KA WORDCAST Taskmaster Book 2: Lesson 18 Part II

KA WORDCAST Taskmaster Book 2: Lesson 18 Part II

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Taskmaster Lesson 18 MINI TEST 1

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Taskmaster Lesson 18 MINI TEST 2 

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Taskmaster Lesson 18 MINI TEST 3

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PDF DOWNLOAD Taskmaster Book 2 Lesson 18 Part II

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Today’s words come from the three Mini Test passages taken from a book called The Stolen (see For Your Information below). To listen to a recording of these passages, tune into the KA Voicecast website.


“Look at that FABRIC! Look at that style!” But it was all far too old for her, and not meant for girls of her age at all.

 Here, FABRIC means a cloth or material produced by weaving or knitting textile fibers.

 A new technology recycles plastic bottles into fibers that can be woven into FABRICS used in outdoor sporting wear.

 Brenda spent weeks scouring charity shops and FABRIC stores looking for a material that she could use to make a one-of-a-kind wedding dress for her only daughter.

FABRIC can also be used figuratively to mean the basic structure of a society, culture, or activity.

The Eco-House displayed at the World Expo is a model for how multi-functional, environmentally efficient homes can be integrated into the dense FABRIC of suburbia.

Right-wing politicians and fanatic Christians love to rant on about how declining moral standards are destroying the FABRIC of American society.

The verb FABRICATE is related to the word FABRIC.  Literally, FABRICATE means to create or manufacture something, usually by assembling various parts.

Su Lin FABRICATES her award-winning sculptures using discarded pieces of wood, plastic, ceramic, and metal, all bound together with baling wire.

It only takes a small amount of highly enriched uranium to FABRICATE a nuclear weapon, which means that almost any country can make one if it has the technology.

More figuratively, FABRICATE means to lie or invent a story with the intention of deceiving someone or something.  Synonyms include concoct, make up, think up, invent, falsify, and forge.

Pathological liars often don’t even realize that they are FABRICATING the stories they tell as they tell them.

Diego was dismissed from his job when his supervisor discovered that he had FABRICATED the details on his CV about his past work experiences.

The noun FABRICATION means either the action or process of manufacturing or inventing something or a lie.

Unfortunately, the FABRICATION process of an eco-friendly electric car is currently more costly than manufacturing a standard gas or diesel model.

Although Dan Brown’s novel The Symbol was a bestseller and contained some very thought-provoking ideas, it was actually a complete FABRICATION with no basis in historical fact.



The other grown-ups were always COURTEOUS to her, and nodded and said hello and asked after her health, but nobody seemed to want to talk to her for long.

COURTEOUS is an adjective that means thoughtful towards others.  Synonyms include polite, well-mannered, and considerate.

The young driver who delivered our groceries today was very helpful and COURTEOUS, so I gave him a good tip.

Being affable, hard working, and COURTEOUS will get you noticed in the workplace and ensure your job security. 

Though COURTEOUS and efficient, the front-desk clerks at the four-star hotel we stayed at in Prague were not what I would call friendly. 

COURTEOUSLY is the adverb form of COURTEOUS and means in a polite or respectful manner.

I always chuckle when I see Japanese batters step up to the plate and bow COURTEOUSLY to the umpire.

Applicants must be able to work well as a team member and to respond to customer needs COURTEOUSLY. 

Motorists in Kruger National Park are encouraged to remain in their vehicles at all times, follow directional signs, and drive COURTEOUSLY. 

Both the adjective COURTEOUS and adverb COURTEOUSLY come from the noun COURTESY, which means politeness in attitude and behavior.  Synonyms include good manners, consideration, and thoughtfulness.

After losing my wallet and passport on a busy bus in Amsterdam, I went to the American Embassy for assistance, where I was treated with the utmost COURTESY. 

Just saying  “thank you” and “please” doesn’t make you well mannered.  It’s just common COURTESY.

Sandy was amiable to her tyrant mother-in-law only as a COURTESY to her husband. 

