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Session 4

Vocabulary: 13 uses of 'turn'

Sit back and enjoy the story of Hansel and Gretel and learn 13 different ways to use the word 'turn'

Sessions in this unit

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    Activity 1
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    Activity 2

Activity 2

What will happen to Hansel and Gretel?

How will our version of this classic story end?
There are several different possible endings to this classic fairy tale, but how will our version of this classic story end?

A) Hansel and Gretel are trapped by a witch, but they manage to escape
B) Hansel and Gretel are trapped by a witch, but their father comes to rescue them
C) Hansel and Gretel are trapped by a witch and never return home
D) Something else 

To do

Watch the video and find out which option is correct. And listen out for five more uses of turn.

Watch the video and complete the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Hello again, I'm Mariam. It's time to find out how our story of Hansel and Gretel turns out. Do you remember, they're eating a house made of sweets? Yes, well this is a fairy tale!

So the children are eating this house made of sweets when suddenly out pops a witch who lives there. She turns to the children and threatens to eat them – that's not very nice, is it?! She grabs hold of them and locks them in a cage. This old witch is quite good at cooking children, so she's not going to turn her nose up at the chance of using them in her soup. As Hansel has just turned eight, he's the oldest, and so she decides to cook him first. She starts to boil up a big pot of water but doesn't realise that behind her, Gretel has escaped from her cage.  Gretel gives the wicked witch a big push and the witch falls straight into the boiling water – bye bye witch – she's dead.

Then the children have to find their way home, but before they do they find lots of treasure lying around the house. They quickly gather it all up and make their way home.

They walk for miles but eventually they get home and are greeted by their father, who tells them that their stepmother has died – hooray! The children sell the treasure and in turn use the money to buy food – and they never go hungry again.

Well, a happy ending then – unless you're the wicked witch or the evil stepmother. I hope you enjoyed the story and I hope you'll join me again for another one soon.

To do

So, the correct answer was A) Hansel and Gretel are trapped by a witch, but they manage to escape - a happy ending to this scary tale!

Now let's practise the different uses of turn. Have a go at this quiz.

What's the use of 'turn'?

5 Questions

Choose the best expression with turn to fill each gap.

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

Over to you

We asked you to tell us a story using as many of the phrases with turn as possible:

  • take a turn for the worse
  • turn out 
  • turn a blind eye
  • turn back 
  • turn of events
  • turn up 
  • turn into 
  • turn 
  • turn her/his nose up
  • in turn 

Your stories

Juan, a Venezuelan in London

Mountain bike is a demanding sport, it turns out into the extreme category of sports across the world, although it’s fashionable and very attractive for practicing by wellbeing fans of different ages and, also lovers of countryside’s trips. I have tried this a couple of time, and was when I was a risky guy who turns a blind eye about the risks involved in this kind of activity. I do remember an anecdote when I tried mounting bike with professional people in the Andes mou

ntain in Venezuela, we precisely run through irregular very inclined terrain without turning, and it was when I realized how difficult the sport is.
I made for start the downhill challenge with a couple of fall over without losing my motivation, eventually in turn, these fall overs taught me how to improve the equilibrium and the forces needed to maintain the bike-stability while you’re downing the hill, but instead of became better it just took a turn for the worse. My circumstantial and professional colleagues turned quickly and achieved their goals without major problems, indeed, they were happy for their performance in turn.

Well, I’d tried to turn back, but at this stage in the middle of the mounting after such dramatic experience with my legs with a bleeding-injure, I couldn’t realise it. So, I turned my nose up to be a coward and recuperated some confidence. Even though, for my thoughts passed the idea to turn back, but is wouldn’t be the best option due the climbing effort demanded, so the only way to turn out was just to going downhill and turn up where the others were waiting for me.

I finally picked up the courage, and doing my best I went downhill without any problems, it was like the best realisation I have made in my life in something no familiar with me, therefore I turned a blind eye to the risks and reached the goal quickly in turn.


Juan Carlos, Colombia

This story is my own version of a book that I read two weeks ago. Its title is "the widow mermaid" his author is Mario Benedetti. I hope that it likes you.

This story happened in Copenhague, Denmark, in this place there is a statue of a beautiful mermaid. One day a group of friends turn up at a local pub to drink and talk between them, one of them started to talk about the statue and how its face expression looked like to be a widow mermaid. After He told his affirmation one of them called Alfredo, told him that the statue really was a widow. after that Alfredo begun to tell the life of a old friend called Rodrigo.

Rodrigo was Chilean an He turned up in Copenhague when started the military dictatorship in his country. Rodrigo never lost hope to turn back to his country but when he wanted to do it, He fell in love of the mermaid sculture. I know that it sound a little crazy but the story looks like real, Ok let's continue. Rodrigo visited the statue all days to see her. and the thing takes a turn for the worse when He went to visit her at midnigth at the middle of the winter. He turned a blind eye and continued his madness and that day, undressed in front her. The next day and in turn of cold nigth, Rodrigo was found frozen close to the statue. after that, the inert face expression of the mermaid turned into a sad expression. this is the reason it looks like a widow mermaid.


