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Phần 8

Are they chasing geese – or horses? We show you how to use the phrase wild-goose chase from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet - and bring you some other popular animal idioms!

 

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To chase, or not to chase: that is the question.

Nobody enjoys being sent on a wild-goose chase, but it can happen. Let's check you know the meaning and form of the phrase wild-goose chase, so you can use it next time you are sent on a pointless journey!

To do

Listen to this extract of the animation to help you remember what the narrator said, then do the quick quiz to check you understood.

Nghe file âm thanh và hoàn thành bài tập

Hiển thị văn bản ghi âm (hay video) Giấu văn bản ghi âm (hay video)

Narrator
In modern English, a wild-goose chase isn't about horses, or geese: it describes a situation where you foolishly chase after something that is impossible to get - or doesn't exist at all. Take US writer Bryant McGill, who said:

Clip 1
Endless consumerism sends us on a wild-goose chase for happiness through materialism.

Clip 2
We looked for the restaurant for hours, but it was a wild-goose chase: turned out that it closed down years ago!

Now have a go at this quiz. Look at the transcript if you need extra help.

To chase or not to chase...

4 Questions

Are you ready to use wild-goose chase? Answer the questions in this quiz to find out.

Chúc mừng bạn đã hoàn thành Trắc nghiệm
Excellent! Bạn làm rất tốt! Bad luck! Điểm bạn đạt được:
x / y

How did you do?
3-4 correct - well done - you understand wild-goose chase and are ready to learn some new animal idioms!
0-2 correct - oh dear! Have a look at the vocabulary box and try again.

Language note

The phrase wild-goose chase is normally used with the article a:

  •  a wild-goose chase 

 It can be used in the passive form with the verb send and the preposition on:

  • She was sent on a wild-goose chase

Or the active form with the verb go or the verb send and the preposition on:

  • I went on a wild-goose chase
  • He sent me on a wild-goose chase

Or we can use the verb be:

  • It was a wild-goose chase 
  • This is a wild-goose chase

Next

You now know the phrase wild-goose chase, but do you know what animal idiom we use to describe how tiring and competitive modern life can be - particularly in big cities?

Here's a clue: it's a ______ race! Which animal goes in the gap?

Go to the next page to find out the answer and learn more useful animal idioms!

Session Vocabulary

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

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    Wild-goose chase

    Meaning
    In modern English, a wild-goose chase isn't about horses, or geese: it describes a situation where you foolishly chase after something that is impossible to get - or doesn't exist at all.

    Example sentence
    We looked for the restaurant for hours, but it was a wild-goose chase: turned out that it closed down years ago!

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    Extra vocabulary

    star-crossed lovers
    very unlucky lovers

    to have a crush on someone 
    to like someone - in a romantic way

    unrequited love
    when someone is in love with someone who doesn't feel the same way

    a rat race
    a way of modern life in which people compete for wealth and power

    to have a whale of a time
    to enjoy yourself very much

    to be in the doghouse
    to be in trouble - normally with your partner!

    pigs might fly!
    that will never happen!

    hold your horses!
    wait! Be patient!

    to be on your high horse  
    to behave in a superior or conceited manner 

    get off your high horse!
    stop behaving in a superior manner!

    don't count your chickens...
    don't make ​plans that ​depend on something good ​happening before you ​know that it will really happen

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    About Shakespeare Speaks

    Shakespeare Speaks is a co-production between:

    BBC Learning English

    The Open University

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