My grandmother believed that all gifts, no matter how small, deserved the COURTESY of a thank-you note.

COURTESY can also be a modifier that means supplied free of charge to people who are already paying for another service.

The dealership let me use a COURTESY car while my car went in for its annual service.

A COURTESY shuttle bus that leaves every 20 minutes will take you from the hotel to the airport at your convenience.

The phrase COURTESY OF is synonymous with provided by.

All images for the new ecology website were provided COURTESY of Lisa Hirayama, an award-winning nature photographer.

Despite the heavy turbulence, we arrived in Stockholm safely and right on time, COURTESY of European Airlines.

“Two Manhattan cocktails,” the bartender said as he pushed two glasses towards my friend Candace and me, “COURTESY of the two gentlemen sitting at the end of the bar.”



I think that sometimes very old folk do frighten people. It’s because of what lies ahead, that we will all be old and FRAIL one day.

The adjective FRAIL, when speaking of a person, means weak and delicate.  Synonyms include infirm, feeble, debilitated, sickly, and decrepit.

Winston had a mild but gradually worsening heart condition that left him FRAIL in his later years.

“I’m afraid Jenny is still too FRAIL to travel.  She’s only been out of the hospital for a week,” Brenda explained over the phone to her father.

Although Tamara looks small and FRAIL, she is actually quite strong.  I’ve seen her lift heavy bags of compost at the garden center as if they were bed pillows.

When speaking of an object, FRAIL means easily damaged, broken, or weak.  Similar words include fragile and breakable.

Many of the homes in Rio’s shantytowns are FRAIL structures cobbled together with cardboard boxes and plastic sheeting.

Although you have made some strong points in your essay, your closing argument is FRAIL and needs to be rethought and revised.

FRAILY is an adverb that means in a weak or sickly way.

Agatha limped FRAILY down the hall, holding on to the walls to steady herself. 

The houses on new many development sites are fabricated FRAILY with cheap materials and will eventually need all kinds of repairs, so think twice before you buy one. 

The two noun forms of FRAIL, FRAILTY and FRAILNESS, mean weakness or delicateness.

Nick is too self-righteous and egotistical to see his own FRAILTIES, and he would never admit to any of his faults. 

The prime minister’s shortsighted economic measures have largely failed and increased the FRAILTY of his already tenuous hold on power.

Emotional FRAILNESS is often linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental-health problems. 



“But you know, even though life was as perfect as life can be, underneath it all I would sometimes get this sense of FOREBODING, of unease.”

FOREBODING is a noun that means a feeling that something bad will happen. Synonyms include unease, premonition, presentiment, and fearful apprehension.

Amid rising civil unrest and tribal antagonism, there is a sense of FOREBODING that civil war will soon break out.

Phyllis was seized with a feeling of FOREBODING as she walked along the dark street searching for her missing cat.

The novel didn’t offer the reader a happy ending, but rather ended with a sense of FOREBODING and uncertainty for the two main characters.

The adjective FOREBODING describes a feeling that something bad is going to happen.

Driving through the Sahara can be a FOREBODING experience.  What if your car were to break down in the middle of nowhere and it was 50 degrees outside!

When Dr. Judd took Alicia aside to talk about her daughter’s prognosis, his voice sounded solemn and FOREBODING.

FOREBODINGLY is the adverb form of FOREBODING.

In the classic short story “The Ledge,” the father and son are trapped on a narrow ledge and stare FOREBODINGLY at the seawater as it rises inexorably around them.

To FOREBODE means to act as an advance warning or to have a presentiment of something bad.  Synonyms include foreshadow, forecast, predict, prophesy, and indicate.

The glum look on my boss’s face FOREBODED bad news.  Was I being made redundant?

Meteorologists FOREBODED more unseasonable weather patterns for Oklahoma, which had already been struck with huge tornadoes and rampant flooding in recent weeks.

The atmosphere in Japan’s Nikkei stock exchange seemed to FOREBODE another steep decline.



