Learning English

Inspiring language learning since 1943

English Change language

Session 4

Vocabulary: 9 uses of 'run'

Mariam's back with BBC Learning English's version of The Rue Morgue by Edgar Allen Poe - and nine different uses of the word 'run'.

Sessions in this unit

Session 4 score

0 / 11

  • 0 / 6
    Activity 1
  • 0 / 5
    Activity 2

Activity 2

A mystery is solved...

He throws her out of the window...
How do you think the story will end?

A) The murderer kills Dupin too
B) Dupin discovers that murderer is an escaped ape, which gets sent to a zoo
C) Dupin discovers that the murderer is a sailor
D) Something else 

To do

Watch the video and find out which option is correct. And listen out for three more uses of run.

Watch the video and complete the activity

Show transcript Hide transcript

Hi there, it's Mariam again and I'm here to tell you more about murder and intrigue in 19th Century Paris - and about a detective who has to work out who committed a very serious crime.

Detective Dupin thinks this voice might belong to the owner of the ape who feels he might be blamed for the ape's behaviour. Dupin doesn't want to run the risk of losing him so he advertises for the owner of a lost ape and manages to track him down and gets him to confess what happened on that tragic night.

The ape's owner, a sailor, explains how one night the ape is playing with his razor, he then ran away taking the razor with him. The sailor desperately ran after him but couldn't catch him. Attracted by a light in the victim's window, the ape climbed up the building and entered through the window. The woman screamed which made the ape panic and cut her throat and threw her out of the window. He then turned on the victim's daughter by strangling her. Then he escaped through the window which then shut behind him. The sailor saw all this but was traumatised and ran away.

So clever Detective Dupin has got to the bottom of this murder mystery – and what a gruesome one it is – and I've come to the end of my story. Oh by the way, the ape was found and sold to a zoo – so we can all sleep safely tonight!

Well, that's the end of my story. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope it didn't scare you too much. And I hope to see you soon.

To do

So, the correct answer was B). Dupin discovers that murderer is an escaped ape, which belongs to a sailor. The ape gets captured and sent to a zoo.

Now lets practise the different uses of run. Have a go at this quiz.

Whats the use of 'run'?

5 Questions

Choose the best expression with run to fill each gap.

Congratulations you completed the Quiz
Excellent! Great job! Bad luck! You scored:
x / y

Over to you

We asked you to tell us a story using as many of the phrases with run as possible:

  • make your blood run cold
  • run
  • running
  • run up against (something)
  • running through (his head)
  • run the risk of
  • runs away
  • runs after 

Your stories

Thao Uyen

"I don’t like horror movies as they make my blood run cold. After watching a horror film, I’m often obsessed that some terrifying things run after me, especially in dark place. Yesterday, after watching ‘the conjuring”, I went to bed and have a nightmare. In my dream, I was lost in a rain forest and ran up against the mysterious creature in the forest. I tried to run away that creature but my feet were too painful to run a long way. Terrible thoughts ran through my head: will that creature kill me? Will I die lonely in the jungle? I was so scary. Luckily, my alarm bell rang and I woke up. I felt so light, it’s just a dream. Next time, I never run the risk of watching horror films at night."

Thank you for your interesting learning English program.


Nicola from Brazil

I always wanted a pet, but my parents allowed me to have only small fish. However, when I was 12 years old, dad bought me Nina, a lovely puppy, as a Christmas present. I remember his exact words when he entered our garden bringing Nina: giving you a dog was running through my head for a long time, but only now I believe you are mature enough to take care of a pet. 

It is one of my sweetest moments of my childhood, not only because of the happiness of having someone to play and run with me through the parks, but also because of the trust my dad demonstrated in me. I was sure he wouldn't allow me to have a pet if I wasn't reliable enough - dad would never run up the risk of creating a problem, as a dog missed.

In the beginning, it was a bit difficult to control Nina, because, as many puppies, she was keen on running away from me during our morning walks. I remember one of our first walks as if it was yesterday - Nina decided to run after the cars in the street. It made my blood run cold

Impressively, Nina survived all our dangerous walks and many other adventures. Actually, everything was so adventurous with her, that the only place I could feel she was 100% safe was in our house's garden. However, one night, when Nina was 7 years old, she was playing in our garden when she got poisoned by drinking from a running sink in our garden. I will never forget this event, it was so sad and unpredictable. I could never imagine I would run up against such a sad end in my relationship with Nina.

