Session 4

Vocabulary: 10 uses of 'catch'

Enjoy our version of The North Wind and the Sun – and learn 10 different ways to use the word 'catch'.

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    Activity 1
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Activity 1

The North Wind and the Sun part one - 6 uses of 'catch'

Is the Sun stronger than the Wind?
The English word catch has many meanings and uses. In this session, we bring you BBC Learning English's own version of The North Wind and the Sun – and we've found many different ways to use the word catch in it. 

To do

As you watch part one of the story, listen out for the different uses of the word catch – and decide whether this summary of the story is correct or wrong: The North Wind and the Sun have a competition to see which of them can make a man take off his hat.

Watch the video and complete the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript


Hello, I'm Mariam. Today's story is one that was told thousands of years ago and has been passed down from generation to generation. It's all about the weather and a battle between the cold north wind and the hot Sun.

The story begins on a beautiful cold and frosty winter’s day. The Sun in the sky shone down, its rays catching the snow-covered land below, making it glisten and sparkle. The Sun liked looking at the landscape that lay beneath and thought to itself ''I'm not rushing across the sky today, I'm going to catch my breath and take in the glorious view''. 

But as the Sun is relaxing, it is caught off guard by a freezing cold wind that races past, pushing the Sun out of the way.  This is the North Wind – it boasted that it is strong and powerful – but the Sun knows there is more power in gentleness and says "Let’s have a contest to see which of us is the stronger."

The Sun looks down to the ground and catches sight of a man wearing a warm winter coat. ''Let's see which one of us can take that coat off the man'' it says. The Wind is confident it will win easily so it blows and blows. It blows so hard that the birds have to catch hold of the trees to stop themselves being blown away.

But the man just shivers and does up the top button of his coat. The more it blows, the tighter the man pulls the coat around him to keep warm – he certainly doesn't want to catch his death. Finally, the Wind gives up, saying that it has no more puff left! Now it is the Sun's turn.

Well, you'll have to wait until part 2 to see how the Sun gets on – but maybe you can already guess what will happen. Join me again soon to see if you're right. Bye for now.

To do

How was that? The summary was wrong. The North Wind and the Sun were competing to make the man take off his coat.

Have a go at our quiz to check you know the first set of catch vocabulary.

The North Wind and The Sun - the story so far...

4 Questions

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

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Want to find out what happens next? Catch up with Mariam as she tells part two of the story – and finds more uses of the word catch.

Session Vocabulary

  • catching (B2)
    touching; reflecting on

    catch my breath (C1)
    take a short rest

    caught off guard (C2)

    catches sight of (C1)
    suddenly sees

    catch hold of (B2)
    grab; seize

    catch his death  (C2)
    develop a severe cold or chill


    A1 = Beginner
    A2 = Elementary
    B1 = Lower Intermediate
    B2 = Higher Intermediate
    C1 = Towards Advanced
    C2 = Advanced