But to be honest, most of the time I didn’t worry about anything.  I was too busy enjoying myself and being happy.  But then the TRAGEDY happened.

A TRAGEDY is an event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress such as a serious accident, crime, or natural disaster.

We can only hope that this oil-spill TRAGEDY will make the world realize that further polluting the ocean threatens the lives of all marine life and, ultimately, of the lives of humans. 

The house fire could have been a real TRAGEDY had it not been for the heroic actions of a passerby who saved the lives of the four small children trapped on the second floor.

That a beautiful young actress with such promise should die so young is a genuine TRAGEDY.

In literature, a TRAGEDY is a play dealing with sad events and having an unhappy ending.  TRAGEDY is also a literary term for the genre that makes up such works.

Of all Shakespeare’s TRAGEDIES, Hamlet is my favorite.

TRAGEDY is a form of drama that evokes in the audience what the Greek philosopher Aristotle called “catharsis,” a feeling of relief that comes from releasing strong emotions.

The adjective TRAGIC means causing or characterized by extreme distress or sorrow.  Synonyms for this usage include disastrous, devastating, dreadful, horrendous, and awful.  Literarily speaking, TRAGIC has to do with the genre of TRAGEDY.

TRAGIC events such as the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting naturally bring the issue of gun control to the foreground of our thoughts.

Improved safety measures and increased security will prevent similar TRAGIC events from recurring on Delhi’s public transportation.

That more than half a million people die of malaria every year when simple preventive measures such as mosquito nets are readily available is simply TRAGIC.

Limiting women’s access to executive positions is a TRAGIC waste of talent.

Whether Arthur Miller’s protagonist Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman” is a TRAGIC character in the classic sense or merely a pathetic failure is still debated by drama critics.

TRAGICALLY is the adverb form of TRAGIC.

The expedition ended TRAGICALLY, with all seven climbers killed by an avalanche.

Thirteen miners are still trapped 50 meters underground, and with rescue efforts heading into the sixth day, their chances of survival are TRAGICALLY slim.



But the yacht was caught in a FEROCIOUS storm and it lost its rudder and hit some rocks and by the time the lifeboat got to it, it was already too late, for Mum and Dad had both gone, both drowned by the savage sea. 

FEROCIOUS is an adjective that means fierce, cruel, savage, or violent.

The world’s largest land animal, the elephant, can be FEROCIOUS when it gets its back up, and has even been known to trample a rhinoceros or two to death.

On May 20, 2013, a FEROCIOUS tornado, with winds peaking at over 200 miles an hour, struck Moore, Oklahoma, causing hundreds of millions of dollars in damage and taking 24 lives.

John Rackham, also known as Calico Jack, was a FEROCIOUS Caribbean pirate who is remembered for employing two of the most notorious female pirates of the time in his crew.

FEROCIOUS is often used to describe war or any kind of aggressive or violent conflict.  Synonyms for this usage include brutal, vicious, merciless, ruthless, and heartless.

The 30-year period in English history known as the “War of the Roses” refers to a series of FEROCIOUS fifteenth-century civil wars fought between the House of York and the House of Lancaster.

Last November, Israel launched its most FEROCIOUS assault on Gaza in four years, hitting at least 20 targets in deadly aerial attacks that also killed the top military commander of Hamas.

On last night’s hilarious episode of my favorite sit-com, the husband and wife had a FEROCIOUS argument that started with a simple disagreement over who should take out the trash.

Debate in the Diet over the proposed consumer tax hike was FEROCIOUS, with opposition-party members frequently shouting down government speakers.

FEROCIOUS can also be used informally to mean intense, powerful, or extreme, often to describe pain or attitude.

I woke up this morning with a FEROCIOUS headache, so I called in sick to work and stayed in bed all day.

“Doctor Jacobs?  Ms. Patal is complaining of FEROCIOUS abdominal pain and thinks it might be her appendix.  Shall we see her here or send her straight to the hospital to be examined?”