BBC Learning English says:
Thanks for a great story. Note: the expression is run the risk of - without 'up'.


Mario, Italy

When I took a glance at the cake I had just baked, I realized that a slice was missing. It made my blood run cold. Who had eaten my cake? I immediately ran to my daughter’s room, but the room was empty. Then I ran up against our cat and ran after her, but our cat couldn’t have used a knife to slice my cake. A series of hypotheses started running through my head but I was alone in the house and nobody would have run the risk of breaking in to my house to only eat a slice of my cake. Then I entered the bathroom to wash my hands and after turning on the tap and looking at the running water, I looked in the mirror and saw a few crumbs around my mouth. I had to admit I was the culprit.

BBC Learning English says: 
Thanks for this great story with good uses of the word run.


Stjepan, Frankfurt, Germany

Amy works at the zoo and attends to animals. On a Sunday morning, while the sun was rising, she approached the crate where the tigers sojourned. All of a sudden, Amy let out a shriek that pierced the air so harrowing that it would make your blood run cold. At least it woke up the animals. The hell was breaking loose in the zoo. The other tigers were snarling, the bears growling, the parrot screeching, the apes raging as if infested by a madness, the horses snorting.

And a tiger, Amy noticed, was dead. Tears were running across Amy’s face. After having composed herself, she dashed for the office at the far end of the zoo. She was running out of breath by the time she had reached it. She burst into the office, sent for Michael, a colleague of hers, to the scene. While he took a close look at the tiger, Amy’s mind was still running in circles.

What might have happened, she asked Michael. Several ideas were running through her head. It might be a disease. On the other hand, the tiger was healthy, and there weren’t any remarkable health issues in the past years. It might have been an attack of a visitor. She recalled when a visitor succeeded to steal a penguin just to have one of his own. The person was successfully tracked down and the penguin returned to the zoo. This was by far the most serious occurrence the zoo had been running up against.

She, simply, couldn’t fathom it when Michael made a decisive discovery. The tiger’s throat was swelled profusely. He opened his mouth, seized into his gullet. With a brief jerk he brought to light a fishbone which had lodged in his throat. Poor tiger, Amy took pity on him. She saw the tiger’s life flash before her eyes since it was she who had raised the tiger ever since he was born. He used to run after flies and butterflies, clumsily, while he was running away from people except for Amy.

What could they do differently in order not to run the risk of losing an animal in that fashion again? she pondered.



On one morning i wake up and i decided to run to our farm and get some mango fruit. When i got there and climbed up one of the mango tree and when i was picking fruit,when i felt mango juice run on my left shoulder. When i looked up, my eyes met with flicker of two eyes ,when i sooed nothing climbed down and ran away. In contrary i heard a voice saying"who are you"which made my blood run cold.

I breathed deeply while some thought running through my head that it might be mangoes monster. Then i realised whatever the response i would respond to them i would have run the risk of being eaten. The thought ran through my mind that whether i run away or i wait to answer the question - but i decided to run. Even though they chased after me but i managed to escape.
And when i get home i asked why spent long time on the farm ,but i told them about the unusual circumstances i had run up against and they pitied me.


Utku Doğru, Turkey

It was a rainy night. I used elevator as always to go down. All of a sudden, when I was getting down electricity went off and I was shaked with fright. To top it off,generator didn’t run. So I got stuck in elevator. There was nobody else in with me and everywhere was pitch-black. It made my blood run cold. Because,I’ve never run up against this kind of problem. I checked out my phone but I couldn’t get any signals. I just wanted to run away from there. I screamed out to help but nobody heard of me. There were many thing, which I can’t stop running through, run through my mind. I couldn’t run the risk of anything by myself. That’s why I decided to await being rescued. At one time or another, I heard of somebody’s footsteps on stairs and I asked him for rescue me. As soon as he’d heard of me he ran to call rescuers. After that, I got started to feel dizzy. I realised that I couldn’t confront this situation anymore. Later, I was hospital when I woke up. They tell when they found me I was unconscious and blood running my head [BBC Learning English says: use a prepostion: 'blood running from my head'] due to I bumped my head somewhere. I've got a few stitches. Luckily,it wasn’t so serious. My parents also were there. I thought they must’ve run after me. Finally, I was totally okay and discharged.


