KA WORDCAST Taskmaster Book 2: Lesson 13

KA WORDCAST Taskmaster Book 2: Lesson 13

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Taskmaster Lesson 13 PASSAGE

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Taskmaster Lesson 13 Mini-Test 1

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Taskmaster Lesson 13 Mini-Test 2 

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Taskmaster Lesson 13 Mini-Test 3 

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Taskmaster Book 2: Lesson 13


 Today’s words come from four passages taken from a novel called Howl’s Moving Castle (see for your information below.) To listen to a recording of these passages, tune into the kavoicecast.com website.


There was one deep rose outfit she made for Lettie, the May Day before this story really starts, which Fanny said looked as if it had come from the most EXCLUSIVE shop in Kingsbury.

The adjective EXCLUSIVE has a number of meanings.  First, as in the sentence above, it can mean high- class, expensive, or catering or available to only a few select customers. Synonyms include select, chic, and elite.

Bouijis is one of Britain’s most EXCLUSIVE clubs, so make sure you are on your best behavior—you might bump into someone famous!

The Island of Capri off the coast of Italy has a number of EXCLUSIVE shops and boutiques where wealthy locals and tourists flock to spend their money.

The Simpsons’ home is located in an EXCLUSIVE neighborhood of Atlanta, a gated community populated by many of the city’s leading citizens.

EXCLUSIVE can also mean restricted or limited to the person, group, or area concerned. Synonyms include sole, undivided, or unshared.

The real estate agent had EXCLUSIVE rights to sell the movie star’s $4.5-million Beverly Hills mansion.

If you book the Manor Hotel as your wedding venue, we can offer you and your guests the EXCLUSIVE use of all of the hotel’s facilities, including the pool, spa, and Falstaff Lounge.

We have made an EXCLUSIVE arrangement with another supplier and will no longer be requiring your produce.

The problem isn’t EXCLUSIVE to Dublin.  Many major cities are finding that shoppers are favoring out-of town malls, which has led to the closure of many city-center shops.

As a noun, EXCLUSIVE means a news item or story published or broadcast by only one media source.

The Sunday Times’s six-page EXCLUSIVE was an expose of some highly disturbing practices being carried out in many of the country’s nursing homes.

EXCLUSIVELY is the adverb form.  It means done in a manner that leaves other people or things out.

These marble tiles are produced EXCLUSIVELY for our store by a small, family-owned factory in Italy.

Section D of Edgar Martinez Stadium has been set EXCLUSIVELY aside this fine Mother’s Day afternoon for the moms of both team’s players.  

The tabloid Daily Dirt EXCLUSIVELY revealed in its evening edition that the popular all-girl band has decided to split up at the end of their current world tour. 

The verb from which EXCLUSIVE and EXCLUSIVELY are derived is EXCLUDE, which also has a number of uses.  For one, it can mean to deny someone access to or bar someone from a place, group, or privilege.

Historically, women have been EXCLUDED from golf country clubs.  But these days, most clubs not only allow but even encourage female membership.

Sarah turned her back on Alison, trying to EXCLUDE her from the conversation.  Sarah still hadn’t forgiven her for the rumors she had spread about her.

EXCLUDE is also used to mean to not include something or to rule out or remove something from consideration.

One of the guests at the party had a severe nut allergy, so we EXCLUDED any foods that had nuts in them from the menu.

Gift-wrapping and shipping are EXCLUDED from the quoted price.

After conducting her examination, Dr. Peters EXCLUDED food poisoning as the cause of the patient’s vomiting and concluded that a stomach virus was responsible.

I was surprised to see that Karen had EXCLUDED her own name from the list of candidates.  I thought she had her heart set on becoming president of the PTA.

In addition to the noun EXCLUSIVE as explained above, EXCLUDE has three other noun forms.  The first two, EXCLUSIVENESS and EXCLUSIVITY, mean (1) the quality of being exclusive or limited or (2) the tendency to exclude or shut out.

Because the Cinderella Castle Suite is the only hotel room inside the Magic Kingdom, its EXCLUSIVENESS adds to its appeal.