Zaemisch, Colombia

Afternoon folks!

I’m Zaemisch from Colombia, the land of coffee. This is a short story about a kitten, Mattathias, and the way he turned up at our home.

It all started a week before my sister turned seven: Mattathias was crying out loud somewhere in the street because he was hungry and lost. As my sister and I heard it, we tried to convince our mother to look after the little cat. However, she turned her nose up at our suggestion.

As started raining heavily, things took a turn for the worse. The cat kept crying and walking around for two days, until he found our door. It was a dark rainy night, and, as we heard him crying again, my sister open the door, turns to the cat and he broke into the garage. It turns out that my mother was seeing everything, but she turned a blind eye.

BBC Learning English says: be careful with tenses! Here's a corrected version of that sentence: It was a dark rainy night, and, as we heard him crying again, my sister opened the door, turned to the cat and he broke into the garage. It turns out that my mother saw everything, but she turned a blind eye.

Mattathias didn’t want to turn back, therefore, he managed to hide under our car, turning this way and that, and in turn our mother brought some milk in a tiny dish to feed the poor animal. The turn of events is that our mother fell in love with the cat, turning Mattathias’s story into a happy one.

This is how our story turns out. I hope you enjoyed it.


Seiko, Japan

In April, huge earthquakes occurred twice in my hometown Kumamoto. Tourism of my hometown took a turn for the worse. Major sightseeing spots turned out to be worthless by the quakes. I turned a blind eye to what I had done as a volunteer guide. One month later, I was heading to the downtown but I turned the way. I turned up at Kumamoto Castle which had been damaged but still beautiful. I had been turning my nose up at watching the destroyed stone walls and damaged towers. But many tourists are coming to see the castle! The castle turns into [BBC Learning Englsih says: the present continuous tense  or the present perfect tense would be better here] the more attractive one than before. That's an amazing turn of events. When I turned back, I thought that I should study the castle harder. Unfortunately, there is no chance to guide the castle in English so far. I hope things will turn out well.


Marta, Italy

When I just turned 23, I spent six months in a remote northern island, because of my university archeological studies. At the moment I arrived there, I was very excited, but the islanders turned out to be very cold to me, so I felt homesick and I was always thinking about coming home. One day, when I was walking all alone along a windy beach, I turned up to [BBC Learning English says: the correct preposition is at] a point with a beatiful natural arch on the sea. I stopped to watch it, when something happened that caused a turn of events. I turned to see better the arch, when wave, hitting a rock, soaked me. I was forced to turn back, but I was on foot and very far from the house where I had rented a room; on the way, I bumped into the mailwoman in her car, who turned a blind eye to my condition. I was very cold and uncomfortable, when, passing near a cosy cottage, I heard a female voice “Oh darling, you are drenched! Come here, you can dry yourself and, if you dont’ turn your nose up, I can lend you some of my old lady clothes!”.

I accepted the offer and entered the cottage; it turned out that the kind old lady had arrived to the island like me originally to remain for a short period, but she had fallen in love with the place; in turn she had decided to move there in a permanent way. The lady also explained to me that local people were suspicious about me, because they were thinking I was sent by a important museum interested to take away some archeological finds exposed in the community hall. I denied in a convincing way; the old lady spreaded the voice. From then on, my stay in the island turned into an more pleasant one. The islanders never became utterly friendly, but at least quite nice and due the friendship of the old lady the following months passed happily.


Anna, Italy

A cloudy Friday afternoon seemed to be the perfect time for baking a cake. Therefore she decided to peer into the fridge and the pantry to check for the ingredients. It turned out that very few of them were at her disposal and, even though she could have turned a blind eye on [BBC Learning English says: the correct preposition her is to] the fact that there was no milk at all, it would have been impossible to ignore the lack of flour. She decided then to go to the supermarket. While she was waiting for the bus, it started raining. A light rain suddenly turned into a storm and things took a turn for the worse when she discovered that her umbrella was broken. The turn of events on that Friday afternoon seemed to be very unlucky, therefore she thought to turn back home. Once she arrived, she noticed a pretty little box in front of her house door. There was a message on it. It was from her best friend... a home made cake! Of course she didn't turn her nose up!



That's the end of Session 4. In session 5, Tim's in the pronunciation workshop. Don't miss it!

Session Vocabulary

  • take a turn for the worse (C2)
    suddenly become worse

    turns out (B2)
    is discovered to be

    turns a blind eye (C1)

    turning (A1)
    changing direction

    turn back (B2)
    travel in the direction they came from

    turn of events (C2)
    outcome of a situation

    turn up (B2)

    turns into (B1)
    changes; becomes

    turns out (B2)
    ends; concludes

    turns (B1)
    moves her body

    turn her nose up (C2)

    turned (C1)
    become (a certain age)

    in turn (C1)
    as a result