Teresa Linde, Spain

The film that we had been watching was a horror thriller that made my blood run cold but I didn't show my fear to the rest of the people to avoid them making jokes.

I felt like going to my house as soon as possible but I stayed talking with the group instead of running to take the bus. We was chatting about the most impressive pictures of the movie and it was the moment in which I couldn't understand how there were people who liked remembering disgusting scenes of viscous fluids running from any hole of the dead bodys caused for an epidemic of an alien lethal illness.

As none of us had never run up against a similar situation we were running through what to do in case of living something like that. Someone said he would run away as far as he could to a safe place. Then other person asked him what he would do if he was being run after by the forces of national security for escaping an infected area, then he was running through his head... We didn't want to run the risk of extending the conversation in the street and without any answer we all went to have a drink and take a rest of so many intense feelings in that evening. 

BBC Learning English says: 
Thanks for a good story and some good uses of run.



Last month, when I visited my farm, I found one of the employees trembling with fear inside his car. I asked him what happened and he told me he had saw a jaguar and ran so fast as he could to run away.

I ran though his history for some seconds and then I laughed. If he had saw a jaguar it would be impossible he ran faster than this animal. If the jaguar really ran after him, it was just fun.

However, I helped him to calm down and told that I understood he actually ran the risk of die, but now everything was ok!


Anastasia, Russia

Some years ago I had a really terrible flat mate. When I saw her at the first time, I understood that I ran up against trouble. I ran the risk of sharing an accommodation with her because it was too expensive for me and I was desperate to share my costs. The house was run-down so there were no other people of my age who wanted to live there. We were supposed to take care about the flat and be careful. Once I came home and saw water everywhere on the floor. It made my blood run cold when I thought about the anger of the flat`s owner.  I ran through my head different causes of the accident: may be a water pipe burst or was broken by an accident and I should have called in a plumber some days ago to prevent it. Then I saw an aquarium with a hole in it. My flat mate bought it in a pet-shop, it was full of water and contained a goldfish in it. She brought it into the flat and then dropped an aquarium at the hall because it was very heavy.  When she saw water on the floor she just ran away. The flat was flooded.  It was no good to run after her, so I took a big piece of cloth and cleaned the floor. I ran out of patience with her and moved to a friend of mine.

BBC Learning English says: 
Thanks for the story. Some great uses of the word run.


Andrew, Kazakhstan

As I was five years old , I found a soft doll in a loft which made my blood run cold . It seemed to be the common doll filled with wadding ,but I was afraid of its dark bulging eyes. As I saw it for the first time, I ran away to my room and hid under a blanket . I thought it would run after me so I didn't want to run the risk of coming out. Different thoughts was running through my mind. After a while I decided to gather all my courage and run up against this doll. Unfortunatly I didn't manage to go upstairs in order to get rid of the doll because I had woken up my mother and she wasn't willing to let me go there. 

BBC Learning English says:
A creepy story, Andrew! It is totally understandable why you might run away. Your use of run vocabulary was very good, except for run up against, which doesn't work here because when we run up against something (like a problem), we do not expect it. In your case, you want to challenge the doll, so it is not unexpected. Well done and keep studying!



That's the end of Session 4. In session 5, Tim from the Learning English team is back with the latest epsisode of our new pronunciation series. Don't miss it!

Session Vocabulary

  • make your blood run cold (C2)
    make you feel very scared

    run (A1)
    move fast by taking steps that are much quicker than walking

    running (B2)

    run up against (something) (C2)
    start to experience a problem

    runs through (C2)
    thinks about

    running through (his head) (C2)
    thinking about

    run the risk of (C2)
    do something that might cause something bad to happen

    runs away (B2)
    escapes; leaves somewhere quickly and/or secretly

    runs after (B1)