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Session 6

Music, magic and monsters! We learn how to use the phrase strange bedfellows from The Tempest - and lots of other useful expressions for talking about relationships.


ክፍለ-ስራሓት ናይዚ ምዕራፍ

ድምር ነጥቢ ናይዚ ክፍለ-ስራሓት 6

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    Activity 3

Activity 3

Strange bedfellows - or the perfect match?

They go together like apples and pears... or sausages and ice cream?!

Here are some useful phrases to talk about how well - or how badly - things go together! Decide which phrases describe a good match and which describe an unusual match.  Then try the quiz below to check if you are right.

ነቲ ጽሑፍ ብምንባብ ነቲ ስራሕ ዕመምዎ

To do

Now try this fun quiz to check that you've understood the meaning of these phrases.

Strange bedfellows - or the perfect couple?

5 Questions

These phrases are about how well - or badly - people or things go together. Choose the correct meaning of each phrase.

ኣገናዕ፡ ፈተናኹም ዛዚምኩም
Excellent! Great job! ሕማቕ ዕድል! ዘመዝገብኩምዎ ነጥቢ ...:
x / y

Well done if you matched the phrases with their correct meaning! 

Over to you

We've shown you some unusual partnerships in this episode, but now we'd like you to tell us about a pair of people or things that you think are strange bedfellows. For example:

• A couple that you think are an odd match
• A weird combination of food that you enjoy eating
• An unusual political alliance

Use the phrase strange bedfellows in your story and try to use some of the other phrases from this session too. Email your story to us at learning.english@bbc.co.uk. Make sure you write strange bedfellows in the subject line. 

Unfortunately we can't give individual feedback, but we do read every email, and we’ll publish our favourites here or on our social media sites.


Here are some of your stories...

Jean Marie

In the recent elections, between the two rounds, many strange bedfellows loomed up on the TV in an election campaign. For just a week, arguing they were fighting the worst, these politicians who used to be like chalk and cheese, suddenly, before their stunned electorate, promised, forever, that they were made for each other.

These odd couples were not a match made in heaven, cats sleeping with chickens thought the grassroots.


My friends don't like each other that much. They often try to get rid of the opponent when they fall in love with someone. However, when they play football in the same team, they become efficient strange bedfellows.

Welton; Brazil

Strange bedfellows are not so normal in politic issues but sometimes you can see it happens although some people disapprove it at all. This sort of behavior perhaps could be absolutely unacceptable for everyone who respect his moral values and habits, but if in the end the union of an odd couple could result in benefits for everybody, probably this isn't so bad indeed. Anyway, although you have opposite beliefs and you are considered like chalk and cheese the most important is the social benefits. When the final goals were achieved maybe people will say that you are a match made in heaven or you are made for each other. This could be very nice and absolutely awesome, because in the past you are in constant conflict and tempest, but now you are considered two of a kind and in the future could be known as good fellows maybe.


Typical example is in one movie from Schwanzeneger, when he played one of the twin. He is clever, handsome, muscular and optimistic and his brother is small, criminal, pesimistic, silly...


Recently, i heard a news about an affair of a famous persons.

The man is a singer and so popular.

When he was not famous, he married a woman who supported him so hard.

And he became a well known singer because of her support.

They might be said that you are a match made in heaven and i thought so.

But after he became a famous, he fell in love with another women who is so famous and a singer and their circumstances are two of a kind.

I think they know the other’s pain and worry of being famous mutually as if they are made for each other.

But, as the news spread, he was criticized by many people.

And he was said "break up with her! You and she are strange bedfellows!”.

Strangely, while the man was criticized so much,the woman was comforted, like chalk and cheese.

Finally, she said that he is not my boyfriend but just a friend.

Maybe now they are like an odd couple.

Anyway I think he is so bad guy because he has so nice wife.


Rashad, Egypt

I just want to say, when tom and jerry make a temporary alliance together against something, they must be strange bedfellows.


Ia Tabagari, Georgia

What  a  hive  of  activity !  Imagine   how   my   classmates   were   crazy   about   them .  So   that  they   acted    like  them-  The   spice  girls.  They   were   dead   ringers   for   one  another   .  That’s   weird ! ,  I  said   then .

       One  of  my  friends  told  me  that  I  had  to  listen  to  their  song  called   Viva   Forever  .   ’’ What  strange   bedfellows !   Anna ,  what   happened   to  you? I  hope  you  are  good  at  Music   and  can  play  the  piano  beautifully , I  said  to  her.  However,   I   listened   to   it….  A   big  smile  on  Luciano  Pavarotti ‘s  face . So  that  I  could  get  the  answer   to  my  question. After   that, I   became  a  fan of  them. This  song  clarifies  how  talent  can  turn  an  odd  match  into   the  perfect  match. So   that  you  feel  an  absolute  harmony  in  it- a  match  made  in  heaven.

     Later  I  realized  that  Victoria  Beckham  also  has  something  more  special  and  what  I  like  about  her  is  her  views  on  life  and  her  strong  personality- She  is  such  a perfectionist!

    At  last , as   we  have  already  known ,  according  to  Shakespeare  ‘’What’s   done  is  done”  and  success   is  never   enough. So   move  on !  From   strange   bedfellows  to  the  perfect  match .

Tomoki Watanabe

It seems starange bedfellows to eat watermelos with salt beacase their tastes differ from each other. However, some Japaneses do so since salt makes watermelon sweeter by contrast between sweet taste of watermelons and salt taste. They do not use a lot of salt, but a little.

Next time you eat watermelons, please try to eat in Japanese way.

End of session

That’s all for now. We hope you had fun and learnt some new phrases. Don't be a stranger - please join us again soon to learn more about William Shakespeare's life and work - and to discover another useful English expression with #ShakespeareSpeaks.

In the meantime, watch more Shakespeare Speaks episodes and go to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Youtube pages for more fun with English!

Session Vocabulary

  • For more great Shakespeare content, visit our partnerThe OU

    For teachers:

    Lesson plan and worksheets for Strange bedfellows

    Eight vocabulary activities for the classroom


    Strange bedfellows

    These days, the phrase strange bedfellows describes two people or groups that are connected in a particular activity, even though they are very different and are not usually seen together.

    Example sentence
    You think Miley Cyrus and Michael Bublé should write a song together? Well, they'd be strange bedfellows… but it might just work.

    strange bedfellows is often used for political alliances.

    Example sentence
    Israel, Hamas strange bedfellows when it comes to reining in ISIS in Gaza.


    Extra vocabulary

    like chalk and cheese
    an expression to describe two people who are very different from each other

    an odd couple
    two people who are in a relationship, but seem very different and not well-suited

    a match made in heaven
    a perfect combination of people or things

    made for each other
    a perfect match

    two of a kind
    two people with very similar characters

    a violent storm

    a type of large raincoat

    a person/people who belong to the same group or who share a situation

    people who share a bed or who are closely involved with each other in a particular situation

    Find out more

    About Shakespeare Speaks

    Shakespeare Speaks is a co-production between:

    BBC Learning English

    The Open University


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