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Vocabulary: 8 uses of 'cry'

Enjoy our version of Rumplestiltskin - and learn 8 different ways to use the word 'cry'.

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Rumplestiltskin part one - 5 uses of 'cry'

Making promises you can't keep
The English word cry has many meanings and uses. In this session, we bring you BBC Learning English's own version of Rumplestiltskin - and we've found many different ways to use the word cry in it. 

To do

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

  • A man makes a promise to a king and his daughter enlists the help of a stanger.

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Hello I'm Darren.  Today I've got a fairy story to tell you about a girl who gets to marry a king but has to complete an impossible task before she can – but things don't go as well as they should.

Along time ago there was a poor man who had a daughter. She was beautiful and full of life. One day her father has to go and see the king – he's very embarrassed about seeing him because his life is a far cry from that of the king. So to try and impress him he tells him that he has a daughter who can spin straw into gold. Well, I'd be impressed by that!

The king wants proof and demands to see her. She's taken to the palace where she is shown a room full of straw and a spinning-wheel and is told to spin the straw into gold by the morning – and if not she will die. And then he leaves. This comes as a shock to the poor girl and she starts to cry. Suddenly, a little man with wrinkly skin enters the room. She's so pleased to have a shoulder to cry on but he says, "good evening miss: I can help you if you give me something in return." Well, she was quite happy to offer her necklace as a reward for his help – and sure enough he spends all night spinning the straw into gold.

Morning arrives and king sees the gold. "Amazing!" he cries – but then thinks to himself, "Hmm… maybe she can make more gold…" He demands that the next night she will spin even more straw and make even more gold. If she doesn't, she will die.

The girl bursts into tears but once again, the little man bursts into the room. "Don't cry your eyes out!" he says and offers to help - but still wants something in return. This time she offers him the ring on her finger.  He's happy with the deal and gets to work, spinning the straw.

Will the king now be satisfied? Or will he want more? Join me in part 2 to see what happens. Bye for now.

To do

How was that? The summary was correct!

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

Rumplestiltskin - the story so far...

5 Questions

Let's check your understanding of the story - and the words and phrases with cry. Decide whether each statement about the story is true or false. Choose 'We don't know' if there isn't enough information in the story to answer the question. Look at the vocabulary box if you need help.

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


There's not need to cry - join us on the next page for part two of the story, and a few more uses of the word cry.

Vocabulário desta lição

  • a far cry from (C1)
    very different to

    cry (A2)
    produce tears from her eyes

    a shoulder to cry on (C2)
    a person who listens to your problems and gives you sympathy

    cries (B1)
    says loudly

    cry your eyes out (C2)
    get very upset and cry a lot


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