» may have formed in the mid-1900s. However, a similar phrase about comparing apples to oysters appears in Shakespeare’s «Taming of the Shrew.»

Every cloud has a silver ________________.

In 1964, John Milton referred to a cloud having a silver lining in «Comus: A Mask Presented at Ludlow Castle.» In the Victorian era,​ the expression was «There’s a silver lining to every cloud.»

What would you be advising someone not do if they are putting all there eggs in the same _____________?

This phrase does not have a clear origin. It is frequently attributed to Miguel de Cervantes, who wrote: «‘Tis the part of a wise man to keep himself today for tomorrow, and not venture all his eggs in one basket.»

If someone is taking an unpopular opinion, they are playing ____________ advocate.

​The phrase «Devil’s advocate» comes from the Latin expression «advocatus diaboli.» In medieval Europe, the role was a job title. The Vatican has records from the early 1500s that mention this role.

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him ___________.

«You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink» was first recorded in 1175. It has been in continuous use since then.

Which word finishes this phrase? It’s the best thing since sliced ____________.

In 1921, Wonder Bread became the first pre-sliced bread on the market. At the time, the company’s ads said: «The greatest forward step in the baking industry since bread was wrapped.» The phrase morphed into «The greatest thing since sliced bread.»

When someone is looking for answers in the wrong place, they are said to be _______________ up the wrong tree?

Barking up the wrong tree comes from hunting dogs mistakenly barking up a tree where they think an animal is hiding. The first example of «barking up the wrong tree» in print was in 1932. James Kirke Paulding used it in his novel, «Westward Ho!»

Something that is very common is said to be _________ a dozen.

This phrase originated in the United States sometime after 1796. In the 1800s, many food items, like eggs, cost a dime a dozen.

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When you tell someone something, you may be making a ___________ story short.

«Making a long story short» is not a new concept. The phrase formed in the 1800s. Henry David Thoreau used a variation of it in an 1857 letter.

If you want something because everyone else has it, you are jumping on the ____________.

«Jumping on the bandwagon» acquired its current meaning sometime before the 1890s. However, the phrase must have been created after 1855 because that is the year P.T. Barnum coined the word «bandwagon.»

When your patience runs out, it may be the last __________.

The «last straw» is a shortened version of «the last straw that breaks the camel’s back.» The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations claims it’s a mid-17th-century​ proverb.

When you’re distraught, someone may tell you to __________ yourself together.

No one knows for sure where the phrase «pull yourself together» came from, but it may have been created in the late 1800s. It means to calm oneself down.

Even if something someone says sounds outlandish, you may want to give it the benefit of the _____________.

«Benefit of the doubt» was first recorded in the 1840s. It is thought to be related to the legal concept, «reasonable doubt.»

If you are sick, you may be said to be under the _____________.

The phrase «under the weather» originated with sailors. When they used it, it was to send an ill shipmate below deck to recover. Hence, he would be «under the weather.»

When you ignore someone, you are giving them the _____________ shoulder?

«Giving someone the cold shoulder» first appeared in Walter Scott’s «The Antiquary» in 1816. The folk etymology is that welcome guests were given a hot meal and unwelcome ones received​ a «cold shoulder of mutton.»

When you have to start over, you are going back to __________.

The term gained popularity around World War II. During that time, it was used to describe a design that failed.

If you’re having a hard time, a friend may say, _______ in there.

The phrase «hang in there» was popularized in the 1970s. During that decade, it appeared on a popular poster featuring a Siamese kitten clinging onto a bamboo pole.

What animal is missing from this phrase? It’s raining _________ and dogs.

«It’s raining cats and dogs» was never literal. It comes from old English.

If you’re giving someone some leeway, you are cutting them some ___________?

The phrase «cut some slack» entered common English usage around the mid-1900s. However, the origin of the phrase is from the late 1700s. It originally referred to loosening a part of a sail or rope.

When you’re doing something pointless, you are said to be going on a wild _________ chase.

Shakespeare may have coined «a wild goose chase.» In «Romeo and Juliet,» Mercutio uses the phrase in a conversation with Romeo.

If something bad happens, you may hope it is a ______________ in disguise?

In the 1800s, «a blessing in disguise» had solidified into its current usage. However, the phrase was known in the 1700s.

In the theater world, you may tell someone to break a ____________?

There are many theories as to how «break a leg» made its way into common language. The only thing we do know is that it originates from theater slang. It is thought that wishing someone bad luck would have the opposite effect.

It’s not __________ science means something is not complicated?

The usage of it’s not «rocket science» originally referred to how difficult that branch of science was. However, in 1980’s American football the phrase really took off!

A son who is like his father, can be said to be a chip off the old ___________?

The phrase «chip off the same block» dates back to 1621. At that time, it appeared in «Sermons» by Bishop Robert Sanderson. The current phrase appeared in a June 1870 edition of The Athens Messenger, an Ohio newspaper.

When you don’t want to know something, you may say ignorance is __________.

This phrase is similar to «what you don’t know can’t hurt you.» However, «ignorance is bliss» came from Thomas Gray’s 1742 poem «Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eaton College.»

What sweet food finishes this phrase? You catch more flies with ___________ than with vinegar.

«You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar» means that you will have more success being nice than being unkind. The first printed version of this phrase appeared in Benjamin Franklin’s «Poor Richard’s Almanac» in 1744.

While something good may happen, you still don’t want to count your __________ before they hatch.

The phrase was first published in 1570. Thomas Howell wrote «Counte not thy Chickens that vnhatched be.» In modern English that would be «Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.»