Luxury brands use their EXCLUSIVITY to justify their high prices, though these days, the improving quality of reasonably priced copycat goods threatens to undermine this practice.

The noun EXCLUSION means the act of EXCLUDING or the condition of being EXCLUDED.

In his press conference, the President’s EXCLUSION of certain details about the incident aroused the suspicion of the opposition party, which is now calling for a full-scale investigation.

Resentful because of his EXCLUSION from the party, Manny anonymously called the police and told them that there was under-age drinking going on at 911 Wheeler Avenue.



So when, a few months after that, a tall black castle suddenly appeared on the hills above Market Chipping, blowing black clouds of smoke from its four tall, thin turrets, everybody SURMISED that the Witch had moved out of the Waste again and was about to terrorize the country the way she used to fifty years ago.

The verb SURMISE means to suppose that something is true without having sufficient or any evidence to confirm it.  Synonyms include guess, deduce, assume, presume, conclude, and speculate.

Recent research findings have led biologists to SURMISE that plants actually communicate with one another about threats in the environment.

John could only SURMISE that the reason he didn’t get the job was that he hadn’t graduated from an Ivy League school as had all the other candidates.

Don’t SURMISE anything.  It is your job as a reporter to go out and get the facts.

The noun SURMISE, though rarely used, means a guess or speculation that something may be true, even if there isn’t any evidence to confirm it.

I was relieved to have my SURMISE confirmed.  I knew Jack would never cheat on a test, and as I’d suspected, his teacher had gotten Jack’s paper mixed up with someone else’s.



Nobody went out alone, particularly at night.  What made it so EERIE was that the castle did not stay in one place.

The adjective EERIE means strange and frightening.  Synonyms for EERIE include uncanny, sinister, unnatural, freakish, and queer.

It was an unusually cold night, and there was an EERIE green glow in the sky.  Faye was not at all sure she wanted to be camping out in the woods anymore.

Everyone had gone home, and suddenly Andy became aware of the EERIE silence that had descended over the old house.

The evening became EERIER still when a low howling noise could be heard coming from the trees.

The adverb EERILY means in an EERIE manner.

It was EERILY quiet in the dark chapel, and Sally began to wish she had asked Sarah to come with her after all.

Leonie was normally glum and morose, so her sudden cheerfulness and loud laughter were EERILY unsettling.


“It isn’t PRACTICAL to have you all in the shop.  I can’t afford it.”

The adjective PRACTICAL has a number of meanings.  First, when referring to an idea, plan, or method, PRACTICAL means likely to succeed or to be effective in real circumstances.  Synonyms include feasible, realistic, or viable.

Neither of the proposed strategies is PRACTICAL for a small business like ours.  We need to find a solution that will work for us. 

The opposition has failed to put forward any PRACTICAL alternatives of their own, preferring to concentrate on ridiculing the current proposals.

PRACTICAL can also mean concerned with the actual doing or use of something rather than with theory and ideas.  Synonyms for this usage include hands-on, real, and actual.

Both candidates have years of PRACTICAL experience with various language-teaching methods and would make an excellent addition to the university’s ESL department.

Students take more interest in a subject like calculus if they can be shown its PRACTICAL applications.

PRACTICAL can also mean suitable for a particular purpose.  Synonyms include functional, serviceable, and sensible.

Our hand-crafted decorative wall thermometers and barometers will not only beautify your home, but are PRACTICAL weather forecasters as well.

A state-of-the-art PRACTICAL kitchen was the first thing Laura was going to install in the old barn she was converting into a home.

Do you want your clothes to be PRACTICAL and durable or frivolous and fashionable?

PRACTICAL can also describe people who are skilled at manual tasks or who are sensible and realistic in their approach to a situation or problem.

Steve will fix it—he’s quite PRACTICAL.

I’m just being PRACTICAL.  If your mother is coming to live with us, we have to find a ground-floor apartment.  She can’t manage the stairs anymore.