User demand for the latest version of the manufacturer’s popular smartphone has been FEROCIOUS, forcing the company to revise and speed up its production schedule.

Young Timmy displayed FEROCIOUS fortitude in standing up to the schoolyard bully and ordering him to stop swiping everyone’s lunch money.

The adverb FEROCIOUSLY means viciously, violently, intensely, or extremely.

Sadly, we had to put our beloved bull terrier Rocky down after he FEROCIOUSLY attacked Angel, our neighbor’s cocker spaniel.

The mother bear stood on its hind legs and growled FEROCIOUSLY at the hikers who had inadvertently walked too close to her den and cubs.

The two noun forms, FEROCITY and FEROCIOUSNESS, mean aggressive behavior or violence, and are generally interchangeable.

The FEROCITY of recent attacks on several of the city’s elderly citizens has led police investigators to believe that a syndicate, rather than an individual, is responsible.

We were all shocked by the FEROCITY of the hailstorm and dismayed by the damage it caused our barley and corn crops.

The FEROCIOUSNESS of his punches tells you just how hungry underdog Tyson Fury is for the World Heavyweight Champion title.


Her skin seemed paper-thin.  You could see the veins underneath.  The knuckles of her fingers were SWOLLEN, probably with arthritis.

SWOLLEN is the past participle of the verb SWELL, which has several usages.  For one, it means to become larger or rounder in size and is often used to describe a part of the body.

Tia’s arm was already SWELLING up to twice its size, suggesting a fracture.

Juan tasted blood and felt his upper lip SWELL up, but that didn’t stop him from delivering another powerful blow to his opponent’s chin.

SWELL can also be used to talk about things besides body parts.  Synonyms include increase and expand.

Disease and crime increased in the refugee camp as its population SWELLED far beyond its capacity.

As the polar icecaps melt further and the world’s oceans SWELL, many low-lying island nations in the Pacific Ocean could be wiped off the map. 

The low murmur in the audience SWELLED to a roar when Madonna took the stage and spoke passionately about the need to educate girls and women in impoverished countries.

SWELL can also mean to be intensely affected or filled with a particular emotion.

Phillip SWELLED with pride as he watched his only son Kenneth give the valedictorian speech at his high school’s commencement ceremony.

My heart SWELLED with love the moment I first held my nephew Leo in my arms. 

The adjective SWOLLEN is used as a modifier to describe something that has become larger than normal, as in:

Melina cradled her SWOLLEN belly and sang sweet lullabies to her unborn child.

SWOLLEN gums can be a sign of gingivitis, malnutrition, or even scurvy!

There are two noun forms, SWELLING and SWELL.  A SWELLING refers to the abnormal enlargement of a part of the body.

If disease is present, the thyroid gland may produce a lump or SWELLING in the neck.

I twisted my ankle and used an ice pack to reduce the SWELLING.

The noun SWELL has a couple of meanings.  First of all it means a full or gently rounded shape or form.

From a distance, the gentle SWELL in the landscape looks like a small hill, but as you get closer, you will see that it is a cluster of eco-houses built into the land. 

SWELL can also mean a gradual increase in amount, intensity, or volume, or a welling up of a feeling.

In recent years, there has been a huge SWELL in the popularity of the 20/20 one-day cricket game.

A slow, regular movement of the sea in rolling waves that do not break is also called a SWELL.

The fishing boat was built with a solid hull, designed to withstand big Arctic Ocean SWELLS.

And just for the record, although it is a little outdated, SWELL is an expression that can be used as an adjective or adverb to mean excellent (excellently) or very good (very well).  Look at these examples:

Dressed in a leather biker jacket and sporting a ducktail hair-do for the 50s-themed party, Bobby looked really SWELL.

Everything was going SWELL until the camp counselor told us we all had to master a five-meter dive this summer.  I’m terrified of diving boards!

SWELL, by the way, is also used informally to mean a dandy or fashionable dressed person.

The party was attended by about 200 society SWELLS, all dressed to the nines and trying to outdo one another.



