Session 4

Vocabulary: 9 uses of 'dead'

Enjoy our version of Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles and learn 9 different ways to use the word 'dead'

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Activity 1

Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles part one - 5 uses of 'dead'

Britain's most famous detective
The English word dead has many meanings and uses. In this session, we bring you BBC Learning English's own version of Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles - and we've found many different ways to use the word dead in it. 

To do

As you watch part one of the story, listen out for the different uses of the word dead - and decide whether this summary of the story is correct or wrong:

  • Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are investigating the mystery of a missing dog.

Watch the video and complete the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Hello, I'm Darren. I'm sure you've heard of Sherlock Holmes - Britain’s most famous sleuth. Well I'm going to tell you about The Hound of the Baskervilles - perhaps one of his strangest cases. 

One day Holmes and Dr Watson are visited in London by Dr Mortimer, whose friend, Sir Charles Baskerville, has been found dead in mysterious circumstances. 

Close to his body was a gigantic paw print! Mortimer is dead certain that a huge dog is responsible for the death. According to legend, an enormous black hound has haunted the Baskerville family for centuries. Intrigued, Holmes agrees to help protect the new heir to the estate – Sir Henry Baskerville - who Mortimer believes is in deadly danger. Sir Henry has been warned in a note to stay away from Baskerville Hall. And … bizarrely, two of his shoes have gone missing. 

Watson is sent on ahead to Baskerville Hall. On arriving in deepest Dartmoor, Watson’s suspicions are raised by the strange behaviour of the butler and his wife. He also learns that a convict, Selden, has escaped from a nearby prison. Watson sees Barrymore, the butler, signalling to someone on the moor in the dead of night.

Watson also meets the Stapletons, a brother and sister who are neighbours. Beryl Stapleton – thinking he is actually Sir Henry -  warns Watson to leave the area immediately. The plot thickens! Walking outside one night, Watson stops dead in his tracks. A bloodcurdling howl comes from the moor. The hound! Then Watson spies a strange figure standing on the mountain top.

The mystery deepens – and where has Sherlock Holmes got to? You can find out in the next part of our story – I'll see you then. Bye for now.

To do

How was that? The summary was wrong - Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson are investigating the death of Sir Charles Baskerville - who is believed to have been killed by a dog.

Have a go at our quiz to check you know the first 6 uses of dead.

Sherlock Holmes and the Hound of the Baskervilles - the story so far...

4 Questions

Let's check your understanding of the story - and the words and phrases with dead. Decide whether each statement about the story is true or false. Look at the vocabulary box if you need help.

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We are dead certain that you want to find out what happens next. Go to the next page to find out if they solve the case - and to learn some more uses of dead! See you there.

Session Vocabulary

  • dead (A2)
    not alive

    dead certain (C1)
    completely sure about something

    deadly danger (B2)
    extreme danger

    the dead of night (C1)
    the middle of the night

    stops dead in his tracks (C2)
    stop suddenly