Finally, PRACTICAL can mean that something is so nearly true that it can be regarded as true.  Synonyms include virtual and in effect.

It was a PRACTICAL certainty that Jenna would be voted head prefect by her peers.  She was the most popular girl in school.

In British English, PRACTICAL also refers to an examination or lesson in which theories and procedures learned are applied to the actual making or doing of something.

Before you can take your PRACTICAL driving test, you must first pass the written exam. 

PRACTICALLY is an adverb that means to do something in a PRACTICAL manner.  Synonyms include realistically or sensibly.

We planned the grounds PRACTICALLY for use as a vegetable garden and as a yard for the kids to play in.

Ask Raul.  He’s the most PRACTICALLY minded of the staff and will surely be able to come up with a doable idea.

PRACTICALLY is also used as an adverb to mean almost, nearly, or virtually.

Roger is such a good friend and frequent guest that he is PRACTICALLY a member of the family.

The players’ strike started in May and lasted PRACTICALLY the whole season, much to the fans’ dismay.

I went to an afternoon screening of the new Tom Cruise action movie Oblivion, and the cinema was PRACTICALLY empty.

PRACTICALITY and its synonym PRACTICALNESS are nouns that mean the quality or state of being PRACTICAL.  Synonyms include feasibility, common sense, and utility.

Though some of her colleagues had raised doubts about the PRACTICALITY of the proposal, Sandra was determined to proceed with its implementation.

We have asked an architect to consider the PRACTICALITY of turning our basement into a sound studio.

The captain of the sinking ship spoke with calm PRACTICALITY as he issued evacuation instructions to passengers boarding the lifeboats.

The PRACTICALNESS of the mayor’s suggested compromise solution surprised many of us since he was usually stubbornly opposed to working with his critics.

The plural form PRACTICALITIES often refers to the aspects of a situation that involve the actual doing or experience of it.

Jonathan’s dream to work on a submarine had finally come true, but the PRACTICALITIES of living at sea in confined conditions for an extended period of time were beginning to make him regret his choice.

The PRACTICALITIES of army life came as a big shock to Matthew after his upbringing as a much loved and pampered only child.

Unprepared for the PRACTICALITIES of being a homemaker and mother, Denise was finding it difficult to cope.



Sophie could hardly say that she felt simply RESIGNED to the hat trade.  She thanked Fanny gratefully.

Here, the verb RESIGN means to accept that something undesirable cannot be avoided.

“You must RESIGN yourself to the fact that you will never be a star,” the talent show judge bluntly told the young singer. “You just don’t have what it takes.”

We RESIGNED ourselves to the long wait.  But for tickets to this concert, standing in line all night was a sacrifice we were all happy to make.

Though John had RESIGNED himself to the fact that he would never walk again after his motorbike accident, recent advances in stem-cell technology gave him some hope.

RESIGN can also mean to voluntarily leave a job or other position.

The senior management RESIGNED en masse after the third-quarter losses were announced, leaving the company in disarray.

The chairman was forced to RESIGN and face criminal charges when he was found to have misappropriated company funds.

After the success of her first novel, Glenda RESIGNED from her job at the ad agency and became a full-time writer.

The noun RESIGNATION means either (1) the acceptance of something undesirable but inevitable or (2) the act of retiring or giving up a position.

He confronted the indignities and inconveniences of old age with his usual RESIGNATION, reminding himself that to have reached 90 was a remarkable achievement in itself.

Frances had endured another mind-numbingly boring day at work in the call center and was toying with the idea of RESIGNATION.



“You mean you’re the Witch of the Waste?” Sophie quavered.  Her voice seemed to have gone strange with fear and astonishment.  “I am,” the lady said.  “And let that teach you to INTERFERE with things that belong to me.”

The verb INTERFERE has a number of meanings.  First, it means to prevent something from continuing or being carried out properly.

A holiday job would INTERFERE with Abdul’s studies, but without one, he could not afford to continue with his studies.  What a Catch 22!

When the rain INTERFERED with the town’s plans to hold its annual celebration in Hudson Park, officials decided to move it into an old abandoned warehouse.