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When you fail spectacularly, you go down in __________.

«Going down in flames» entered common usage around 1915. It means the same thing as «going up in smoke.»

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PTE Select Missing Word Task | What You Need To Know with Practice!

Your comprehensive guide to PTE Select Missing Word has finally arrived!

Learn the key strategies for tackling this task and then practice using the sound files in the examples provided!

Understanding the Task

Time management is a challenge on the PTE Listening test . Candidates sometimes run out of time and can’t complete all the questions. One of the good things about PTE Select Missing Word is that it’s a relatively quick task.

Generally, you either know the answer or you don’t. If you do, fabulous!

Choose the correct option and move to the next task. If you don’t know the answer, guess and move to the next task. There is no advantage in taking extra time to guess. Just choose one and move on.

Guessing is not ideal, but if it is your best option, do it quickly. What you really want to do though is – avoid guessing.

So the question is how can you do that? How can you confidently choose the correct answer?

Well, to start with you need to fully understand the task. You need to know what is being tested, what the screen will look like, and you need to know how it will be marked. Then you need to be able to manage your concentration and use appropriate strategies.

Let’s look at all of those things now and then later you can do some practice.

You’ll have a chance to practice using sound clips in this article!

What is being tested?

You are being challenged to demonstrate your ability to:

#1 Identify the topic or main idea

#2 Understand academic vocabulary and infer the meaning of new words

#3 Understand implicit and explicit meanings and abstract information

#4 Understand the sequencing of information

#5 Comprehend various accents and rates of speech

#6 Predict what is likely to come next in the context.

What does it look like?

You will get two or three PTE Select Missing Word questions. You will see a prompt which you must read because it tells you the topic of listening.

If you know the general subject area, it is easier to tune in to the content. Your mind will be primed because it will automatically start thinking about related concepts and vocabulary. It provides context.

The prompt will look like the one below. In this example, the text will be about ‘agriculture.’ Topics vary and will always be clear in the prompt.

You will hear a recording about agriculture. At the end of the recording, the last word or group of words has been replaced by a beep. Select the correct option to complete the recording.

The recording will last for between 20 seconds and 70 seconds and in the end you will hear a ‘beep’ sound. There will be between three and five answer options. You have to choose one. All of the options will be grammatically correct. It’s all about the meaning.

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When you choose an option, it will be highlighted in yellow. You can still change your mind by clicking on a different option.

When you are ready, click NEXT to go to the next item.

How is the PTE Select Missing Word marked?

That’s easy. You get one mark for choosing the correct answer and zero for choosing the wrong answer.

View the E2Language blog article on PTE scoring for newbies!

Manage your concentration

A little trick I use sometimes when I realize I’m losing concentration is to physically pinch my hand. If I tell myself to concentrate, it isn’t really enough, but if I physically pinch myself, that snaps me back into concentration. Will that work for you? Try it now.

Listen carefully. You will see a timer so you know when the recording is coming to an end.

Summary of Key Strategies for PTE Select Missing Word

Before you listen:

  • Read the prompt to find the topic.
  • Know that you’ve done your practice and you’re prepared.
  • Be ready for different accents and speeds of speaking.

While you listen:

  • Focus and aim to understand the main points.
  • Watch the timer so that you can see when the beep is coming.

After you have listened:

  • Read the options and choose the best one.
  • If you don’t know, guess.
  • Move on to the next question. Don’t keep thinking about it – you know it or you don’t.

Extra note: In any of the listening tasks, you can adjust the volume using the slider. Do that if you need to. You can adjust while a text is playing.

Practicing PTE Select Missing Word

Before the test, you can develop your listening skills by listening to TED talks . There are thousands to choose from. They will help you understand different accents and tune your ear to English.

Are you ready for some practice now?

In the test, you will have an on-screen timer. But for the practice exercises below, please use your own timer. The first task is 39 seconds long and the second is 43 seconds long.

Before you begin – check the topic, concentrate (and be ready to use your timer).

PTE Select Missing Word – Practice 1

You will hear a recording about cancer. At the end of the recording, the last word or group of words has been replaced by a beep. Select the correct option to complete the recording.

Click play below:

Check your answer below:

Click to show/hide answer

Worldwide, over two-thirds of deaths due to cancer are fully preventable using methods that we already have in hand today. Things like vaccination, timely screening and of course, stopping smoking. But even with the best tools and technologies that we have today, some tumors can’t be detected until 10 years until after they’ve started growing when they are 50 million cancer cells strong. What if we had better technologies to detect some of these more deadly cancers sooner when they could be removed when they were just getting started.

Did you get it right? If not, why not? What went wrong? Was it an issue with concentration, accent, vocabulary, difficult subject matter?

To work on your listening, you can listen to TED talks . This will help you to manage accents, build vocabulary and cope with difficult material.

PTE Select Missing Word – Practice 2

You will hear a recording about building design. At the end of the recording, the last word or group of words has been replaced by a beep. Select the correct option to complete the recording.

Click play below:

Check your answer below:

Click to show/hide answer

When, in 1960, still a student, I got a traveling fellowship to study housing in North America. We travelled the country. We saw public housing high-rise buildings in all major cities: New York, Philadelphia. Those who had no choice lived there. And then we traveled from suburb to suburb, and I came back thinking, we’ve got to reinvent the apartment building. There has to be another way of doing this. We can’t sustain suburbs, so let’s design a building that gives the qualities of a house to each unit.

Did you get it right? If not, why not?

Watch our E2 PTE Listening video from our YouTube Channel below!

So there you have it! A comprehensive guide to the PTE Select Missing Word Task.

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