My eyes were still closed, but I could still see something.  At first I didn’t know what.  It was VAGUE and blurred.  Then things came into focus. I

VAGUE is an adjective that means uncertain, indefinite, or unclear.  Synonyms include indistinct, unclear, hazy, blurred, obscure, and indeterminate.

Kathleen could just make out the VAGUE silhouette of a horse and carriage making its way up the lane in the morning mist.

The witness only had a VAGUE recollection of the conversation she had overheard between the victim and his assailant through an open window.

VAUGE can also describe thinking or communicating that is unfocused or imprecise.  Similar words include inexact, non-specific, unclear, ambiguous, and uncertain.

Zachary was very VAGUE about his whereabouts in the weeks leading up to the wedding.  Actually, he’d been taking secret dancing lessons to surprise his bride with at the reception.

Response words and phrases in the Japanese language allow the speaker to be VAGUE and not reveal too much information.

I hate it when George is VAGUE about his true feelings.  I wish he would open up more and tell me exactly what is on his mind. 

Lastly, VAUGE can also mean undecided or unclear.

I’m still a little VAGUE about the details of the itinerary, but I am definitely planning to visit you in London sometime in August.

Details about the alleged playground bullying incident are VAGUE.   The two girls in question aren’t saying anything, and no teacher was there to witness what happened.

VAGUELY is the adverb form of VAGUE, and it too has many uses.  Look at these examples:

My boss’s instructions are usually so VAGUELY written that I have to interpret what he means, often mistakenly, which makes him furious.

As you listen to Charles explain it, the idea of perpetual motion starts to become VAGUELY plausible.

Anyone even VAGUELY associated with the film director wasn’t at all surprised when she was arrested for drunk driving.

I VAGUELY recall meeting her somewhere before, but I can’t remember where it was.

The noun VAGUENESS means uncertainty, inexactness, and generalization.

Given the extreme VAGUENESS and weakness of the prosecution’s case, it is likely that the defendant will get off scot-free.



Upon the bed was a girl, a brown-haired, willowy sort of girl.  She too appeared to be asleep, and was also almost IMPERCEPTIBLY breathing.

Before we look at the adverb IMPERCEPTIBLY, let’s first examine the adjective IMPERCEPTIBLE. IMPERCEPTIBLE means so slight, gradual, or subtle as not to be able to be seen or perceived.   Synonyms include unnoticeable, undetectable, inaudible, indistinct, and hard to make out.

Although IMPERCEPTIBLE to the naked eye, the rings of Saturn can be seen through a powerful telescope.

The impact of noise pollution seems IMPERCEPTIBLE and is not always addressed, but did you know that overexposure to loud noises can cause hypertension, tinnitus, and birth defects?

The adverb IMPERCEPTIBLY means in an IMPERCEPTIBLE manner.

Natural changes to the landscape come slowly and IMPERCEPTIBLY over countless millennia.

Sometimes, a fashion fad fades so IMPERCEPTIBLY from public consciousness that you don’t even notice it is gone until you come across it years later in a vintage or charity shop.

The adjective IMPERCEPTIBLE and the adverb IMPERCEPTIBLY both come from the verb PERCEIVE,  which means to become aware or conscious of something, or to realize or understand.  Similar words and phrases include recognize, come to know, figure out, deduce, and ascertain.

Until his editor pointed them out, Carl was unable to PERCEIVE the continuity flaws in his first full-length novel.  

Research reveals that newborn babies cannot PERCEIVE colors other than black and white for the first several months.

PERCEIVE can also mean to interpret or regard someone or something in a particular way.  Synonyms for this usage include consider, appraise, size up, and judge.

While you may believe that you are a hard worker and deserve a promotion, others may not PERCEIVE you in the same way.

The First Lady is widely PERCEIVED to be the driving force behind many of the President’s executive decisions.

Even though a riding accident put Tim permanently in a wheelchair, he doesn’t PERCEIVE himself as disabled and continues to participate in various sports. 