INTERFERE can also mean to take part in or bother an activity without invitation or necessity.

Don’t INTERFERE in the problems of others unless they specifically ask you for your help.

I know she thinks she’s helping, but I wish my mother-in-law wouldn’t INTERFERE in my kitchen.

Light waves from the two beams INTERFERE with each other, imprinting a three-dimensional pattern into the plastic hologram.

The adjective INTERFERING describes a person who is prone to bothering others.  Synonyms include intruding, meddlesome, and nosy.

They wanted to be free from their INTERFERING relatives, so Alex and Jane planned to elope as soon as they could get the marriage license.

Mrs. Donaldson next door is such an INTERFERING busybody.  Why can’t she mind her own business?

The noun INTERFERENCE means the action of interfering or the process of being interfered with.

In the U.S., the Constitution protects the individual’s rights and freedoms and prevents his/her INTERFERENCE by the state in a number of ways.

The fading or disturbance of received radio signals caused by unwanted signals from other sources is called INTERFERENCE.

In American football, blockers run INTERFERENCE for the ball carrier to keep him from being tackled by the defense.


She pulled her gray skirt against her legs and looked down at the skinny, DECREPIT ankles and feet.  They were the legs of someone about ninety, and they seemed to be real.

The adjective DECREPIT, when referring to a person, means elderly and infirm.  Synonyms include feeble or frail.  Informal synonyms include past it and over the hill.

A rather DECREPIT old man answered the door after my third knock.  “Okay, okay,” he wheezed, “what’s the hurry?  These old legs don’t move as fast as they used to.”

DECREPIT can also be used to describe an object that is worn out or ruined because of age or neglect.  Synonyms include dilapidated, rickety, and broken down.

The kids’ skateboard park is a DECREPIT concrete monstrosity with deep fissures, and though it doesn’t seem to bother the skaters, I think it’s time we built them a new one. 

I was elated when I learned I had inherited my great aunt’s house, until I visited the place, that is.  It turned out to be a DECREPIT ruin that would cost a fortune to repair.

The noun DECREPITUDE means a state of serious damage or deterioration due to old age or long use.  Synonyms include feebleness or dilapidation.

Her incurable grief caused her to become careless of her health and appearance and to fall into a state of DECREPITUDE.  At thirty she looked sixty.

The vacant house had an air of DECREPITUDE, and when the nosy children ventured inside, it smelled musty and damp.


“Well, why not?” she asked to her stick.  “Wizard Howl is not likely to want my soul for his collection.  He only takes young girls.”  She raised her stick and waved it IMPERIOUSLY at the castle.

The adverb IMPERIOUSLY means in an arrogant and domineering manner.

Zoe practices her flute furiously, driven by her IMPERIOUSLY strict teacher.

IMPERIOUSLY comes from the adjective IMPERIOUS, which means arrogant and domineering.  

The new department head’s IMPERIOUS demands were entirely unreasonable, and yet he expected them to be met immediately.

Even after she had grown up and become a successful defense attorney, Megan’s father always spoke to her in a high-handed and IMPERIOUS manner that made her seethe.

The noun IMPERIOUSNESS means the quality of being overbearing or domineering.

The new nationalistic prime minister’s IMPERIOUSNESS offended his country’s neighbors and has aggravated tensions in the region.


“Stop!” she shrieked.  The castle obediently came to a rumbling, grinding halt about fifty yards from her.  Sophie felt rather GRATIFIED as she hobbled toward it.

The adjective GRATIFIED describes a feeling of being thankful for getting something that was earned or desired.  Synonyms include pleased, satisfied, and fulfilled.

The 39-year-old golf pro felt GRATIFIED after winning his first PGA tournament, and at last had something to show for all the hard work he had put in all these years. 

At one point, the reef’s shark population had dropped to only ten or so, so researchers felt GRATIFIED to find that the sharks had rebounded and that there were now hundreds of them.

When government cutbacks threatened to close the library, the library staff felt GRATIFIED to receive so many letters of support.

