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Vocabulary: 11 uses of 'set'

Sit back and enjoy the story of Far from the Madding Crowd and learn 11 different ways to use the word 'set'

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Far from the Madding Crowd part one - 6 uses of 'set'

A story about a woman who catches the attention of three men
The English word set has many meanings and uses. In this session, we bring you BBC Learning English's own version of the story of Far from the Madding Crowd - and we've found many different ways to use the word set in it. 

To do

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

  • Three men want to marry Bathsheba, but she says 'no' to all of them.

Assista ao vídeo e faça o exercício

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Hello, my name's Mariam. Today's story is set  two hundred years ago in the beautiful English countryside. It's about the life and relationships of a young woman called Bathsheba who works hard on her uncle's farm, where she attracts the attention of three men who all set their sights on marrying her.

Let me tell you about the first man. His name is Gabriel Oak and he is also a farmer – so you would think they have a lot in common. She saves his life and then he asks her to marry him. However, she is dead set against  the idea and so says 'no.'

Later, Gabriel's flock of sheep is destroyed and he sets off to find new work and he finds a job as shepherd on Bathsheba's farm, which she has now inherited from her uncle. She sets out to manage this farm by herself despite some people saying that, as a woman, she won't be able to cope.

Anyway, one day, for fun, she sends a valentine card to her neighbour – a wealthy landowner called Mr Boldwood. This sets him off thinking that she's keen on him, so he asks her to marry him. But once again she says 'no'. However, he becomes obsessed by her and pursues her, hoping that one day she will say 'yes'.

Now enter the third man, Sergeant Francis Troy – a charming military man who attracts Bathsheba's attention and eventually they get married.

But things don't run smoothly. Let me tell you what happens next in the second part of the story. See you then.

To do

How was that? The summary wasn't quite correct: Three men want to marry Bathsheba - but she says 'yes' to the third man, Francis Troy.

Now, have a go at our quiz to check you know the first 6 uses of set.

Far from the Madding Crowd - the story so far...

5 Questions

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

Parabéns! Você completou o exercício.
Excellent! Excelente! Bad luck! Você acertou:
x / y


It's time to find out what happens next - and to learn some more uses of set! See you on the next page.

Vocabulário desta lição

  • set (B2)
    (a story) situated in a particular time and/or place

    set their sights on (C2)
    have a particular goal (to do something)

    dead set against (C1)
    completely opposed to

    set off (B1)
    starts a journey

    set out (C2)
    started doing something in order to achieve an aim

    sets him off (C2)
    causes him to start

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