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Complete the following dialogue. Use your active vocabulary.

A: I think, there are a number of important economic reasons why young people should not be allowed to marry until they are eighteen years old.

B: ...

A: Most people do not finish school before they are eighteen, and they need to be as free as possible from pressures and demands that would interfere with their studies before finishing this basic level of education. Once they graduate, they are in a better position to find a job that pays well enough to support a family.

B: ...

A: If they get married before graduating, they can be forced by financial pressures to drop out of school or university and look for work. Besides, it’s almost impossible for university drop-outs to find a good job.



(from ‘Special Relationship’ by Robyn Sisman)


The train squeaked to a halt. Jolted out of her reverie, Annie looked up to see a little graveyard chequered with afternoon shadows and tumbled about with leaves. This was a familiar trick of the Oxford train, designed to confound outsiders who hustled to collect their bags when the train slowed and were then left stranded among their luggage in the corridor.

She could still recall the anxiety that had gripped her, at exactly this spot, twelve months ago. ‘I’m afraid there's been a mistake, ’ she had imagined them saying at Lady Margaret Hall, with that chilly Oxford courtesy.

‘Paxford, did you say? We have no record of that name here.’ She had actually brought with her the telegram offering her a place at the college, in anticipation of such a scene. The memory of her insecurity made her blush now, but the early days had not been easy. No one had told her that LMH (Lady Margaret Hall) was the ‘posh’ college, attracting shriekingly well-bred girls and high-caste Indians in saris. Annie’s achievement in getting into Oxford had been unusual enough, at her school, to merit a half-holiday and a new line on the wooden scroll of honour in the assembly hall, and she had come up - one always went ‘up’ to Oxford - knowing no one.

She found soon enough that her unusual background did not mean she was more stupid than others. It took even less time to discover that, in this university of twenty-odd male colleges and only five female, she was socially in high demand. Fresh from a girls’ boarding-school, Annie had said yes to every man who asked her out. By the end of the first term she had begun to make friends within the college and had landed a non-speaking part in a production of Twelfth Night. By the second term she had dumped Aunt Betty’s idea of a suitable college wardrobe at the Oxfam shop, exchanging her skirts and “nice” dresses for groovier gear. Her minuscule Oxford University diary, printed on Indian paper and furnished with a tiny wooden pencil, into which she had dutifully copied the times of lectures and worthy-sounding society meetings, filled up with parties, lunches, films, auditions. Annie had had no idea that anyone could have so much fun.

Oxford was, she had found, a place of secret pleasures, closely guarded. The best pubs were invariably hidden in courtyards and down unpromising alleyways; the most breathtaking buildings behind walls black with car fumes. A chance turning in the monastic gloom of a Gothic arch­way could lead equally well to enchanting cloistered gardens or the Fellows’ car park.

There was an entirely new language to learn, too. The head of a college might be a dean, provost, warden, rector, president, master or principal. Exams, depending on their nature and timing, might be called collections, prelims, mods or schools, and when you took them you had to dress entirely in black and white, known as ‘subfus’. New College was ‘New’, University College ‘Univ’. Brasenose College ‘BNC’, St Edmund Hall ‘Teddy Hall’. ‘Matriculation’ was the Latin ceremony which formally admitted students to membership of the University. Going down to the river meant rowing, or watching the boat races, on the Thames, which in Oxford was called the Isis.

Like all first-years, Annie had initially found this new vocabulary strange, even pretentious. Now she wouldn't think twice about referring to one of the world's greatest libraries as ‘the Bod’. She was a cool second-year. Annie stretched out her legs admiring her new boots she had bought yesterday from a new shop called Biba. They were ravishing pink suede, tightly laced to follow the curve of her calves from ankle to knee. She was sure Edward would like them. Even Rose might.

Everyone in Oxford knew Rose Cassidy. It was impossible not to. She had distinguished herself in her very first term by being dragged away from a demo outside the Union, hair-first, by the police, then lodging a complaint for excessive violence. She argued with her tutors, played rock at top volume and smoked French cigarettes. Dressed almost exclusively in purple, with lots of jangly silver jewellry, her dark hair long and loose with a fringe cut dramatically just above her extraordinary green eyes, she looked quite unlike the other LMH girls. Although Annie had overheard some disparaging remarks about Rose - too bossy, too outspoken, too politically extreme - she had rather admired Rose from afar. But their rooms were in different buildings. It wasn’t until their second term that they had become friends.

All first-years reading English were bound together by their terror of Prelims, an exam designed to get all the really boring bits over within one huge gulp of mindless learning. As well as literature tutorials, which they attended in pairs, there were classes in History of the English language, in which they all struggled together to grasp the significance of sound-changes and the Great Vowel Shift. It was dreary work. One gloomy February day in the middle of such a class Rose had flippedupher fringe in a characteristic gesture and exclaimed in exasperation, ‘This is all bullshit, isn't it? ’ The teacher, an Irish woman, not much older than her students, froze in front of the blackboard. The rest of the class had sat in stunned, well-bred silence, broken by Annie’s quip, ‘The Great Bowel Shift.’ Even the teacher had laughed.


1. hall n - a college or University building. E.g. The dean must be in Lady Margaret Hall now.

2. odd adj – somewhat more than the number mentioned. E.g. In this University there were twenty-odd (зд. двадцать с небольшим) male colleges.

3. Oxfam n - a chain of charity shops selling second-hand clothes and books.

4. Fellow n - a member of a society connected with some branch of learning or of certain college, university. E.g. He's a Fellow of Girton College.

5. demo n slang– a demonstration of protest, especially by a large crowd with banners.


Proper Names

Margaret /'ma: gqrIt/ the Thames /Dq 'temz/

Paxford /'pxksfqd/ Isis / 'aIsis/

Oxfam /'Pksfxm/ Edward /'edwqd/



1. Use a dictionary to find out what the following words mean.

Verb noun adjective adverb

squeak halt posh dutifully

confound reverie worthy-sounding invariably

grip courtesy disparaging initially

dump anticipation outspoken dramatically

refer to fringe mindless

distinguish dreary





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