GRATIFYING is another adjective form that means giving satisfaction or pleasure.

Medical research can have big rewards, both in making GRATIFYING discoveries and in turning them into potentially life-saving treatments.

Working with people with developmental and other disabilities is GRATIFYING though not necessarily remunerative work.

The adverb GRATIFYINGLY means in a way that gives pleasure or in an enjoyable manner.  Synonyms include satisfyingly and pleasingly.

The performances of all the actors were at a GRATIFYINGLY high level that charmed the audience and impressed the critics.

These adjectives and adverbs come from the verb GRATIFY, which means to satisfy or please, or to give in to a desire.

Henry hoped that his making the Dean’s List would GRATIFY his parents, who had had to struggle and take out two mortgages to send him to college.

Instead of listening to others talk about it, why don’t you GRATIFY your curiosity and go see the exhibition for yourself?

GRATIFICATION is the noun based on GRATIFY.  It means the state of being satisfied or pleased.  Synonyms include satisfaction, fulfillment, and pleasure.

In our culture of immediate GRATIFICATION, many people prefer to eat out at fast-food restaurants rather than to take the trouble to prepare healthy, home-cooked meals.

Champagne and sparkling wines are beloved for the immediate GRATIFICATION that their heady bubbles and fresh fruit taste offer.


The tall young fellow in a FLAMBOYANT blue-and-silver suit who had just come in stopped in the act of leaning a guitar in the corner.

The adjective FLAMBOYANT describes people who are given to showy behavior.  Synonyms include ostentatious, extravagant, and, if too showy, pretentious.

Mae was one of the most FLAMBOYANT actresses in the theater, with a booming voice and extravagant gestures, but she was also one of the most temperamental.

The magician was not only skillful, but also FLAMBOYANT, and he thrilled the kids in the audience, who gasped in awe at his amazing, over-the-top tricks.

FLAMBOYANT can also describe something that is noticeable because it is brightly colored, intricately patterned, or unusual in style.  Synonyms include colorful, gaudy, ornate, and vivid.

Hugo wore a FLAMBOYANT outfit, including a cravat, pinstriped suit, and a wildly colorful patterned blazer.  He was an individual, that’s for sure.

The Chinese restaurant’s FLAMBOYANT façade was in direct contrast to the gray, staid buildings around it.

FLAMBOYANTLY is the adverb form of FLAMBOYANT.  It means in a fancy or colorful manner.  Synonyms include ostentatiously, showily, and gaudily.

Whenever Tim’s dad picked him up from school, Tim would make him promise to wait around the corner because his dad always dressed so FLAMBOYANTLY.

Susie loved it when Uncle Mike read her bedtime stories.  He was a wonderful storyteller, FLAMBOYANTLY acting out the scenes, pulling funny faces, and doing all the characters’ voices.

The noun FLAMBOYANCE means elaborateness or extravagance.  Synonyms include showiness and flashiness.

The FLAMBOYANCE of her Lady GaGa outfit made Julie sure she would win the Best Costume prize, but evidently the judges thought it was too FLAMBOYANT.



As you might have surmised, the readings for this lesson all come from Howl’s Moving Castle, a popular fantasy novel for young people that was made even more popular when the great Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki turned it into an animated film.  The movie won all kinds of awards and earned nearly 300 million dollars worldwide, and was later picked up and dubbed into English by Walt Disney Studios.  The book came out in 1986 and was written by the late Diana Wynne Jones (she died recently at the age of 77), the prolific British author of scores of books and stories for children and young people.  It chronicles the adventures and misadventures of a young girl named Sophie Hatter, who, when her father dies, becomes an apprentice in his hat shop.  But then a wicked witch enters the shop and puts a nasty spell on Sophie, turning her into a decrepit old woman and forcing her to go out and seek her fortune on her own.  If you would like to read Howl’s Moving Castle and find out what happens to Sophie, feel free to borrow the book from the KA library.  And if you haven’t seen it, check out the movie, too.  It’s stunning.

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