Dear readers,

Today, in France is “la rentree”. For our friends abroad, it means it is the date when pupils and students in primary and secondary school will come back to school for study. Hope you had a good week-end and your children were willing to (etre pret a) go to school after holidays.

Before starting our article on vocabulary, just a few words about the Lille jumble sale (braderie de Lille) as I am native from North of France, the Nord-Pas de Calais area and it is always a great event. I also say hi to my Belgian neighbours as some readers come from there!


Each year every first week-end of September takes place the famous “clearance sale” in Lille which lasts 48 hours. It is the meeting of looking for bargains (chiner), haggling (marchander) and retailers (detaillants).

NB: A jumble sale is a sale organized by associations selling old things you do not use anymore to get money and help children, elder...

It seems it could be a tradition coming from the Middle Ages where servants from Lille were authorized to sell old clothes, usual objects belonging to their masters from sunset (coucher de soleil) to sunrise (lever du soleil).

Nowadays, it has become a great fest where shopkeepers amateurs, secondhand trade (brocante) sellers are lined up (s’aligner) on kilometers along the streets of Lille city. You can find all kind of things at good prices and practise bargaining. About 10,000 exhibitors (exposants) are waiting for 2 million of visitors in 100 km.

The most surprising is mountains of mussels’ shells in front of the brasseries. There is a kind of competition to know who will have the highest one. We can estimate at 500 tons, the number of mussels and a few tons also of French fries (frites), liters of beer. About 600 tons of waste (dechet) are collected. The jumble sale in Lille mobolizes the most important number of “bobbies”, security people in France.


Well, here we go. First, we will finish our study on homonyms.

11.  The novelist worked feverishly on his final ___.
a. draft
b. draugh

A novelist is a writer specialized in writing romance, love stories, adventures stories. Feverishly is related to fever. It refers to high blood pressure, a kind of excitement. A draft is a rough sketch for picture, an outline for a novel (ebauche). A draught can refer to a air flowing (courant d’air). So, the answer is A.

12. I do my best to be frank and ___.
a. earnest
b. Ernest

Earnest is an adjective which means serious, meticulous. Ernest seems to be a first name. The answer is A.

13. Company ___ dropped when the cutback and layoffs were announced.
a. moral
b. morale

To drop in this sentence means to let down, to leave, to abandon. A cutback is a decrease (opposite of decrease), it is something which go down, is reduced (reduire). Layoff refers to dismissal (licenciement), someone who left a company because the employer asked him to stop working. Morale refers to morality, honesty, moral lesson. Moral is the equivalent of the French adjective. The answer is B.

14. I will have ___ of your silliness.
a. none
b. nun

Silliness is a nonsense, absurdity. Nun is a religious term for a lady who involved herself in God’s devotion (nonne). None means any of them, nothing. The answer is A.

15. Out of ___, out of mind.
a. cite
b. sight
c. site

Out of means except. Cite is to quote. Sight is a view. Site refers to a location for a building, a city. The answer is B.

16. He was in a ___ after she broke up with him.
a. days
b. daze

In a daze is an expression meaning foolish, thoughtless (etourdi, hebete). To break up means to stop, to give away (briser, rompre).

17. A baby born feet first is called ___ baby.
a. breach
b. breech

A breach is an offence. Breeches refer to panties, pants for lady and baby. The answer is B.

18. Lake ___ is one of the five Great Lakes.
a. eerie
b. Erie
c. eyrie

The answer is B. Erie is on of the five largest Amercan lakes (25900 km²) between Huron Lake and Ontario.

19. I can ___ many references to support this position.
a. cite
b. sight
c. site

The answer is A because to cite is synonymous with to quote.

20. This taxi is not for ___.
a. higher
b. hire

Higher means “more high”, it is a superiority comparative. To hire means to rent. The answer is B.


6. If you have a "long face", you look ___.
a. angry
b. sad
c. proud

7. "Look alive" means ___.
a. act busy
b. be quiet
c. listen carefully

8. To "lose heart" means to ___.
a. take offense
b. make a mistake
c. become unenthusiastic

9. The "low down" is ___.
a. the problem
b. the total truth
c. the solution

10. To "lap it up" means ___.
a. take it in eagerly
b. act confidently

Answers: 6B – 7A – 8C – 9B – 10A

Focus on some expressions:

·         BIEN means in English, good, well. Translate “bien” is not always in the same way.

·         Elle va bien: she is very well, she is fine.

·         Il fait bien son travail: he does his job well.

·         Est-ce que j’ai bien fait? Have I done right ?

·         C’est bien trop difficile. It is far too difficult.

·         Je te l’avais pourtant bien dit: I did tell you.

·         Ce n’est pas bien de faire ça : It is not right, it is wrong to do that

·         Faire le bien: do good

*To express contrasted opinion, we can use the following:

* on the contrary : au contraire, a l’inverse

* to insist on contrast: by contrast

* to express the opposite of something, someone: unlike (unlike my mother) – contrairement a

* to express the opposite, in contrast with something or someone: contrary to, contrary to accepted ideas – en contradiction avec

·         EVOLUER To change a situation / To change for the better – evoluer favorablement / To evolve, to develop (sciences) /To advance (for illnes) / To make progress (to improve)

·         REUSSIR For someone, a company: to succeed, to be successful / To achieve something, make a success of something / To manage to do something, to succeed in doing something

·         VOLONTE Moral skill: willpower / Determination: commitment / will / To be committed to doing something, to have the will to do something

Will, it is over for today. Come back to you shortly.

With best wishes,