The opposite of IMPERCEPTIBLE is PERCEPTIBLE, which means able to be seen or noticed.  Similar words include noticeable, detectable, visible, observable, and distinguishable. Look at these examples of how PERCEPTIBLE is used in both its adjective and adverb (PERCEPTIBLY) forms.

Joy has become so thin lately that her hipbones are PERCEPTIBLE even through her jeans.

The floor in the shed had been dampened by rain and sloped PERCEPTIBLY towards the center.



I was light as a feather and I could move about too, if I put my mind to it.  I could go from one corner of the room to another and change my PERSPECTIVE.

The noun PERSPECTIVE has many uses.  In the sentence above, PERSPECTIVE means the angle from which we see something.  Synonyms include viewpoint, point of view, position, and outlook.

From this PERSPECTIVE, you can see all of the Kent valley and the Green River that runs through it.

Satellite imagery gives us a global PERSPECTIVE, providing scientists with the means to study the polar icecaps and other remote regions without having to travel to them.

PERSPECTIVE is also an art-related term that means the effect of depth and distance in a picture or photograph.

Today in art class, Mrs. Sanchez taught us how to draw buildings and other objects in proper PERSPECTIVE. 

It’s a good attempt, but you’ve got the PERSPECTIVE in this landscape all wrong.  These trees and telephone poles should be made much smaller as they recede into the distance.

PERSPECTIVE can also mean a particular attitude towards or way of seeing some issue or problem or phenomenon.  Similar words include outlook, point of view, approach, opinion, and interpretation.

From an investment PERSPECTIVE, buying scratch tickets and playing the lottery are all but fruitless.  Your odds of winning are said to be 1 in 14 million. 

Sheila’s experience traveling to developing countries gave her a broader PERSPECTIVE on what charity organizations should be doing to improve the lives of people in need.

Whenever you have to make a big life decision, it’s always good to try and see things from different PERSPECTIVES. 

The council’s report looked at the accessibility of the city’s buildings and pathways from the PERSPECTIVE of someone in a manually operated wheelchair.  

From my PERSPECTIVE, torture is wrong under any circumstances.

PERSPECTIVE also means the ability to think about problems and decisions in a reasonable way without exaggerating their importance.

Talking to your friends and family can often help to put your problems into better PERSPECTIVE.

“Let’s not let things get out of PERSPECTIVE,” our manager said optimistically.  “The situation isn’t as bad as it might seem.”

I tried to put the matter into PERSPECTIVE, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t come up with a reasonable explanation for why my best friend Helen would lie to me.

And finally, in literature, PERSPECTIVE is the point of view from which a story is told.

I’m normally not a fan of books told from an animal’s PERSPECTIVE, but the horse’s narration in Black Beauty gave me a lot of insight into how animals feel about how we treat them. 

Did you happen to see the episode of Bones told from the PERSPECTIVE of a dead teen-aged boy?  I usually love the show, but I didn’t care for that episode.

The adjective PERSPECTIVELY is not commonly used, but here’s one example just in case.

The two partners became increasingly PERSPECTIVELY at odds about how to expand the business.




The reading passages for this lesson all come from a novel entitled The Stolen, which was written by acclaimed British author Alex Shearer, who has written many books both for young people and adults, as well as screenplays and the scripts for television and radio dramas and comedies.  His novel Bootleg was made into a three-part series on BBC and went on to win a BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) award in 2003.  The Stolen came out in 2002 and immediately drew rave reviews from newspaper and magazine critics.  Here’s what a few of those critics had to say about the novel.   London’s Independent Magazine said, “This is a startlingly imaginative tale.  It can be read literally as fantasy or as a thoughtful account of how elderly people are treated and how they feel.”  The Sunday Telegraph put it like this:  “The book has a crackling plot … a thrillingly unexpected twist.”  Others called The Stolen “nail-biting” and “spooky and spellbinding.”  If you would like to find out what all the “fuss” is about, you can check The Stolen out from the KA library.


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