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ਯੂਨਿਟ 1: Shakespeare Speaks
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ਸੈਸ਼ਨ 16

Ssshhhh… it's a secret! It's William Shakespeare's birthday and there's a surprise in store for him. Plus, we're bringing you the phrase mum's the word and keep mum as well as lots more useful phrases for talking about secrets!

Session 16 score

0 / 19

  • 0 / 4
    ਕਿਰਿਆ/ਕੰਮ 1
  • 0 / 11
    ਕਿਰਿਆ/ਕੰਮ 2
  • 0 / 4
    ਕਿਰਿਆ/ਕੰਮ 3

Everyone managed to keep Will's party a secret in this episode - even Daughter! How about you - are you good at keeping secrets? We'll find out on the next page, but first let's learn some useful phrases for talking about keeping secrets - and not keeping secrets!

To do

Listen to this conversation between Ben and Diane. Diane has a secret - what is it? Does she manage to keep it a secret?

Do the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Ben
Go on tell me what you were talking about on the phone? You know your secret’s safe with me!

Diane
No way, whenever I tell you a secret you promise to keep it under wraps and then you always end up letting it slip!

Ben
That’s not fair!

Diane
But it’s true! I told you I liked that guy at the gym and you promised not to tell a soul – but you let the cat out of the bag within a few hours!

Ben
I only told one – well, maybe two – people. I won’t breathe a word this time I promise.

Diane
Yeah right! And there was that time when I spilt wine over my boss’s new coat. I told you not to tell, but you blabbed then too.

Ben
That was an accident though! Ok, my lips are sealed this time. Go on on spill the beans!

Diane
OK fine if you really want to know. We were organising a surprise party for your birthday this week!

Ben
What?! Why did you tell me, it’s meant to be a surprise! I can’t believe you’ve given the game away. You are terrible at keeping secrets!

Diane
Yes I'm the one who can’t keep their mouth shut! I should be much more like you!

Answer
Diane's secret is that she is organising a surprise party for Ben - but she doesn't manage to keep her secret! She lets the cat out of the bag!

To do

Look at the transcript and pay attention to the phrases in bold - they are all related to keeping secrets. But which phrases are about keeping secrets and which phrases are about revealing them? Try the quiz to find out if you are correct.

Secrets! To keep or not to keep...

11 Questions

Here are the phrases you heard in the dialogue. Decide if each phrase means 'to keep a secret' or 'to reveal a secret'.

Note: if you are on a computer you should drag each phrase to the correct box. If you are on a mobile device you need to select the option.

ਵਧਾਈ ਹੋਵੇ ਤੁਸੀਂ ਕੁਇਜ਼ ਪੂਰਾ ਕਰ ਲਿਆ
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਹਾਸਲ ਕੀਤੇ ਗਏ ਅੰਕ:
x / y

Secrets! To keep or not to keep...

11 Questions

Here are the phrases you heard in the dialogue. Decide if each phrase means 'to keep a secret' or 'to reveal a secret'.

Note: if you are on a computer you should drag each phrase to the correct box. If you are on a mobile device you need to select the option.

ਵਧਾਈ ਹੋਵੇ ਤੁਸੀਂ ਕੁਇਜ਼ ਪੂਰਾ ਕਰ ਲਿਆ
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! ਤੁਹਾਡੇ ਵੱਲੋਂ ਹਾਸਲ ਕੀਤੇ ਗਏ ਅੰਕ:
x / y

Well done if you chose the correct meanings for all the phrases - but don't worry if you made one or two mistakes - your secret's safe with us!

Next

It's time to put this vocabulary into practice. On the next page, try our fun quiz to find out if you are good at keeping secrets!

Before you go, we learnt that to blab is to revel a secret, but do you know what expression we use to describe a person who blabs? Click 'next activity' to find out. 

Session Vocabulary

  • For more great Shakespeare content visit our partner,The OU

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    Give no words but mum

    Meaning
    The phrase give no words but mum is usually simplified to just keep mum. It means: don't tell anyone - it's a secret.  

    Example sentence
    Mark Hamill to keep mum amid Star Wars Skywalker speculation

    Note
    Another version of the phrase is mum's the word.

    Example sentence
    Don't tell anyone you saw me here. Mum's the word!

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    Extra vocabulary

    your secret’s safe with me
    I won't tell anyone your secret

    keep it under wraps
    keep it secret

    don't tell a soul
    don't tell anyone

    I won’t breathe a word
    I won't tell anyone your secret

    my lips are sealed
    I won't tell anyone your secret

    keep your mouth shut
    keep a secret

    blab
    reveal a secret

    let the cat out of the bag
    reveal a secret (usually by accident)

    let it slip
    reveal a secret (usually by accident)

    spill the beans
    reveal a secret

    give the game away
    reveal a secret

    a blabbermouth
    someone who reveals secrets

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    About Shakespeare Speaks

    Shakespeare Speaks is a co-production between:

    BBC Learning English

    The Open University

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