Wednesday, 1 August 2012

A job interview (Past Simple tense)

Hello  all,
I found an interesting joke in one of the coursebooks I use for teaching English. I would like to share it with you but to make you practice English a little - there is a task. Please, complete the joke using the Past Simple of the verbs in brackets. The first one is done for you.


A businessman (a)  wanted (want) to interview applicants for the position of divisional manager. There (b)___________ (be) several strong candidates, so he (c) _____________ (decide)  to devise a simple test to select the most suitable person for the job. He (d) _________________(ask) each applicant the simple question, "What is two and two?"

The first applicant (e) ____________(be) a journalist. He (f) _____________(light) a cigarette, (g) _________ (think) for  moment and then (h) ______________ (say) "twenty-two".

The second applicant (i) _______________ (have) a degree in engineering. He (j)___________ (take) out his calculator, (k) __________________ (press) a few buttons, and (l) ______________(show) the answer to be between 3.999 and 4.001.

The next applicant (m) _____________(work) as a corporate lawyer. He (n) _______________(state) that two  and two can only be four, and (p) _______________ (prove) it by referring to the well-known case of Gates v Monopolies Commission.

The last applicant (q) ___________________ (turn) out to be an accountant. The businessman again (r) ______________ (put) his question, "What is two and two?"

The accountant (s) _________________(get) up from his chair, (t) ___________ (go) over the door, (u) ______________(close) it, then (v) ______________ (come) back and (w) _______________ (sit) down. Finally, he (x) ___________ (lean) across the desk and (y) ____________ (whisper) in a low voice, "How much do you want it to be?"

From In Company  Intermediate (second edition) by Mark Powell

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just love that joke!!!

Anonymous said...

Nice joke. But I'll appreciate if you can explain all English tenses with examples.

Anonymous said...

Here's my simple solution (no explanations given, sorry, I'm not a teacher, but I loved the 2+2 joke - especially the last bit! :-))

There were several strong candidates ...
so he decided to devise ...
He asked each ...
The first applicant was a journalist ...
He lighted a cigarette ...
thought for a moment ...
then said "twenty-two" ...
applicant had a degree ...
He took out his calculator ...
pressed a few buttons ...
and showed the answer ...
applicant worked as a corporate lawyer ...
He stated that two and two ...
and proved it ...
applicant turned out to be ...
businessman again put his question ...
accountant got up from his chair ...
went over to the door ...
closed it, then came back and sat down ...
he leant (or leaned) across the desk and whispered...

LanguageFlame said...

Thanks for a great work :) AS for explaining all the tenses - I guess there are plenty of grammar books written and my explanations probably would not be unique :) I just liked the joke and thought it would be a nice practice exercise for Past Simple tense :)

Anonymous said...

Но я нигде не нашел толковых объяснений (понятных русскоговорящим)где и когда применяется то или иное время.Книг по грамматике много,но доходчиво объяснить -это непростая задача.

LanguageFlame said...

Well tenses and their usage is a complicated issue to learn and it needs a lot of practice. I will be able to explain the tenses but not in a blog- i believe if you are seriousl about learning them - you should be ready to devote time to it. if you contact me - I can see what I can do about tenses explanations :)

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